BAAM 2019 Convention Schedule
This program is subject to change. The schedule in EventsXD will reflect any last-minute changes.

Please contact BAAM if you find errors or omissions.


Click here for an abbreviated version of the schedule

Thursday Keynote

 9:00 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.
Ballroom (2nd Floor)



Can the Experimental Analysis of Behavior Adapt to the Environment?

Stuart Vyse
Author of Believing in Magic: They Psychology of Superstition and
Going Broke: Why Americans (Still) Can’t Hold on to Their Money.





With the disappearance of the experimental analysis of behavior (EAB) from many universities, the discipline faces an existential crisis. I will begin by presenting a dystopian account of the current state and likely future of the science. I will argue that many of the innovations that made EAB strong during its early decades weaken it now, and I will propose that it is time for our behavior analysts to rejoin the mainstream of behavioral science. In particular, those who study the antecedents and consequences of behavior should explore the use of new dependent measures and more mainstream experimental designs. In order to obtain academic positions, behavior analytic researchers should acquire the statistical and mathematical skills that are common in mainstream behavioral science and adopt the methods of open science. Finally, I argue for more deliberate efforts to communicate behavior analytic findings to the general public using non-technical language.




Stuart Vyse received BA and MA degrees in English Literature at Southern Illinois University, and MA and Ph.D. degrees in psychology from the University of Rhode Island. He was a visiting scholar at Harvard University, where he worked in the pigeon laboratory, then under the supervision of Richard Herrnstein. The majority of his teaching career was spent at Connecticut College, where he was Joanne Toor Cummings' 50 Professor of Psychology. He is author of Believing in Magic: The Psychology of Superstition (2014/1997), which won the William James Book Award of the American Psychological Association, and Going Broke: Why Americans (Still) Can't Hold on to Their Money (2019). His research interests are in decision-making, behavioral economics, philosophy, and belief in the paranormal. His essays and opinion pieces have appeared in the Observer, Medium, The Atlantic, Huffington Post, and Tablet. As an expert on superstition and irrational behavior, he has been quoted in many news outlets, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, New Statesman, Vox, and the Los Angeles Times, and he has appeared on CBS Sunday Morning (twice), CNN International, the PBS NewsHour, and NPR's Science Friday. He is a Fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, and he writes the "Behavior & Belief" column for Skeptical Inquirer magazine, where he is a contributing editor.


Thursday Breakout Sessions

•10:30 a.m. - 11:50 a.m Ballroom A (1.5  BACB Type-II CEU, Ethics)

Panel Discussion: Applying the Professional and Ethical Compliance Code to Real Challenges Faced by Practitioners.


Chair: Angela Capuano (University of Michigan-Dearborn)

Discussant: Angela Capuano (University of Michigan-Dearborn)


Panelists: Kim Killu (University of Michigan-Dearborn), Kim Renner (University of Michigan), Danielle DeLong (Harbor)


In this panel discussion, the panelists will address questions experienced by practicing BCBAs and students completing fieldwork hours. Panelists will focus on questions that have relevance to the Professional and Ethical Compliance Code (BACB, 2014) and that will be applicable to many current practitioners. Each panelist brings many years of professional experience, along with diversity in training and populations served. Panelists have worked in residential settings, home-based settings, inpatient and outpatient settings. Panelists have worked in large organizations and private practice. They have served clients with traumatic brain injury, autism, intellectual disabilities, feeding disorders, and mental health disorders, as well as incarcerated individuals, with children through adults. Prior to the panel discussion, the chair will contact professors at Michigan universities who have course sequences in applied behavior analysis and ask them to have their students submit questions or ethical dilemmas they have faced during their fieldwork experience. The chair will also contact BCBA supervisors in Michigan to gather questions and ethical dilemmas they have faced. Each panelist will focus on a particular scenario and give feedback based upon the relevant areas of the Professional and Ethical Compliance Code (BACB, 2014) that apply. Resources for further information will also be given. This talk is meant to provide additional perspective on how to apply the rules of the Professional and Ethical Compliance Code (BACB, 2014), but will not constitute personal advice given to any specific individual.


•10:30 a.m. - 11:50 a.m Ballroom B (1.5 BACB Type-II CEU)

Symposium: Unique Challenges Regarding the Assessment and Treatment of Problem Behavior.


Chair: Michael P. Kranak (Western Michigan University)

Discussant: Stephanie M. Peterson (Western Michigan University)


Functional assessments and function-based treatments enable behavior analysts to effectively treat problem behavior. These assessments and treatments are designed, conducted, and implemented on a client-by-client basis. Although the overarching methodology and principles remain the same, problem behaviors and their functions often differ between clients. Additionally, clients may display problem behavior in a variety of environments ñ including medical settings. Because of this, each assessment and subsequent treatment can present behavior analysts with idiosyncratic hurdles and challenges. This symposium will focus on some of those challenges and their potential solutions. In the first study, researchers investigated potential modifications to Functional Communication Training in a human operant arrangement. In the second study, researchers examined behavioral interventions to increase compliance with medical procedures. The third presenter will describe the role of various forms of attention within functional analyses, as well as systematic methods to identify the differentiated effects of forms of attention. Results and implications for practitioners will be discussed.


Serial and Concurrent Response Presentation: Their Effects on Resurgence. Michael P. Kranak (Western Michigan University), Stephanie M. Peterson (Western Michigan University), Claire C. St. Peter (West Virginia University)


Serial response training (SRT) may mitigate resurgence of a target response when compared to teaching a single alternative response. However, the necessity of the serial presentation of alternatives is yet to be determined. We hypothesized teaching alternative responses at the same time (concurrent response training [CRT]) may be as effective as, and more efficient than, SRT. We used a multielement design embedded within an ABC paradigm in a human operant arrangement in three studies. Thirty undergraduate students enrolled in a psychology course participated. In Study 1, we compared CRT to differential reinforcement of a single alternative response (traditional DRA). In Study 2, we compared CRT, SRT, and traditional DRA. In Study 3, we implemented CRT and made real-time, data-based decisions regarding phase length rather than standard a priori phase-change criteria. We found both CRT and SRT resulted in greater persistence of alternative responses and suppression of target responses than traditional DRA. However, CRT mitigated resurgence of target responding better than SRT. This experiment suggests investigating CRT with clinically-relevant behavior may prove fruitful as a modification to differential reinforcement procedures.


A Review of Attention Assessments. Cody A. Morris (Western Michigan University)


An emerging body of research evidence documents all forms of attention are not functionally equivalent. This is problematic for researchers or practitioners who do not individualize procedures reliant on attention, like functional analyses. For functional analyses specifically, attention conditions, similarly to tangible and demand conditions, are likely to be influenced by idiosyncratic variables. Therefore, it is important to utilize methods for appropriately determining which form of attention should be included in the assessment. The purpose of this presentation is to review the existing research, summarize systematic methods for determining the effects of different forms of attention, and to identify key limitations of current methods.


