Use of a Level System with Flexible Shaping to Improve Synchronous Engagement

Abstract

Level systems have been described as a framework which can be used to shape behavior through the systematic application of behavioral principles. Within level systems, an individual moves up and down through various levels contingent upon specific behaviors. Although level systems are commonly used within schools and other settings, they have a limited empirical literature base, and there is debate over the efficacy and overall acceptance of level systems. More especially, there is scant empirical literature on the use level systems to improve socially significant behaviors (e.g., synchronous engagement) with individuals diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a level system with a structured, yet flexible approach to movement on improving synchronous engagement with two dyads of children diagnosed with ASD. The results of an ABAB reversal design indicated that the level system was effective at improving synchronous engagement for both dyads. The results are discussed in relation to potential future research difficulties and clinical implications.


Thu, 19 Apr 2018, 5:00 pm


Toward an Understanding of the Essential Components of Behavior Analytic Service Plans

Abstract

Baer, Wolf, and Risley (1968) indicated “technological” was one of seven core dimensions of applied behavior analysis (ABA). They described this dimension as being met if interventions were described well enough to be implemented correctly. Often in the applied settings, a behavior plan is the method by which interventions are communicated to staff and parents for implementation. The necessary components of a behavior plan have been discussed in relation to compliance with regulations (e.g., Vollmer, Iwata, Zarcone, & Rodgers, Research in Developmental Disabilities 13:429–441, 1992), in school settings (e.g., Horner, Sugai, Todd, & Lewis-Palmer, Exceptionality: A Special Education Journal 8:205–215, 2000), and other applied settings (e.g., Tarbox et al., Research in Autism Spectrum Disorder 7:1509–1517, 2013) for the last 25 years. The purpose of this research is to review the literature regarding components of behavior plans and synthesize it with a recent survey of behavior analysts regarding essential components of behavior plans. The results are discussed in light of training, treatment fidelity implications (i.e., Registered Behavior Technician Task List), public policy development (e.g., state initiative for a single behavior plan template), and research opportunities (e.g., comparison of different visual structures).


Thu, 19 Apr 2018, 5:00 pm


Incorporating Interview-Informed Functional Analyses into Practice

Abstract

We replicated and extended the effects of an assessment and treatment model employed by Hanley et al. (Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 47, 16-36, 2014) with one participant receiving home-based services. Following a functional analysis, we taught the participant multiple functional communication responses (FCRs) and to tolerate delays and denials to requested items. The participant learned the FCRs and the delay to reinforcers was increased to 34 min. Results generalized across stimuli, people, settings, and time. Social validity results supported that the behaviors were important, the treatment was acceptable, and the effects were significant.


Thu, 19 Apr 2018, 5:00 pm


Spreading the News: History, Successes, Challenges and the Ethics of Effective Dissemination

Abstract

Behavior analysts are responsible for disseminating behavior analysis by making information about the science available to the public, professional peers, and government officials. The purposes of the current paper are to outline the dissemination efforts of professional associations in the field of behavior analysis; to highlight the parallel efforts to disseminate and establish behavior analysis as a profession, including the evolution and growth of certification; to share examples of dissemination successes; to describe some challenges that have been faced when disseminating behavior analysis internationally; and to suggest some strategies for ethical and effective dissemination of behavior analysis.


Thu, 19 Apr 2018, 5:00 pm


A Comparison of Two Procedures for Assessing Preference in a Classroom Setting

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to compare a method of assessing preference within a large group format to individual preference assessments. Individual preference assessments were conducted by presenting an array of four edible stimuli to a participant and allowing the participant to select a preferred stimulus, with stimuli removed from the array based on selection criteria. Group preference assessments were conducted in a classroom of 19 students, with all students responding simultaneously to a prompt to identify a preferred stimulus using Plickers—unique Quick Response code cards that are read by an accompanying smartphone app. During the group procedure, stimuli in the array were restricted on the individual participant level. Results indicated that the group procedure was a valid and rapid method of assessing preference within a group of individuals. Although additional research is required, practitioners and researchers may consider use of Plickers as a promising means of evaluating preference within a group setting.


Tue, 17 Apr 2018, 5:00 pm


Evaluating Three Methods of Stimulus Rotation when Teaching Receptive Labels

Abstract

The teaching of receptive labels (i.e., auditory-visual conditional discriminations) is common among early intervention programs for individuals diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Discrete trial teaching (DTT) is a common approach used to teach these receptive labels. Some have argued that the stimuli within the array, target and non-target, must be counterbalanced to prevent the development of undesired stimulus control. The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the effectiveness of three different approaches to stimulus rotation to teach receptive labels to five young children diagnosed with ASD. These approaches included counterbalanced, fixed, and clinician’s choice. The results of an adapted alternating treatment design replicated across three stimulus sets and five participants indicated that all three methods of rotation were effective. Maintenance and generalization for targets taught in all three conditions was also assessed. The implications of the results with respect to current teaching practices in early intervention programs are discussed.


