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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Poster Session #64
Saturday, May 27, 2017
12:00 PM–3:00 PM
Convention Center, Exhibit Hall D
Chair: Judah B. Axe (Simmons College)
110. The Effects of Question-Present vs. Item-Present Conditions on Acquisition of Mands
Area: VRB; Domain: Applied Research
SADIE L. LOVETT (Central Washington University), Paige Thornton (Western Psychological and Counseling Services), Richard Trent Marsicano (Central Washington University)
Discussant: Tina Sidener (Caldwell University)
Abstract: As part of language instruction for children with autism, some therapists include a verbal prompt, such as “What do you want?” to teach mands. This verbal prompt results in an impure mand because the mand occurs in the presence of an establishing operation as well as the supplemental verbal stimulus. Previous research has shown no difference in the rate of acquisition when children are taught with or without a verbal prompt (Bowen, Shillingsburg, & Carr, 2012). However, it remains unclear whether the presence of the target item results in stimulus control over the mand response, regardless of whether or not the verbal prompt is used. The purpose of the present study was to compare two mand training procedures to determine if a question-only or item-present condition would result in more rapid acquisition of mands. A multiple baseline design across participants, with an embedded alternating treatment design, was used to evaluate mand acquisition in two preschool children with autism. Results of the study showed that the item-present condition resulted in more rapid acquisition of mands than the question-only condition.
111. Evaluating the Effects of Multiple Mands within Functional Communication Training on the Resurgence of Problem Behaviors
Area: VRB; Domain: Applied Research
EMILY NESS (Kennedy Krieger Institute; University of Southern Mississippi), Keith Radley III (University of Southern Mississippi ), Brad Dufrene (The University of Southern Mississippi), Daniel H. Tingstrom (The University of Southern Mississippi), Evan Dart (University of Southern Mississippi ), Katie Bishop (University of Southern Mississippi), Madeline Potter (The University of Southern Mississippi)
Discussant: Tina Sidener (Caldwell University)
Abstract: Resurgence is the reoccurrence of a previously reinforced behavior when, under similar circumstances, a more recently reinforced behavior is placed on extinction (Epstein, 1985). The resurgence of problem behavior within the context of functional communication training (FCT) may occur when reinforcement is inadvertently thinned or placed on extinction due to low implementation integrity throughout the course of the intervention (Lieving et al., 2004). Techniques evaluated to mitigate resurgence have included long-term exposure to extinction (Wacker et al., 2011), signaled schedule thinning (Fuhrman, Fisher, and Greer, 2016), and a combination of both techniques (Wacker et al., 2013). These studies, however, have demonstrated varied results. Training multiple mand modalities may be a way to program for generalization, by increasing a child’s response repertoire. The purpose of the current study is to evaluate the effects of training multiple mands on the resurgence of problem behavior after implementing FCT in a school setting. Three students exhibiting communication deficits and problem behaviors were trained on an initial mand to gain access to a reinforcer. After resurgence was demonstrated following extinction of the initial mand, participants were taught two additional, functionally identical, mand modalities. A reversal design was used to evaluate differences in the resurgence of problem behavior when a participant’s preferred mand is placed on extinction but the additional two are available. A reduction in the resurgence of problem behaviors was observed for two of three participants following mand2 and mand3 training. In addition, an increase in rates of non-preferred mands was observed for two of three participants during extinction phases. Implications, future directions, and limitations will be discussed.
