Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


38th Annual Convention; Seattle, WA; 2012

Event Details

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Poster Session #350
DDA Monday Afternoon Session
Monday, May 28, 2012
12:00 PM–2:00 PM
Exhibit Hall 4AB (Convention Center)
1. A Literature Review of Functional Analysis Conditions with Stereotypy/Repetitive Behavior Using Tangible Items
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
SOYEON KANG (University of Texas at Austin), Mark O'Reilly (University of Texas at Austin), Farah El Zein (University of Texas at Austin), Ziwei Xu (University of Texas at Austin)

Analogue functional analysis (FA) has been used as the fundamental experiment to identify the functional relationship between problem behavior and the environmental variables. As much as it is used extensively, the FA procedure has been conducted with variations adapted to particular characteristics of individuals with developmental disabilities. However such variations adopted in FA conditions may introduce confounds to the results of FA (Carter, Devlin, Doggett, Harber, & Barr, 2004). As an example, during the attention condition, the child manipulates tangible objects (e.g., toys) while the implementer pretends to do work. During a control play condition, the child plays with the tangible objects freely. At that time, depending on whether or not the child can access the tangible object to engage in the target behavior (S/R), the results can be different. The presence of tangible objects across FA conditions may cause especially undifferentiated results. This study reviewed previous studies in which analogue FA was conducted for participants whose target behavior was stereotypy/repetitive behavior with tangible items published in the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis from 1994 to 2011. This review provides a summary related to the exact conditions of the FA described in the literature and the relevant FA results. A total of 15 studies were identified from the inclusion criteria. Most studies did not provide a detailed description about which tangible items were used to engage in stereotypy/repetitive behavior or whether the items were present in the FA conditions (i.e., attention, play, and alone). Most studies also did not provide a specific criterion regarding tangible item presence or absence in the alone condition for the participants with these characteristics. Usually, during the alone condition, the tangibles were absent and false negatives are suspected. Based on the results, this study discusses and provides some suggestions regarding systematic experimental control of functional analysis for this population.

2. Making Reinforcement Decisions: An Evaluation of the Effectiveness Between Tangible and Social Reinforcers
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
SOYEON KANG (Meadows Centers for Preventing Educational Risk), Mark O'Reilly (University of Texas at Austin), Laura Rojeski (University of Texas at Austin), Kara Blenden (University of Texas at Austin)

The highly preferred items selected through preference assessment are provided as a reinforcer during educational intervention. Children with autism and other developmental disabilities are more likely to engage in inappropriate behavior (e.g., stereotypy/repetitive behavior) than appropriate play with the preferred items given as a reinforcer. Unfortunately, reinforcers may unintentionally encourage the problem behavior (i.e., stereotypy/repetitive behavior) that the intervention is trying to reduce. It is important to select a reinforcer based on the object data; however, considering the above situation, it is necessary to look at not only the data, but also the whole picture when making reinforcement decisions. An alternative reinforcer that is still acceptably effective and encourages children to engage in less problem behavior may need to be identified. In this respect, the present study evaluates a possible alternative reinforcer: social interaction. The purpose of this study is to compare the effectiveness between the first preferred item and the social interaction (e.g., verbal praise, high five etc.) given as a reinforcer during the instruction period. The participants were three children, aged 3 to 5 years old, with developmental disabilities. This study had two phases: In the first phase, preference assessment was conducted to identify the most highly preferred items. The information about social interaction that the child preferred was obtained from their teachers. In the second phase, two different reinforcer conditions were compared in terms of skill acquisition, task engagement, and stereotypy/repetitive behavior. For this comparison, alternating treatment design was used and the type of reinforcer condition used in each session was randomly determined. The result suggests that social interaction would be an effective reinforcer to teach skills without promoting stereotyped behavior. Based on the results, this study discussed making an efficient reinforcement decision.

