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0

Describe the common functions of behavior and the typical experimental FA conditions.

Social-positive reinforcement, social-negative reinforcement, automatic reinforcement
Attention condition - social-positive reinforcement
Escape condition - social-negative reinforcement
Alone condition - automatic reinforcement
Control condition - play

1

What methods do researchers use to compare functions of behaviors of persons with ASD to persons without ASD? Overall, what are the conclusions of these studies?

Researchers compare functions of behaviors for persons with and without ASD through the use of indirect and direct assessments of behavior function. That is, they look at the outcomes of functional assessments for both those with ASD and those without ASD and determine whether there are significant differences in functions between these groups.
Overall, these studies conclude that problem behaviors of those with ASD are somewhat more likely to be maintained by tangible reinforcement as compared to those without ASD, but this may not be the case for individuals with more severe intellectual disabilities and may be related to gaining tangibles necessary for certain stereotypic responses.

2

What 3 relations have Reese and colleagues included in their functional assessment interviews that incorporate core ASD behaviors. What are their findings?

3 relations: problem behaviors maintained by gaining items that facilitated engagement in repetitive behaviors; escaping demands because demands interrupted repetitive behavior; escaping from certain forms of sensory stimulation.
Findings: All of these categories have been shown to be more likely for individuals with ASD than those without ASD.

3

Summarize the studies by Taylor and Carr (l992a) and Hagopian et al (2001) that assessed children with ASD who may engage in problem behavior to escape human contact. How are these findings potentially helpful?

-Taylor and Carr - teacher interviews and direct observations; 3 conditions: noncontingent high attention, noncontingent low attention, contingent attention. Kids from social-avoidance group showed highest behavior rates in NC high attention and lower rates in the other conditions. Kids in attention-seeking group had highest rates in contingent attention condition with lower rates in the others.
-Hagopian - 6-year-old boy with ASD, FA conditions: highest rates in play condition (includes NC attention); modified FA with continuous attention which ceased for 30 seconds contingent on behavior, responses about 2 rpm; later taught "play by myself" response.
-These findings are helpful as they may help us modify antecedent and consequent stimuli or teach alternate responses to decrease rates of problem behavior.

4

What conclusions can be made from studies on functions of communication impairments (vocal stereotypies, other speech disturbances, mands, rituals, and destructive behavior)?

Vocal stereotypies typically maintained by automatic reinforcement, possibly sensitive to attention as well. Other speech disturbances generally maintained by attention (non-ASD diagnoses); type of attention may be important. Destructive behavior may be maintained by honoring of mands for compliance with rituals.

5

Describe the protocol and results of Bowman et al. (1997) that used modified FA conditions to investigate functions of communication impairments.

Two conditions: therapist complied with all requests; therapist didn't comply with requests other than for 30 s contingent on problem behavior. No problem behavior in control condition and 1.7 rpm during test condition.

6

What conclusions can be made from studies on functions of restricted and repetitive behaviors (motor stereotypies, stereotypy and destructive behavior, rituals and problem behavior)?

Motor stereotypies are usually maintained by automatic reinforcement but may have addition al sources of control. Interruptions of stereotypy may result in destructive behavior maintained by regaining access to stereotypy. When escape seems like the maintaining function, it may actually be maintained by regaining access to stereotypic behavior. Relatedly, destructive behavior and stereotypy may form a response chain ultimately maintained by the sensory consequences of stereotypy. Interruption of rituals may result in problem behaviors maintained by regaining access to ritualistic behaviors.

7

Describe the protocol of the “do/don’t request analysis” used to investigate functions of restricted and repetitive behaviors. What do various patterns of problem behavior signify?

Ongoing activities are interrupted with either "do" or "don't" requests. Problem behavior in both conditions results in withdrawal of the request. If problem behavior is elevated in both of these over a control non-interruption condition, behaviors are maintained by regaining access interrupted activities. If problem behavior is only elevated in the "do" condition, it is maintained by demand termination.

