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The Effects of the Density of Reinforcement on the Maladaptive Behaviors of a Child With Autism

Description: The present study consists of two experiments that analyze the effects of high and low densities of reinforcemnt on the maladaptive behaviors of a 9 year old girl with autism. The first experiment investigates the isolated effects of density of reinforcement on the frequency of maladaptive behaviors during a motor imitation teaching task. High densities of reinforcement produced fewer occurrences of maladaptive behavior than low densities of reinforcement. Experiment 2 analyzes the effects of density of reinforcement during the same teaching tasks as in experiment 1 on maladaptive behavior, task accuracy, prompt resistance, and language. Maladaptive behavior did not recur during experiment 2. High density of reinforcement conditions during the second experiment showed a positive effect on the accuracy of responding and compliance with prompts.
Date: December 2000
Creator: Motiejunas, Kristina M.
Partner: UNT Libraries

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
Partner: UNT Libraries

Multiple-respondent anecdotal assessments for behavior disorders; An analysis of interrater agreement and correspondence with treatment outcomes.

Description: The current study was designed to further evaluate the usefulness of anecdotal assessments. The goal of this study was to evaluate the overall agreement between multiple respondents on the primary function of aberrant behavior using the Motivation Assessment Scale (MAS) and the Functional Analysis Screening Tool (FAST) and, if agreement was obtained, to assess the effectiveness of treatment based on the outcome of the assessments. Results showed that anecdotal assessments were able to identify the general type of contingency maintaining two participants' problem behavior. However, for one participant the assessments did not correctly identify the specific form of reinforcement (attention or tangible items) that maintained the aberrant behavior.
Date: May 2007
Creator: Wolf, Roxanne
Partner: UNT Libraries

Multiple-respondent anecdotal assessments for behavior disorders: An analysis of interrater agreement and correspondence with a functional analysis and treatment outcomes.

Description: An analysis of interrater agreement across multiple respondents on two anecdotal assessments, the Motivation Assessment Scale (MAS) and the Functional Analysis Screening Tool (FAST), was completed for an individual who displayed aggressive behavior. The results of the assessments indicated high agreement across assessments and respondents that the problem behavior was maintained by social positive reinforcement in the form of contingent delivery of tangible items. By contrast, a subsequent experimental analysis indicated that the behavior was maintained by escape from demands. A treatment was implemented based on the functional analysis outcomes to determine if the functional analysis had correctly identified the maintaining variable of the aberrant behavior. Results of the treatment analysis showed significant reductions in the occurrence of aberrant behavior suggesting that the MAS and FAST may not have accurately identified the maintaining variable of the aberrant behavior.
Date: December 2007
Creator: Moore, Heather
Partner: UNT Libraries

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
Partner: UNT Libraries

Evaluation of the Easter Seals North Texas Autism Treatment Program: Progress in Meeting Program Mission

Description: Applied behavior analysis (ABA) remains at the forefront of effective interventions for children with autism. In some cases, the high cost of treatment and other environmental factors limit families from accessing services. The Easter Seals North Texas (ESNT) Autism Treatment Program (ATP) was created to reach high risk, underserved families in the North Texas area by providing early intensive behavioral intervention (EIBI) services to children with autism. This evaluation was conducted to analyze the success of meeting the ESNT ATP program mission to provide culturally responsive ABA to children. The evaluation includes the design of assessments, the analysis of the assessment data, and a set of recommendations to maintain and increase program accessibility.
Date: May 2010
Creator: Pritchett, Malika Naomi
Partner: UNT Libraries

Comparison of Client Attendance, Attrition, and Outcomes in 2 Class System Packages.

Description: Using the principles of systems analysis as a guide, this study compared two class schedule formats used by Behavior Management and Parenting Services (BMAPS) in order to address the following research questions: 1) What effects do 2 different class formats have on student attrition and appointment keeping? 2) What effects do 2 different class formats have on student outcomes on a pre and posttest assessment? 3) What effects do 2 different class formats have on staff procedures? BMAPS provides parent education to individuals referred by Child Protective Services. The current research included approximately 200 referred clients with an appointment or class scheduled with BMAPS between January 1, 2006 and September 22, 2007. Data was collected by reviewing client files for class attendance and performance records. Results of this study allow BMAPS to enlist the class format that is correlated with better attrition rates and client outcomes.
Date: August 2008
Creator: Berends, Valori
Partner: UNT Libraries

Toward a systems analysis of treatment integrity.

