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 Department: Department of Behavior Analysis
Examination of Sexual Differences in the Acute Effects of Haloperidolon Licking

Examination of Sexual Differences in the Acute Effects of Haloperidolon Licking

Date: December 2015
Creator: Shoemaker, Danton L.
Description: Schizophrenia is a debilitating psychiatric condition affecting almost one percent of the US population. Typical antipsychotics (e.g., haloperidol) have been in use for several decades and are generally very effective in treating the emotional and cognitive effects of schizophrenia, but are used as the last line of treatment due to their severe extrapyramidal motor side effects under chronic exposure. The present study was conducted to investigate the role of sex in determining the oromotor side effects of typical antipsychotics via measuring different behavioral dimensions of male and female Sprague-Dawley rats licking sucrose after haloperidol treatment. The results showed a stronger sensitivity in female rats than male rats within total licking responses and inter-lick intervals. The present results suggest closer attention needs to be paid to the role that sexual hormones play in the motor slowing and behavior-reducing effects of antipsychotics.
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Parent Partnership: Towards a Constructional Approach to Improving the Life of Parents with Children Diagnosed with Autism

Parent Partnership: Towards a Constructional Approach to Improving the Life of Parents with Children Diagnosed with Autism

Date: August 2015
Creator: Liden, Timothy Allen
Description: Parents with children diagnosed with autism face a variety of stressors. The typical approach to dealing with these stressors is pathological which focuses on the problem by attempting to eliminate or alleviate the stressors through counseling, behavioral therapy, tutoring, and/or drugs. The purpose of the current study was to assess an alternative approach, a constructional one, which focuses on solutions by teaching 3 parents to analyze their life, formulate goals, and develop programs to reach their goals building off of their strengths and assets. The by-product is the reduction or elimination of the stressors. The results suggest that the use of a constructional program is very effective in helping parents develop a new repertoire that will ultimately improve their overall quality of life.
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An Evaluation of an Intensive Toilet Training Model

An Evaluation of an Intensive Toilet Training Model

Date: August 2015
Creator: Doan, Dai
Description: The current evaluation assessed the effectiveness of an intensive toilet training procedure for three young boys with autism. The evaluation extended the work of LeBlanc et al. (2005) by assessing parents’ preference to include the usage of urine alarm and positive practice. In addition, we collected descriptor data on challenging behaviors. All three parent participants’ elected not to use the urine alarm and one parent elected to discontinue the implementation of positive practice techniques. Researchers chose a nonconcurrent multiple baseline across participants design to evaluate the effects of the intervention. All three child participants’ increased successful self-initiations for the toilet and decreased accidents across home and clinic settings. Findings suggest that clinicians should partner with parents to develop individualized toileting interventions that are acceptable and effective.
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Effects of a Computer-based Self-instructional Training Package on Novice Instructors’ Implementation of Discrete Trial Instruction and a Naturalistic Developmental Behavioral Intervention

Effects of a Computer-based Self-instructional Training Package on Novice Instructors’ Implementation of Discrete Trial Instruction and a Naturalistic Developmental Behavioral Intervention

Date: August 2015
Creator: Horsch, Rachel M.
Description: Discrete trial instruction (DTI) and naturalistic developmental behavioral interventions (NDBIs) are often incorporated into early intensive behavioral interventions for young children with autism. Recent advances in staff training methods have demonstrated that self-instructional manuals, video models, and computer-based training are effective and efficient ways to improve staff implementation of these teaching strategies however research in this area is limited. The current evaluation assessed the effects of a computer-based training package including self-instructional manuals with embedded video models on direct-care staff’s implementation of DTI and an NDBI. All participants’ DTI teaching fidelity increased during role-plays with an adult and with a child with autism and all participants increased teaching fidelity across untrained instructional programs. In addition, moderate improvement was demonstrated following NDBI training on the use of correct prompts, environmental arrangements, and response interaction. Together, these results indicate that therapists are able to acquire a large number of skills using two teaching techniques, DTI and NDBI, following brief computer-based training.
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A Multimodal Investigation of Renewal of Human Avoidance, Perceived Threat, and Emotion

A Multimodal Investigation of Renewal of Human Avoidance, Perceived Threat, and Emotion

Date: May 2015
Creator: Ludlum, Madonna L.
Description: Many people who receive exposure-based treatments for anxiety disorders exhibit a return of fear and avoidance which is often referred to as renewal or relapse. Human and nonhuman research on fear conditioning and renewal has been instrumental in helping understand relapse in anxiety disorders. The purpose of this investigation was to examine renewal of human avoidance and assess whether avoidance may aid in sustaining renewal of fear responses. We adopted a multimodal measurement approach consisting of an approach-avoidance task along with ratings of perceived threat and fear and measures of skin-conductance, a widely used physiological measure of fear. A traditional, single-subject research design was used with six healthy adults. All tasks employed a discrete trial procedure. Experimental conditions included Pavlovian fear conditioning in which increased probability of money loss was paired with a “threat” meter in Context A and later followed extinction in Context B. Fear and avoidance increased to higher threat levels in Context A but not Context B. Renewal testing involved presenting the threat meter on a return to Context A to determine if it evoked fear and avoidance (i.e., relapse). As predicted, renewal testing in Context A showed that increased threat was associated with increased avoidance, ratings ...
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An Evaluation of Matrix Training Approaches for Teaching Compound Labels to Toddlers

