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A Training Program to Facilitate Caregiver Involvement in School Meetings

Description: Caregivers of children with autism will likely meet with many school professionals once their children become school-aged. These meetings can be intimidating for caregivers who are unfamiliar with special education terminology and protocol, and caregivers may feel ineffective when communicating with school personnel. The purpose of this study is to describe a training curriculum to teach caregivers ways in which to communicate during meetings with school professionals, including the kinds of questions to ask/statements to make and when to ask or make them. A detailed overview of the training procedures, the participants, and the outcomes are described here. Preliminary data suggest the training produced increases in communication skills and that caregivers found the training effective and useful.
Date: August 2010
Creator: Barahona, Heather

Training Siblings of Children with Autism to Instruct Play: Acquisition, Generalization, and Indirect Effects

Description: A multiple baseline design was employed to evaluate the effectiveness of a sibling training package including modeling, role-play, and feedback on play and engagement between children with autism and their siblings. The results of two experiments suggest that, following training, siblings of children with autism correctly implemented all trained interaction components. Additionally, Experiment II assessed and programmed generalization to other materials and a non-training setting. The results showed that some unprogrammed generalization to non-trained toys occurred. Conversely, siblings engaged in trained skills in a non-training setting (home) only following the experimenter's instructions to generalize. In both experiments, the siblings' overall engagement and physical proximity of play in training sessions increased significantly above baseline. This study extends previous research in that it includes additional stimulus and response generalization measures.
Date: May 2000
Creator: Randall, Domonique Y.

Transfer of "good" and "bad" functions within stimulus equivalence classes.

Description: This study compared results of two experiments that tested transfer of function in stimulus equivalence classes in a task dissimilar to (in Experiment I) and similar to (in Experiment II) the task that trained functional responding. Eleven students from UNT participated in return for monetary compensation. Phase 1 and 2 were identical in the two experiments, in which they established stimulus equivalence classes and functional responding, respectively. Each experiment then used different tasks in the third phase to test differential responding. Only participants in Experiment II demonstrated consistent transfer of function. Results are discussed in terms of how task similarity may function as a type of contextual control when there is limited experience with the task.
Date: May 2008
Creator: Madrigal-Bauguss, Jessica

Transfer of Mand-to-Tact and Tact-to-Mand Topographies in Two Vocal-Verbal Children with Autism: A Replication and Extension Study

Description: Skinner (1957) suggested that different verbal operants are acquired independently of each other and establishing a verbal operant as a mand will not necessarily result in the appearance of a tact having the same response form and vice versa. Recent empirical research has found that newly acquired mands and tacts can be transferred to different relations without direct training. The present study investigated 1) how verbal responses taught as pure mands affect untrained tact relations; 2) how verbal responses taught as pure tacts affect untrained mand relations; 3) how the size of mand and tact repertoires relate to speed of acquisition of new mands and tacts; and 4) how size of entering repertoires affect the transfer of mand topographies to tacts and vice versa. Two vocal-verbal children with autism were taught three novel responses as mands and three other responses as tacts. Mand topographies transferred to tact relations and tact topographies transferred to mand relations for both participants. Overall acquisition as well as transfer of mands and tacts was faster for the participant with a higher entering repertoire.
Date: May 2009
Creator: Ruiz, Julio

Transfer of Mand Topographies to Tact Relations and Vice Versa in Two Vocal-Verbal Children with Autism

Description: Skinner (1957) suggested that verbal responses learned as mands are not necessarily emitted in tact relations and vice versa. Previous empirical research has found that newly acquired mands and tacts can be functionally independent. The present study investigated 1) whether novel responses taught in mand relations would be emitted as tacts when opportunity for tacting was presented; 2) whether novel responses taught in tact relations would be emitted as mands when opportunity for manding was presented; and 3) whether the size of pre-experimental mand and tact repertoires affected the rate of acquisition and/or transfer. Two vocal-verbal children with autism were taught three novel responses as mands and three other responses as tacts. Mand topographies transferred to tact relations and tact topographies transferred to mand relations for both participants. Overall acquisition as well as transfer of mands and tacts was faster for the participant with an entering repertoire of approximately 175 mands and 175 tacts than for the participant with a repertoire of approximately 100 mands and 100 tacts.
Date: May 2004
Creator: Castellani, Jill E.