Description: This case study is a performance improvement project focusing on the organizational system and management practices in a center for children with autism. Staff interviews and a process improvement map were used to assess the organization and assist in identifying potential solutions. The analysis led to treatment integrity as the key outcome measure. The center's administrative team decided to implement treatment delivery process changes to impact treatment integrity measures. This study measured data sheet changes and treatment implementation to determine the impact of process changes on treatment integrity. High levels of variability in treatment integrity across all teams were observed, and results suggest that a process change was not enough to increase treatment integrity. Further study is necessary to investigate measurement and impact of treatment integrity on desired outcomes for children with autism.
Date: December 2007
Creator: Jamai, Nadia
Partner: UNT Libraries

Naturalistic Study of College Drinking

Description: The prevalence of Alcohol Use Disorders is rapidly increasing among college students. The use of real time monitoring in conjunction with contingency management procedures to reduce alcohol consumption has only recently been developed. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to learn more about natural patterns of alcohol consumption in college-aged adults. A second goal was to evaluate a novel, handheld technology for obtaining reliable samples over extended time periods. College students were given a SoberLinkTM SL2 breathalyzer for eight weeks to monitor their drinking behaviors and asked to self-report the number of drinks consumed each day. Participants received one to three text messages per day to provide breath samples and earned monetary rewards for submitting samples within the allotted time. The results of this study showed that college students tend to consume alcohol during the evening hours and mostly on the weekends. There was a weak to medium correlation between average breath alcohol concentration and conditional average drinks. Compliance with prompts ranged between 77 and 84 percent and monetary earnings ranged between $152 and $160. Naturalistic observations of college drinking may aid in the development of interventions to prevent excessive drinking and the SL2 breathalyzer may have great potential to be used in a number of therapeutic approaches.
Date: May 2016
Creator: Rueb, Skyler Nicole
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Effects of a Parent Training Program that is Responsive to Current Repertoire and Affect

Description: Social deficits are one of the defining symptoms of autism spectrum disorder and affect a child’s ability to build relationships with others. These deficits put children with autism at a disadvantage when most of their world is focused on building connections with others – family, friendships, and community ties. Sunny Starts, a service-learning project, was created to specifically meet the needs of families with young toddlers with autism. The primary focus of Sunny Starts is to enhance the quality of the parent-child relationship by teaching parents a basic teaching interaction and to arrange the child’s environment in ways that are mutually reinforcing. The purpose of this experiment is to study the effects of the Sunny Starts DANCE training package, a responsive parent training program, on three levels of parent and child behaviors: 1) teaching episodes, 2) turn taking, social attending, vocal requests, and 3) synchronous engagement. Participants included two parent-child dyads. Parent training included 5-minute video assessments, video review, descriptions, rationales, modeling, practice, and feedback. The effects of the parent training were evaluated using a concurrent multiple baseline across participants. Results indicate parent teaching episodes and child behaviors (turn taking, social attending, and verbal requests) increased during the intervention phase. The duration of parent-child synchronous engagement maintained at high levels and slightly increased.
Date: May 2016
Creator: Ogorman, Meranda Mae
Partner: UNT Libraries

A Behaviorally Planned Community of Practice: A Description and Evaluation of one Area of Staff Development

Description: Staff training packages combining instructions, modeling, practice, and feedback have been shown to be effective in demonstrating skills to work in early intensive behavioral intervention, but maintenance and generalization of the skills trained are often not addressed. Establishing a community of practice, in which staff members continue to learn and develop new skill sets from one another through shared experiences and information, may lead to the endurance and maintenance of desired staff behavior over time. The purpose of the current study is to evaluate the effects of a behaviorally designed community of practice on staff use of socially embedded consequences. The effects of the training procedure were evaluated using a concurrent multiple baseline design across two sites (7 staff members). The results suggest that the behaviorally planned community of practice was effective in reinforcing and maintaining staff use of socially embedded consequences for at least 5 to 9 weeks. Additionally, the number of learning opportunities provided by the staff and social engagement between staff and child increased.
Date: May 2016
Creator: Ferguson, Julia L
Partner: UNT Libraries

Superstitious Behavior Classroom Game Teaching

Description: Superstitions flourish in cultures around the word and in everyday life. Superstitions are so prevalent and influence personal and political decisions, therefore, we sought to develop a classroom demonstration of superstitious behavior that could be used to show quickly and effectively how powerful adventitious reinforcement could be in modifying behavior. An online game was developed and played by one hundred thirteen university students enrolled in a class on critical thinking. Participants gained points (reinforcement) arbitrarily during either 25% or 50% of each game's (A or B) 3 minute duration. Although points were non-contingent, students often engaged in superstations rules or patterns. Results of both self-reports and computer generated data showed, the games were successful in producing superstitious behavior patterns in about 50% of our participants. More students showed superstitious behavior in the 50% game than in the 25% game. We conclude that this is due to the higher reinforcement rate of in 50% game. For future studies, rearranging the stimulus array into a pattern that does not itself strongly control behavior could help refine the results.
Date: August 2016
Creator: Pourmorshed, Hormat Saadat
Partner: UNT Libraries

