Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis

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Renewed behavior produced by context change and its implications for treatment maintenance: A review

Tue, 06/13/2017 - 06:15

Behavioral treatment gains established in one setting do not always maintain in other settings. The present review examines the relevance of basic and translational research to understanding failures to maintain treatment gains across settings. Specifically, studies of the renewal effect examine how transitioning away from a treatment setting could evoke a return of undesirable behavior, rather than newly trained appropriate behavior. Studies of renewal typically arrange three phases, with a response trained and reinforced under a particular set of contextual stimuli in the first phase. Next, that response is extinguished, often under a different set of contextual stimuli. Finally, that response returns despite extinction remaining in effect upon returning to the original training context or transitioning to a novel context. Thus, removing the extinction context is sufficient to produce a recurrence of the response. The findings suggest treatment effects can become specific to the context in which the treatment was delivered. This literature offers promising methods for systematically assessing the factors contributing to treatment maintenance and improving generalization of treatment gains across contexts. Therefore, the present review suggests basic and translational research on renewal provides an empirical literature to bring greater conceptual systematization to understanding generalization and maintenance of behavioral treatment.

Categories: Academic Journals

Effects of serial and concurrent training on receptive identification tasks: A Systematic replication

Thu, 06/08/2017 - 07:40

The current study compared the use of serial and concurrent methods to train multiple exemplars when teaching receptive language skills, providing a systematic replication of Wunderlich, Vollmer, Donaldson, and Phillips (2014). Five preschoolers diagnosed with developmental delays or autism spectrum disorders were taught to receptively identify letters or letter sounds. Subjects learned the target stimuli slightly faster in concurrent training and a high degree of generalization was obtained following both methods of training, indicating that both the serial and concurrent methods of training are efficient and effective instructional procedures.

Categories: Academic Journals

Data presentation options to manage variability in physical activity research

Mon, 05/29/2017 - 22:15

This paper presents seven tactics for managing the variability evident in some physical activity data. High levels of variability in daily step-count data from pedometers or accelerometers can make typical visual inspection difficult. Therefore, the purpose of the current paper is to discuss several strategies that might facilitate the visual interpretation of highly variable data. The seven strategies discussed in this paper are phase mean and median lines, daily average per week, weekly cumulative, proportion of baseline, 7-day moving average, change point detection, and confidence intervals. We apply each strategy to a data set and discuss the advantages and disadvantages.

Categories: Academic Journals

Analysis of precursors to multiply controlled problem behavior: A replication

Mon, 05/29/2017 - 22:10

We replicated Fritz, Iwata, Hammond, and Bloom (2013) by evaluating the efficacy of an experimental methodology to identify precursors to aggression displayed by an adolescent with autism spectrum disorder. Using their trial-based precursor analysis, we identified seven precursors to aggression. Next, we compared the outcomes of separate precursor and aggression functional analyses and showed that both precursors and aggression were multiply controlled by the same variables.

Categories: Academic Journals

Outcome summaries of latency-based functional analyses conducted in hospital inpatient units

Mon, 05/29/2017 - 22:10

Latency-based functional analysis (FA) may be a viable alternative to the standard, rate-based, FA when frequently evoking problem behavior is not advisable. We conducted 18 latency-based FAs of the problem behavior of children diagnosed with autism in inpatient hospital settings and identified functional relations during 44.4% (8 of 18) of latency-based FAs. Implications for conducting FAs of severe problem behavior are discussed.

Categories: Academic Journals

Incorporating multiple secondary targets into learning trials for individuals with autism spectrum disorder

Wed, 05/17/2017 - 05:36

The current study examined the outcome of presenting multiple secondary targets in learning trials for individuals with autism spectrum disorder. We compared conditions in which (a) a secondary target was presented in the antecedent and consequence of trials, (b) two secondary targets were presented in the consequence of trials, (c) one secondary target was presented in the consequence of each trial, and (d) no additional targets were presented trials. The participants acquired the majority of secondary targets. Presenting one or multiple secondary targets per trial, regardless of the location of these secondary targets, increased the efficiency of instruction in comparison to a condition with no secondary target.

Categories: Academic Journals

Using the dual-criteria methods to supplement visual inspection: An analysis of nonsimulated data

Wed, 05/17/2017 - 05:36

The purpose of our study was to examine the probability of observing false positives in nonsimulated data using the dual-criteria methods. We extracted data from published studies to produce a series of 16,927 datasets and then assessed the proportion of false positives for various phase lengths. Our results indicate that collecting at least three data points in the first phase (Phase A) and at least five data points in the second phase (Phase B) is generally sufficient to produce acceptable levels of false positives.