Behavioral Interventions to Increase Compliance with Medical Procedures in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Denice Rios Mojica (Western Michigan University), Nathan VanderWeele (Western Michigan University)


Children with autism spectrum disorder often display noncompliance with medical procedures. This often leads to an increase in problem behaviors when asked to complete common medical regimens, such as yearly physical examinations, phlebotomy procedures, dental work, and many more. In some medical settings, strategies such as the use of anesthesia, restraint, and sedation are used to decrease the probability of noncompliance and occurrence of problem behaviors. However, the use of these methods may lead to various complications, such as altered test results, unnecessary medical complications, and increased stress for the child and family. Behavioral interventions can be a viable alternative to the treatment of noncompliance during medical procedures that would greatly reduce these complications. For many years, researchers have shown success with various procedures for medical procedure adherence with children with autism spectrum disorder. In this presentation, we will outline two case reviews where behavioral interventions were utilized to increase medical procedure adherence with two children with autism spectrum disorder. The results of these interventions will be discussed along with methodological and clinical implications for increasing medical procedure adherence.

•10:30 a.m. - 11:20 a.m Auditorium (1.0 BACB Type-II CEU)

Symposium: Demonstrations of Effective Staff Training to Implement Applied Behavior Analytic Techniques.


Chair: Marisa H. Fisher (Michigan State University)

Discussant: Marisa H. Fisher (Michigan State University)


Although board certified behavior analysts (BCBA) are rigorously trained to design and implement applied behavior analytic programs for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD; e.g., autism spectrum disorder, intellectual disability), it is seldom the BCBA working directly with the client with IDD. Instead, front line staff, such as teachers, behavior technicians, and job coaches work directly with clients and are in often in charge of data collection and interpretation. Because the BCBA is not always present when the front line staff are working with clients, it is imperative to ensure the staff are correctly implementing the behavior analytic procedures. This symposium presents three studies. First, job coaches were taught to use three systematic instructional practices (task analysis, simultaneous prompting, and least to most prompting). Next, fidelity of an instructor's implementation of a manualized curriculum was assessed and enhanced through the use of a self-monitoring checklist. Finally, behavior technicians were taught to visually analyze data using a clinical decision-model to determine whether they should continue intervention, discontinue intervention, modify intervention, or determine intervention is complete. Findings from the three studies will be discussed in terms of clinical implications and directions for future staff training.


Training Job Coaches in Systematic Methods of Instruction. John D. Wenzel, IV (Michigan State University), Marisa H. Fisher (Michigan State University)


Adults with disabilities experience high rates of unemployment, but supported employment models using job coaches to teach vocational skills have shown some success in improving employment outcomes. Job coaches, however, are not typically trained to implement systematic instructional practices, which may impact their ability to provide effective instruction. A multiple probe across behaviors design was used to evaluate the effectiveness of a job coach training to teach novice job coaches three systematic instructional methods (development of a task analysis, simultaneous prompting, and least-to-most prompting). A behavioral skills training model (consisting of instruction, modeling, rehearsal, and feedback) was used to teach the skills in a group training format. Participants were assessed on their use of each strategy in roleplay scenarios with actors, as well as generalization sessions where they were asked to implement each strategy to teach a new vocational task to a learner with a developmental disability.


An Evaluation of Fidelity of Implementation of a Manualized Social-Play Curriculum. Emma Sipila (Michigan State University), Matthew T. Brodhead (Michigan State University), Joshua B. Plavnick (Michigan State University)


Play is the foundation upon which social skills are built. Though typically developing children learn from an early age to interact socially through play, children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) demonstrate characteristic deficits in social interaction and often do not engage in social play like their typically developing peers. When children with ASD engage in inappropriate, rigid, or isolated play, their peers often perceive them as odd or disrespectful. These perceptions lead to social isolation and stigmatization, and interfere with a child's ability to build meaningful relationships with peers. The purposes of the present study were to: (1) implement a component of a play curriculum for children with ASD, and (2) measure the extent to which that curriculum was accurately implemented by instructors. The results of this study indicated that instructors implemented the curriculum with high levels of treatment fidelity. The implementation of an instructor self-monitoring checklist further increased instructor fidelity. These findings and implications are discussed.


Further Evaluation of a Clinical Decision-Making Tool to Train Front-Line Employees to Conduct Visual Analysis. Darla N. Kril (Michigan State University), Matthew T. Brodhead (Michigan State University), Adrea Truckenmiller (Michigan State University), Emma Sipila (Michigan State University)


Visual analysis is an important component of interpreting data and making clinical decisions for children with autism spectrum disorder. Visual analysis is used to interpret data using level, trend, and variability, to examine treatment effects of an intervention, and to determine if an intervention is producing socially significant changes in behavior. Behavior technicians come into contact with this data most often, as they are responsible for implementing behavioral interventions and interpreting data, but they receive little to no training in visual analysis. Training employees can be costly and may use resources that could be better allocated elsewhere; therefore, an efficient and streamlined data analysis training is needed. To train employees to use visual analysis when interpreting data from line graphs, the effects of a computer-based program were evaluated and a clinical decision-making model (CDMM) was created, and embedded into the computer program, to aid employees in making these decisions (Kipfmiller et. al, 2018). Results showed the CDMM graphic used in the computer-based training increased the percentage of correct clinical decisions in six of the eight participants; however, it was unknown whether responding would continue upon the removal of the CDMM graphic. The current was conducted to extend these findings by examined whether correct responding continued upon removal of the visual aid. To date, three participants' responding maintained and a computer-based feedback session was created for those participants whose responding did not increase. This training may provide a low cost and time efficient method to train employees to make correct clinical-decisions.

•10:30 a.m. - 11:20 a.m 310A
Introduction to the Early Start Denver Model for Behavior Analysts. Costanza Colombi (University of Michigan)


The aim of this presentation is to introduce behavior analysts to various components of ESDM including principles, research background, assessment, writing objectives, and intervention strategies.  The Early Start Denver Model ESDM (Rogers and Dawson, 2010) is an empirically-based early intervention that fuses a relationship-focused developmental model with principles/practices of Applied Behavior Analysis. The ESDM is delivered by adults within the context of play and daily routines in which highly precise naturalistic behavioral teaching is embedded, making this a Naturalistic Developmental Behavioral Intervention (NDBI) (Schreibman et al., 2015). Dawson et al. (2010) conducted a randomized control trial (RCT) to investigate the effects of the ESDM in young children with ASD. Children who received the ESDM compared to available treatment in the community demonstrated greater gains in intellectual functioning, receptive/expressive language, social skills, adaptive behavior, and greater decreases in parent-reported symptoms of ASD (Dawson et al., 2012).  The ESDM has been implemented in a variety of settings, including intensive autism-specialty delivery, daycare centers and preschools, parent education programs, and telehealth (Rogers et al., 2012). The ESDM has been implemented by a variety of professionals such as psychologists, occupational therapists, early childhood educators, behavior analysts, and speech therapists (Rogers and Dawson, 2010). The flexibility of the ESDM has been successful in responding to the challenges of translating an evidence-based intervention into community-based intervention across different cultures, languages, intervention settings, and professionals (Colombi et al., 2018).