Mon, 16 Apr 2018, 5:00 pm


Reinforcer Choice on Skill Acquisition for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder: a Systematic Replication

Abstract

Providing students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) a choice of putative reinforcers during learning trials may confer advantage during skill acquisition programming. However, such advantage should not be assumed and may not be associated with the most efficient instructional arrangement. In the current study, we taught labels of common object or conditional discriminations to participants with ASD and evaluated efficiency of instruction across child- and experimenter-choice instructional conditions. The results indicated that the most efficient acquisition was observed during the experimenter-choice condition for both participants.


Sun, 15 Apr 2018, 5:00 pm


Establishing Consumer Protections for Research in Human Service Agencies

Abstract

Conducting research in practice settings is the primary mechanism for establishing a strong foundation of evidence for clinical decision making. In behavior analysis, this type of research frequently originates from university-based systems that have established institutional review boards. Independent human service agencies that want to contribute applied research to the literature base that is clinically meaningful and conducted in an ethical fashion must establish a research review committee (RRC). The purpose of this article is to provide information and guidance for establishing and maintaining the activity of an RRC in a human service setting.


Wed, 11 Apr 2018, 5:00 pm


An Evaluation of the Performance Diagnostic Checklist—Human Services (PDC–HS) Across Domains

Abstract

The Performance Diagnostic Checklist—Human Services (PDC–HS) is an informant-based tool designed to assess the environmental variables that contribute to poor employee performance in human service settings. Although the PDC–HS has been shown to effectively identify variables contributing to problematic performance, interventions based on only two of the four PDC–HS domains have been evaluated to date. In addition, the extent to which PDC–HS-indicated interventions are more effective than nonindicated interventions for two domains remains unclear. In the current study, we administered the PDC–HS to supervisors to assess the variables contributing to infrequent teaching of verbal operants and use of a timer by therapists at a center-based autism treatment program. Each of the four PDC–HS domains was identified as contributing to poor performance for at least one therapist. We then evaluated PDC–HS-indicated interventions for each domain. In addition, to assess the predictive validity of the tool, we evaluated various nonindicated interventions prior to implementing a PDC–HS-indicated intervention for two of the four domains. Results suggest that the PDC–HS-indicated interventions were effective across all four domains and were more effective than the nonindicated interventions for the two domains for which they were evaluated. Results are discussed in terms of the utility of the PDC–HS to identify appropriate interventions to manage therapist performance in human service settings.


Sun, 8 Apr 2018, 5:00 pm


Correction to: Effects of a Contingency for Quiz Accuracy on Exam Scores

Abstract

This article was updated with the correct version of Figure 1. Due to an error in production, an older version of Figure 1 was used; Springer regrets the error.


Sun, 1 Apr 2018, 5:00 pm


A Model for Training Science-Based Practitioners in Behavior Analysis

Abstract

Our goal should not be to train scientist-practitioners but rather to train science-based practitioners, that is practitioners who base their practice on scientifically solid, applied research; and when caught in a tight spot where there is no Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis (JABA) research on which to depend, they base their practice on basic, scientific research, that is the Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior (JEAB) or more realistically B. F. Skinner’s pre-JEAB research.


Sun, 18 Mar 2018, 5:00 pm


Application of a Brief Incentive Treatment for Cigarette Smoking

Abstract

The application of financial incentives has proved to be a gainful treatment for cigarette smoking, yet the cost of delivering financial incentives has been a barrier to its widespread implementation. The goal of the present study is to test this treatment (with counseling) in a brief 3-week format, thereby reducing the cost. Results indicated that for one participant incentives were effective at promoting long-term abstinence from cigarette smoking. Though more research is needed, this treatment appears to be effective and can be delivered at a relatively low cost.

• Financial incentives can be utilized to promote abstinence from cigarette smoking.

• Regular monitoring of biomarkers of cigarette smoking is required in this treatment.

• One low-cost feature of this treatment is that a participant that does not abstain from smoking does not receive incentives, as was the case for one participant in this study.

• Abstinence is achieved through a combination of skill-training and reinforcing the absence cigarette smoking (differential reinforcement of other behavior; DRO).


Thu, 8 Mar 2018, 4:00 pm


The Mentoring Program in the Department of Pediatrics, the University of Iowa

Abstract

In this article, the mentoring program in Pediatrics for PhD-level behavior analysts at The University of Iowa is described.


Wed, 7 Mar 2018, 4:00 pm


Increasing Joint Attention in Children with Autism and Their Peers

Abstract

Joint attention (JA) and peer interactions are significantly impaired in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Empirically demonstrated interventions exist to address JA with adults, but few with peers. Training peers through instructions, modeling (both live and video models), role play, and feedback may help facilitate JA in children with ASD. We examined the effects of peer training with live and video models on typically developing (TD) peer strategies to facilitate JA and JA behavior in children with ASD. TD peers showed some improvement in prompting and reinforcing JA. Children with ASD showed overall increases in JA with trained and novel peers that were also observed by parents, professionals, and peers. Findings are discussed with respect to variables to consider when teaching JA to children with ASD and their peers as well as the need to further examine the relationship between peer training and JA in children with autism.