Categories: Academic Journals

Noncontingent reinforcement without extinction plus differential reinforcement of alternative behavior during treatment of problem behavior

Wed, 05/17/2017 - 05:36

The effects of noncontingent reinforcement (NCR) without extinction during treatment of problem behavior maintained by social positive reinforcement were evaluated for five individuals diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. A continuous NCR schedule was gradually thinned to a fixed-time 5-min schedule. If problem behavior increased during NCR schedule thinning, a continuous NCR schedule was reinstated and NCR schedule thinning was repeated with differential reinforcement of alternative behavior (DRA) included. Results showed an immediate decrease in all participants’ problem behavior during continuous NCR, and problem behavior maintained at low levels during NCR schedule thinning for three participants. Problem behavior increased and maintained at higher rates during NCR schedule thinning for two other participants; however, the addition of DRA to the intervention resulted in decreased problem behavior and increased mands.

Categories: Academic Journals

An analysis of procedures that affect response variability

Wed, 05/17/2017 - 05:36

Response variability is sensitive to antecedent and consequent manipulations. Researchers have investigated inducement, direct production through reinforcement, and stimulus control of response variability. Recently, researchers have shown that lag reinforcement schedules reliably increase variability but may also produce higher-order stereotypy. There has been limited investigation of appropriate variability levels and alternation between repetition and variation. In a three-part study, we evaluated levels of variability across a group of children, the effects of various procedures on producing response variability and novelty, and the use of schedule-correlated stimuli for producing rapid alternation between repetition and variation. In Study 1, there was a nearly bimodal distribution of children emitting either low or high variability. In Study 2, for most children, fixed lag 4 and variable lag 4 schedules produced the highest levels of variability and novelty. In Study 3, responding was brought under control of schedule-correlated stimuli, allowing for rapid alternation between repetition and variation.

Categories: Academic Journals

An evaluation of interdependent and independent group contingencies during the good behavior game

Sat, 05/13/2017 - 01:34

The Good Behavior Game (GBG) uses an interdependent group contingency to improve classroom behavior. Despite the wealth of research on the effectiveness of the GBG, some teachers may have concerns about their students’ abilities to work in teams, particularly if they have a history of poor social skills. We used an alternating treatments design to compare the relative effectiveness of the GBG with interdependent and independent group contingencies in a classroom for children with emotional and behavioral disorders. Our results showed that both versions of the GBG reduced verbal disruptions, inappropriate sitting, and off-task behaviors for all children. However, the majority of children preferred the interdependent arrangement. We discuss how these results may promote more widespread use of the GBG with children with substantial behavioral challenges.

Categories: Academic Journals

Toward meaningful outcomes in teaching conversation and greeting skills with individuals with autism spectrum disorder

Sat, 05/13/2017 - 01:34

We identified greeting and conversation deficits based on a parent interview and semistructured direct assessment for one child and two adolescents with autism spectrum disorder. We taught the greeting and conversation skills using behavioral skills training and within-session corrective feedback. A multiple baseline across conversation and greeting skills demonstrated experimental control over the effects of the teaching on acquisition and generalization to novel adults. We also conducted embedded reversals to assess maintenance of the acquired skills. Teaching produced robust acquisition, generalization, maintenance, and treatment extension for 15 of the 16 targeted skills across participants. Participant and parent reports indicated high levels of social validity for the intervention and outcomes. The results support individualized assessment and intervention for improving greeting and conversation skills during unscripted interactions, which are requisite for more extended and complex social interactions.

Categories: Academic Journals

Teaching mands for information using ‘when’ to children with autism

Fri, 04/28/2017 - 06:33

Previous research has evaluated contrived motivating operations to teach mands for information. However, literature evaluating acquisition of the mand when? is comparatively limited. As an extension of Shillingsburg, Bowen, Valentino, & Pierce (2014), we taught three children with autism to engage in mands for information using when under alternating conditions in which a contrived establishing operation was present (EOP) or absent (EOA). Following training with a constant prompt delay, all participants acquired the mand for information and demonstrated correct use of the provided information and a decrease in inappropriate attempts to access restricted items.

Categories: Academic Journals

Effects of programmed teaching errors on acquisition and durability of self-care skills

Mon, 04/24/2017 - 04:22

This investigation sheds light on necessary and sufficient conditions to establish self-care behavior chains among people with developmental disabilities. First, a descriptive assessment (DA) identified the types of teaching errors that occurred during self-care instruction. Second, the relative effects of three teaching errors observed during the DA were evaluated across two behavior chains for three participants. Third, the effects of individual teaching errors were studied with a third behavior chain per participant. Teaching errors included prompting steps out of order, delivering the reinforcer at times other than immediately following correct completion of the training step, and failing to prompt completion of all steps within a teaching trial. All teaching errors included in the evaluation interfered with skill acquisition and disrupted performance of mastered skills. Results are discussed in terms of future research on the components of efficacious treatment packages for disseminating effective practices.