Creating a Verbal Community for Describing Emotional Responses within a Contingency Lens: The Effects of a Brief Training Workshop

Description: Observing emotional responses is recognized as a valuable clinical skill in a variety of professions, including applied behavior analysis. Emotional responses can flag possible contingencies thereby guiding a behavior analyst to better select valid measures, goals, and procedures. Additionally, emotional responses can be goals in and of themselves. The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the effects of a workshop on the observation and description of emotional responses by behavior analysts-in-training. The procedures included instructions, modeling, practice, discussion and feedback. The workshop included a blend of trainer presentation and interteaching strategies. The effects of the workshop were evaluated using a single-subject A-B design with multiple probe measures across four students. During probe assessments participants watched short video clips of family interactions and wrote a descriptive narrative in response to several questions. This created a permanent record for quantitative evaluation and analysis. The study resulted in an increase in the number of descriptions of emotional responses among all participants. The participants also increased responses tying the emotional response to external environmental events more often in the post-workshop assessment than the pre-workshop assessment. Results are discussed within the context of training applied behavior analysts, the analysis of verbal behavior, and the role of emotions in clinical practice.
Date: December 2016
Creator: Garden, Regan E.
Partner: UNT Libraries

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
Partner: UNT Libraries

An Evaluation of the Effects of Effort on Resistance to Change

Description: Behavioral momentum theory (BMT) has become a prominent method of studying the effects of reinforcement on operant behavior. BMT represents a departure from the Skinnerian tradition in that it identifies the strength of responding with its resistance to change. Like in many other operant research paradigms, however, responses are considered to be momentary phenomena and so little attention has been paid to non-rate dimensions of responding. The current study takes up the question of whether or not the degree of effort defining a discriminated operant class has any meaningful effect on its resistance to change. Using a force transducer, rats responded on a two-component multiple VI 60-s VI 60-s schedule where each component was correlated with a different force requirement. Resistance to change was tested through prefeeding and extinction. Proportional declines in response rate were equal across components during all disruption tests. Differentiated response classes remained intact throughout. The negative result suggests several future research directions.
Date: December 2016
Creator: Foss, Erica K
Partner: UNT Libraries

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

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.
Date: August 2015
Creator: Liden, Timothy Allen
Partner: UNT Libraries

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

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.
Date: August 2015
Creator: Horsch, Rachel M.
Partner: UNT Libraries

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
Partner: UNT Libraries

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
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Effects of Programmed Reinforcment and Chained Mastery Criteria on Yoga Pose Performance in Two Young Children with Autism

Description: Community exercise can offer many benefits for children, including the opportunity to engage in physical activity and interact with peers in a social setting. Children with autism do not engage in as many community activities as their typical peers. This study examines conditions to teach young children to complete yoga poses to mastery. The effects of prompting, programmed reinforcers, and a chaining criteria were evaluated using a comparison design with two baselines and one intervention condition, replicated across two children with autism. Both children mastered performance of all four targeted yoga poses. The findings are discussed in the context of previous research on the benefits of yoga.
Date: December 2015
Creator: Nguyen, Linda
Partner: UNT Libraries

Evaluation of an Observation and Training System to Increase Play Skills in Young Children with Autism

Description: Play is considered to be important for the development of young children in that it provides a means to expand their interests, promote engagement and learning, and increase social interactions. Children with autism, however, display deficits in play skills, such as lack of pretend play and rigid or stereotyped manners of play. Research suggests supported play techniques, such as reciprocal imitation training, play expansions, and scaffolding increase play skills in children diagnosed with autism. The current study evaluated the effects of a training package to teach staff members supported play techniques to six young children diagnosed with autism. The study employed a concurrent multiple baseline design across two preschool classrooms. The results suggest that the training package successfully increased staff member use of the supported play techniques and child and staff engagement. The training, however, did not have consistent effects on child social engagement (proximity, attending, and initiating) or on the types of child play (simple manipulation, advanced manipulation, and pretend play). Staff member responses to the post-intervention satisfaction and feedback survey were positive and the results are discussed in the context of the observation procedures and directions for future studies.
Date: August 2016
Creator: Van Meter, Sarah M
Partner: UNT Libraries