3. A Comparison of Differential Reinforcement Using Competing and Noncompeting Stimuli
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
JODI ELIZABETH NUERNBERGER (Southern Illinois University Carbondale), Joel Eric Ringdahl (Southern Illinois University Carbondale), Kristina Vargo (Southern Illinois University Carbondale)
Abstract: Differential reinforcement contingencies have been used to treat challenging behavior maintained by automatic reinforcement, but with varying results. Some researchers have shown that differential reinforcement of other behavior (DRO) procedures can be effective in reducing challenging behavior, while others have shown contrary results. The purpose of the current study was to evaluate the efficacy of two DRO procedures in decreasing challenging behavior exhibited by an individual diagnosed with autism. Preferred items were identified using a paired-choice stimulus preference assessment and the extent to which those items competed with challenging behavior was assessed.Researchers identified a competing and a non-competing stimulus, both highly preferred, that were arranged within DRO procedures. That is, the participant received access to either the competing or the non-competing stimulus contingent on the absence of challenging behavior for a specified period of time. The efficacy of the DRO procedures was assessed using an alternating treatments design embedded within a reversal design. Results showed both differential reinforcement procedures were effective in reducing challenging behavior.
4. Do Children With Reading Difficulties Improve Reading Skills and Eye Movements Through Word-Sequence Training?
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
HIROKO NAKAGAWA (Keio University), Mikimasa Omori (Keio University), Jun'ichi Yamamoto (Keio University)
Abstract: Children with developmental disabilities often show difficulty in reading sentences and comprehension while some of them can read words. Previous researches showed that less fluent reading skills led poor comprehension skills. Repeated reading training is known to be effective for improving reading and comprehension skills. Most of researches presented sentences as stimuli during the training. However, few researches presented word sequences as stimuli for the training. Since each Japanese word have meanings, presenting word sequences is effective for children with reading difficulties. In the present study, we examined whether reading fluency and comprehension skills were improved by word sequence training for children with reading difficulties. We also evaluated the patterns of eye movements. During our training, each word was presented one-by-one and children were asked to read the presented word. After reading the word, next word was presented. When they finished the training, they were required to read whole sentences and answer the quiz, and we evaluated their patterns of eye movements. As a result, children decreased reading time and improved the quiz comprehension and eye movements. These results suggested that word sequence training was effective to improve reading fluency, comprehension and eye movements.
5. Assessing the Function of Dangerous Climbing Using a Baited Environment
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
CHRIS DILLON (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Samantha Hardesty (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Lynn G. Bowman (Kennedy Krieger Institute)
Abstract: Dangerous behaviors (e.g., climbing) displayed by children with intellectual disabilities pose imminent risk of severe injury or death (Risley, 1968; Swahn, 1988). Determining the function of climbing is crucial for treatment development; however, the ethical and safety implications of evoking these behaviors in the natural environment may be questionable. The purpose of the current study was to develop safe methods for assessing the function of climbing in two young males diagnosed with intellectual disabilities; Lenny, aged 9 and Mike, aged 6. Functional analyses (Iwata et al., 1994) were conducted by carefully baiting a room with furniture (i.e., tables and cabinets) such that it presented an analogue to the home environment. Data were collected on climbing, jumping, and other problem behaviors (e.g., aggression, self-injury). Results suggested that climbing was maintained by positive reinforcement (e.g., tangible and attention). Intervention strategies for dangerous behavior maintained by positive reinforcers (e.g., extinction, differential reinforcement) are also discussed. Reliability data were collected for at least one-third of observations and averaged above 80%.
6. Arbitrary vs. Extinction-Induced Responses as Mands During Functional Communication Training
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
MEGAN B. BLACK (Kennedy Krieger Institute), SungWoo Kahng (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Jonathan Dean Schmidt (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Jeanne M. Donaldson (Kennedy Krieger Institute), James Snow (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Lauren Morris (Kennedy Krieger Institute)
Abstract: Functional communication training (FCT; Carr & Durand, 1985) involves providing reinforcers contingent upon an appropriate response (i.e., mand) and withholding reinforcers contingent upon aberrant responding. Previous research has suggested that mands could be selected from responses observed during extinction-induced variability (Grow et al., 2008) and that mands existing in the individuals repertoire may be more readily used by the individual than an arbitrary response (Winborn et al., 2002). The purpose of the current investigation was to extend previous research by comparing response allocation of a trained, arbitrary response to responses selected from an extinction probe. A reversal design was used to evaluate the effectiveness of FCT with 1 participant whose aberrant behavior was maintained by escape from demands. FCT was effective at increasing appropriate responding and decreasing aberrant behavior. During FCT sessions, responding was allocated almost exclusively to responses selected from the extinction probe. These findings are consistent with previous research and strengthen the recommendation that FCT responses should be selected from responses already in the individuals repertoire, when possible.
