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.


34th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2008

Event Details

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Invited Paper Session #435
CE Offered: BACB

Assessment and Treatment of Idiosyncratic Response Relations in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Monday, May 26, 2008
2:30 PM–3:20 PM
International North
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
CE Instructor: Henry S. Roane, Ph.D.
Chair: Joel Eric Ringdahl (University of Iowa)
HENRY S. ROANE (University of Nebraska Medical Center, Munroe-Meyer Institute)
Dr. Henry S. Roane received his Ph.D. in 2000 from Louisiana State University in School Psychology with an emphasis on the assessment and treatment of behavior disorders in individuals with developmental disabilities under the supervision of Timothy Vollmer and Dorothea Lerman. He completed a pre-doctoral internship in pediatrics and psychology at the Kennedy Krieger Institute and the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in 1999 with Cathleen Piazza and Wayne Fisher. From there he served in various positions at the Marcus Institute. At present Dr. Roane is an Associate Professor at the University of Nebraska Medical Center and is the Director of the Severe Behavior Disorders program at the Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders at the Munroe-Meyer Institute in Omaha, Nebraska. He is a licensed psychologist in the State of Nebraska and is a Board-certified Behavior Analyst. He is an Associate Editor for the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, is on the Editorial Boards of the Journal of School Psychology, Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, and Behavior Analysis in Practice, and is on the Board of Directors for the Behavior Analysis Certification Board and the Society for the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. His clinical and research interests focus on the treatment of severe destructive behavior problems in children and adolescents and the evaluation of reinforcement schedules in applied settings.

Autism is a neurological disorder characterized by several core symptoms (e.g., social withdrawal, repetitive behavior). Many individuals with autism also display associated destructive behavior (e.g., self-injury, aggression). Functional analysis has emerged as the primary method of assessing those variables that maintain destructive behavior (e.g., positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement). However, among some individuals with autism, functional analysis outcomes are sometimes ambiguous. This presentation will describe several cases in which initial functional analyses did not identify the maintaining reinforcement contingency for destructive behavior. For all cases, descriptive observations yielded information that led to the identification of an idiosyncratic maintaining reinforcement contingency. Specifically, destructive behavior was maintained by contingent access to repetitive behavior. Following these assessments, treatments were developed in which the participants were taught an alternative method of accessing repetitive behavior. Finally, we developed alternate, more socially appropriate forms of repetitive behavior for each participant. The results of these cases will be discussed in relation to examining interactions between core symptoms of autism and the occurrence of destructive behavior.




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