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Comparing Indices of Happiness during Teaching Interactions

Description: The measurement of happiness has received increasing attention in behavior analytic literature. Happiness in individuals with developmental disabilities has been assessed by 1) counting a specific behavior, or 2) sampling constellations of behaviors. The purpose of this study was to examine the two approaches while observing nine child and teacher dyads at an autism treatment center. Results showed that, overall, a constellation of behaviors can yield similar patterns when compared to a specific behavior count. However, the affect of one person did not predict the affect of the other and similar instructional conditions did not predict affect either. The implications of these results and future directions are discussed.
Date: May 2010
Creator: Anderson, Claire Therese

Correspondence between Multiple-Respondent Anecdotal Assessments and Functional Analysis: Analyses of Rank-Order, Magnitude-of-Difference, and Overall Outcomes

Description: We administered the Motivation Assessment Scale (MAS) and the Questions About Behavioral Function (QABF) to five raters and compared the results with functional analysis outcomes for 12 cases in which agreement was obtained for at least four out of five raters on either anecdotal assessment. The scores for functional categories on the MAS and QABF were ranked by averaging the scores for the raters who agreed on the primary maintaining variable. Functional analysis results were ranked by examining average responding across all conditions. A comparison showed correspondence between the highest category and the highest functional analysis condition for 10 out of 11 cases for the MAS and all 10 cases for the QABF. Correspondence for the category and condition ranked second was found for 2 out of 11 cases for the MAS and 2 out of 10 cases for the QABF. The magnitude of difference between categories on the MAS/QABF did not appear to predict the amount of difference in responding in the corresponding functional analyses.
Date: May 2016
Creator: Arnalds, Holmfridur Osk

Shall We Dance? Teaching Parents the Communication Dance to Enhance Generalized Communication in Their Children

Description: Children diagnosed with autism exhibit deficits in communication that impact their ability to control their immediate environment. Recent research on mand training has been criticized for producing a limited number of mand topographies over a long span of time with limited generalization to novel environments. There is a body of research, however, that successfully establishes larger repertoires. Training parents as change agents may mediate generalization by teaching under naturally maintaining contingencies. Additional effects of parent training may reduce parent reports of stress, increase favorable quality of parent-child interactions, and increase reports of parental self-efficacy. The current study evaluated the effects of a generalized training framework to teach parents how to target generalized mands and expand their child’s communicative topographies. The effects of the training were evaluated using a non-concurrent multiple baseline across participants and skills. Results indicated that parents were able to effectively teach their child to mand for a variety of items and events and to substantially increase the number of different mand topographies and expand the topographies the child emitted. Parents were observed to have higher overall confidence and lower overall stress following intervention. The current study builds on previous research on generalized teaching strategies for parents that are effective in teaching a variety of responses to the child.
Date: May 2014
Creator: Baker, Jacqueline R.

The Effects of Fluency-Based Instruction on the Identification of Component Reading Skills

Description: This study examined the effects of fluency-based instruction on the identification of six component-composite relations for early reading skills. Five participants (ages 5-8) who struggled with reading participated. A multiple probe design was used to assess the effects of frequency building on prerequisite skills on the emergence of composite reading skills. The results show that the prerequisite skills taught did not have an effect on the composite skill probes but did have an effect on the assessment scores. The data expand the research pertaining to Precision Teaching, fluency-based instruction, and component-composite relations. These data suggest that additional skills may be needed to be taught in order to effects on the composite skills. In addition, these authors identify the need for the identification of the component skills necessary to teach rapid autonomic naming.
Date: August 2016
Creator: Bandy, Darren

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

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

Induced “motivation”

Description: In the avian training community, a procedure has been utilized to maintain food reinforcer efficacy at high body weights. Elements of this procedure include limited holds and closed economies. To test this procedure, a baseline performance of keypecking on an FR 15 schedule at 80% ad lib weight for two pigeons was established. By imposing limited holds and a closed economy, rates of responding were increased compared to baseline, even while the pigeons were over 90% of their ad-lib body weights.
Date: August 2011
Creator: Becker, April Melissa

The Effects of a Communication Training Workshop on the Verbal Behavior of Caregivers

Description: This study evaluated the effectiveness of a workshop designed to train adults to use supportive verbal behavior during distressful situations. Participants were trained to provide descriptive, empathetic and hopeful statements using instructions, rationales, modeling, role-play, feedback, and rehearsal. A pre-post design was used to analyze the effects of the training on verbal and non-verbal behaviors of four females during simulation scenarios. Results indicate all four participants provided maximum support statements above pre-training levels during post-training simulation and written assessments.
Date: August 2010
Creator: Blell, Zainab D.