•10:30 a.m. - 11:20 a.m 310B (1.0 BACB Type-II CEU)
Advocacy:  Strategies to Influence Policies and Funding Allocations for BCBAs and Parents.


Chair: Wayne Fuqua (Western Michigan University)

Discussant: Colleen Allen (Autism Alliance of Michigan)


Panelists: Zach Dugger (Brain Trust Behavioral Health), Scott Schrum (Residential Opportunities, Inc.)


Panelists will offer practical advice on strategies to influence policy and funding appropriations for ABA services in the autism and related areas.

•10:30 a.m. - 11:50 a.m.  Room 352

Behavior Development Solutions: Open Meeting on How VCS Program Directors Can Use Student Performance Data


Chaired by: Alex Beaupre (Behavior Development Solutions)


What You Didn't Know About the CBA Learning Module Series: Data, Reports, and New Features: The CBA Learning Module Series (CBA LMS) has a proven record of effectiveness as a BCBA/BCaBA exam prep course, with a 91% pass rate for first time exam takers. In addition, over 80 Verified Course Sequences use the software as a curriculum supplement, providing students with the practice necessary to master the knowledge, skills, and abilities outlined in the BACB's Task List. In turn, the real-time performance data collected by our learning platform assists professors and supervisors in identifying weaknesses in student repertoires and where remedial activities might prove helpful. This casual meeting will familiarize both student and administrative experiences of the CBA LMS, focusing on how to use these data to maximize teaching effectiveness. A large portion of this meeting will involve open discussion of existing features and ideas for new features.

Thursday Lunch & Meetings

 Noon - 1:30 p.m.

Thursday Afternoon Breakout Sessions & Workshops

•1:30 p.m. - 2:20 p.m.  Ballroom A (1.0 BACB Type-II CEU)

Behavior Analysis in Educational Settings: Learning to Use Measurement Instruments to Aid in Assessing Behaviors, Environments, FBA's, and BIP's. Lloyd Peterson (COMPASS: A Positive Direction in Behavioral Intervention LLC), Stephanie Peterson (Western Michigan University), Jessica Frieder (Western Michigan University)


This presentation is an extension of the recently published manuscript: Considerations of baseline classroom conditions in conducting functional behavior assessments in school setting. Behavior Analysis in Practice (May 2018).  It is designed to help attendees in their use of a measurement instrument that has shown to be effective in depicting empirical data as it relates to the instructional environment and how these data may be used in determining the function(s) of target behaviors and provide feedback to teachers/care givers.  In addition, atteneeds will be apprised of Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA) and Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP) measurement rubrics in determining if FBA/BIPs they review, as part of a record review, have met the minimal IDEA standards and possibly best practice standards.  We have found each of these measurement instruments to be of great assistance when working within k-12 and other educational settings.

•1:30 p.m. - 2:20 p.m.  Ballroom B (1.0 BACB Type-II CEU, Ethics)


Ethical Considerations and Treatment Recommendations for Managing Sexual Behavior in Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Morgan Wright (University of Michigan, University Center for the Child and Family), Ismael Eltayuddin (University of Michigan, University Center for the Child and Family), Lawrence Kowalski (University of Michigan, University Center for the Child and Family), Katherine Williams (University of Michigan, University Center for the Child and Family), Kristen Kalymon (University of Michigan, University Center for the Child and Family)


Adolescents with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) often fail to receive appropriate educational and behavioral interventions related to sexuality and sexual behavior (Beddows & Brooks, 2016). As a result, many of these individuals engage in sexual behavior, including masturbation and other forms of sexual self-stimulation, in contexts in which this behavior is socially inappropriate (Fernandes et al., 2016). There is relatively limited literature related to the topic of sexuality in individuals with ASD and therefore few interventions have been identified to address this behavior. This presentation will provide an overview of the currently available interventions as well as a critical review of the support for these intervention strategies to manage sexual behavior in this population. Ethical considerations and challenges with treatment fidelity related to the implementation of interventions targeting sexual behavior will be discussed. Finally, a single-case design study will be described to demonstrate the use of behavior analytic methods, including use of direct instruction and response interruption and redirection, to increase discrimination of context and appropriate modification of sexual behavior across school and clinic settings in a 15-year-old male with ASD. Duration of inappropriate sexual behavior (i.e., genital touching) will be obtained in school and clinic environments. Data collection is ongoing; however, it is expected that an 80% reduction in inappropriate sexual behavior will be observed. Previous research in the area and the current study suggest that behavior analytic methods may offer a promising avenue for managing sexual behavior in adolescents with ASD.

•1:30 p.m. - 2:20 p.m.  Auditorium (1.0 BACB Type-II CEU)

Symposium: Improving Transition Outcomes for Young Adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.


Chair: Marisa H. Fisher (Michigan State University)

Discussant: Tiffany Stauch (Michigan State University)


Individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) often have difficulty obtaining and maintaining competitive, integrated employment. Three barriers to employment include poor vocational social skills, lack of reliable transportation, and violations against their legal rights. This symposium presents three interventions designed to address these barriers. The first talk presents the results of a video modeling training to teach vocational and social skills to adolescents with ASD. The second talk presents a systematic approach to teaching adolescents with IDD to use Google Maps to follow walking and public transportation directions. Finally, the third talk presents a disability rights training to teach individuals with IDD about the reasonable accommodation rights afforded by the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA) in an employment setting. Together, these interventions can lead to enhanced employment outcomes, helping individuals with IDD to both obtain and maintain competitive, integrated employment.


Teaching Vocational and Social Skills to Adolescents with Autism Using Video Modeling. Tiffany Stauch (Michigan State University), Joshua Plavnick (Michigan State University)


In two separate studies, a multiple probe design across behaviors was used to evaluate the effectiveness of video modeling to teach 5 adolescents with ASD vocational and social skills in simulated job settings. Applied Behavior Analysis technicians and a school para-professional implemented a video modeling intervention to teach participants to operate a concession stand 1 to 4 times per week for approximately 2 hours each session. Videos for social skills were embedded into videos for vocational tasks. Results indicate video modeling was effective for teaching vocational skills, but mixed results were observed for social skills. Generalization of skills were assessed for 3 of the participants, who performed vocational skills in a new setting with actual customers, but had difficulty performing social skills in the generalization setting.