Untangling the Effects of Scheduled Exercise on Child Engagement, Stereotypy, and Challenging Behavior

Description: There is limited research pertaining to the effects of exercise on the behavior of children with autism. Previous researchers focused on exploring the dimensions of the exercise itself, leaving a functional account of the effects of exercise undetermined. There is recent evidence that exercise suppresses responses maintained by automatic reinforcement. The purpose of the present study was to better identify the relevant independent variable in such research and to assess if there were differential effects of exercise across functional response classes. The experimenter conducted a trial-based functional analysis and then implemented a sedentary or vigorous activity on alternating days to determine the impact of exercise on engagement, stereotypy, and challenging behavior. Results across functional response classes were variable as were data across individual sessions. There was a mean suppression of behavior maintained by nonsocial reinforcement during post-sedentary (4.3%) and post-exercise sessions (2.3%). A discussion of the role of matched stimulation and heart rate as a pertinent variable follows.
Date: August 2012
Creator: Currier, Thomas D. R.

The Use of an Applied Task as a Test of Stimulus Equivalence

Description: Four college student subjects were trained to match graphic figures (A stimuli) to other figures (B stimuli), and then to match the B figures to numerals (C stimuli). Then in a test of application subjects answered simple math problems, presented as novel sample stimuli, by selecting one of the A figures, presented as comparisons. The application test was an analog for the academic task of answering math problems with newly learned Spanish number names. Three subjects performed accurately in the application test, which required the emergence of CA equivalence. All subjects demonstrated equivalence in test sessions after the application test. The study examined whether accuracy, fluency (rate of correct responding), practice, or stability of original relations performance corresponded to test accuracy. Accuracy, fluency, practice and stability corresponded to test accuracy for two subjects. Fluency corresponded to test accuracy for one subject, and stability corresponded to test accuracy for another subject.
Date: August 1997
Creator: Luby, John M. (John Martin)

The Use of Conjugate Reinforcement in Autism Treatment Programs: a Demonstration and Discussion

Description: The effect of a reinforcer on behavior is largely determined by the schedule in which it is implemented. One type of reinforcement schedule that has not been explored extensively is conjugate reinforcement. Previous researchers have used conjugate schedules to evaluate a reinforcer's effects on behavior and as an assessment tool. However, none have explored how to effectively engineer conjugate schedules in applied settings. The current study explores the effectiveness of conjugate reinforcement implemented by several interventionists across a variety of responses, reinforcers, and in a wide range of participants with autism. The results indicated that delivering social, audio/visual, and tangible stimuli in a conjugate schedule resulted in increased durations of various target responses (e.g. social skills, motor skills) and non-targeted measures (e.g., approach, social bids, speed) across participants. Considerations regarding reinforcer and response selection in implementing conjugate schedules in applied settings are provided.
Date: December 2012
Creator: Reetz, Stephany Kristina

Use of Fading Procedures and Positive Reinforcement to Increase Consumption of Non-Preferred Food in a Child with Autism

Description: Traditionally children with developmental disabilities who develop feeding issues can be at great risk for malnutrition. Failure to eat adequate amounts of food and/or insistence on eating a limited range of foods can be detrimental to a child's health and can lead to other behavioral difficulties. Feeding problems are difficult to treat because high levels of physical prompting can quickly create an aversion to eating as well as cause stress for both parents and children. Behavioral problems that range from moderate to extremely maladaptive can ensue. The question the present study addressed was whether or not a treatment package including only positive reinforcement and fading for a non-preferred food would result in independent eating of the targeted non-preferred food.
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Date: May 2004
Creator: Vorpahl, Cresse Merchant

Using a Behavioral Treatment Package to Teach Tolerance to Skin Care Products to a Child with Autism: A Systematic Replication

Description: The purpose of this study is to investigate the effectiveness of a treatment package to teach a child with autism to willingly accept skin care products conducive to health and normal everyday living. The current study uses graduated exposure, modeling and contingent social attention to teach the child to accept the application of skin care products previously avoided. Results of the study showed that the participant tolerated criterion amounts of all target stimuli with both experimenter and parent. Follow-up probes revealed maintenance of the behaviors with only two out of the three target skin care products.
Date: May 2009
Creator: Vidosevic, Tania A.

