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.


33rd Annual Convention; San Diego, CA; 2007

Event Details

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Symposium #234
CE Offered: BACB
Transitioning Children with Autism from a Specialized Behavior Analytic Setting to a Less Restrictive Environment
Sunday, May 27, 2007
1:30 PM–2:50 PM
Elizabeth DE
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
Discussant: Robert LaRue (Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center, Rutgers University)
CE Instructor: Meredith L. Garrity, Ph.D.

Children with pervasive developmental disorders are often provided services in a specialized setting outside of a typical school district placement. This referral is most often related to significant behavioral concerns that cannot be treated appropriately in self-contained classrooms within the district. However, with the goal of a least restrictive environment, an out-of-district placement strives to reduce the inappropriate behavior to a stable level and when possible, provide a user-friendly behavior support plan that can be implemented by public school teachers. Three clinical cases will be presented illustrating various issues associated with a return to district. The first presentation will highlight the initial stage of stabilization of a myriad of highly disruptive behavior such as aggression, noncompliance, dropping to the ground, and screaming for a high functioning 11-year-old girl diagnosed with autism. The second presentation will focus on the next step of selecting and teaching specific skills required for a student with ADHD and PDD-NOS to function effectively in middle school. Finally, the third presentation will address coordination with a school district regarding selecting goals to address the unique needs of a four-year-old boy diagnosed with PDD who exhibits high rates of vocal stereotypy in an integrated preschool classroom.

Reduction of Disruptive Behavior.
MEREDITH L. GARRITY (The May Institute)
Abstract: Inappropriate behaviors such as screaming, noncompliance, aggression, and dropping to the ground serve as an obstacle for maintaining a child in a less restrictive setting within the public school system. The available resources in a within district placement such as a self-contained classroom or collaborative school may be insufficient to provide the level of expertise or intensity of clinical services appropriate to address significant behavioral concerns. Additionally, such behaviors are often disruptive to the learning of other students. A high functioning 11-year-old girl diagnosed with autism was referred for disruptive behaviors exhibited both in the home and school setting. Functional assessments indicated behaviors with multiple functions, primarily that of gaining attention and escaping from demand. A token economy consisting of differential reinforcement of other behavior (DRO) and a response cost was designed according to student preferences, and the contingencies conveyed to the student via a social story. Targeted behaviors were then introduced into the token program sequentially. Discussion will focus on home and school coordination as well as the creation of parent- and teacher-friendly behavior support plans with the final goal of transition to a less restrictive setting taken into account from the initial referral.
The Impact of Skill Deficits on a Successful Transition to a Public School Setting.
JAIMIE L. HOOVER (The May Institute)
Abstract: A ten-year-old boy dually diagnosed with Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified was referred from his public school system following a failure to improve with the implementation of a physical restraint plan, multiple medication changes, and finally several psychiatric hospitalizations. He was admitted into an intensive behavior analytic program for children ages five to 14 with pervasive developmental disabilities after he had been withdrawn from all psychotropic medication. Initially evaluated with 1:1 staffing, this level of support was quickly faded. Inappropriate behaviors observed included noncompliance, aggression, and drops to the ground. During baseline, these behaviors averaged in occurrence between three and five times per day. A token program was introduced which included differential reinforcement of other behavior in concert with response cost and resulted in a rapid reduction of these inappropriate behaviors to near zero rates. This reduction allowed for further analysis of skill deficits regarding potential obstacles to transitioning back to a less restrictive setting. Discussion will focus on how to select and then prioritize skills for a child with multiple diagnoses in order for the student functioning effectively in a public school setting.
Reduction of Stigmatizing Behavior before a Transition to District.
Abstract: Children with disabilities who are placed in an out-of-district classroom often exhibit a myriad of problem behaviors. When these behaviors are prioritized for reduction, stereotypy often falls to the bottom of the list because it is rarely a dangerous behavior. However, in a general education environment, vocal stereotypy can be a behavior of high priority for teachers because of its potential disruption to the classroom environment. Students with disabilities who would otherwise be able to participate in general education classes may be served out of district due to their stereotypic behavior. This study addresses vocal stereotypy in a four-year-old boy with a diagnosis of Pervasive Developmental Disorder. Although the initial referral indicated only a failure to exhibit progress, further consultation with the district revealed a concern about the rates of vocal stereotypy and the student’s ability to participate in general education classes. In order for the student to successfully return to the within-district placement, rates of vocal stereotypy would need to be reduced and the treatment procedure able to be implemented by those without training in behavior analysis. Results and strategies for implementation in a regular education classroom will be discussed.



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