112. A Frequency Count of Disguised Mands in Preschool Children: Effects of Socioeconomic Status
Area: VRB; Domain: Applied Research
ARIEL YORK (Simmons College; Allegheny College), Rodney D. Clark (Allegheny College)
Discussant: Tina Sidener (Caldwell University)
Abstract: The objective of the present study was to determine the existence of a relationship between the children’s socioeconomic status and the frequency of specific verbal operants. Mands, tacts, and disguised mands of typically developing preschool children (ages 4-5) were recorded. Two classrooms were observed, the first containing children from middle-low socioeconomic status and the second containing children from high socioeconomic status. The frequencies of mands, tacts, and disguised mands were then recorded. The frequency count for mands as well as tacts was higher in classroom one compared to that of classroom two (105 to 82 respectively and 146 to 67 respectively). However, the frequency count for Disguised Mands, was higher in classroom two than classroom one (10 to 19 respectively). Additionally, we recorded the mean number of mands, tacts, and disguised mands emitted per child in each classroom. We found no difference (p=.05) for mands. Conversely, a significantly higher (p=.05) mean number of tacts were observed in classroom one than classroom two. We observed a significantly higher (p=.05) mean number of disguised mands in classroom two than classroom one. These observations suggest that children from different socioeconomic backgrounds may undergo distinctive vocal verbal training.
113. The effects of Observational Learning on acquisition of Mands for Information using “Who” and “Which”
Area: VRB; Domain: Applied Research
WHITNEY TRAPP (Marcus Autism Center), Videsha Marya (Marcus Autism Center), Devorah Story (Marcus Autism Center), Bethany Hansen (Marcus Autism Center), M. Alice Shillingsburg (Marcus Autism Center, Emory University School of Medicine)
Discussant: Tina Sidener (Caldwell University)
Abstract: The current study evaluated the acquisition of mands for information using “who” and “which” questions through observational learning in a pair of children with autism. An alternating treatments design was used to assess differentiated mands for information in the presence of establishing operation (EO) and abolishing operation (AO) conditions. As an extension to Shillingsburg et al. (2014), two children in a classroom setting were taught to mand for information under EO conditions. During baseline neither participant could mand for information using “who” or “which” questions to access information regarding the location of preferred items. Antecedent manipulations were used to teach Participant A to mand for information by asking “which,” while observational learning was evaluated for Participant B. Participant B was taught to mand for information by asking, “who” under the EO condition, while observational learning was evaluated for Participant A. Procedures resulted in the acquisition of the mands for “who” and “which” for both participants via direct teaching and observational learning in the EO present conditions and not in the AO conditions. These results extend the mands for information literature through the inclusion of observational learning strategies, and provide evidence that differentiated mands can be acquired observationally.
115. Advancing the Verbal Repertoire of an Adolescent with ASD
Area: VRB; Domain: Applied Research
SARA ANN FRALEY CARDONA (Shenandoah University; Behavioral Momentum, LLC), Kendra McDonald (The Aurora School and Open Door Learning Center)
Discussant: Tina Sidener (Caldwell University)

Applied research has shown that behavior analysis has assisted individuals with autism spectrum disorder to increase their verbal behavior. The study conducted was to advance an individuals tacting repertoire by having the individual respond by combining the verb and noun when asked what is happening? The study was conducted at a private day school for individuals with autism and other developmental delays with a ratio of 1:1. The individual was a 17-year-old male with autism spectrum disorder and had been attending the day school for over 5 years. The individuals main form of communication is through sign language. Teaching took place at the individuals classroom using discrete trials to teach the nouns and verbs separate. Once the individual learned all nouns and verbs separate, data was then taken to see if combining the known nouns and verbs occurred. Data showed that each combination of noun and verb had to be taught and no generalization occurred. There was a decrease in the amount of trials needed before reaching the criteria of four out of five trials for two consecutive blocks was reached.