7. A Review of Experimental Functional Assessment Methods Conducted in Active Classroom Settings
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
BLAIR LLOYD (Vanderbilt University), Craig H. Kennedy (Vanderbilt University)
Abstract: When functional analysis methodology emerged, assessments were commonly conducted in highly controlled settings (e.g., clinic or hospital rooms). Over time, however, the use of experimental methods to assess the function of problem behavior in natural settings (e.g., classrooms) has increased. We searched the literature to identify experimental functional assessments conducted in active (i.e., ongoing) classroom contexts for students receiving special education services and who engaged in problem behavior. To qualify as experimental, studies included the systematic manipulation of one or more antecedent or consequent stimulus. Sixty-three studies were identified and analyzed according to various procedural and methodological variables. Coded variables included, but were not limited to, classroom setting (inclusive or self-contained), implementers (teachers or researchers), manipulation type (antecedent and/or consequent stimuli), experimental design, number of test conditions, total number of sessions, data collection methods, inter-observer agreement measures, procedural fidelity measures, and outcomes. Data are synthesized to (a) describe the classroom-based functional assessment methods used to date, (b) identify approaches that may be most practical and/or efficient for classroom settings, and (c) identify areas for future research.
8. The Effects of Task Preference on Escape-Maintained Problem Behavior
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
ELIZABETH COMMINS (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Samantha Hardesty (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Lynn G. Bowman (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Christopher Tung (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Chris Dillon (Kennedy Krieger Institute)
Abstract: Antecedent-based treatments for escape-maintained problem behavior often involve curriculum alterations such as interspersed requests or behavioral momentum (Horner et al., 1991; Nevin et al., 1983). That is, less effortful or more probable (i.e., high-probability) tasks are systematically incorporated into academic programs in order to reduce maladaptive behaviors and increase compliance (Burns et al., 2009). Research suggests these strategies may even alter task preference (Clarke & Skinner, 2000). The purpose of the current study was to assess the effects of task preference on task compliance prior to intervention in two adolescents (Claire and Kyle) diagnosed with intellectual disabilities. Tasks were selected from each participant’s individual education plans and included demands that participants were observed to complete independently. A paired-choice preference assessment (Fisher et al., 1997) was used to assess task preference while compliance and frequency of problem behavior were assessed through single-trial presentations of tasks. High compliance and little problem behavior was observed during high preferred tasks, while low compliance and problem behavior was observed during low preferred tasks. Implications for the treatment of escape-maintained problem behavior will be discussed. Reliability data were collected for 66% of observations and averaged 97%.
9. An Evaluation of Response Patterns Within Five-Session Food and Activity Multiple Stimulus Without Replacements for Nine Adults With Intellectual Disabilities
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
AMANDA BOSCH (Texas Tech University), David M. Richman (Texas Tech University), Layla Abby (Texas Tech University), Samuel Thompson (Texas Tech University), Lucy Barnard-Brak (Texas Tech University), Laura Melton Grubb (Texas Tech University), Wesley H. Dotson (Texas Tech University)
Abstract: DeLeon and Iwata (1996) introduced and validated a 5-session multiple stimulus without replacement (MSWO) preference assessment; Carr, Nicolson, and Higbee (2000) found that three sessions and furthermore that one session may be sufficient to determine preference. In the current study, we sought to replicate and extend the results of Carr et al. by examining the degree of correlation between five separate sessions of MSWOs completed for (1) activities and (2) edibles. Results showed that, for activities for 7 of the 9 participants, Spearman rank order correlations between the first session and the total rank were moderate to high (mean 0.79 and range 0.31-1.0). This suggests that for activity preference assessments, a single session may be adequate to determine preference. For food, correlations were more variable. Results of only 4 of 9 participants showed moderate to high correlations (mean 0.62 and range 0.29-1.0), suggesting that food preferences may be more heavily influenced by establishing operations. Results will be discussed in terms of the intellectual disability and functioning level of the participant.
