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Identifying learn units in a naturalistic training program for children with autism and their families.

Description: Behavior analysts have proposed a primary measure, the "learn unit," to evaluate educational effectiveness. Past research has indicated this is a useful approach. The benefits of "learn units" may also apply to family interventions in autism. The current analysis evaluated the rates of learn units in a naturalistic parent-training program to determine if (1) definitions of learn units previously described in the literature can be reliably applied to family interventions and (2) an increased number of learn units correlate with increased child responding and attainment of child and family goals. Results from the current analysis demonstrated that the rate of learn units increased from baseline to training for all parent-child dyads and the percent of correct child responses increased for all children. Teaching parents the components of effective education may increase the quantity and quality of interventions for children diagnosed with autism.
Date: August 2008
Creator: Besner, Amanda Charlotte

Immediate and generalized effects of one component (Stay Close Tool) of a behavioral parenting curriculum.

Description: The Essential Tools for Positive Behavior Change is a behavioral parenting curriculum that is currently being disseminated throughout the state and Florida and is now being utilized in Texas to teach parents who are at risk or are founded of abuse and neglect. Research on the curriculum thus far has focused on large scale outcomes, skill acquisition of caregivers during analog role-play assessments, and scores on a written quiz. Little research has focused on generalization of classroom performance to the home. The measurement systems that have been used to evaluate positive outcomes also were in need of improvement. The current study was designed to determine whether teaching a component (Stay Close) to typical parents resulted in immediate improvements in written exam scores and on a role-play assessment and if those skills could be seen in a home setting. The results indicated that small improvements were seen across quiz scores in all but one family and some improvements across behavior was seen in both the role-play and home observations. Additionally, a reliable measurement system was created that captured both home observations and role-play assessment data.
Date: May 2008
Creator: Greenspan, Michelle S.

Immediate and Subsequent Effects of Fixed-Time Delivery of Therapist Attention on Problem Behavior Maintained by Attention

Description: The purpose of the current study was to investigate the immediate and subsequent effects of fixed-time attention on problem behavior maintained by therapist attention utilizing a three-component multiple-schedule design. The treatment analysis indicated that fixed-time attention produced a significant immediate decrease in the frequency of physically disruptive behavior (PDB), represented by low frequencies of PDB in Component 2, as well as a continued subsequent effect, represented by lower frequencies of problem behavior in Component 3 when compared to Component 1. The possible behavioral mechanisms responsible for the observed suppression in Component 2 of the treatment analysis are discussed. Evidence of behavioral contrast was observed in Components 1 and 3 of the treatment analysis in conditions in which Component 2 contained a fixed-time schedule of stimulus delivery. In addition, limitations and future research are outlined.
Date: August 2009
Creator: Walker, Stephen Frank

Immediate and subsequent effects of fixed-time food presentations on automatically maintained mouthing.

Description: Several studies have demonstrated that fixed-time (FT) schedules of stimulus delivery can function to reduce a variety of behaviors. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the immediate and subsequent effects of FT food deliveries on mouthing. In Phase 1, a preference assessment showed that caramel popcorn, chocolate cookies and pretzels were highly preferred food items. Thus, providing the basis for use of food items during treatment. In Phase 2, a functional analysis showed that mouthing was a nonsocially maintained problem behavior. Phase 3 demonstrated the use of FT schedules of food deliveries as treatment for nonsocially maintained mouthing. Results indicated that FT schedules of food significantly reduced mouthing. In addition, levels of mouthing observed during post-FT observations were reliably lower than pre-FT observations. Treatment effects, operative mechanisms responsible for the treatment effects and the experimental arrangement used to investigate varying FT schedules are discussed.
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Date: December 2001
Creator: Simmons, Jason N.

Immediate and subsequent effects of response blocking on self-injurious behavior.

Description: Abstract In many institutional settings, blocking, response restriction (e.g., restraint, protective equipment), and re-direction procedures are used extensively as intervention for self-injurious behavior (SIB) and other forms of problem behavior. In the current study, a three component, multiple-schedule analysis was used to examine the immediate and subsequent effects of blocking on SIB that persisted in the absence of social reinforcement contingencies. During the first and third components the participant was in the room, alone, with no social consequences for SIB. During the second component (response restriction) the therapist sat in the room with the participant and blocked occurrences of SIB. Results indicated that, although blocking was effective in decreasing SIB while it was being implemented, subsequent effects were idiosyncratic across participants. Evidence of increased levels of SIB following blocking was observed for some participants.
Date: August 2006
Creator: Atcheson, Katy

Immediate and subsequent effects of response-independent food delivery on problem behavior maintained by food.