Wed, 7 Mar 2018, 4:00 pm


Social Thinking®, Pseudoscientific, Not Empirically Supported, and Non-Evidence Based: a Reply to Crooke and Winner

Abstract

J. B. Leaf et al. (Behavior Analysis in Practice, 9, 152–157, 2016) wrote a commentary on social thinking (ST), an intervention commonly implemented for individuals diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The authors described what constitutes scientific, pseudoscientific, and antiscientific evidence and contended that ST aligns with the definition of pseudoscience and, to date, is not empirically supported or evidence based. Crooke and Winner (Behavior Analysis in Practice, 9, 403–408, 2016) responded, arguing that ST meets their definition of an evidence-based practice and identifying purported misconceptions and inaccuracies described by J. B. Leaf et al. In the current article, the authors clarify the original arguments, critically evaluate Crooke and Winner’s definition of what constitutes evidence-based practice, further evaluate the research on ST, discuss issues regarding how ST is conceptualized, and express concerns about the endorsement and use of an eclectic approach to treating ASD. As this response was written by behavior analysts, it specifically addresses the conceptual consistency of this approach from a behavior–analytic worldview.


Wed, 7 Mar 2018, 4:00 pm


Lessons from a Female Academician: Some Further Reflections on a Glass Ceiling

Abstract

Much discussion has occurred in recent years regarding the participation of women in behavior analysis. The purpose of this article is to share lessons learned as a female academician and impart helpful information to other, newer female university faculty members.


Sun, 4 Mar 2018, 4:00 pm


A Comparison of Modeling, Prompting, and a Multi-component Intervention for Teaching Play Skills to Children with Developmental Disabilities

Abstract

Play skills are an essential component of a learner’s repertoire, allowing access to social interactions with peers and adults. Children with developmental disabilities frequently require explicit teaching to acquire play skills rather than acquiring them through natural learning opportunities. Without targeted practice, these deficits could continue to expand, separating the children from their typically developing peers. This study aimed to teach three children with developmental disabilities independent play skills in the form of building blocks with a diagram. We evaluated three methods of teaching play skills, prompting, modeling, and a multi-component approach, within an alternating treatment design to determine which, if any, is most effective. Each teaching strategy included a three-step prompting hierarchy and was paired with an edible reinforcer delivered following independence. Successful responses at the targeted prompt level resulted in verbal praise. Following intervention, the rate of successful responses and independent responses increased across all three participants.


Sun, 4 Mar 2018, 4:00 pm


A Pilot Investigation of Individual and Dyad Instructional Arrangements

Abstract

An essential goal for individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is to reach maximal independence on a variety of tasks that facilitate academic and vocational engagement and community integration. One-to-one instructional arrangements do not adequately prepare individuals with autism to function within various group contexts and limit opportunities for positive social interactions with one or more peers. Furthermore, group instructional formats have multiple benefits, including potentially increased instructional time and additional learning opportunities. The purpose of this pilot study was to evaluate the acquisition and maintenance of verbal behavior targets in individual and dyad instruction, as well as to compare levels of engagement across these instructional arrangements. Results suggest that three of the four participants acquired more targets during individual instruction, and three of the four participants maintained more targets within individual instruction. In addition, three of the four participants spent less time in instruction and more time on break during dyad instruction. These findings demonstrate the diversity of outcomes for dyad instruction for people with ASD. Directions for future research and suggestions for clinical implementation are provided.


Thu, 1 Mar 2018, 4:00 pm


Teaching Young Adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Community-Based Navigation Skills to Take Public Transportation

Abstract

Facilitating the use of public transportation enhances opportunities for independent living and competitive, community-based employment for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). Four young adults with IDD were taught through total-task chaining to use the Google Maps application, a self-prompting, visual navigation system, to take the bus to locations around a college campus and the community. Three of four participants learned to use Google Maps to independently navigate public transportation. Google Maps may be helpful in supporting independent travel, highlighting the importance of future research in teaching navigation skills.

  • Learning to independently use public transportation increases access to autonomous activities, such as opportunities to work and to attend postsecondary education programs on large college campuses.

  • Individuals with IDD can be taught through chaining procedures to use the Google Maps application to navigate public transportation.

  • Mobile map applications are an effective and functional modern tool that can be used to teach community navigation.


Wed, 28 Feb 2018, 4:00 pm


A Preliminary Procedure for Teaching Children with Autism to Mand for Social Information

Abstract

We used procedures established within the mands for information literature to teach two children with autism to mand for social information. Establishing operation trials were alternated with abolishing operation trials to verify the function of the responses as mands. Use of the acquired information was evaluated by examining responding to questions about their social partner. Both participants acquired mands for social information and showed generalization to novel social partners.


Wed, 28 Feb 2018, 4:00 pm