10. An Evaluation of Children’s Preference for Spanish and English Languages
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
YANIZ C. PADILLA DALMAU (University of Iowa), David P. Wacker (University of Iowa), Patrick Romani (University of Iowa), Jessica Emily Schwartz (University of Iowa)
Abstract: There has been a recent interest in evaluating children’s first (L1) and second (L2) languages as independent variables in behavioral assessments and interventions (McComas & O´ Raghallaigh, 2011). In this study, we evaluated preference for stimuli and language concurrently within a concurrent schedules design. Participants were two children aged 12 and 7 years old who were exposed to Spanish and English and had disabilities. James’ L1 was English and Tara’s L1 was Spanish. Three paired-stimulus preference assessments (Fisher et al., 1992) were conducted in three contexts: attention, tangible, and demands. Nine choice options (4 stimuli in English, the same 4 stimuli in Spanish, 1 no-language) were presented in pairs until all options were paired together for a total of 36 trials per PA. Interrater agreement on participant’s choices was assessed during 100% of trials and averaged over 90%. Participant’s choices were analyzed to evaluate the interaction between language and stimulus preference across and within contexts. James showed a preference for English across the three contexts whereas Tara showed a preference for English in two contexts (demand, tangible) and Spanish in one context (attention). These results suggest that individual preference assessments are needed for language as well as stimuli.
11. Effects of a Functional Communication Training Package Plus Time Out on Self-Injurious Behavior
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
JESSICA EMILY SCHWARTZ (University of Iowa), Kelly M. Schieltz (University of Iowa), Shannon Dyson (University of Iowa), David P. Wacker (University of Iowa)
Abstract: The purpose of this study was to show the effects of functional communication training (FCT) on self-injurious behavior (SIB) during a 90-min outpatient evaluation. Marci was an 18 year-old female diagnosed with Rett Syndrome who engaged in eye-rubbing, which resulted in blindness. Arm immobilizers were used to prevent SIB, but were removed during this evaluation. All procedures were conducted by group home staff with coaching from clinic therapists within a multi-element design. During baseline, staff interacted with Marci and blocked SIB. During FCT, a microswitch with a pre-recorded message of play please was presented to Marci. If she touched the microswitch, staff interacted with her. If she attempted to display SIB, it was blocked and attention was removed. Results of this evaluation (Figure 1) showed that SIB (top panel) was lower during FCT. Independent communication (bottom panel) only occurred during FCT. Interobserver agreement was collected X% of sessions and averaged 79%. Overall, these results suggest that FCT can be shown to care providers very quickly in an outpatient setting.
12. Assessment and Treatment of Perseverative Conversations on Restricted-Interest Topics in a 14-Year-Old Male Diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
TODD M. OWEN (Munroe-Meyer Institute, University of Nebraska Medical Center), Phillip A. Hartwig (Munroe-Meyer Institute, University of Nebraska Medical Center), Wayne W. Fisher (Munroe-Meyer Institute, University of Nebraska Medical Center), Nicole M. Rodriguez (Munroe-Meyer Institute, University of Nebraska Medical Center)
Abstract: Some individuals diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder will spend an excessive amount of time conversing about restricted-interest topics, which others may find aversive, resulting in social isolation. Results from a functional analysis indicated that the participants perseverative conversations of restricted-interest topics (referred to as perseverative conversation) were maintained by social attention. A multiple schedule was developed in which a colored card signaled whose turn it was to select a topic of conversation and whether perseverative conversations would be reciprocated (participants turn) or ignored (therapists turn). The participant received 60-s access to reciprocated conversations on the topic of his choice contingent on 30 s of cumulative participation in non-perseverative conversation during the therapists turn. Low to zero levels of perseverative conversation were observed during the therapists turn; however, the participant engaged in only moderate levels of on-topic during this time. When access to reciprocated conversation on perseverative topics was made contingent on on-topic conversation during the therapists turn, on-topic conversation increased and perseverative conversation remained low. These effects maintained across various individuals.
13. Concurrent-Operant Functional Analysis of Aggressive Behavior Maintained by Attention
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
TODD M. OWEN (Munroe-Meyer Institute, University of Nebraska Medical Center), Nicole M. Rodriguez (Munroe-Meyer Institute, University of Nebraska Medical Center), Wayne W. Fisher (Munroe-Meyer Institute, University of Nebraska Medical Center), Kevin C. Luczynski (Munroe-Meyer Institute, University of Nebraska Medical Center)
Abstract: Certain forms of aggression are likely to elicit a physical reaction (e.g., flinching, blocking), making it difficult for the therapist to completely ignore problem behavior in the control condition. In the current study, we evaluated an innovative method for assessing whether attention maintains problem behavior under conditions in which it may be difficult to maintain high levels of procedural integrity. Our initial pairwise functional analysis (attention versus control) resulted in undifferentiated responding. In an attempt to increase procedural integrity, we added protective equipment, but levels of aggression decreased to zero across the control and test conditions. Differential levels of responding were observed during a second functional analysis in which two therapists were concurrently available but were associated with different qualities of attention (vocal attention + animated physical reaction versus minimal physical reaction). A treatment based on the results of the concurrent-operant functional analysis resulted in low levels of responding.
