Guidance or Compliance: What Makes an Ethical Behavior Analyst?

Abstract

In 2016, the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) made effective a new, revised ethical code for behavior analysts, the Professional and Ethical Compliance Code for Behavior Analysts, replacing the code that had been in effect since 2001. In this revised code, the certification board has shifted the language of the code from that of a set of guidelines to that of a set of enforceable rules. This important shift has not been well discussed in the field. This article explores the potential implications and possible consequences of such a shift and describes other ways that ethical behavior has been approached historically. The authors then propose an ethical decision-making process that might provide a better area of focus for the field of behavior analysis in seeking to develop the highest levels of ethical behavior in its professionals and provide a case example using that process to resolve an ethical dilemma.


Sun, 7 Oct 2018, 5:00 pm


Using a Lottery to Promote Physical Activity by Young Adults with Developmental Disabilities

Abstract

Exercise benefits adults with developmental disabilities. A prior study demonstrated that a treatment package comprising goal setting and fixed-ratio 1 reinforcement for goal attainment substantially increased walking. However, continuous reinforcement delivery may be untenable due to cost and time. In an effort to develop a more practical package intervention, we evaluated a procedure that involved setting goals for steps taken each 6-h school day and a lottery system for awarding prizes for goal completion. Three of the four participants took substantially more steps when the intervention was in effect, and all of them rated it as highly acceptable.


Sun, 30 Sep 2018, 5:00 pm


Clinical Application of a High-Probability Sequence to Promote Compliance with Vocal Imitation in a Child with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Abstract

The current study aimed to evaluate the effects of the high-probability (high-p) instructional procedure involving motor imitation on the levels of compliance with vocal imitation in a 3-year-old boy with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). We used a multiple-baseline design across three stimuli sets to demonstrate effects of the procedure over compliance with vocal imitation responses. Results demonstrated that the high-p procedural sequence was effective in increasing the levels of compliance with vocal imitation. We discuss these finding in terms of the operant mechanisms and clinical applications of increased compliance.


Sun, 30 Sep 2018, 5:00 pm



Rapid Assessment of Attention Types for the Treatment of Attention-Maintained Problem Behavior

Abstract

In the current study, we expanded previously described attention assessment procedures (e.g., Piazza et al., 1999) to create a rapid assessment of attention types (RAAT) suitable for clinical and educational settings. The RAAT was developed to identify a form of attention most likely to reinforce functionally equivalent alternatives to problem behavior. We describe the procedures for conducting a RAAT, as well as the results of a treatment evaluation that included two attention types from the RAAT, programmed to increase prosocial alternative behaviors.


Thu, 27 Sep 2018, 5:00 pm


The Use of a Multicomponent Behavioral Intervention to Promote Physical Activity in Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorders across Inclusive Community Settings

Abstract

Individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are generally less physically active than individuals without disability due to factors such as lack of motor coordination and inadequate transportation resources that can result in various barriers to participation. This affects their independence and may interfere with expectations (e.g., employment) during adulthood. It is essential to explore ways to teach physical activity so people with ASD can generalize skills in community settings. This study examined the effect of a multicomponent behavioral intervention that included (a) the Exercise Buddy application, (b) a system of least prompts, (c) an incremental increase of criteria, and (d) reinforcement to teach three adolescents with ASD functional movement exercises (e.g., squat). All participants increased their mastery of performing these exercises compared to baseline and generalized these skills across two community settings.


Wed, 26 Sep 2018, 5:00 pm


The Use of Matrix Training to Teach Color-Shape Tacts to Children with Autism

Abstract

Matrix training consists of preplanning instruction by arranging components of desired skills across a minimum of two axes. In the current study, three matrices were developed for each participant (e.g., Matrix 1, Generalization Matrix 1, and Generalization Matrix 2) with known color and shape components. Following baseline, nonoverlapping (i.e., diagonal) training was conducted with Matrix 1. Results of posttests were used to determine the extent of emergence of untrained color-shape combinations across all matrices. Results from all six participants indicated that mastery criteria were eventually met for Matrix 1. For five participants, mastery criteria were also eventually met for generalization matrices. Results replicate findings from prior studies and offer a simple approach for both testing emergence of untrained skills and remediating responding.


Sun, 23 Sep 2018, 5:00 pm


Helping Parents Understand Applied Behavior Analysis: Creating a Parent Guide in 10 Steps

Abstract

Interventions based on applied behavior analysis (ABA) have been shown to be effective for children with a wide range of cognitive, adaptive, and functional abilities. Many special education teachers understand the principles of ABA and are adept at implementing ABA interventions for students. However, as the principles of ABA can be complex, communicating with parents about ABA interventions can be challenging. Providing parents with clear and succinct information in the form of a brief customized reference guide can be instrumental for facilitating and extending communication about their child’s behavioral interventions. This article provides school personnel with guidelines and resources for helping parents understand and use interventions that are based on ABA. Specifically, this article presents 10 steps for creating an information guide for parents and provides recommendations for explaining the guide to parents.