8

Describe the protocol and results of one of the studies from this section that used modified FA conditions to investigate functions of restricted and repetitive behaviors.

Murphy et al. (2000) conducted an FA of aggression and struggling in a woman withe severe intellectual disabilities. In one condition, she was given flushable materials to flush down the toilet (a ritualistic behavior). In a second condition, she was again presented with flushable materials but was not allowed to flush them. Higher rates of the target behaviors occurred when she was not allowed to flush the materials.

9

What are some of the future directions made by the authors? Which are especially relevant to your work? Can you add more research questions?

Are problem behaviors occasioned by changes in routine more common in autism? Might functional analytics methods be useful in addressing negative signs and symptoms? If we can determine how to attenuate tendencies for individuals with ASD based on diagnostic signs, does the problem behavior dissipate? This last one is especially relevant to my work. Other research questions: Is it necessary to conduct a typical functional analysis first, or is it prudent to jump straight to a modified FA based on indirect assessments? Can individuals with ASD be taught appropriate times, places, and materials with which to engage in stereotypic or ritualistic behaviors?

10

Provide examples of core diagnostic behaviors that you have observed with children with ASD and their probable functions. Have you been involved in functional assessments? What type and what were the outcomes? As a result of reading this chapter, what would you incorporate in your work with individuals with autism?

A child would yell and cry when physically prompted to complete a matching task prior to completing a ritualistic script for each item to be matched. The probable function was regaining the opportunity to complete the script before matching. A child would engage in property destruction when his drawers of work tasks were adjusted so as not to be perfectly lined up. The probable function was accessing the opportunity to "fix" the drawers to his liking. I have been involved in functional assessments, such as recording ABC data. The outcome was that noncompliance was correlated with presentation of non-preferred tasks. As a result of reading this chapter, I would see about providing clients with specified bins of materials they are allowed to use for engaging in stereotypy in an attempt to decrease property destruction presumably maintained by gaining access to materials used to stereotypic responses (spinning, tapping, etc.).

12

Why are behavioral cusps especially important when teaching individuals with ASD?

Behavioral cusps are especially important when teaching individuals with ASD because they are more likely to develop behavioral repertoires that interfere with subsequent behavior development or to develop undesirable repertoires, and the identification of cusps is important to ensure the most important skills for subsequent learning are taught. This is especially important for early intensive behavioral intervention in which hundreds of skills are taught.

13

Name the 12 behavioral cusps described in the chapter.

voice sounds that function as conditioned reinforcers, compliance, auditory matching of words, naming, mutual exclusivity bias, vocal imitation, motor imitation, observational learning, transfer across verbal operants, joint attention, social initiations, behaviors that interfere with learning as negative behavioral cusps

14

What other behaviors may serve as behavioral cusps? In your clinical work, how much of the curriculum is teaching behavioral cusps? How do you assess deficits in this area? How do you assess progress? As a result of reading this chapter, what would you incorporate in your work with individuals with autism?

Staying seated during instruction, rule-following, and turn-takinng may serve as behavioral cusps. Teaching behavioral cusps comes up most with the youngest learners with JA and transfer across verbal operants often being targeted. I am not one of the staff who conducts assessments. Progress in any skill is determined by collecting data on some target behavior. After reading this chapter, I would like to target observational learning as many of my clients seem to lack this skill.

15

Describe the difference between basic, applied, and translational behavior analysis.

Experimental behavior analysis involves basic research designed to add to the body of knowledge about behavior. Applied behavior analysis is focused on applying these behavior principles to real-world situations. Translational behavior analysis connects and informs basic and applied behavior analysis. Laboratory methodologies are used, but targets are selected based on their value in ultimate application to improve the human condition. There are many obvious differences between applied and translational behavior analysis, among them (a) the nature of participants targeted, (b) primary research objectives, (c) time frame of planned and valued benefit, (d) characteristics of delivery systems for developed behavioral technology, (e) typical research environments, (f) dissemination outlets, and (g) source of resources to support the work.