Easter Seals North Texas Autism Treatment Program Evaluation: Child Progress

Description: This study reports and evaluates child outcome measures at a non-profit autism treatment program providing applied behavior analysis (ABA) based services to children age 3 to 8. To accomplish this, a review was conducted of available outcome data for a 1 year period. Several categories of outcome measures have been reported in the autism treatment literature (post-intervention educational placement, cognitive status, developmental and achievement status and/or progress, autism symptom reduction, and diagnostic reclassification). This study found that the program relied on 2 sources of data to evaluate child outcome: Hawaii Early Learning Profile® and program goal mastery. Children are making progress as indicated by these measures. The findings are discussed in relation to broader outcome recommendations.
Date: May 2010
Creator: Brunson, Lashanna Yvette

Evaluating the Effects of Public Postings on Energy Conservation Behavior at a Public University

Description: This study evaluated the effects of public postings on energy conservation behavior at a public university, using a multiple baseline design across three settings; bathrooms break rooms, and conference rooms. The behavior of building occupants was recorded to assess the frequency at which those individuals would turn lights off upon exiting an unoccupied room. The independent variables implemented by experimenters (light-switch plate stickers and laminated signs) had little to no effects on cumulative instances of lights turned off however, the installation of motion sensor lights produced better results. Across all conditions, lights were turned off most frequently in conference rooms (65% of observations) followed by break rooms (9% of observations), and bathrooms (3% of observations).
Date: August 2011
Creator: Canisz, Eleni

The Effect of High-Probability Request Sequences on Latency to Comply with Instructions to Transition in a Child With Severe Mental Retardation

Description: This study investigated the effect of implementing high-probability request sequences prior to the delivery of instructions to transition in a child with severe mental retardation. Data were collected on latency to comply with a low-probability request to transition and a modified version of the low-probability request. Implementation of high-probability request sequences resulted in shortened latencies to comply with the modified low-probability request instructing the child to engage in a preferred activity located at the endpoint of the transition.
Date: December 2010
Creator: Carpentieri, Michelle Lee

Parent-Toddler Training: The Merits of Further Analysis

Description: Earlier identification of autism allows for interventions to begin during toddlerhood. Literature suggests that parents are an important part of very early intervention and specific goals have indicated that they are important to progress. The use of telemedicine may increase access to interventions. The purpose of the study was to evaluate a parent-toddler training program that targeted social-communication skills and incorporated a telemedicine component. Measures included parent teaching targets, child attending, vocal requesting, and coordinated joint attention and the parent's response to coordinated joint attention. Results indicate that parent teaching increased, child attending and vocalizations increased, child coordinated joint attention increased, and the parent's response to coordinated joint attention was primarily social in nature. Analysis of the home observations indicates that direct in home observations or teleconference observations neither under or overestimated behaviors. The results are discussed in the context of teaching and feedback delivery and selection of teaching targets.
Date: May 2011
Creator: Cermak, Samantha Marie

Increasing Number of Toys: A Case Study of Response Generalization across Novel Toys

Description: Children diagnosed with autism are often described as having limited or restricted activities that serve as reinforcers as compared to neurotypical peers. Many theories suggest that one of the many ways children develop is through participation in play. This results in children coming into contact with new environmental stimuli. The procedures used to enhance play skills for children diagnosed with autism typically involve training novel responses with novel stimuli (e.g., toys). This is often done using naturalistic procedures. Because multiple procedures are used, it is unclear what procedure or combination of procedures causes the increases in play repertoires. This study investigated an important component of the treatment package know as reciprocal imitation training. Specifically, the study examined whether increased opportunities, contingent imitation without the requirement to imitate, or contingent imitation with the requirement to imitate would increase the number of toys a child diagnosed with autism would play with. The results showed dramatic increases in the number of toys the child independently chose to play with and an increase in the spontaneous use of different response topographies across novel stimuli only when the student was required to imitate a model. The results are discussed in terms of mediated generalization, the use of common responses, stimulus class formation and stimulus class expansion.
Date: December 2016
Creator: Chaudhry, Mohsana