Sun, 23 Sep 2018, 5:00 pm


An Application of the Group-Oriented Concurrent-Chains Arrangement

Abstract

Group contingencies are a set of behavior management procedures used to improve the behavior of several students simultaneously. Despite evidence supporting the effectiveness of each group contingency in managing academic and challenging behaviors, the decision to select one group contingency over another may be difficult for teachers, especially if similar efficacy is found. In this study, we compared the effectiveness of three group contingencies on disruptive behavior with 13 typically developing eighth-grade students. Results showed that all three group contingencies reduced levels of disruptive behavior from baseline levels. We then assessed the students’ individual preferences for the group contingencies using a group-oriented concurrent-chains procedure. Most students showed preference for one of the group contingencies, and most preferred the independent group contingency. These results demonstrated that the group-oriented concurrent-chains procedure was an effective and efficient method of identifying individual preferences for behavior-change procedures in a classroom setting.


Wed, 19 Sep 2018, 5:00 pm


Compassionate Care in Behavior Analytic Treatment: Can Outcomes be Enhanced by Attending to Relationships with Caregivers?

Abstract

The practice of behavior analysis has become a booming industry with growth to over 30,000 Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs) who primarily work with children with autism and their families. Most of these BCBAs are relatively novice and have likely been trained in graduate programs that focus primarily on conceptual and technical skills. Successfully working with families of children with autism, however, requires critical interpersonal skills, as well as technical skills. As practitioners strive to respond efficiently and compassionately to distressed families of children with autism, technical skills must be balanced with fluency in relationship-building skills that strengthen the commitment to treatment. The current article provides an outline of important therapeutic relationship skills that should inform the repertoire of any practicing behavior analyst, strategies to cultivate and enhance those skills, and discussion of the potential effects of relationship variables on treatment outcomes.


Wed, 19 Sep 2018, 5:00 pm


Training Education Professionals to Use the Picture Exchange Communication System: a Review of the Literature

Abstract

The Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) is a popular augmentative and alternative communication strategy. Like many communication interventions, the successful use of PECS is dependent on the skills of the communication partner. This article provides a systematic review of the published research on teaching education professionals (EPs) to use PECS. Training of EPs was usually conducted during individual or small group sessions and included a description of the PECS strategy, practice on implementation of PECS, and feedback on performance. Instructional activities typically resulted in an immediate increase in the quality and/or quantity of PECS opportunities provided by the EP; however, mixed findings are reported for maintenance and generalization. Implications for future research and practice are discussed.


Wed, 19 Sep 2018, 5:00 pm


The Big Four: Functional Assessment Research Informs Preventative Behavior Analysis

Abstract

Current practice guidelines suggest that the assessment and treatment of challenging behavior should consist of conducting a functional behavior assessment following the onset of problem behavior. This assessment process can include indirect and direct assessment, as well as manipulation of variables to determine function. The purpose of this article is to outline a proposal that would add prevention practices to early intervention guidelines for problem behavior. Based on decades of research, the suggestion is to proactively teach children at risk for problem behavior to navigate four of the most common conditions that have been demonstrated to occasion problem behavior. Prevention is made a possibility because a large body of research examining the conditions under which challenging behavior occurs has been reliably replicated. Preventative approaches are an emerging phenomenon and reflect a progression in the practice of behavior analysis. Prevention may lead to acquisition of prosocial behavior before problems arise, to expedited and enhanced treatment, to increased access to favorable learning environments, and, we hope, to improvement in the quality of life for many children at risk for the development of problem behavior.


Wed, 19 Sep 2018, 5:00 pm


Sample First versus Comparison First Stimulus Presentations: Preliminary Findings for Two Individuals with Autism

Abstract

The current study was a replication of Petursdottir and Aguilar (Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 46, 58–68, 2016). Two different stimulus presentations were evaluated during auditory-visual discrimination training. A sample-first procedure, in which the sample stimulus was presented before the comparison stimuli, was compared to a comparison-first procedure, in which the sample presentation was presented after the comparison stimuli. The results indicated that both participants learned more quickly in the comparison-first condition, a finding that differed from Petursdottir and Aguilar (Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 46, 58–68, 2016).


Wed, 19 Sep 2018, 5:00 pm


The Best and Worst Things Staff Report About Behavioral Training Workshops: a Large-Scale Evaluation

Abstract

A variable affecting the success of staff training programs conducted by behavior analysts is trainee acceptance of the training. This study constituted a large-scale evaluation of staff acceptance of behavioral training workshops. Over a 10-year period, 646 human service staff who participated in 132 workshops were questioned regarding the best and worst thing about the workshops. The most common staff comments concerning the best thing pertained to the training content, followed closely by trainer style and then trainee activities. There were far fewer comments regarding the worst thing, with most involving aspects of the physical environment in which training occurred. Implications of the results for practitioners are offered in terms of conducting workshop training in accordance with trainees’ reported preferences. Emphasis is placed on ensuring training content is specific in nature as well as new and relevant for the trainees’ work situation, providing frequent demonstrations and examples, and structuring repeated opportunities for active trainee responding.