A Systematic Approach to Teaching Adults with IDD to Use Google Maps to Navigate Around Their Community. Marisa H. Fisher (Michigan State University), Richard A. Price (Hope Network), John D. Wenzel, IV (Michigan State University), Benjamin Strong (Michigan State University), Lauren M. Snyder (Michigan State University)


A multiple baseline design was used to teach eight adults with IDD, ages 20-25, to use Google Maps to navigate their community. Two task analyses were developed: 1) to teach the essential steps to use Google Maps to follow walking directions; and 2) to teach the essential steps to use Google Maps to follow public transportation directions to travel around the community on the bus. Systematic fading and total task training with constant time delay were first used to teach walking navigation and then teach participants to take the bus from a starting location to an assigned destination. Trainers were systematically faded from traveling next to the participant, to 3-5 feet behind the participant, 7-10 feet behind, and finally independent travel. The dependent variable for each phase was the percentage of steps in the task analysis completed independently. Because every step in the task analysis was essential for participants to successfully travel independently, mastery criterion was set at 100% of steps completed independently across three consecutive sessions. Following training, all participants were able to independently follow the walking directions on Google Maps to walk to a novel location; 7 of 8 participants achieved 100% independence using Google Maps to take the bus to a new location. These results provide evidence for the utility of using a GPS-based mobile application to teach community navigation skills to adults with IDD. Participants reported increased independent travel on the weekends and after work to social events.


A Disability Rights Training for Young Adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. Richard A. Price (Hope Network), Marisa H. Fisher (Michigan State University), Matthew T. Brodhead (Michigan State University), John D. Wenzel, IV (Michigan State University)


Individuals with IDD experience difficulty maintaining employment, as they experience discrimination and violations against their legal rights that often lead to loss of employment. Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects individuals with disabilities from discrimination in employment settings; yet, few individuals with IDD are aware of the ADA and their rights under the law. If individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities IDD are not provided with specific training regarding their rights, they may not be able to effectively advocate for themselves. The current study examined the effectiveness of a Disability Rights Training and visual aids to increase participants' knowledge of reasonable accommodation rights in an employment setting. Using a multiple probe design, 9 individuals with IDD (ages 19-24) participated in the Disability Rights Training. The dependent variable was the percentage of correct responses on a video assessment in which participants were asked to determine whether each of 10 scenarios depicted a violation or non-violation of disability rights following an accommodation request denial. Participants displayed variable knowledge of disability rights and scored low on the video assessment prior to intervention. Post-intervention, 8 participants increased correct responding on the video assessment; 6 required additional supports (e.g., feedback and/or booster sessions) to enhance accuracy, and 1 participant was removed for disruptive behavior. Overall, the Disability Rights Training led to an increase in knowledge of disability rights for 8 of 9 participants with IDD. Future research should examine how this training may improve employment outcomes.

•1:30 p.m. - 2:20 p.m.  Room 310A (1.0 BACB Type-II CEU)

Analyzing Our Own Behavior as Collaborators: Are We Applying Our Science? Victoria A. Fogel (West Michigan Association for Behavior Analysis), Ken Pierson (West Michigan Association for Behavior Analysis), Benjamin Woiwode (West Michigan Association for Behavior Analysis)


Are behavior analysts analyzing their collaborative behavior and utilizing the science of human behavior to improve this skill set? This paper will investigate the literature on collaboration and explore the following questions: How is collaboration defined? What specific behaviors are needed to have an effective collaborative repertoire? What successful strategies have been identified for effective collaboration? What barriers to collaboration have been identified? Furthermore, this paper will present preliminary data from a survey administered to school personnel on their interactions with ABA providers and propose directions for research in this area. Moreover, this paper will explore how local ABA associations can serve as a model for collaboration and a way to disseminate our science. An example of utilizing a local ABA association as a center for collaboration will be provided by discussing the formation and goals of the West Michigan Association for Behavior Analysis.

•2:30 p.m. - 3:20 p.m.  Ballroom A (1.0 BACB Type-II CEU)

Ethics of Scope of Competence in Behavior Analysis. Matthew T. Brodhead (Michigan State University)


The field of behavior analysis has defined its scope of practice through credentialing and licensure efforts. However, scope of competence in behavior analysis has received little discussion. Scope of competence refers to activities that the individual practitioner can perform at a certain criterion level (e.g., the functional analysis is conducted accurately and safely, a skill acquisition program includes critical program components and establishes accurate stimulus control). Given the successful efforts of behavior analysts in growth and recognition of the field, it is time for a robust conversation about scope of competence for the field of behavior analysis. This discussion can clarify how behavior analysts self-evaluate their own scope of competence and how they might expand their scope of competence if the needs of consumers requires practitioners to expand into new areas.


2:30 p.m. - 3:20 p.m. Ballroom B  (1.0 BACB Type-II CEU)

The Need for a Functional Analysis Risk Assessment Tool: Formalizing Clinical Decision-Making.


Chair: Stephanie M. Peterson (Western Michigan University)

Discussant: Neil Deochand (University of Cincinnati)


Offering the least restrictive most effective assessments, and treatments, for those we serve is essential to the ethical practice of applied behavior analysis. A risk-benefit analysis should be conducted prior to any action that could adversely impact a client. It is especially important to engage in this type of decision-making process when using the functional analysis, which can evoke challenging behavior. Effective clinical decision-making in this area relies on the practitioner being able to minimize risk where possible, otherwise this may lead to over-estimating the risk of this "gold standard" assessment procedure (Poling, Austin, Peterson, Mahoney, & Weeden, 2012). Unfortunately, safety recommendations that have been used to minimize risk in functional analyses are spread across the research literature, resulting in a "call to arms" to develop clinical support tools that consolidate these data (Wiskirchen, Deochand, & Peterson, 2017). Determining the appropriate conditions to conduct a functional analysis, or when to select alternative procedures can be accomplished by formalizing recommendations in such tools, as they serve to expose the framework of effective clinical decision-making. Discussion will focus on our findings from developing such a decision-making support tool, and the risks of allowing this type of decision-making to remain an informal process.