Using a Conditional Discrimination Training Procedure to Teach College Students to Play Music by Ear

Description: A conditional discrimination training procedure was used to establish stimulus-stimulus relations that might lead to the emergence of relations that define playing by ear. The participants were four college students. Overall, the results varied across participants. Of the 3 participants who received Training 1 (hear-note-name/select-key), all 3 participants acquired that relation. Out of those 3 participants, 2 participants showed emergence of the hear-see-key-pressed/say-note-name relation after Training 1. Of the 3 participants who received Training 2, (hear-note-name/select-tone), 2 participants acquired that relation for at least one set. Out of those 3 participants, 1 participant showed emergence of the hear-tone/say-note-name relation. One out of three participants was successful in correctly playing a sequence of four notes by ear at the end of the study. One participant did not complete the study due to availability conflicts. The overall results can suggest that the relations used in this study should be taken into account when training someone to play by ear. However, the current data do not allow us to conclude whether it is necessary to teach or test all of these relations in order to teach playing by ear.
Date: August 2016
Creator: Holder, Stephanie Shae

Using Progressive Ratio Schedules to Evaluate Edible, Leisure, and Token Reinforcement

Description: The general purpose of the current study was to evaluate the potency of different categories of reinforcers with young children diagnosed with developmental delays. The participants were two boys and one girl who were between the ages of seven and eight. In Phase 1, we evaluated the reinforcing potency of tokens, edible items, and leisure items by using a progressive ratio (PR) schedule. For two participants, we found that tokens resulted in the highest PR break points. For one participant, edibles resulted in the highest break points (tokens were found to have the lowest break points). In Phase 2, we evaluated the effects of presession access on the break points of edibles and tokens. This manipulation served as a preliminary analysis of the extent to which tokens might function as generalized conditioned reinforcers. During Phase 2, presession access altered the break points of edibles, but not tokens. The findings of the current study suggest that PR schedules may be useful as a means to better assess certain dimensions of tasks and how they affect reinforcer effectiveness (e.g., amount of effort the client is willing to exert, the duration at which the client willing to work, how many responses the client will emit, etc.), and to evaluate to what extent tokens actually function as generalized conditioned reinforcers.
Date: May 2013
Creator: Russell, Danielle M.

Using video modeling to teach complex play sequences to children with autism.

Description: Overcoming social skill deficits in children with autism is a challenge faced by educators and caregivers. Video modeling is a method of training that can promote generalization. This study extends the literature by investigating effects of video modeling on repetitive motor and vocal responses and skill generalization to other settings for children with low-functioning autism/ developmental disabilities. A multiple baseline across 3 play sequences was implemented with 3 males. Results indicate that 2 acquired vocal and motor responses and 1 acquired imitative noises and motor responses using video modeling alone. Generalization occurred with 2 participants. These findings have important implications for the field showing that video modeling can enable educators and caregivers to help children with autism overcome social skill deficits.
Date: May 2005
Creator: Jeffreys, Chris

Utilizing staff training methods for developing a mathetics error correction procedure in a university classroom.

Description: The education community agrees that correcting student errors is important for learning. They do not agree on the components that define successful error correcting. Some theories suggest that detailed feedback facilitates adult learning and some suggest that less detail is needed for these learners. Gilbert (1962) applied the scientifically derived methods of Behavior Analysis when designing instruction. This study attempted to develop an efficient error correction procedure for university teachers. Throughout the semester, error correction design efforts between the teachers and the experimenter became more collaborative. While error correction procedures never showed systematic effects on student grades, later versions were viewed more favorably by both teachers and students and were more likely to be implemented accurately. Decreased teacher practice opportunities, due to low student participation, may have decreased the procedure's effectiveness.
Date: December 2008
Creator: Staff, Donald Michael

What Are They Learning: a Study of Errors Produced During Behavior Acquisition Utilizing Two Prompting Procedures with a Cat

Description: Prompting methods are common amongst animal trainers, both novice and experts. However, there is little empirical evidence to demonstrate the strengths or weaknesses of common prompting procedures. The current study assessed the strengths and weaknesses during behavior acquisition of two prompting methods, luring and targeting. Luring placed an edible directly in front of the animal which guided the animal through the desired behavior. Targeting, however used a target, an arbitrary object the animal has been trained to touch, guide behavior. A cat was trained, using each method, to walk around a flower. Walking around the right flower pot was trained using luring and walking around the left flower pot was trained using targeting. After both behaviors were acquired, a delay cue method was designed to transfer stimulus control. Later a combination of a delay cue and prompt fading was used. During acquisition the luring method acquired the behavior of walking around a pot more quickly with consistently fewer errors. During stimulus transfer the cat began independently initiating the behavior earlier with the target trained behavior and produced more correct behaviors after the verbal cue. Luring appeared to produce the faster behavior, but after stimulus transfer it could be concluded that the cat did not learn the desired behavior, but rather following the lure. Both methods could be beneficial in different circumstance, however, given the desired behavior was to walk around a flower pot on cue, targeting would be considered best practice.
Date: August 2012
Creator: Beasley, Robin Lynn

What you teach makes a difference: Direct and collateral outcomes of an autism sibling intervention.