An Evaluation of Matrix Training Approaches for Teaching Compound Labels to Toddlers

Date: May 2015
Creator: Wilshire, Tayla C.
Description: Matrix training techniques arrange instruction for stimulus relations that facilitate emergent responding to novel stimulus arrangements, which is a phenomenon known as recombinative generalization. The current study compared two common matrix training approaches, an overlapping (OV) design and a non-overlapping (NOV) design, with respect to arranging relations targeted for training. Two, typically-developing toddlers were taught compound action-object labels in either an OV or NOV matrix training design. Results suggest that an OV matrix design facilitates recombinative generalization more effectively than a NOV design.
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An Evaluation of Reinforcement Effects of Preferred Items During Discrete-trial Instruction

An Evaluation of Reinforcement Effects of Preferred Items During Discrete-trial Instruction

Date: May 2015
Creator: Rorer, Lynette
Description: This study compared the relative reinforcing efficacy of high-preferred and low-preferred stimuli, as determined by two types of preference assessments, on acquisition rates in three children diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The study also evaluated the indirect effects of preference on students’ stereotypy and problem behavior during instructional periods. Participants were presented with a task and provided high or low-preferred stimuli contingent upon correct responding. Results showed that acquisition occurred more rapidly in the highly preferred condition for some participants. Higher rates of problem behavior occurred in the low preferred condition for all participants. These results highlight the importance of utilizing preference assessment procedures to identify and deliver high-preferred items in skill acquisition procedures for individuals with ASD.
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A Training Package for Parents and their Toddlers with Autism: Observed Changes in Parent Teaching Episodes, Child Turn Taking and Social Attending, and Parent-Child Engagement

A Training Package for Parents and their Toddlers with Autism: Observed Changes in Parent Teaching Episodes, Child Turn Taking and Social Attending, and Parent-Child Engagement

Date: May 2015
Creator: Hunt, Nina Marie
Description: Research has shown that parents of children with autism report higher stress than parents of children with other developmental disabilities. It has been suggested that parent training programs, specifically naturalistic social-communication training, can reduce parental stress and enhance the quality of the parent-child relationship. Although the development of a multilevel assessment has been suggested, much of the research in this area has relied on measures of parent implementation fidelity and specific child target skills such as vocal communication, eye contact, and joint attention. Few have directly measured the parent-child interaction. The purpose of the current study is to examine the effects of an in-home parent training package for toddlers with autism on parent-child social interactions. Within this package, parents are taught to attend to contextual variables, to arrange the environment to set the occasion for child responding, to respond immediately to targeted child approximations, and to respond in ways that are mutually reinforcing, social, and fun. Data were collected during 5-min video-taped assessments, on the number of parent teaching episodes, child target skills (turn taking and social attending), engagement, and synchronous engagement. Results were evaluated in a multiple baseline design across two parent-child dyads and indicated increases in all measures. ...
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Yummy Starts: A Constructional Approach to Food Selectivity with Children with Autism

Yummy Starts: A Constructional Approach to Food Selectivity with Children with Autism

Date: May 2015
Creator: Cihon, Joseph Harvey
Description: Food selectivity exhibited by children with autism creates a myriad of barriers for families and children, ranging from social to nutritional. The typical approach to food selectivity is pathological. The pathological approach attempts to eliminate food selectivity through the use of techniques such as escape extinction. While successful in decreasing aspects of food challenges, such as food refusals, the pathological approach does not necessarily establish desired responses to foods or mealtimes (e.g., favorable affect, approach, generalized sampling, etc.). The purpose of the current study was to explore an alternative, constructional approach to food challenges presented by two children diagnosed with autism. This approach focuses on the development of favorable responses to food through the use of shaping. Furthermore, the shaping process involved a conceptual and procedural widening of the stimulus and response classes selected. The results of a non-concurrent multiple baseline experiment, suggest this approach was successful in expanding the number of food the children tasted and ate while maintaining favorable or neutral affect and child assent.
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The Effects of Model Prompts on Joint Attention Initiations in Children with Autism

The Effects of Model Prompts on Joint Attention Initiations in Children with Autism

Date: December 2014
Creator: James-Kelly, Kimberly L
Description: The general purpose of the current study was to evaluate the effects of minimally intrusive prompting procedures and preferred stimuli on protodeclarative joint attention initiations in children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Two boys and one girl diagnosed with ASD participated. The experimenter provided attention and social interaction following protodeclarative initiations throughout all phases of the study. During intervention, a model prompt was delivered every 30 s if the participant failed to initiate a bid for joint attention. Results for the first participant show that a model prompt was sufficient to increase the rate of protodeclarative initiations across stimulus sets. Generalization was seen across sets, but not across environments. Subsequently, the model prompt was sufficient to increase the rate of protodeclarative initiations across sets in a second setting (classroom). Results for the second participant are inconclusive. Data collected during the initial baseline condition show that she engaged in an incompatible verbal response across sets. When pictorial stimuli depicting highinterest items and activities were introduced, the rate of protodeclarative initiations increased over time. We then returned to original baseline condition and saw an initial decrease, followed by a steady increase in the rate of protodeclarative initiations. The third participant withdrew ...
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