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.


43rd Annual Convention; Denver, CO; 2017

Event Details

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Symposium #81
CE Offered: BACB
Effects of Multiple and Other Combined Schedules During Functional Analyses and Treatment of Problem Behavior
Saturday, May 27, 2017
3:00 PM–4:50 PM
Convention Center Mile High Ballroom 1A/B
Area: AUT/DDA; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Billie Retzlaff (University of Nebraska Medical Center)
Discussant: Joel Eric Ringdahl (University of Georgia)
CE Instructor: Billie Retzlaff, M.A.

Complex schedules are ubiquitous in the natural environment, and therefore, often play an important role in the assessment and treatment of problem behavior. This symposium explores various uses of multiple or other combined schedules in all stages of treatment of problem behavior (i.e., during assessment, treatment, and caregiver training), while highlighting both advantages and potential limitations of these schedules. Presentation will focus on a) the potential for emergence of novel functions of behavior following exposure to combined reinforcement schedules during assessment, b) the pre-requisite skills necessary for discriminated responding during multiple schedules, c) the use of technology to signal reinforcer availability, and d) the use of multiple schedules to facilitate the transfer of treatment effects to caregivers. The discussant will provide a thematic synthesis of research findings, and discussion their implications for clinical practice and future research.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): FCT, Multiple Schedules, problem behavior, Synthesized Contingencies
Emergence of Novel Functions of Behavior Following Synthesized Reinforcement Contingencies
BILLIE RETZLAFF (University of Nebraska Medical Center), Wayne W. Fisher (Munroe-Meyer Institute, University of Nebraska Medical Center), Jessica Akers (University of Nebraska Medical Center), Brian D. Greer (Munroe-Meyer Institute, University of Nebraska Medical Center)
Abstract: Fisher, Greer, Romani, Zangrillo, and Owen (2016) compared the results of traditional functional analyses (FA; i.e., putative reinforcers evaluated individually) with the results of a synthesized contingency analysis (SCA; i.e., putative reinforcers combined into a synthesized test condition). Results indicated that the SCA produced false-positive outcomes for four of the five participants. In the current translational investigation, we evaluated whether, and to what extent, exposure to an SCA would result in the emergence of novel functions of behavior. We established an arbitrary target response under the control of a specific establishing operation and corresponding reinforcement contingency for each participant. We then conducted a traditional FA of the arbitrary response and results indicated the response only occurred in the FA condition in which the training occurred (e.g., tangible condition for Participant 1). Next we conducted an SCA of the arbitrary response followed by a second traditional FA. Both participants showed the emergence of a novel function for the arbitrary response following the SCA. These findings are discussed in terms of current practices in functional assessment of problem behavior.
Evaluating Variations of Multiple Schedules
ELIANA MARIA PIZARRO (University of Florida), Timothy R. Vollmer (University of Florida)
Abstract: One limitation of functional communication training (FCT) is that although problem behavior has decreased, the functional communication response (FCR) might be emitted at exceedingly high rates (Betz et al., 2013). One potential solution to this problem is establishing stimulus control of the FCR via a multiple schedule. However, several studies have demonstrated difficulty with establishing discriminated responding across multiple schedule components (Saini, Miller, & Fisher, 2016). In the current investigation, we evaluated three variations of a multiple schedule, including a topographically dissimilar stimulus in one variation, with 5 participants. A pre-assessment was used to determine the verbal repertoire of all participants and results provide preliminary evidence that some level of prerequisite skill might be necessary to establish discriminated responding in the context of a multiple schedule.

Signaled Availability Using Proloquo2go on the iPad

BRANDON C PEREZ (University of Florida), Emma Grauerholz-Fisher (University of Florida), Kerri P. Peters (University of Florida), Timothy R. Vollmer (University of Florida)

Decades of research in behavior analysis have demonstrated that discrimination between schedules of reinforcement occurs more quickly and efficiently when multiple schedules are used compared to mixed schedules. The use of multiple schedules has been shown to be effective at reducing high rates of manding for individuals who use picture exchange cards. However, with the rise in technology, many children and adolescents with intellectual disabilities are learning communication skills (i.e., manding) using new augmentative and alternative communication devices such as the Proloquo2go application on the iPad. To date, no studies have extended multiple schedules in order to signal periods of reinforcement availability and extinction using these forms of technology. The current study will extend the literature of multiple schedules as a proof of concept to current technology.


Promoting Caregiver Transfer of Treatment Effects During Functional Communication Training

KATIE LICHTBLAU (University of Nebraska Medical Center), Brian D. Greer (Munroe-Meyer Institute, University of Nebraska Medical Center), Wayne W. Fisher (Munroe-Meyer Institute, University of Nebraska Medical Center)

Functional communication training (FCT) is an effective treatment for decreasing destructive behavior maintained by social consequences (Carr & Durand, 1985). Multiple schedule (mult) FCT has been used to thin the reinforcement schedule during FCT (Hanley, Iwata, & Thompson, 2001). In cases where FCT results in high rates of incorrect FCRs, response restriction has been demonstrated to be a viable alternative (Fisher, Greer, Querim, & & DeRosa, 2014). This study was conducted with four participants diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder who were referred for treatment of destructive behavior (i.e., aggression, disruption, self-injury). Caregivers were taught to implement functional analysis conditions using behavioral skills training (BST). Therapists then taught participants an FCR to access the functional reinforcer(s) and used mult FCT or response restriction to thin the schedule of reinforcement. Following reinforcement-schedule thinning, we used BST to teach caregivers to implement the terminal FCT schedule. Treatment was transferred to caregivers using a multiple baseline across functions, multiple baseline across caregivers, or reversal design. Modifications that were required to facilitate effective caregiver transfer are discussed. Results show that the use of discriminative stimuli during FCT schedule thinning may facilitate the transfer of treatment effects to untrained contexts (e.g., novels settings, therapists, or caregivers).




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