Description: Training siblings as change agents for children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) has been shown to be beneficial in teaching a sibling to teach their brother or sister. There are very few interventions, however, that explore the range of effects that targeting particular skills has on sibling interactions. The purpose of this study was to assess the direct and collateral effects of training behavioral teaching techniques to a typically developing sibling. Four experimental conditions were assessed: baseline, sibling teaching toy play, baseline, and sibling teaching social play. Across all conditions, measures of teaching components and siblings' interactions were assessed. Results of the assessment showed that the sibling was an effective change agent and that more favorable interaction and engagement occurred when social play skills were taught. The results of this sibling intervention and guidelines for condition changes are discussed in terms of sibling relationships.
Date: May 2009
Creator: Czekalski, Sara

Within-session session changes in responding as a function of habituation vs. satiation.

Description: Behavior analysts refer to a decrease in response rate following repeated, contingent presentations of a reinforcing stimulus as a product of satiation. Other evidence suggests that these decreases may often be due to habituation to the sensory properties of the reinforcing stimulus. The investigation reported here sought to determine whether decreases in operant responding by 3 adults with developmental disabilities were due to satiation or habituation. During baseline, participants placed poker chips into a container, and no reinforcement was available. Within subsequent phases, participants received diet lemon-lime soda on a fixed-ratio (FR) schedule of reinforcement. In one condition, the color of the soda was constant throughout the session, and in another condition food coloring was added several minutes into the session. Results for at least 2 participants indicated that: (a) soda functioned as a reinforcer for placing poker chips in the can; (b) response rates decreased within the session to baseline levels; and (c) response rates increased following a change in the color of the soda within the session. Results for the third participant were less clear. The results support the argument made by other researchers that the terms habituation (a weakening of a behavior following contact with the reinforcing stimulus) and stimulus specificity (a strengthening of a behavior following a change in the reinforcing stimulus) may be more appropriate descriptors of within-session changes in responding. The factors associated with habituation and satiation, as well as both basic and applied research examples, are discussed.
Date: August 2004
Creator: Buckner, Lloyd Robert

A within-subject comparison of stimulus equivalence training.

Description: Training structures have been defined as the order and arrangement of baseline conditional discriminations within stimulus equivalence training. The three training structures most often used are, linear (trains A:B and B:C discrimination), many-to-one (trains B:A and C:A discriminations) , and one-to-many (trains A:B and A:C discriminations). Each training structure trains a different set of simultaneous and successive discriminations that are then needed in the test for derived relations (symmetry, reflexivity, transitivity, and symmetrical transitivity). The present experiment seeks to extend the research on stimulus equivalence training structures by using a within-subject design and adult human subjects. Three sets of 9 arbitrary stimuli were trained concurrently each with a different training structure. From the beginning, training and testing trials were intermixed. The likelihood of producing stimulus equivalence formation was equal across structures.
Date: August 2005
Creator: Rawls, Medea

Would You Do Your Homework for a Chance to Improve Your Quiz Score?

Description: Students who complete homework generally do better on measures of academic performance such as quizzes, exams, and overall course grades. We examined the effects of contingent access to second quiz attempts on the percentage of undergraduate students completing homework to mastery. The study was conducted in an Introduction to Behavior Analysis course that, historically, had only 70% of students on average completing homework. An adapted multiple baseline design across sections was used for four sections of the course. Students could access a second quiz attempt contingent by meeting the following criteria: the student received a 16 out of 20 on the first quiz attempt or by meeting the mastery criterion of the homework (45 out of 50). We also examined the relation between homework accuracy and scores on first quiz attempts. Two sections did not show a difference in homework completion with and without the second quiz attempt contingency. One section showed more sensitivity toward the contingency once it was withdrawn, and one section never had the removal of the contingency and had the highest percentages of students completing their homework. When analyzing the relation of homework accuracy to the corresponding first quiz attempts, homework accuracy appeared to be related to higher scores on first quiz attempts across all sections. Quiz scores were typically a letter grade higher for students who completed homework compared to students who did not complete homework to mastery. Although there are limitations to the current study, the results suggest the second quiz contingency may impact homework completion.
Date: August 2014
Creator: Zimmerman, Karl J.

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

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.
Date: May 2015
Creator: Cihon, Joseph Harvey