116. Teaching Pronouns to Individuals with Autism
Area: VRB; Domain: Applied Research
Barry D. Morgenstern (Institute of Professional Practice), KAITLIN GRACE CAUSIN (Attentive Behavior Care, Inc.), Jaimie Weinlein (Attentive Behavior Care, Inc. )
Discussant: Traci M. Cihon (University of North Texas)
Abstract: Although it is well documented that individuals with autism often have significant difficulty with learning to use pronouns appropriately, no study to date has systematically investigated teaching procedures for these skills. This study evaluated the effectiveness of a teaching procedure to increase correct pronoun usage as a listener and speaker across four different pronoun pairs (i.e., mine/yours, me/you, I/you, and my/your) using a multiple baseline design (across pronoun pairs). Two individuals with autism were taught to discriminate between different instructions containing pronouns (e.g., Listener, “Touch the one that is mine/yours;” Speaker, “Tell the one that is mine/yours”). This study utilized discrete trial teaching procedures combined with a unique discrimination training protocol to teach the listener and speaker responses. Both individuals learned to discriminate between mine/yours, I/you, me/you, and my/your as both a speaker and as a listener. In addition, the individuals also demonstrated generality with the use of pronouns to novel people, places, and tasks.
117. Evaluation of a Blocked-trials Procedure to Teach Multiply Controlled Intraverbals to Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder
Area: VRB; Domain: Applied Research
ASHLEY SILBERMAN (Caldwell University), April N. Kisamore (Caldwell University), Jason C. Vladescu (Caldwell University), Laura L. Grow (California State University, Fresno), Catherine Taylor-Santa (Caldwell University), Lauren Goodwyn (Caldwell University)
Discussant: Traci M. Cihon (University of North Texas)
Abstract: Multiply-controlled intraverbals commonly occur in social interactions and are important for the acquisition of academic skills. Research on the effectiveness of strategies for teaching multiply-controlled intraverbals to children with autism spectrum disorder is limited. It has been suggested that multiply-controlled intraverbals involve conditional or compound stimulus control. Procedures involving prompt delays and semi-random presentation of targets have resulted in acquisition of multiply controlled intraverbals for some children with autism spectrum disorder, but not all. A blocked-trials procedure has also been effective for teaching responses to auditory-visual and visual-visual stimuli involving conditional and compound stimulus control. The purpose of the present study will be to extend the literature on teaching multiply controlled intraverbals by evaluating (a) the effects of semi-random presentation with a prompt delay on the acquisition of multiply-controlled intraverbals by children with ASD, (b) a blocked-trials procedure on the acquisition of multiply-controlled intraverbals if the semi-random presentation with a prompt delay is not effective, (c) control by all relevant stimuli by constructing sets of stimuli with overlapping components, and (d) effectiveness of these procedures on Wh questions.
118. Increasing Verbal Responses Utilizing Interrupted Chain Schedules of Reinforcement in an Adolescent With Autism
Area: VRB; Domain: Applied Research
ASHLEY MURPHY (The University of Southern Mississippi), Meleah Ackley (The University of Southern Mississippi), William Ford (The University of Southern Mississippi), James Moore (The University of Southern Mississippi), Evan Dart (The University of Southern Mississippi), Kate Helbig (The University of Southern Mississippi), Parker Lundy (The University of Southern Mississippi)
Discussant: Traci M. Cihon (University of North Texas)
Abstract: In the current study, the frequency of verbal responses increased significantly from baseline sessions for a 14 year old male with autism. In session, he was asked 20 questions about his day on an interrupted chained schedule across questions, with an increasing ratio schedule of reinforcement for his verbal behavior across questions. The ratio schedule requirements (i.e., CRF, FR2, and FR4) were related to the number of words used in his response. Contingent on the schedule requirements, he gained access to his video game. Results indicate that higher rates of responding occurred to questions for which the game play was contingent on his responses. Responding remained low for questions not related to his access to the game. As questions were included into the chain schedule, responses tended to consistently meet or exceed schedule requirements. In particular, responses to primary questions were greater in number of words as compared to secondary questions. Exact agreement inter-observer data were collected from at least 90% of sessions and ranged from 80-100%. Procedural integrity data were also collected across at least 80% of sessions and agreement ranged from 81-100%.
