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.


46th Annual Convention; Washington DC; 2020

Event Details

Previous Page


Symposium #38
CE Offered: BACB
The Effects of Lag Schedules and Teacher Presentation Rates on Academic, Play, and Social Behavior of Children With Autism
Saturday, May 23, 2020
10:00 AM–11:50 AM
Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Level 2, Room 207B
Area: AUT/EAB; Domain: Translational
Chair: Juliana Aguilar (Utah State University)
Discussant: Matthew Tincani (Temple University)
CE Instructor: Matthew Tincani, M.S.

This symposium involves studies investigating the effects of lag schedules and teacher presentation rates on academic, play, and social behavior of children with autism. The first presentation will discuss using a lag schedule to teach variable play behavior in preschoolers with autism, and assessing preference for variable or repetitive play. The second presentation will discuss using fixed and varied instructional arrangements to establish varied intraverbal responses. The third presentation will discuss the role of intertrial intervals of instruction presentation on skill acquisition and rates of problem behavior. The final presentation will discuss skill acquisition and problem behavior rates during two different intertrial intervals of instruction presentation, as well as student preference for instruction presentation rate. The discussant will provide comments on each of these studies.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): instruction rates, lag schedules, variability preference
Target Audience:

BACBs, graduate students, researchers


Choice for Variability in Children With Autism

(Basic Research)
ANNIE GALIZIO (Utah State University), Thomas S. Higbee (Utah State University), Sara Peck (Utah State University), Lorraine A Becerra (University of Missouri), Jay Hinnenkamp (Utah State University), Amy Odum (Utah State University)

Although individuals with autism tend to behave repetitively, certain reinforcement contingencies (e.g., lag schedules) can be used to increase and maintain behavioral variability. In a lag schedule, reinforcement is only delivered for responses that differ from recent responses. We designed the present study to promote variable play behavior in preschoolers with autism interacting with playsets and figurines, and to assess preference for variability and repetition contingencies. Limited data have shown a preference for variability in pigeons and college students, but this effect has not yet been explored in clinical populations. In this experiment, three preschoolers with autism were taught to discriminate between variability and repetition contingencies. With one set of discriminative stimuli, only play behaviors that met a lag schedule were reinforced, and with another, only repetitive play behaviors were reinforced. After differential performance was established, participants were presented with a choice between the two sets of stimuli, and participants completed a play session with the corresponding contingency. Two participants showed a slight preference for variability over repetition, and the other showed indifference. These results indicate that some individuals with autism play repetitively, not because they prefer repetitive play, but because they would require additional teaching to play variably.

Evaluating the Effects of Instructional Arrangements Involving Lag Schedules on Varied and Different Intraverbals
(Applied Research)
VICTORIA L VERGONA (Caldwell University), Ruth M. DeBar (Caldwell University), Kenneth F. Reeve (Caldwell University), Jaime DeQuinzio (Alpine Learning Group), Lauren Alicia Goodwyn (Caldwell University)
Abstract: Individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) often exhibit language deficits including stilted and repetitive speech. These challenges may be stigmatizing and interfere with socialization. Promoting varied and different responses remains an important area of focus. Lag schedules of reinforcement have been shown to increase response variability across a range of skills including intraverbal responses. Few studies have assessed the effects of instructional arrangements on variability. We extended research by assessing the effectiveness of teaching responses to non-mastered intraverbals in a fixed- or variable-order on varied and different responding by children with ASD using an adapted alternating treatments design. After acquiring six responses to a single intraverbal, the effects of lag schedules were evaluated. The fixed-order arrangement was slightly more effective and efficient compared to the varied-order instruction arrangement on establishing varied and different intraverbal responses. Procedures were favorably ranked and outcomes were reported as socially valid. Implications and areas of future research will be discussed.

Intertrial Intervals as an Independent Variable in Teaching Students With Autism

(Applied Research)
WILLOW HOZELLA (Pennsylvania Training and Technical Assistance Network), Chrystal Jansz Rieken (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology), Annette Griffith (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology)

Research on the importance of antecedent variables when teaching persons with autism has the potential to provide pragmatic methodologies for the applied setting. This study replicated and extended the work of Roxburgh and Carbone (2013) on the effects of the rate of teacher-presented instructional demands as an independent variable. An alternating treatment design was used to evaluate the effects of the rate of teacher presented instructional demands across three intertrial intervals (1 s, 5 s, 10 s). Dependent variables were frequency of problem behavior, frequency of teaching trials for target skills, frequency of error responses, frequency of mastered skills presented, and rates of reinforcement during discrete trial instruction with four students with autism. Results indicated that reduction of intertrial intervals resulted in a commensurate increase in rates of socially mediated positive reinforcement, increased rates of instructor presented teaching trials, and a decrease in frequency of problem behavior. Issues related to the importance of replication, the role of translational research in applied settings, and conceptual analyses of the role of motivating operation on the occurrence of problem behavior will also discussed.


The Effects of Two Teacher Presentation Rates on Responding During Easy and Hard Tasks for Children at Risk for or With Autism Spectrum Disorder

(Applied Research)
ZIWEI XU (INGCare), Hui Yin ( N/A), Tangchen Li (Ohio State University)

This study was a partial replication and an extension of Roxburgh and Carbone (2012). The purpose of the study was three-fold. First, we evaluated the effects of varied teacher-presented instructional demands (inter trial interval = 1s, 5s) on the opportunities of respond, the number of responses emitted, percentage of correct responses, and percentage of intervals with disruptive behavior for three children with autism. Second, we compared the effects of varied teacher presentation rates on responding, especially the accuracy of responding and occurrences of disruptive behavior during easy and hard tasks. Third, we used a concurrent-chain procedure to assess participant preferences for teacher presentation rates during easy tasks. An alternating treatment embedded in ABAB without baseline design was used to compare the effects of the two treatment conditions (inter trial interval = 1s, 5s) and two task conditions (easy and hard). The results of the study demonstrated that as compared to extended intertrial interval (ITI), brief ITI increased the rate of instructional demands presented, rate of learner responses emitted, and rate of correct responding during both tasks while increasing percentage of correct responding and reducing problem behaviors during hard tasks only. During easy tasks, the participants’ choices between two rates were inconsistent, suggesting avoidance contingency might have been in effect.




Back to Top
Modifed by Eddie Soh