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.


40th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2014

Event Details

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Symposium #349
Shaping Solutions to Common Problems in Applied Settings
Monday, May 26, 2014
10:00 AM–10:50 AM
W187c (McCormick Place Convention Center)
Area: PRA/TPC; Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: Daniel Adam Openden (Southwest Autism Research & Resouce Center)

There are a number of important problems that are tackled in applied settings. For example, behavior analysts work with people who can't communicate, people who engage in unhealthy behavior, and people who interact in dangerous ways. These problems can be addressed with a variety of procedures. They can either follow a pathological or a constructional approach. Often the pathological approach is followed because the elimination of the problem is pressing. The purpose of the symposia is to provide three examples of applied behavior analysts using shaping procedures in each of their respective settings. The presenters and the discussant have a commitment to a philosophical approach that is constructional, empirical, and to describing the problem solving process. Each presenter will describe the problem, the goals, and the methods to address the problem at hand. Each presentation places an emphasis on analysis and arrangement of the stimulus conditions and using shaping procedures to produce desired behavioral changes. The behaviors addressed include teaching children with autism to talk, increasing favorable responses to food and mealtimes in children with autism, and teaching a variety of populations to interact in safe ways with canines.

Keyword(s): constructional, shaping

Yummy Starts: A Constructional Approach to Mealtimes for Children with Autism

JOSEPH H. CIHON (University of North Texas), Sara M. Weinkauf (Easter Seals North Texas), Nicole Zeug (Positive Behavioral Connections), Shahla S. Ala'i-Rosales (University of North Texas), Jesus Rosales-Ruiz (University of North Texas)

Children diagnosed with autism appear to be at greater risk for developing feeding problems such as food selectivity. This can put children with autism at greater risk for compromised health and decrease opportunities for social interactions and development. To date most behavioral approaches to treating food selectivity have involved an escape extinction component. While successful in increasing immediate consumption, the use of escape extinction is worrisome. In many cases it appears that food and mealtimes are aversive and, if this is the case, it is not clear from the research if forcing consumption decreases the aversive properties of events related to mealtimes. In general, the approach has been pathological in that it focuses solely on the decontextualized problem. An alternative approach is to conceptualize the issue within a constructional framework; that is, a contextualized analysis with specification and measures of desired goals. This presentation will provide an alternative behavioral conceptualization of food related contingencies and a set of procedural guidelines for increasing generalized and favorable responses to food and mealtimes. An overview of ecological baseline assessments, environmental arrangements, criterion performances and shaping procedures will be described and illustrated.


"Rules" We Needed to Learn about Use of Shaping at Walden Early Childhood Programs

GAIL G. MCGEE (Emory University School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences), Michael J. Morrier (Emory University School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences)

Although shaping is a fundamental procedure in ABA, there are surprisingly few concrete details on how to apply shaping to clinical activities. We will offer videotaped examples and guidelines for concrete shaping "rules" we use regularly in speech shaping at Walden. Walden developed rules are not inherently right or wrong, compared to another program's strategies, but the process of internal specification of rules or guidelines offer clear advantages in achieving procedural consistency.


To Be Good, All Dogs Need is a Little Timely Affection

SEAN WILL (University of North Texas), Chase Owens (University of North Texas), Morgan Katz (University of North Texas), Laura Belcher (University of North Texas), Jesus Rosales-Ruiz (University of North Texas)

Common behavior problems encountered by pet owners include jumping on people, unwanted vocalizations, running out open doors, destruction of property when left alone, and requiring attention from owners at inopportune times. Currently, dog trainers advise owners to use a marker signal, followed by food as a reinforcer, to train alternative behaviors to the unwanted one. While this method can be effective in some situations, it is not always practical and it requires a certain level of knowledge and skill on the owner's part to be effective. But even if it is effective, owners are usually not inclined to carry food and clickers all day to maintain the behavior. One natural reinforcer available to every pet owner is petting, and one simple conditioned reinforcer is body language. This presentation will show a simple procedure to shape desirable behavior that uses petting as a reinforcer and hand signals as conditioned reinforcers. The procedure is errorless and can be taught easily to pet owners of all ages.




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