16

What did Shriver and colleagues show about generalized IDMTS in their translational behavior analytic research?

IDMTS = identity matching to sample, which is shown when an individual independently matches physically identical or similar stimuli without explicit training on each matching relation.
Shriver approach: carefully task-analyze task requirements, match those requirements to the best available procedures, rapidly screen out any candidates who could be taught with conventional procedures, and further research any "holes" in either the behavioral analysis or the procedural support, including procedural inefficiency. They showed that generalized IDMTS could successfully be taught to virtually all students using the aforementioned approach.

17

What has translational behavior analytic research shown as far as remediating stimulus overselectivity?

Stimulus overselectivity can be remediated by requiring differential observing responses. That is, by requiring a learner to observe and respond to each sample stimulus, she will then be able to respond appropriately to stimuli based on multiple sources of control.

18

What has translational behavior analytic research shown as far as behavioral momentum with children with ASD and what are potential applications of this research?

Behavioral momentum in children with ASD is related to reinforcer rate and behavioral resistance to disruption. That is, with a dense reinforcement schedule, potential disruptions are less likely to reduce response rate as compared to responses with lean reinforcement schedules. Potential applications of this research include aiding resistance to distraction while performing academic tasks, techniques for maintaining on-task behavior in concert with improved behavioral technology for promoting the generalization of treatment effects.

19

What reasons do the authors provide for nonhuman primate models of ASD? Do you agree or disagree?

Research suggests nonhuman primates display certain behavioral characteristics that may closely model those observed in children with severe neurodevelopmental disorders. e.g., considerable interparticipant variability in response to teaching procedures, frequent overselective attending to complex visual stimuli, low error tolerance, behavioral inflexibility in adjusting to changing contingencies, substantial stereotypic behavior, poor or nonexistent acquisition of relational discriminations via trial-and-error methods, and substantial relational learning success when programmed methods are used. Further, teaching procedures that help one population tend to have the same or similar effects on the other. I agree. If research in other fields can include animal research to learn about humans (e.g., in medicine), then behavioral research with nonhuman primates seems appropriate, especially when two groups are shown to have a great deal in common (in terms of behavior).

20

Are studies in JABA primarily translational or applied? Explain.

Studies in JABA are primarily applied. Most of this research replicates or otherwise expands upon previous research rather than having the basic research components found in translational studies. Further, translational research could potentially be appropriate for either JEAB or JABA, but applied research is strictly appropriate for JABA; basic research does not appear in JABA.

21

What are the 7 categories of common problems in teaching given by Lovaas?

Instructions, selecting behaviors, selecting reinforcing consequences, prompting, pacing, weakening interfering behaviors, where and when to teach

22

Since 2007, only 4 studies on the treatment of feeding problems specifically with children with autism have been published in JABA and only a few studies have been published in other journals. Speculate as to why this is the case, especially given that feeding problems are so prevalent with children with autism.

Teachers, parents, and other caregivers may see other problem behaviors as more important to target, especially if the child is getting enough to eat. If given the choice between working on self injury, aggression, manding, and feeding problems, the importance of decreasing feeding problems may pale in comparison to the other behaviors. This may also be influenced by the prevalence of ethical and safety concerns in this realm.

23

What are examples of ethical and safety issues that may arise when treating feeding problems? How might translational behavior analytic research benefit the field in this area?

Ethically, it may not be possible to withhold preferred foods when targeting food selectivity. Presenting food to an individual with poor oral motor skills may pose safety risks such as choking or aspirating food.

24

The authors offer some reasons why conducting research specifically with children with autism is important to do (e.g., feeding problems may be a ritualistic behavior or stereotypy). Have you experienced situations with a child where the characteristics of autism either worked against or helped the intervention?

Sensory processing problems have worked against feeding interventions in that an individual would only eat food of a specific consistency.

25

As a behavior analyst, what do you take from the review that informs your practice?

Due to minimal research of feeding disorders in individuals with ASD, it is important to consider all research of feeding problems when developing a treatment. Additionally, it is important to ensure foods are only delivered that the individual is capable of chewing and swallowing.