Description: The immediate and subsequent effects of response-independent food delivery on problem behavior maintained by food were investigated. A functional analysis indicated that the participant's problem behavior was maintained by tangible (food) reinforcement. In a subsequent analysis, each occurrence of problem behavior produced a bite of wafer in the first and third components of mixed and multiple schedules, while either response-independent food or extinction was presented in the second component. Dense and lean schedules of food delivery were assessed. Results indicated that a very dense schedule of food nearly eliminated problem behavior, a very lean schedule of food and extinction produced substantial decreases in problem behavior, and intermediate schedules did not decrease problem behavior. Response patterns were differentiated across mixed and multiple schedule arrangements, with signaled changes in the schedules (multiple schedule) generally showing more immediate and sustained effects throughout the intervention component. Implications for interpretations of the effects of the intervention are discussed.
Date: May 2008
Creator: Cherryholmes, Lauren A.

Improving administrative operations for better client service and appointment keeping in a medical/behavioral services clinic.

Description: Appointment no-shows are a problem in healthcare organizations. It is important that appointment intake and scheduling processes are effective in both meeting client needs and efficient in meeting organizational business requirements. This study examined baseline levels of appointment keeping in a not-for-profit medical/behavioral pediatric services clinic, analyzed existing administrative processes, introduced additional appointment keeping reminders, and presented systematic, performance management tutorials for clinic employees. Results indicate an increase in percentage of appointments kept and a decrease in appointment lag time.
Date: August 2008
Creator: Hackett, Stacey Lynn

Improving Appointment Keeping at an Eye Care Clinic Using a Revised Process Package

Description: Missed appointments by patients are a major problem for health care professionals. To combat this issue, some optometrists use a pre-appointing system in which patients are scheduled for an annual exam a year after their initial visit. Prior to that subsequent appointment, clinic staff often try to contact the patient to confirm the appointment. This study examined baseline levels of appointment keeping, analyzed existing processes for pre-appointing patients, and introduced a revised process package to improve appointment keeping at an eye care clinic. This package included training, mailed postcard reminders and two phone call reminders. Results indicate appointment keeping by pre-appointed patients increased over baseline. The intervention was also shown to be cost-beneficial.
Access: This item is restricted to UNT Community Members. Login required if off-campus.
Date: May 2001
Creator: Hodge, Victoria L.

Improving management systems in a public school in-home autism services program.

Description: The purpose of this study was to develop and examine the effects of enhanced training and performance management methods for an autism coordinator who managed several paraprofessional therapists providing in-home behavior therapy for young children with autism. Intervention included task clarification, targeted skill development, and improved feedback from the coordinator to the therapists. Results showed that service delivery performance of in-home trainers increased and/or became more consistent after the intervention was implemented. The intervention provided the autism coordinator with an empirically validated training and feedback system that can be successfully utilized in a sporadically supervised environment.
Date: December 2006
Creator: White, Victoria Anne

Improving Performance in a Global Logistics Company: Operational Performance Before and After Process Improvement

Description: The purpose of this study was to determine the effectiveness of an intervention designed to eliminate damage notification failures in a customer-specific standard operating procedure used by a global logistics company. Process maps identified locations in the process where damage notification failures could most likely occur. A revised process was designed overnight to eliminate as many notification failure points as possible. In addition, a job aid was included to help facilitate the process change for the drivers. The results of the intervention showed a rapid and profound decrease in damage notification failures leading to the retention of a large, profitable account with a minimal initial investment of time and money.
Date: December 2004
Creator: Dearman, Shawn Kale

Increasing activities and interests in a child dually diagnosed with PDD-NOS and DS.

Description: Expanding interests may be a behavioral cusp, resulting in widespread changes across skills, and therefore is particularly relevant in intervention programs for children with autism. Little research has addressed directly increasing the diversity of activities and interests for this population. This study describes a program developed to increase activities and interests in a girl dually-diagnosed with pervasive developmental disorder (PDD-NOS) and Downs syndrome (DS). A multiple-baseline design across stimuli was employed to evaluate the program. The results show that the program increased number of total and different toy interactions. No effects were observed for overall duration of toy interactions. Results are discussed in relation to play skill instruction and preference assessment literature, the cusp, and autism intervention programs.
Date: August 2008
Creator: Zeug, Nicole M.

Increasing contact with, proximity to, and acceptance of new foods in a young child with autism.

Description: The effects of two positive reinforcement procedures were evaluated to increase contact with, proximity to, and acceptance of new foods in a young child with autism. During baseline, two groups of six food items were presented. One group was intervened on. The first condition involved a changing criterion contingency and social attention as a consequence. The second involved a shaping contingency and access to videos as a consequence. The types of contact emitted, the amount of time spent contacting the food, and two affect topographies were measured. The second procedure resulted in increased duration and variety of contact, and increases of both affect topographies. Results are discussed in the context of food selectivity in autism, programming goals, and balancing intervention efficacy and restrictiveness.
Date: May 2006
Creator: Johansen, Jessica L.