Functional Analysis: A Need for Clinical Decision Support Tools to Weigh Risks and Benefits. Rebecca R. Wiskirchen (Elridge) (Kalamazoo Autism Center & Western Michigan University), Neil Deochand (University of Cincinnati), Stephanie M. Peterson (Western Michigan University)


Appropriate safety precautions should be used when conducting a functional analysis to protect the client and for ethical practice. There are few, if any, explicit protocols offered to behavioral practitioners that consolidate the safety recommendations documented in the literature. Furthermore, beyond collecting a list of safety considerations, guidelines as to when to use these considerations are also lacking. What is needed is a more formal risk-benefit assessment procedure for practitioners. The term risk assessment can be used to describe both the safety considerations, and the decision-making process to ensure that a functional analysis is conducted in a safe, ethical, and empirically sound manner. We define the risk assessment, clarify the need to formalize this assessment, and discuss 4 specific domains that should be included in a risk assessment to identify potential risk to clients.


•2:30 p.m. - 3:20 p.m. Auditorium  (1.0 BACB Type-II CEU)
Symposium: Matrix Training: An Efficient Method for Maximizing Learning Outcomes.


Chair: Tiffany Stauch (Michigan State University)


Matrix Training and Verbal Generativity in Children with Autism. Kelly Kohler (Western Michigan University)


Children with autism are often taught to tact single nouns and verbs, and they may use specific combinations of nouns and verbs to form simple sentences. But they are rarely explicitly taught to emit new sentences composed of previously trained nouns and verbs. In this study, we taught two preschool-aged children with autism to tact actions depicted in a video using the subject verb-object (S-V-O) sentence structure by using three-dimensional matrix training. We trained the three subject-verb-object sentences along a diagonal of one matrix. Then we tested for transfer to the 24 untrained S-V-O sentences, trained on those sentences that had not transferred, and repeated the entire procedure with additional S-V-O matrices. After 24 to 37 training sessions, both children showed generativity in the form of sentences composed of novel combinations of words within both trained and untrained matrices.


Building Play Skills Using Video Modeling and Matrix Training. Emily Carmody (Michigan State University)


Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) often lack fundamental play skills, which can be important for increased independence with a variety of different skills. The purpose of this study was to extend previous literature that successfully combined video modeling and matrix training. Matrix training is an efficient way of teaching that encourages generalization without direct teaching of some skills. In this study, six play actions were selected from a 2D, 6x6 matrix to teach play skills to three to five year old children with a diagnosis of ASD. Play actions were made up of different toy kitchen foods and play actions within a play kitchen setting (e.g. rinse the carrot and cut the pear). Using a multiple probe design across behaviors replicated across three participants, the targets were taught using video models and thirty other play actions from the matrix were later assessed for recombinative generalization.


Video Modeling and Matrix Training: Effects on Acquisition of Social Skills Across Job Tasks Among Adolescents with ASD. Tiffany Stauch (Michigan State University), Josh Plavnick (Michigan State University)


The third study utilized a multiple probe design across behaviors to evaluate the effectiveness of video modeling on the acquisition of vocational and social skills among 3 adolescents with ASD in a public high school. A school para-professional was trained to facilitate the intervention to teach participants 4 vocational tasks and 4 social skills necessary to operate a concession stand for employees of the school. Matrix training was used to facilitate generalization of the social skills across vocational tasks. Results indicate video modeling was effective for teaching vocational skills and participants were able to use most social skills across vocational tasks.

2:30 p.m. - 3:20 p.m. 310A (1.0 BACB Type-II CEU)

Traumatic Brain Injury: Overview of Impact of Injury and How Behavioral Principles are Applied. Laura Myers (Behavior Consultants Inc. )


Often Behavior Analysis is synonymous with autism or developmental disability, but as researchers and practitioners we know the application of behavioral principles has been found effective across multiple populations. The use of behavior analysis among the brain injured population is under researched and under practiced.  A result of a traumatic brain injury can result in several skill deficits along with increases in inappropriate behaviors (e.g., social, sexual, aggressive). During this presentation, we will discuss traumatic brain injuries and the impact injury has in certain areas of the brain, common deficits and the current state of Auto No-Fault insurance coverage. We will also cover how ABA is being applied this population in the home and community.

Friday Keynote

 9:00 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.
Ballroom (2nd Floor)

(1.0 BACB Type-II CEU)


Can’t Escape Them So We Must Address Them: Psychotropic Medication and Challenging Behavior

Maria Valdovinos
Professor in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience at Drake University





Approximately half of adults and a fourth of children diagnosed with intellectual and developmental disabilities are prescribed psychotropic medications in the United States (Doane et al., 2014; Tsiouris, Kim, Brown, Pettinger, & Cohen 2013). Often, the individuals prescribed these medications also engage in challenging behavior. This presentation will provide a behavior analytic conceptualization of medication effects and review the results of a study that evaluated the extent to which changes in psychotropic medications altered challenging behavior and the contexts in which it occurred in adults diagnosed with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Research findings suggest continued surveillance of behavior function when using psychotropic medication. Suggestions for assessing psychotropic medication impact will be shared (Funding: NICHD grant #: 1R15HD072497-01).




Maria Valdovinos, Ph.D., BCBA-D, is a Professor in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience at Drake University. She received her doctorate in Developmental and Child Psychology from the University of Kansas and completed a post-doctoral fellowship at Vanderbilt University's Kennedy Center for Research on Human Development. Prior to beginning her studies in Kansas, Dr. Valdovinos worked in residential and day treatment settings with adults diagnosed with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Her experiences in these settings lead to her interest in evaluating the pharmacological treatment of challenging behavior, research which has received federal funding.  Dr. Valdovinos is a Fellow of the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and a member of the Board of Directors for the Association of Professional Behavior Analysts.

Friday Morning Breakout Sessions

•10:30 a.m. - 11:50 a.m.  Ballroom A (1.5 BACB Type-II CEU)

Are You Ready for It? Adopting Best Practice Recommendations to BCBA Supervision.


Chair: Delanie Lombardo (Western Michigan University)

Discussant: Jeana Koerber (Great Lakes Center for Autism Treatment and Research)


With the recent growth of Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs), the topic of supervision is more important than ever (Deochand and Fuqua, 2016). The Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) has recently put forth several fieldwide changes to help ensure high-quality supervision for aspiring BCBAs including changes to the fifth-edition task list to include items explicitly targeting supervisory skills and the addition of 30 hours of personnel supervision and management content to verified course sequences. Experts in the field continue to have discussion surrounding supervision best practices as noted by the recent special section on supervision in Behavior Analysis in Practice. Additionally, those looking to meet the new requirements set forth by the BACB (2017) can look to the organizational behavior management literature as well as fields outside of behavior analysis to inform the creation of those supervision courses and practicum experiences. This symposium will review the relevant literature surrounding supervision, outline the creation and implementation of a new university course on supervision, and discuss the implementation of supervision best practices into a graduate training program at Western Michigan University.