26

Tip for instructions

Avoid talking casually to an individual with developmental delays as if she understands what is being said to her because doing so may lead to language simply being experienced as noise that she will either adapt to or ignore. Keep instructions short and to the point.

27

Tip for selecting behaviors

Do not assume that the student possesses prior knowledge about a particular task being taught. It is better to assume that the student does not possess such knowledge. Do not assume that a healthy and knowledgeable individual resides inside “an autistic shell” waiting to be let out. The task of teaching-treatment is enormously more complex than that. If the student already knows part or all of the task, this will be evidenced by the speed with which the student acquires the new task.

28

Tip for selecting reinforcing consequences

Avoid reinforcing errors. Data show that once persons receive information that a student has been labeled autistic or mentally retarded, persons tend to provide encouraging comments (e.g., “Good try”) when the student makes mistakes (Eikeseth & Lovaas, 1992). Although such comments may represent sincere attempts at being helpful, by providing them, one runs the risk of reinforc- ing and thus strengthening errors.

29

Tip for prompting

Avoid unintentional prompts. These prompts include visually attending to the object the student is asked to identify, mouthing the correct response without recognizing that it may be a form of prompting, continually asking the student to identify the item appearing in the center of a display and not recognizing that this could be a position prompt, and so on. If the teacher is unaware of such prompts, they are unlikely to be faded. Thus, it is likely that the student will become prompt dependent by being reinforced for responding to these prompts rather than to the SD. Members of the treatment team should closely monitor each other’s teaching to identify inadvertent prompts.

30

Tip for pacing

When the student is given time to play between teaching sessions, make sure that these breaks do not involve the kinds of self-stimulatory behavior that lead to the student’s being “unavailable” when she returns to the formal teaching situation. For example, some students be- come completely absorbed in certain Disney cartoons. Some of these cartoons may cue delayed echolalia and other forms of self-stimulation, which may carry over to the teaching situation. Break times should involve play with appropriate toys such as puzzles and engagement in physical activities.

31

Tip for weakening interfering behaviors

When using time-out (e.g., by placing a student in a corner contingent on a tantrum), make certain that this consequence does not serve as negative reinforcement, allowing the student to escape from the teaching situation. Time-out may also allow the student increased access to self-stimulatory behavior, a positive reinforcer. This kind of dual reinforcement may serve to strengthen the very behavior the teacher thinks he or she is weakening.

32

Tip for where and when to teach

Be aware that generalization training occurs when new people join the teaching team. Older and experienced teachers will inevitably leave and have to be replaced by new persons. Make certain that the transition between the old teacher and the new teacher is as gradual as possible so that discontinuity in the student's program is minimized. When a teacher must leave, provide at least a 2-week interval in which the experienced and new teachers work together side by side in an apprenticeship fashion and then take turns teaching. This allows for the new teacher to become familiar with the student and the student's programs and be faded in while the old teacher is slowly faded out.

33

Tips from examples of specific problems

Remove the favorite toy and then give it back to the stu- dent almost immediately, before the student screams, reinforcing the student for not screaming. (If the student screams and then receives the toy, the student’s screaming will be reinforced.) Slowly increase the interval of not screaming from 1 to 2 seconds and gradually up to 10 seconds before returning the toy. Call this exercise in frustration tolerance the “Big Kid Program.”
The student may be bored of using blocks. Change the stimuli, shifting to objects such as large and small cars, cups, animal figurines, and so on.

44

The authors state that the effects of a behavior help determine if the behavior is a cusp. What are the criteria proposed by Fuqua (2001) for the identification of a cusp?

-The behavior presents access to new reinforcers, contingencies, or environments
-The behavior facilitates later learning by acting as a prerequisite or a component of more complex responses
-The behavior is interfering with or replacing inappropriate behaviors
-The behavior has significant impact on individuals who control reinforcers and punishers in a specific environment
-The behavior meets the demands of the social community of which the learner is a member.