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

The Effects of Feedback Timing when Teaching a New Task to Children with Autism

Description: The purpose of this experiment was to investigate Tosti's proposal about the timing of feedback. The study examined whether it is better to correct immediately after the error occurs or whether it is better to wait until immediately before the next opportunity to respond. In addition, it aimed to determine whether corrections delivered at different times produced different learner affects. Four children with autism were taught to label two sets of pictures under the two different conditions. Results showed that the timing of the feedback yields similar results in regards to number of correct responses and total trial count. However, in regards to time spent in teaching and learner affect, correcting errors before the next opportunity to respond showed to be the more efficient procedure and produced more favorable affect.
Date: December 2016
Creator: Cochrane, Angela

A Sequential Analysis of Therapist and Child Social Behavior Following a Conditioned Reinforcement Procedure

Description: We conducted a contingency analysis to evaluate if a sequential relation between social initiations and positive social responses increased for both therapists and children with autism following a conditioned reinforcement procedure. Participants included child-therapist dyads, which were previously identified as having low rapport. These dyads were observed prior to and following an intervention designed to establish therapists' social behavior as a reinforcer. Sessions consisted of unstructured play between the therapist and child. Results from a Yule's Q analysis show that both the child and adult positive responding to the others' social initiations increased following the intervention. Findings highlight the reciprocal effects of therapist-child interactions as well as the effectiveness of establishing social attention as a reinforcer via an operant discrimination training procedure.
Date: May 2016
Creator: Cortez, Kristi Cathleen

The Effects of Increasing Rates of Reinforcement Through an Alternative Fluent Behavior on the Acquisition and Extinction of Behavior in Dogs

Description: The purpose of the present study was to experimentally investigate the effects of interspersing the opportunity to perform a fluent behavior during the acquisition of a new behavior. The experimenter trained left and right paw movements in domestic canines using a multiple treatment design. One paw movement was trained with a typical shaping procedure while the other was trained with an opportunity to perform a fluent behavior, touching the dog’s nose to a plastic disc, following each successive approximation in the shaping procedure. Two extinction phases were implemented during the experiment. The results showed that higher rates of reinforcement were achieved primarily following changes in criteria for reinforcement for the behavior in acquisition. There were no effects on rate of acquisition of the behavior, but adding an alternative fluent behavior may have slowed the differentiation between the reinforced behavior and alternative behaviors for one dog. The behavior trained with the addition of an alternative fluent behavior extinguished more quickly than in the control condition and extinguished at similar rates to the opposite leg movement. This suggests that the technique of offering an alternative fluent behavior may facilitate the chaining of the opposite behavior with the behavior targeted for reinforcement.
Date: August 2012
Creator: Coulter, Laura 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.

Reducing Undesirable Behavior with Stimulus Control

Description: The present experiment investigated the application of Green and Swets (1966) signal-detection theory to undesirable behavior as a method of reducing unwanted behaviors using reinforcement and extinction. This experiment investigated the use of this stimulus control technique to reduce undesirable behaviors using a multiple-baseline design. Once the cue for a target behavior was established and maintained, the use of the verbal cue was reduced in frequency and the rate of unprompted undesirable behavior was recorded. Generalization was tested across multiple people. Data for this experiment showed that undesirable behavior could be reduced by altering the stimulus control that maintained it.
Date: May 2012
Creator: Davison, Matthew Alan

A Clinical Case Study of Rumination and Emesis in an Adult Male with Intellectual Disability