A Review of Current Research on BCBA Supervision. Alyssa R. Jewett (Western Michigan University), Jessica E. Frieder (Western Michigan University)


In 2016, Behavior Analysis in Practice (BAP) published a special section on supervision which included seven articles spanning topics such as best-practice recommendations for supervising aspiring behavior analysts, detecting and assessing barriers in supervision, analyzing supervision practices on clinical outcomes, ethical supervision, competency-based training, guidelines for group supervision, and using an apprenticeship model. The purpose of this presentation is to review contemporary research on supervision, discuss the limitations and future directions of research, and identify other areas where research has been conducted that may inform best practices in supervision.


Don’t Recreate the Wheel: A Brief Look at Supervision. Sally Weigandt (Western Michigan University), Heather McGee (Western Michigan University)


With the recent release of the fifth-edition task list (Behavior Analyst Certification Board, 2017), supervision has become a popular topic for those maintaining or preparing for the Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) credential. As BCBAs prepare for these new requirements, much attention is being devoted to supervision and supervision best practices. This presentation will; (1) provide a general explanation of what supervision is; (2) briefly review over 100 years of work related to supervision, both inside of organizational behavior management and outside of behavior analysis; (3) provide recommendations for the creation of courses and practicum experiences surrounding the new supervision requirements; and (4) identify potential obstacles to avoid in preparing for these new requirements.


Supervision Requirements in University Intensive Practicum: A Case Review. Avner Fraidlin (Western Michigan University), Jessica E. Frieder (Western Michigan University), Alyssa R. Jewett (Western Michigan University), Kimberly Peck (Western Michigan University), Kayla Jenssen (Western Michigan University)


The Learning About Behavior (LAB) lab, focuses on teaching, training, service, and research-related activities at the graduate and undergraduate level, in the behavior analysis program at Western Michigan University. An integral part of training activities includes a variety of supervision activities aimed at developing proficient applied behavior analysts and providing students with the opportunity to engage in supervision-related behaviors. To adhere to supervision requirements outlined by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB), supervisors in the lab developed a supervision system and procedures. This presentation will outline the supervision system in the LAB lab by defining the structure for group and individual supervision meetings and illustrate with supervision tools, which supervisors use to ensure best practice supervision for their supervisees. Discussion will involve ongoing troubleshooting that has occurred, tips for establishing a system that involves multiple supervisees and supervisors, and ideas for how to glean suggestions from the research base into your own supervisory practices.


Developing and Implementing a Graduate Course on Supervision and Applied Behavior Analysis. Haley Hughes (Western Michigan University), Jonathan C. Baker (Western Michigan University)


When providing supervision and training to aspiring behavior analysts, universities must find a balance between teaching the skills to implement the procedures, as well as the skills to supervise those who will implement them. When coupled with the coming switch from the fourth edition task list to the fifth edition task list in 2022 (BACB, 2018a; which includes supervision specific tasks) and the number of Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) certificants increasing between 3,000 and 5,000 each year since 2013 (BACB, 2018b), the need for evidence-based supervision is even greater. In response to these changes, Western Michigan University offers a new course on supervision required of master's students in their behavior analysis program, which seeks to incorporate some of the practices within the field of Organizational Behavior Management (OBM) to guide future certificants in the steps to evidence-based supervision. The aim of this presentation will be to provide audience members with a summary of the preparation that took place to develop a course on supervision (e.g., collaboration with OBM faculty), the development of materials (e.g., samples of content areas, activities), and a discussion of the limitations and next steps when fine-tuning the course material for a supervision course.


•10:30 a.m. - 11:20 a.m.  Ballroom B (1 BACB Type-II CEU)

Evaluating the Effects of Supervision: Strategies for Objectively Measuring Supervisee Performance. Adam M. Briggs (Eastern Michigan University)


The Professional and Ethical Compliance Code for Behavior Analysts of the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB, 2016) states that behavior analysts must ensure that supervision and trainings are effectively designed (5.04óDesigning Effective Supervision and Training) and the effects of their supervision are consistently evaluated (5.07óEvaluating the Effects of Supervision). The Supervisor Training Curriculum (BACB, 2012) outlines several methods for evaluating the effects of supervision, which include measures based on (a) client performance, (b) staff performance, or (c) evidence-based intervention; however, no clear approaches for accomplishing this are offered. The purpose of this presentation is to provide some strategies and tactics supervisors can use to design and evaluate effective supervision systems. Recommendations are based on the presenter's experience providing supervision to behavioral technicians, assistant behavior analysts, and behavior analysts in training across several universities and university-based preschool and clinical settings.

•10:30 a.m. - 11:50 a.m.  Auditorium (1.5 BACB Type-II CEU)
Multi-Paper Session: Comparing Treatment Models : EIBI, PEERS, & EDSM


Comparing Three Modified Versions of the Evidenced-Based UCLA PEERS Program Social Skills Training for Adolescents. Morgan Wright (Eastern Michigan University), Megan Pejsa-Reitz (Eastern Michigan University), Kristina Brookshire-Gay (Eastern Michigan University), Renee Lajiness-O'Neill (Eastern Michigan University)


Social deficits occur in adolescents with a variety of clinical presentations, including autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) (Nijmeijer et al., 2008; Spence, 2003). The Program for the Education and Enrichment of Relational Skills (PEERS), is an empirically supported, 14-week group intervention aimed at improving peer relationships in adolescents (Laugeson & Frankel, 2010). This study compared three iterations of a modified, six-week PEERS group intervention. The first iteration of the group consisted of five group members and included brief versions of eight PEERS modules, the second group (three group members) added content from two modules, and the third group (five group members) included content from all of the modules in the PEERS protocol. The Test of Adolescent Social Skill Knowledge (TASSK; Laugeson, Frankel, Mogil, & Dillon, 2009), a 26-item measure that evaluates mastery of social skills content included in the PEERS protocol, was administered to group members pre and post-intervention. Post-intervention TASSK data is missing for five group members due to procedural constraints; however, content quizzes including TASSK questions were administered to these group members during each session. Post-intervention TASSK performance suggests improvements across group members. Greater improvements were observed on questions related to content covered in the second and third iteration of the PEERS program, suggesting that an abbreviated "breadth" approach may be warranted in contrast to a "depth" approach when modifying the PEERS protocol. Overall, the findings suggest that a modified, 6-week social skills program using the PEERS curriculum can facilitate improvement in social functioning.


