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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Symposium #445
CE Offered: BACB
The Treatment of Refractory Severe Problem Behaviors
Monday, May 26, 2008
3:00 PM–4:20 PM
Stevens 3
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Nathan Blenkush (Judge Rotenberg Center)
CE Instructor: Nathan Blenkush, Ph.D.

Individuals who exhibit chronic, high frequency and/or high intensity problem behaviors are often treated with combinations of pharmaceutical, antecedent, reinforcement, and other interventions based on behavior function. The repeated failure of these interventions often results in high doses of psychotropic medications and a highly restrictive environment. Here, we describe the effectiveness of contingent skin-shock, administered via the Graduated Electronic Decelerator, combined with a dense schedule of reinforcement in treating refractory problem behaviors. In addition, common myths and omissions associated with contingent shock are discussed. Finally, the behavioral treatment of non-mentally retarded/autistic persons will be discussed.

Systems of Reinforcement at the Judge Rotenberg Center.
RACHEL NICOLLE MATTHEWS (Judge Rotenberg Center)
Abstract: Primary and conditioned reinforcers are an essential component of any behavioral program or intervention. The Judge Rotenberg Center has a comprehensive system of rewards that are used to reinforce appropriate behaviors. The system includes three components: an immediate rewards, token reinforcement, and point reinforcement. Each component is described and discussed in the context of the treatment of severe behavior disorders with particular attention to implementation.
Myths and Omission Regarding Contingent Skin-Shock.
NATHAN BLENKUSH (Judge Rotenberg Center)
Abstract: Contingent skin-shock, combined with reinforcement procedures, is an extremely effective in reducing and/or eliminating refractory severe problem behaviors. However, some have argued that contingent-skin shock in particular and punishment procedures in general, should not be used because of reasons such as undesirable side-effects and lack of long-term effectiveness. Here, a variety of myths and omissions regarding contingent skin-shock are explored and discussed in the context of severe behavior disorders.
The Effectiveness of Contingent Skin Shock in Reducing Refractory Aggressive Behaviors.
ROBERT VON HEYN (Judge Rotenberg Center)
Abstract: We evaluated the effectiveness of contingent skin shock (CSS) in reducing the frequency of aggressive behaviors of 53 participants who had not improved with the use of pharmaceutical, antecedent, reinforcement or behavioral treatments based on behavior function. The results suggest that CSS reduced the frequency of aggressive behaviors by 95% or more for 96% of the participants (100% for 78% of participants).
Treating Severe Behaviors Emitted by Non-MR/Autistic Individuals.
PATRICIA RIVERA (Judge Rotenberg Center)
Abstract: Individuals diagnosed with autism and mental retardation are often treated with behavioral interventions. This is not surprising considering that these individuals often exhibit problem behaviors. However, there are many other groups of people who exhibit severe problem behaviors that can be successfully treated using the principals of behavior. This presentation will focus on the treatment of people with IQ’s in the normal range who lack a diagnosis of mental retardation or autism. Rule governed behavior, counter control and other factors commonly found in this population will be discussed.



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