14. Unnecessary Q&A: Evaluating the Effects of Response-Cost andFunctional Communication Training on Reducing the Vocalization of Unnecessary Questions of a 7-Year-Old Boy
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
ZADAY SANCHEZ (Florida State University), Tom Petrini (Florida State University)
Abstract: The effects of response-cost and functional communication training (FCT) were evaluated on reducing the vocalization of unnecessary questions of a 7-year-old boy with ADHD. The purpose of reducing asking unnecessary questions (questions which the child already knows the answers to) was to replace this behavior with more age-appropriate and socially acceptable behaviors (i.e., stating the information he wants to convey as opposed to asking for it). A token economy board was used to deliver tokens for completing academic tasks. Completing the token board resulted in obtaining a potentially reinforcing item of choice that had been previously determined by a preference assessment. The response-cost procedure consisted of removing a token from the token economy board without providing attention. This was immediately followed by implementing FCT, which consisted of the therapist stating we do not ask questions we already know the answers to; just tell me about ____ (the subject of the childs previous question) if you want to talk about it. This statement was followed by prompting the child to appropriately vocalize his statement. Results indicated that response-cost plus FCT reduced the vocalization of unnecessary questions.
15. E-Consultation for a Speech Therapist: An Exploratory Study
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
YUKA KOREMURA (Keio University), Ayuko Kondo (Keio University), Hiromitsu Morishita (Susaki Kuroshio Hospital), Jun'ichi Yamamoto (Keio University)
Abstract: In this exploratory study, on-site and online hybrid ABA consultation, e-Consultation, was introduced to train a speech therapist, who works at a hospital. A university professor, a graduate student, an information scientist, a speech therapist, and his client (4 years old boy) were involved in e-Consultation. A-B-C design was used for this study. At the beginning of the first intervention phase, one-day lecture and hands-on workshop was given on-site. In the second intervention phase, 1-1.5 hour long consultation was conducted over the Internet, using Skype installed computer with web camera, speaker, and microphone. Each session was recorded by a video camera, and the recorded session was reviewed at the online consultation. The speech therapists time allocation of DTT and PRT, and the clients escape behavior during sessions were measured as dependent variables. The result showed that the therapist implementation of DTT and PRT during the consultation phases improved compare to the baseline. For the child's escape behavior, it was a decline trend as oppose to the baseline although the average number of online consultation phase was the same as the baseline. Further data analysis and replications with other clinical specialists are needed to validate the generality of e-Consultation.
16. Positive Behavior Support for Deaf Children with Developmental Disabilities: Staff Training and Family-Centered Intervention
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
BRENDA FOSSETT (University of British Columbia), Joe M. Lucyshyn (University of British Columbia)
Abstract: A significant percentage of deaf children are diagnosed with additional disabilities, with estimates of co-morbidities as high as 51% (Gallaudet Research Institute, 2006). These children are at increased risk for developing significant problem behavior, due to the severity developmental challenges. The need for research regarding strategies to address problem behaviors in this unique group has been identified in the fields of education of the deaf and applied behavior analysis (Carr, 2006; Luckner & Carter, 2001; Luckner, Muir, Howell, Sebald, & Young, 2005). Two studies were conducted to answer questions related to staff training and behavior intervention for deaf children with additional disabilities. The first study investigated the association between training in Positive Behavior Support (PBS) and improvements in staff knowledge and skill. Ten of the 11 staff participants were Deaf and training was provided in American Sign Language. The second study investigated the effectiveness of a family-centered PBS approach to problem behavior with a deaf child diagnosed with cerebral palsy and autism. The interventionist, a Deaf staff trained in the first study, conducted the functional assessment, developed the PBS plans, and taught the mother to implement the intervention strategies. Results for the first study showed that the training program produced a statistically significant difference between pre- and post-test scores, while results for the second study demonstrated a functional relation between a family-centered PBS process and improvements in child behavior and participation in three home-based routines. Results suggest that training professionals in the field of deaf education to conduct functional assessments, develop PBS plans, and support parents in implementing interventions can have a positive effect on child functioning and family life.



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