Parent-Child Group Intervention for Young Children with ASD. Costanza Colombi (University of Michigan), Angela Fish (University of Michigan), Angela Capuano (University of Michigan), Jessyca Judge (University of Michigan)


Background: Despite strong evidence for the positive impact of early intervention that begins immediately following diagnosis (Koegel et al., 2014), access to high quality treatment is quite limited, and this is particularly true for very young children with ASD. One way of increasing access to intervention is to teach intervention strategies to parents immediately after diagnosis.

Objectives: The aim of this project was to adapt an existing evidence based intervention, the Early Start Denver Model (ESDM) (Rogers and Dawson, 2010), to a parent-child group delivery in order to increase access to treatment in the period immediately following diagnosis, and thereby improve child outcomes.

Methods: The Parent-Child group ESDM was delivered to 5 young children with ASD, between 24 and 48 months of age, and their caregivers. Each family participating in the study received one 1-hour session per week of the treatment, delivered in a group of 5 child-caregiver dyads, for 12 weeks.

Results: Preliminary data indicated gains in social-communication behaviors in children as measured by the Brief Observation of Social Communication Change (BOSCC) (Lord et al., 2016). Acceptability of the program was very good as indicated by retention of all participants. Moreover, results from a five-point Likert-based scale survey indicated that the caregivers agreed or strongly agreed that the program was useful and satisfying.

Conclusions: Our preliminary results suggest that the ESDM delivered in group may be useful to teach intervention skills to parents and to increase social communication in young children with ASD.


A Pretest-Posttest Evaluation of a Clinically Based Parent-Mediated Intervention on the Home Language Environments of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Pilot Study. Sarah Avendano (Michigan State University)


Parent education is an important component of a treatment program for young children with autism spectrum disorder. However, there is relatively little information about combining parent education and training with comprehensive early intensive behavioral intervention (EIBI). The present study examined the feasibility and preliminary outcomes of combining Project ImPACT, a manualized parent training program for parents of young children with ASD, with EIBI. Twelve children were randomly assigned to receive EIBI with parent training as usual (i.e., as delivered by the provider) or EIBI with Project ImPACT. Outcome measures include child and parent language, parent stress, and parent satisfaction with the training programs. Implications of combining Project ImPACT with comprehensive EIBI will be discussed.

•10:30 a.m. - 11:20 a.m 31oA

The Behavior Analysis Training System.


Chair: Kelly Kohler (Western Michigan University)

Discussant: Kelly Kohler (Western Michigan University)


The overarching goal of the Behavior Analysis Training System (BATS) is to train BS, MA, and PhD students who are science-based practitioners, rather than researchers. This lab focuses on training students in the concepts and principles of applied behavior analysis, with an emphasis in systems analysis and developmental disabilities. This symposium will examine the Behavior Analysis Training System at the Bachelor's, Master's, and Doctoral level.


The Undergraduate Student Experience: Course Work. Michael Kranak (Western Michigan University), Heriberto Bobadilla (Western Michigan University), Clare Christe (Western Michigan University)


Undergraduate students in the Department of Psychology at Western Michigan University are first introduced to behavior analytic concepts and principles in our Introduction to Behavior Analysis course, along with the supplemental Operant Conditioning Lab (rat lab). This presentation will examine how a behavior analytic approach to college teaching is used to train and recruit students into the field of behavior analysis.


The Undergraduate Student Experience: Practicum & Research. Michael Tomak (Western Michigan University), Kaylee Tomak (Western Michigan University)


In the Autism Practicum, undergraduate students are trained to be behavior technicians providing one-on-one ABA therapy in a discrete-trial preschool classroom. Some students also complete an undergraduate Honor's thesis under the mentorship of a second-year Master's student. This presentation will describe our training and mentorship models.


The Master's Student Experience. Kelly Kohler (Western Michigan University)


The Behavior Analysis Training System (BATS) Master's program trains MA students who meet the qualifications for graduation and the Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) exam. Students in the MA program complete a BACB Verified Course Sequence, gain practicum experience, teach an Introduction to Behavior Analysis course, and complete a Master's Project. This presentation will describe our training system.


The Doctoral Student Experience. Sofia Peters (Western Michigan University), Kohei Togashi (Western Michigan University)


PhD students in the Behavior Analysis Training System (BATS) gain experience as science-based practitioners. They complete theses and dissertations where the first goal of the research is that the child benefits from the research. In addition to their research and coursework, PhD students are given an assistantship, either overseeing the MA instruction of the Introduction to Behavior Analysis course, or providing BCBA supervision to the Master's students. This presentation will describe our PhD program.

•10:30 a.m. - 11:20 a.m.  Room 310B

Ethical Issue Regarding Transgender Clients in Behavior Analysis. Brooklynn Greene (Western Michigan University)


As the field of behavior analysis expands, behavior analysts need to be prepared to work with a wide variety of people, including transgender clients. Individuals with autism are more likely to identify as a gender other than what they were assigned at birth than their typically developing peers (George & Stokes, 2017). Therefore, BCBAs and other professionals working in the field should be prepared to provide services for transgender clients. While the American Psychological Association (APA) has multiple resources to help professionals determine the most appropriate course of treatment for transgender clients, the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) has no such materials (APA, 2015; BACB, 2016). With little-to-no resources for behavior analysts, ethical issues are likely to arise. It is crucial for behavior analysts to be aware of potential, common ethical issues that may occur when working with transgender populations. This paper will discuss potential issues and provide recommendations for ethical service provision for transgender clients.

•10:30 a.m. - 10:50 a.m.  352

How to Implement an ABA Practice in a Medically Oriented Rehabilitation Setting. Gerald McKeegan (Spectrum Health), Allison Ilem (Spectrum Health)


Applied behavior analysis therapies are used to treat a variety of issues associated with health behaviors and recovery from illness or disease. These include deficits in independent living and functional impairment. Applied behavior analysts apply basic behavioral practices that improve language, support independent functioning, and optimize social interaction. The purpose of the present paper is to outline the behaviors and interventions that an analyst encounters in a rehabilitation setting that is medical in orientation and services. The paper describes how ABA can be utilized in such a setting in a trans-diagnostic approach. Additionally, interdisciplinary approaches to care are discussed, as opportunities to partner  with physical, occupational, and speech therapies, neuropsychology, as well as nursing can advance the implementation of ABA in rehabilitative settings to achieve beneficial outcomes for the individuals receiving services. Finally, the paper will describe the challenges and opportunities to extend an ABA focused practice and some recommendations for future practice in the field of rehabilitation.

•10:30 a.m. - 11:50 a.m. Salon

Panel Discussion: Collaboration in the World of Autism.