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

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

Interactions between Equivalence Classes and Analytic Units

Description: Sidman's (2000) theory of stimulus equivalence predicts an interaction between the development of analytic units and the development of equivalence relations. Previous research has documented these interactions (stewart, Barnes-Holmes, Roche, & Smeets, 2002; Vaidya & Brackney, 2014), therefore the current study attempted to replicate the effects seen in Vaidya & Brackney, 2014 (Experiment 2). Baseline conditional discriminations were trained for two sets of three, three-member classes, while participants simply observed stimuli in the third set which was arranged identical to those of Sets 1 and 2. Following equivalence tests where performance met the accuracy criterion of 85% for Sets 1 and 2, participants then entered a simple successive discrimination training phase where common responses were then trained with an equivalence class (pressing the Q key in the presence of A1, B1, or C1), cross equivalence classes (pressing the R key in the presence of A4, A5, or A6), or for stimuli where the participants had experience with them, but the contingencies were never arranged to facilitate equivalence class formation. Results showed a facilitative effect for common responses drawn from within equivalence classes (Set 1), and a retardation effect for common responses drawn from across equivalence classes (Set 2), for three of the five participants. Results for Set 3 showed an acquisition that fell intermediate to that of Sets 1 and 2, respectively, suggesting an interaction occurring between existing equivalence relations and the development of analytic units.
Date: May 2016
Creator: Stancato, Stefanie Sue

Interactions of equivalence and other behavioral relations: Simple successive discrimination training.

Description: The experimenter asked if documented equivalence class membership would influence the development of shared discriminative stimulus function established through simple successive discrimination training. In Experiment 1, equivalence classes were established with two sets of 9 stimuli. Common stimulus functions were then trained within or across the equivalence classes. Greater acquisition rates of the simple discriminations with stimuli drawn from within the equivalence classes were observed. In Experiment 2, a third stimulus set was added with which no equivalence relations were explicitly trained. The findings of Experiment 1 were replicated, but the Set 3 results were inconsistent across subjects. The outcomes of the two experiments demonstrate that equivalence classes have an effect on other behavioral relations which requires further investigation.
Access: This item is restricted to UNT Community Members. Login required if off-campus.
Date: December 2009
Creator: Brackney, Ryan

Investigating the effects on parallel play between siblings: Teaching children with autism to emit social phrases to their typically developing sibling.

Description: The focus of this study was three fold. First, modeling and feedback were investigated as a training package for social interactions between siblings. Second, the effects of social phrases taught to the sibling with autism were investigated. Third, the magnitude of these social phrases was measured by timing duration of parallel play. The experimental design is an A-B-A1-A2 design conducted in a clinic, with a probe for generalization in the home environment. This intervention was replicated across an additional sibling dyad to indicate its effectiveness. This study ascertained that the sibling with autism was a viable participant in learning new social skills that could function as a behavioral cusp and increase sibling interactions.
Date: December 2008
Creator: Hille, Katrina J.

Is video modeling enough to teach parent-child interactions? Toward a systematic evaluation of the key components of video modeling.

Description: Parent-child interactions help set the foundation for a child's development. It is therefore important to investigate the relative efficiency and efficacy of procedures used to train them. One procedure that researchers continue to explore is video modeling. The current study evaluated the effect of a video model that displayed favorable parent-child interactions and a modified model with embedded instructions to determine if the introduction of either of these models would alter parent-child interactions. Both models were presented alone without supplemental guidance. Three families were involved in the study. The results showed no systematic change across families or conditions as a result of video viewing and are discussed within context of the needs of the parent, adequate stimulus control, community to support behavior change, measurement sensitivity, and influence of methodology. This study provided a great baseline for future studies to explore the necessary components to create an effective video model.
Date: May 2008
Creator: Whaley-Carr, Anna Marie

Knowledge-of-Correct-Response vs. Copying-of-Correct-Response: a Study of Discrimination Learning

Description: Copying prompts with subsequent unprompted practice produced better learning of simple discriminations than feedback only of a correct response without subsequent practice. The Copy condition promoted faster acquisition of accurate performance for all subjects, and shorter response latencies and durations for 3 of 4 subjects. The data support the findings of Barbetta, Heron, and Heward, 1993 as well as Drevno, Kimball, Possi, Heward, Garner III, and Barbetta, 1994. The author proposes that response repertoires are most valuable if easily reacquired at times after original learning. Thus, reacquisition performance data are emphasized. The data suggest that discriminations acquired by copying prompts may result in useful repertoires if a practice procedure is used which facilitates transfer of stimulus control from a formal prompt to a naturally occurring stimulus.
Date: August 1996
Creator: Geller, David, 1952-