Description: An evaluation of a series of interventions was conducted for an individual who engaged in life-threatening rumination and emesis. There is substantial research indicating that the delivery of peanut butter (Barton & Barton, 1985; Greene, Johnston, Rossi, Racal, Winston, & Barron, 1991) and/or chopped bread following meals (Thibadeau, Blew, Reedy, & Luiselli, 1999), chewing gum (Rhine & Tarbox, 2009), and satiation procedures (Dudley, Johnston, & Barnes, 2002; Lyons, Rue, Luiselli, & DiGennario, 2007; Rast, Johnston, Drum, & Conrin, 1981) can be effective treatments for rumination. In the current case, each of these interventions was found to be either ineffective or contraindicated based on the participant's fragile health status. Previous literature has shown that liquid delivery can affect rates of rumination in some clients (Barton & Barton, 1985,; Heering, Wilder, & Ladd, 2003). We examined how liquid affected the rate of rumination during and after meals. Based on the individual's medical condition, oral nutrition and fluids were discontinued indefinitely and a gastronomy-jejunostomy tube was used for nutrition. All rumination ceased when fluids and nutrition were delivered via the jejunostomy tube. Finally, a fluid analysis procedure was implemented in which the participant received small amounts of fluid while NPO. Color and flavor were manipulated systematically, and results suggested that flavor impacted the rate of rumination.
Date: May 2016
Creator: DeLapp, Christina Marie

A Comparison of Vocabulary Banks and Scripts on Native English-speaking Students’ Acquisition of Italian

Description: The study applied behavior analytic principles to foreign language instruction in a college classroom. Two study methods, vocabulary banks and scripts, were compared by assessing the effects on Italian language acquisition, retention, and generalization. Results indicate that students without prior exposure to Italian engaged in more exchanges and emitted more words in script tests compared to vocabulary bank tests. Participants with at least two classes in Italian prior to the study engaged in more exchanges and emitted more words during vocabulary bank tests. Data suggest that different teaching strategies may work for different learners. More research is needed to determine efficient teaching methods and how to ascertain which approaches work best for learners with different histories.
Date: May 2012
Creator: Dean, Brittany L.

The Effects of Naturalistic Language Interventions in Children with Autism

Description: Several evidence-based procedures based upon operant learning principles have been developed to teach language, and for young children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), naturalistic interventions are commonly implemented as they are both effective and developmentally appropriate. The current investigation compared contingent responsive intervention and combined intervention on the effects of language use in four children diagnosed with ASD. Results suggest that a combined intervention procedure increases target language and requests in children with simplified language (e.g., one-word phrase) as well as complex language (e.g., simple sentences).
Date: August 2016
Creator: Degner, Brittany

An Analysis of the Value-altering Effect of Motivating Operations

Description: Motivating operations (MOs) may affect behavior in two ways; A) an MO momentarily alters the frequency of behavior for which a particular consequence has served as reinforcement (evocative-effect) and B) an MO momentarily alters the behavioral effects of the relevant consequence (value-altering effect). Many studies have empirically demonstrated the evocative function of MOs, however, few if any studies have attempted to systematically manipulate and measure the value-altering effect. The focus of this study was to investigate the value-altering effect by measuring choice and response allocation across two alternative tasks. Participants were two female girls diagnosed with autism. During conditioning sessions, experimenters created a history for the children in which clicking on a moving square on a computer monitor produced a small piece of edible. Prior to some conditions, the participants were allowed 5 min of free-access to the edibles, and in other sessions, access to edibles prior to session was restricted. During these sessions, the square was either red or blue depending on the condition type (pre-access or restricted-access). During probe sessions, both colored squares were concurrently available and participants were allowed to allocate their responding to whichever square they chose. One participant preferred the square associated with restricted-access, which may support the notion of the value-altering effect. Difficulties during conditioning sessions interfered with the ability to run sufficient probes with the other participant to evaluate a value-altering effect. Results suggest that the use of these procedures may be useful to differentiate evocative and function-altering effects of MOs.
Date: August 2013
Creator: Devine, Bailey

Post-Hoc Analysis of Challenging Behavior by Function: A Comparison of Multiple-Respondent Anecdotal Assessments, Functional Analyses, and Treatments

Description: The current study examines anecdotal assessment, functional analysis, and treatment outcomes from 44 participants. Agreement across Motivation Assessment Scale (MAS), Questions About Behavioral Function (QABF), and Functional Analysis Screening Tool (FAST) assessments, agreement between those anecdotal assessments and functional analyses, and agreement between those anecdotal assessments and treatment outcomes were analyzed across maintaining variables and topography categories of challenging behaviors. Overall, the QABF had the highest agreement results with functional analyses and treatment with 70% and 92% of cases respectively. Patterns in the distribution of maintaining variables was examined across behavior topography categories.
Date: August 2016
Creator: Dignan, Kathleen