Categories: Academic Journals

Intercontinental telehealth coaching of therapists to improve verbalizations by children with autism

Mon, 04/24/2017 - 04:22

This study examined the effects of intercontinental telehealth coaching on the mastery of therapists’ skills and improvements in verbalizations by children with autism, testing whether telehealth can be a solution for underserved communities in developing countries such as Georgia-Sakartvelo in Eastern Europe. Three therapists delivering and three children with autism receiving early-intervention services from the nongovernmental organization Children of Georgia in Tbilisi participated. Experimenters provided coaching from Virginia, USA to therapists in Georgia-Sakartvelo. Observers in Georgia-Sakartvelo and in Virginia conducted the behavioral observations. We used inexpensive communications technology to provide the coaching and a multiple-baseline design across participants to evaluate the effects of the intervention. Therapists demonstrated improvements in two classes of behaviors: correct command sequences and positive consequences. The children demonstrated improvements with echoics and mands. The study demonstrated that telehealth can be a good model for delivering early-intervention services to children with autism in underserved and distant regions of the world.

Categories: Academic Journals

Effects of student pairing and public review on physical activity during school recess

Mon, 04/17/2017 - 06:30

The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of student pairing and feedback during recess on children's step counts. During baseline, participants wore a sealed pedometer during recess. During intervention, we paired participants with higher step counts with participants with lower step counts. We encouraged teams to compete for the highest step count each day and provided feedback on their performance during each recess session. Results showed a large mean increase in step count from baseline to intervention. These results suggest that children's steps during recess can be increased with a simple and cost-effective intervention.

Categories: Academic Journals

Guest Eds & Revs Acknowledgement

Sun, 04/09/2017 - 20:31
Categories: Academic Journals

Evaluation of interactive computerized training to teach parents to implement photographic activity schedules with children with autism spectrum disorder

Tue, 03/28/2017 - 21:55

Training parents of children with autism spectrum disorder can be a challenge due to limited resources, time, and money. Interactive computerized training (ICT)—a self-paced program that incorporates instructions, videos, and interactive questions—is one method professionals can use to disseminate trainings to broader populations. This study extends previous research on ICT by assessing the effect of ICT to teach three parents how to implement a photographic activity schedule using a systematic prompting procedure with their child. Following ICT, all parents increased their fidelity to implementation of an activity schedule during role-play sessions with an adult. Fidelity remained high during implementation with their child and maintained during a 2-week follow-up.

Categories: Academic Journals

Improving the interview skills of college students using behavioral skills training

Thu, 03/23/2017 - 04:10

Obtaining a job as a college graduate is partly dependent on interview performance. We used a multiple baseline design across skills to evaluate the effects of behavioral skills training with self-evaluation for five college students. Training effects were evaluated using simulated interviews as baseline and posttraining assessments. All participants acquired targeted skills, but we observed some individual differences. Participants were satisfied with training outcomes and rated the procedures as acceptable. Furthermore, ratings from university staff who provide interview training indicated that training improved performance across several skills for the majority of participants.

Categories: Academic Journals

Teaching identity matching of braille characters to beginning braille readers

Thu, 03/23/2017 - 04:05

We taught three children with visual impairments to make tactile discriminations of the braille alphabet within a matching-to-sample format. That is, we presented participants with a braille character as a sample stimulus, and they selected the matching stimulus from a three-comparison array. In order to minimize participant errors, we initially arranged braille characters into training sets in which there was a maximum difference in the number of dots comprising the target and nontarget comparison stimuli. As participants mastered these discriminations, we increased the similarity between target and nontarget comparisons (i.e., an approximation of stimulus fading). All three participants’ accuracy systematically increased following the introduction of this identity-matching procedure.

Categories: Academic Journals

Interview-informed functional analyses: A comparison of synthesized and isolated components

Fri, 03/17/2017 - 05:10

Hanley, Jin, Vanselow, and Hanratty (2014) described a functional analysis (FA) format that relied on a synthesis of multiple contingencies described by caregivers during open-ended interviews. These interview-informed synthesized contingency analyses (IISCA) provided effective baselines from which to develop socially validated treatments, but the synthesis precluded a precise understanding of individual contingencies influencing problem behavior. We conducted IISCAs and standard FAs (Iwata, Dorsey, Slifer, Bauman, & Richman, 1982/1994) for nine children with autism to evaluate the likelihood of differentiation given a number of synthesized versus isolated variables. The IISCA was differentiated for all. The standard FA was differentiated for four; this number increased to six when we included precursors in the standard FA. We then compared treatments based on sets of differentiated analyses for four children. Treatment based on the IISCA was effective for all four; treatments based on the standard FA were effective for two. The role of synthesis in analysis is discussed.

Categories: Academic Journals

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