A Laboratory Human Operant Examination of Extinction Bursts

Description: The present study examined operant extinction in a controlled setting using a human operant paradigm. Participants watched a preferred video. During the video, either the video or audio portion of the video was selectively removed, on average every 15 s. Participants could restore the video by pressing a force transducer. In one group, relatively low forces were required (250 g) and in the other relatively high forces were required (750 g). At the 20th and 30th minute during the session, the video or audio was removed but the participants could not restore the component for 30 s. The results showed that responding during the probe increased relative to 30-s periods prior and following the probe, characteristic of an extinction burst. The results also showed that overall we saw increases in force under high force conditions during extinction when presses no longer produced sound or video, and force changed little during the low force conditions. We conclude that extinction bursts are a robust phenomenon that can be demonstrated in humans. Additionally, the topographies, i.e. force, established during baseline and the modality of the consequence appear to be two variables determining the short-term course of extinction.
Date: May 2016
Creator: Lilly, Bryanna R

Loading the Problem Loader: The Effects of Target Training and Shaping on Trailer Loading Behavior of Horses in a Natural Setting

Description: The purpose of this study was to develop an effective method for trailer loading horses based on the principles of positive reinforcement. Target training and shaping were used to teach trailer loading behavior in a natural setting. Five AQHA mares were selected for this program. All five had been loaded before through the use of punishment. A two-horse trailer was used. Approximations to loading and inappropriate behaviors were the dependent variables. When intervention started the target was moved to various locations inside the trailer. Subjects started training on the left side of the trailer. After a subject was loading in the left side they were moved to the right side, then to loading half on the right and half on the left, then they were loaded by a different trainer, and into a different trailer. For one subject a limited hold was utilized, as well as a companion horse.
Access: This item is restricted to UNT Community Members. Login required if off-campus.
Date: August 2000
Creator: Ferguson, Dawnery

Maintaining behavior in a child with autism using a previously neutral stimulus, a remote control tactile stimulus, as the consequence

Description: Few studies have investigated methods for establishing neutral stimuli as conditioned reinforcers in human subjects. Conditioned reinforcers, however, can alleviate some of the problems encountered in applied behavior analytic (ABA) therapy for children with autism, such as satiation and suitability of reinforcers for specific environments. A series of reversals evaluated the effects of a conditioning procedure involving pairing a neutral stimulus, the remote control stimulus (RCT), with an identified reinforcer. Phase 1 demonstrated that the RCT was neutral. In Phase 2, alternating pairing and testing conditions were run. During testing the effects of pairing were evaluated by the effectiveness of the RCT in maintaining a response in the absence of a previously available reinforcer (extinction test) and in increasing a new response over a baseline level (learning test). Results from the extinction test suggest that under some pairing conditions the RCT can acquire properties of a reinforcer.
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Date: August 2000
Creator: Wheat, Leigh Ann Stiles

The Measurement and Enhancement of Rapport Between Behavioral Therapists and Children with Autism

Description: Rapport has been acknowledged as an important variable in therapeutic contexts. The current evaluation defined and assessed rapport quality between children with autism and behavioral therapists based on behavioral correlates. In addition, the author evaluated the effects of an operant discrimination training procedure to enhance rapport levels for therapists with low levels of rapport. More specifically, the current study evaluated: (a) if the discrimination training procedure would establish therapists’ social interactions as a discriminative stimulus and (b) if social interaction would function as a conditioned reinforcer for novel responses. Results suggest that the discrimination training procedure was successful in conditioning social interaction as a reinforcer for all child participants, and as a result, rapport increased.
Date: December 2014
Creator: Lapin, Carly Ilyse

A Measurement System for Monitoring Play in Typically Developing Children and Children with Autism

Description: A comprehensive measurement system was developed to monitor play in children with autism and typically developing children. The study was conducted in a preschool operated in conjunction with a center-based program for children with autism. The development of the measurement system was based on observations of four children with autism and three typically developing children during social and play activites. Data were collected on material use and several dimensions of play: Simple Manipulation, Functional Manipulation, Symbolic Toy Play, Symbolic Role Play and Play Themes. The results indicated that the measurement system consistently measured a wide range of play behaviors across children and materials. Significance of the information gathered from the measurement system in assessing play and designing interventions is discussed.
Date: May 2002
Creator: Gudmundsdottir, Kristin