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ABA International, Phoenix, May, 2009

# 292 Symposium North 125 - 05/24/2009 4:00 PM - 5:20 PM

Three Different Behavioral Procedures to Reduce Problem Behavior for Children with Autism

Chair: Mitchell T. Taubman (Autism Partnership)
Discussant: John James McEachin (Autism Partnership)

Purpose: Typically, children with autism engage in various forms of problem behavior ranging from aggression, to self-injurious behavior, to non-compliance. These problem behaviors can cause physical harm to the child, to the child’s staff members, and to the child’s family. In addition, these maladaptive behaviors can interfere with the learning process. Therefore, behavioral procedures are typically implemented to reduce problem behavior during therapy sessions. Research has shown that a variety of behavioral procedures are effective in reducing problem behavior. This symposium will discus three behavioral procedures that have been found to be effective in reducing problem behaviors for children and adolescents with autism, as well as provide empirical support on their effectiveness. The first presentation will discus the implementation of a differential reinforcement of other behaviors (DRO) procedure in reducing problem behavior for children and adolescents with autism. The second discussion will describe procedures on teaching children with autism learning to learn skills and how they relate to decreasing problem behavior. The final presentation will describe a time-in procedure and its effects on decreasing problem behaviors. Each presentation will provide a conceptual basis for the procedure being discussed, as well as provide evidence on their effectiveness.

Doing Nothing as Replacement Behavior: An Intensive DRO procedure using tokens to increase self-control. JOHN JAMES MCEACHIN (Autism Partnership)
DRO and other differential reinforcement procedures have been widely used to decrease a wide range of disruptive and detrimental behaviors by making reinforcement contingent on the absence of target behavior. It is often used in conjunction with reinforcement of specific alternative or topographically incompatible behavior, often referred to as replacement behavior. We suggest there may be times when the appropriate alternative behavior is doing nothing, which can be construed as self-control. We have used rapid delivery of token reinforcers to effectively teach children with autism to refrain from engaging in high rate stereotypic, off-task and other behaviors that interfere with learning. This intensive DRO procedure differs from other applications because it uses nonstop delivery of tokens paired with extremely high rate of praise in a topographically distinctive manner. The aim is to establish the movement of the teacher, words of praise, tone of voice and presentation of teaching materials as a conditioned reinforcer. In effect the act of teaching becomes a sufficiently powerful reinforcer that interruption of teaching contingent on undesired behavior becomes a highly effective decelerating consequence. Video demonstration will be provided along with data demonstrating the procedure’s effectiveness and generalization.

Sitting without tears: A rapid procedure for establishing cooperation with instruction. TOBY MOUNTJOY (Autism Partnership HK), Ronald B. Leaf (Autism Partnership), John James McEachin (Autism Partnership), John Rafuse (Autism Partnership)
Teachers and parents are often eager to teach children language and academic skills; however, in order for children to be successful their disruptive behaviors must not interfere in the learning processes. Therefore, behaviors such as aggression, noncompliance and self-stimulation must be targeted prior to teaching more formal skills. Another critical perquisite skill that is essential in order to maximize learning is "learning how to learn" skill, which is teaching children the process of learning. It is the foundation, perhaps the pivotal skill necessary for them to acquire all other skills. Often when a child is struggling in learning beginning or advanced skills it is because the child is deficient in this area. If a child does not understand that when a teacher issues an instruction they are to make a response it can slow the learning process. Perhaps even more critical is their understanding of feedback. That is, when they receive "reinforcement" they should repeat the response and if they receive corrective feedback then they need to change their response. We have developed programs specifically designed to quickly teach these skills. Children often acquire understanding of the fundamental learning process within hours which has resulted in acceleration of their learning.

Time-In to reduce impulsive and other problematic behaviors in children with autism. AMBER RAMER (Autism Partnership), John James McEachin (Autism Partnership), Mitchell T. Taubman (Autism Partnership), Ronald B. Leaf (Autism Partnership)
We present here a conceptual understanding of Time-In and describe its application for the reduction of undesired behaviors in children with autism of widely varying intellectual levels in a variety of settings. Time-In is a variation of Time-Out procedures that have been described and demonstrated as effective by Foxx and Shapiro (1978). Olmi, Sevier & Nastasi (1997), and others. Time-Out is a deceleration procedure typically implemented by removing a child from the opportunity to earn reinforcement or otherwise reducing availability of reinforcement contingent upon the occurrence of target behavior. Its effectiveness is dependent on the contrast between the time-in condition and the time-out condition. The Time-In procedure uses a distinctive stimulus such as a wrist band whose presence is paired with an extremely rich availability of reinforcers, thereby establishing it as a conditioned reinforcer, which can be removed contingent upon the occurrence of undesired behavior. We describe procedural details to maximize the effectiveness of the procedure, along with video illustration and data demonstrating its effectiveness and discussion of situations where it may be advantageous.