Wed, 19 Sep 2018, 5:00 pm


Functional Analysis and Treatment of Pica on a Preschool Playground

Abstract

Appropriate use of function-based assessments and interventions is crucial for improving educational outcomes and ensuring the well-being of children who engage in dangerous problem behaviors such as pica. A function-based assessment was conducted for a child engaging in pica in an inclusive childcare setting. Results suggest pica was maintained by access to adult attention. Function-based interventions were developed, assessed, and shared with the child’s teaching team. Follow-up data suggest that his teachers continued to use the intervention and that levels of pica remained low.


Mon, 17 Sep 2018, 5:00 pm


Increasing Conversation Using Restricted Access and Chain Schedules of Reinforcement

Abstract

The current study examined the effects of chain schedules of reinforcement and restricting access to reinforcement on increasing the number of words used in conversation for an adolescent with autism spectrum disorder. After access to a video game was restricted, the participant had to meet various chain-schedule requirements of responding to regain access. The results demonstrated that the combined procedures were successful in building multiword conversation between the young man, his mother, and/or a therapist. These results expand on existing literature regarding increasing verbal behavior using reinforcement techniques and the literature regarding increasing the use of trained social skills.


Mon, 17 Sep 2018, 5:00 pm


Casting a Wider Net: an Analysis of Scholarly Contributions of Behavior Analysis Graduate Program Faculty

Abstract

As interest in careers in behavior analysis has grown, there has been a concomitant increase in the number of training programs providing coursework in behavior analysis. There is a growing need for indices of quality of these programs, with some authors recently suggesting that faculty research productivity might serve as one indicator of program quality. We continue this conversation, taking a broad view of faculty scholarly contributions by conducting a search of all articles authored by instructors in graduate-level Behavior Analyst Certification Board verified course sequences (VCSs) and published from 2000 to 2015 in peer-reviewed journals indexed by the PsycINFO database. The resulting list includes 8,906 publication records in 715 journals, authored by 1,232 instructors from 224 programs. Our analysis suggests that graduate-level VCS instructors have published in a broad array of journals and topic areas. We discuss implications of these data for prospective students’ evaluations of program quality and fit.


Mon, 17 Sep 2018, 5:00 pm


A Brief Evaluation of a Pictorially Enhanced Self-Instruction Packet on Participant Fidelity across Multiple ABA Procedures

Abstract

Enhanced self-instructions have been previously shown to lead to high levels of training protocol fidelity by lower level staff applying applied behavior analysis (ABA) protocols. An A-B replication series design across participants was used to gather preliminary evidence on the breadth of benefit of this approach to staff training, considered across common training tasks. Participants (N = 14) with no previous background in ABA learned how to conduct either two preference assessments (paired stimulus and multiple stimulus without replacement) or two acquisition discrete trial programs (match to sample and motor imitation) under two different self-instruction conditions. Procedures were trained using textual information only (i.e., standard packet) or textual information enhanced with visual cues (i.e., enhanced packet). Eight of the participants received a standard packet followed by an enhanced packet; six received them in reverse order. Each sequence was replicated within participants across the two tasks. No follow-up feedback or training was provided during either condition so as not to contaminate assessment of the effects of these self-instructions on procedural fidelity. Results showed that participants achieved near-mastery levels of performance under the enhanced packet condition. Seven of the eight participants who received the standard packet first improved in fidelity after receiving the enhanced packet. Where there was some evidence of maintenance of gains in some participants of new tasks trained again with the standard packet, reintroduction of the enhanced packet led to high fidelity in all cases. It appears that previous experimental findings showing the benefit of enhanced self-instructional training on the procedural fidelity of lower level training staff apply across a wide range of common ABA tasks.


Mon, 17 Sep 2018, 5:00 pm


Effects of a Lag Schedule with Progressive Time Delay on Sign Mand Variability in a Boy with Autism

Abstract

For some children with autism, mand training can produce highly repetitive manding unless the environment is arranged in a manner that promotes mand variability. Prior research demonstrated that mand training using a lag schedule and progressive time delay increased variability in vocal manding in children with autism. Whether lag schedules have similar effects on sign mand topographies is unknown. The current study evaluated the effects of mand training with a Lag 1 schedule of reinforcement and progressive time delay (TD) on topographical variability and the development of a sign mand response class hierarchy in a boy with autism. The results suggest independent use of all sign mand topographies occurred, a mand response class hierarchy was developed, and topographically variant sign manding increased under the Lag 1 + TD schedule compared to a Lag 0 schedule of reinforcement. Implications for practitioners, limitations, and directions for future research are discussed.


Mon, 17 Sep 2018, 5:00 pm


An Evaluation of Sequential Meal Presentation with Picky Eaters

Abstract

Results of previous research evaluating sequential presentation of nonpreferred (NP) and high-preferred (HP) foods have been mixed, and little is known about how preferences for foods and the manner in which they are presented impact consumption. In many households, NP and HP foods are presented together on the same plate (total meal presentation). This was true for the participants included in this study; thus, total meal presentation served as a baseline against which to compare the effects of an appetizer presentation method and subsequently sequential presentation (differential reinforcement). Results demonstrated that presenting NP foods as an appetizer was not successful in increasing consumption. Consumption only increased after HP foods were made contingent on consumption of the NP food.


Sun, 16 Sep 2018, 5:00 pm