119. Conversations Between a Young Child With Autism and his Parents: Similarities and Differences Between Mother and Father
Area: VRB; Domain: Applied Research
ALEX NIETO (University of Nevada, Reno), Ainsley B. Lewon (University of Nevada, Reno), Taylor Seidler (University of Nevada, Reno), Staheli Meyer (University of Nevada, Reno & Fit Learning), Vanessa Willmoth (University of Nevada, Reno), Patrick M. Ghezzi (University of Nevada, Reno)
Discussant: Traci M. Cihon (University of North Texas)
Abstract: Referential behavior refers to interactions of a speaker, and their simultaneous reaction to a referent (topic) and a listener. Thus, it is important to identify the ways in which the characteristics of the listener may influence the form and function of the behavior of the speaker. The current study evaluated the differences between conversational interactions between a young child with autism and their mother and, separately, their father. Conversation samples were collected over three months. Four, five-minute video samples of each child-parent dyad were evaluated using a linguistic coding system developed by Sid Bijou and colleagues based on Kantors analysis of referential behavior outlined in his 1977 book Psychological Linguistics. Specifically, the referential interactions of each dyad were evaluated in two ways. First, a primary analysis will analyze the conversational interactions into functional speaker-listener units that are either complete, when the speaker and listener are coordinated around the same referent, or incomplete, when the speaker and listener are not. A secondary analysis will identify the qualitative nature of the referents by identifying what was talked about and by whom.
120. Teaching Conversational Interactions to a Young Child With A utism
Area: VRB; Domain: Applied Research
VANESSA WILLMOTH (University of Nevada, Reno), Ainsley B. Lewon (University of Nevada, Reno), Emily Taylor (University of Nevada, Reno), Patrick M. Ghezzi (University of Nevada, Reno)
Discussant: Traci M. Cihon (University of North Texas)
Abstract: J.R. Kantor's Psychological Linguistics describes a natural science approach to studying linguistic behavior and interactions. The current study utilizes this theoretical approach to examine the development of referential linguistic interactions in a young child with autism enrolled in an early intensive behavioral intervention program. In the first phase, tutors were trained in a procedure to teach the child to initiate and sustain referential behavior. In the second phase, tutors were trained to teach the child to respond to interactions initiated by another person. A changing criterion design was used to teach the child to sustain referential behavior for an increasing number of interactions. On the basis of Kantors Psychological Linguistics, Bijou et al.s set of procedures developed for identifying and analyzing referential interactions was used to train tutors to identify referential linguistic behavior, and record and measure the interactions between the tutor and child. Generalization probes were also conducted to determine the extent to which improvements in referential interactions observed in treatment occurred in other settings and with other people.
121. Assessing the Use of Behavior Momentum as a Secondary Hypothesis in Rapid Motor Imitation Antecedent Training for Increasing Echoic Behavior
Area: VRB; Domain: Service Delivery
ADDAM J WAWRZONEK (Michigan State University)
Discussant: Traci M. Cihon (University of North Texas)
Abstract: Rapid Motor Imitation Antecedent (RMIA) training is a treatment approach that has been shown to increase echoic behavior in non-verbal early learners (Tsiouri & Greer, 2003). RMIA relies on first teaching a generalized imitation repertoire, and then rapidly presenting imitation targets followed by a novel echoic target. Although it is hypothesized that the motor imitation repertoire generalizes to the echoic responses, it may instead be the effects of a rapid presentation of high probability targets, also known as behavior momentum. The present study attempted to replicate the effectiveness of Rapid Motor Imitation Training using high probability responses from an unrelated response class (matching), following a multiple baseline across targets design. A second intervention was added which used high probability responses from the same response class (echoics). The participant was a three year old male with autism in an early education classroom setting. Data indicated that neither the interspersed known matching responses, nor the known echoic responses resulted in the acquisition of new echoic targets. This suggests that a fully developed generalized imitation repertoire may be essential for RMIA to be effective. Alternative hypotheses and further research will be discussed.



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