Panelists: Mary Schrier (Community Mental Health for Central Michigan), Christi Owens (Midland County Educational Service Agency), Kelly Rogers (START Project)


Following the directive from the 2012 Michigan Autism Spectrum Disorders State Plan public agencies in mid-Michigan formed a collaboration to provide comprehensive, coordinated, effective services to families with children with Autism and other Neurological Disorders. Since 2016 the Pediatric Center of Mid-Michigan, a collaboration of Community Mental Health for Central Michigan, Mid-Michigan Health, Midland County Educational Service Agency, and Central Michigan University has been successfully navigating the process of working together. This presentation will introduce you to the steps to this success, while meeting requirements from governing bodies including the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and the Michigan Department of Education.

 Friday Lunch & Meetings

 Noon - 1:30 p.m.

BATs Reunion (Ballroom B)

•12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m. Room 204

BAAM SIG for Professional Behavior Analysts: Open Meeting on Bi-Annual SIG meeting

Chaired by:  Conny RAAYMAKERS  (Developmental Enhancement), Morgan VanDenBerg (DHHS)

Friday Afternoon Breakout Sessions

•1:30 p.m. - 2:20 p.m.  Ballroom A (1 BACB Type-II CEUs)

Using Ethical Standards to Combat Negativity in the Workplace. Michelle Fuhr (University Pediatrician's Autism Center)


A workplace is a location in which various people come together and share experiences, education and opinions. Although people typically enjoy a positive culture in the workplace, negative culture can occur through ineffective conflict resolution. Negative cultures reduce employee satisfaction (Morrison R.L, 2008; Venkataramani, G., Labianca, G., & Grosser, T., 2013) which can have a detrimental effect on the company and the clients it serves. As Behavior Analysts, we have ethical obligations which should limit our participation in negative workplace culture as well as encourage our commitment to positive culture. This extends to our ethical obligations when supervising others and our commitment to our field. Participants are encouraged to ask themselves: What is my role in creating and maintaining a positive work environment? And what do our ethical guidelines recommend for conflict resolution?

•1:30 p.m. - 2:20 p.m.  Ballroom B (1 BACB Type-II CEU)

An Important Chapter in the Story of Behaviorism. Jay Moore (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee)


The early form of behaviorism may be described as classical S => R behaviorism. However, by 1930 this form was judged to be inadequate. Traditional researchers and theorists then tried to compensate by inserting mediating organismic variables that intervened between stimulus and response. The form of behaviorism that emerged may be called mediational S => O => R neobehaviorism. In turn, the mediating variables were cast as theoretical terms or concepts, and operationism was claimed to make them scientifically respectable. One side effect of operationism was that the partial rather than exhaustive interpretation of theoretical terms came to predominate in the psychological literature. Under this interpretation, surplus meaning was permitted. Mediating variables with surplus meaning came to be designated hypothetical constructs rather than intervening variables, and in turn an existential reality was conferred to them. The partial interpretation continues in contemporary mentalism, such as found in cognitive psychology. Skinner's radical behaviorism disputes the whole traditional approach, arguing that it fails to free psychology from its commitment to ineffective mental variables. In the final analysis, the traditional approach constitutes only a methodological behaviorism, rather than a genuine behaviorism.

•1:30 p.m. - 2:20 p.m.  Salon

How to Get Into Graduate School. Caitlyn Sorensen (Eastern Michigan University)

•1:30 p.m. - 2:20 p.m.  Auditorium (1 BACB Type-II CEU)
Multi-Paper Session: Interview-Informed Interventions


Highlights and Challenges of the IISCA Approach for Challenging Behavior. Tiffany Stauch (Michigan State University), John Moore (Centria Healthcare), Jessica Brown (Centria Healthcare)


Hanley's Interview Informed Synthesized Contingency Analysis (IISCA) and skill-based treatment process is a relatively new alternative to traditional functional assessment methods. Although the results of the practical functional assessment process are promising, the effectiveness of this treatment approach has not been replicated by many researchers outside of the group who created it. In the current study, the authors attended a two-day intensive workshop led by Hanley and had the opportunity to participate in distance consulting with a member of his research team. Following the training, the IISCA and the skill-based treatment protocol were implemented with a minimally verbal, physically aggressive 18-year-old male. Although the assessment was completed within 25 minutes, the development of new skills was slow. Problem behavior remained low throughout the treatment. The presentation will discuss both the strengths and challenges of this treatment approach and offer recommendations for those considering implementing the protocol with clients.


Comparisons of Standardized and Interview-Informed Synthesized Reinforcement Contingencies Relative to Traditional Functional Analysis. Adam M. Briggs (Eastern Michigan University), Brian D. Greer (University of Nebraska Medical Center's Munroe-Meyer Institute), Daniel R. Mitteer (University of Nebraska Medical Center's Munroe-Meyer Institute), Wayne W. Fisher (University of Nebraska Medical Center's Munroe-Meyer Institute), Andrew J. Sodawasser (University of Nebraska Medical Center's Munroe-Meyer Institute)


We compared the functions of problem behavior identified by (a) a functional analysis (FA), (b) an interview-informed synthesized contingency analysis (IISCA) that was informed by the results of an open-ended interview and a structured observation, and (c) a standardized-synthesized contingency analysis (SSCA) in which we synthesized three common functions of problem behavior across 12 consecutive individuals. In doing so, we addressed questions about the necessity of synthesized contingency analysis for determining behavioral function and the utility of the assessments informing synthesis. Synthesized contingency analysis was necessary for 0 of the 12 participants to identify the variables maintaining problem behavior, replicating the findings of Fisher, Greer, Romani, Zangrillo, and Owen (2016). Error type (i.e., false positives, false negatives) and prevalence were similar across functions identified by the IISCA and those from the SSCA, calling into question the utility of the open-ended interview and the structured observation that informed the IISCA. We discuss the implications of these and other findings relative to the variables reinforcing problem behavior and FA methodology.

•1:30 p.m. - 1:50 p.m.  Room 320

Influence of Psychological Factors on Technology Adoption Behavior. Bilquis Ferdousi (College of Technology, Eastern Michigan University), Tasfia Bari (College of Technology, Eastern Michigan University)


In the domain of Information Technology (IT) research, the issue of people's adoption of technology has been discussed using different theoretical models with roots in Psychology and Sociology. A variety of theoretical models have been developed to explain people's technology adoption behavior, with each model garnering varying levels of theoretical and empirical support. This effort has been supported by cognitive behavioral models to explain people's technology adoption behavior. This body of literature includes Theory of Reasoned Action, Theory of Planned Behavior, Social Cognitive Theory, Diffusion of Innovation Theory, and Technology Acceptance Model. In past few decades, based on these theoretical models numerous studies focused on the psychological factors that contribute to people's adoption of new technology. In all instances, great effort has been spent in order to understand the antecedent psychological factors that influence people's technology adoption behavior. The mainstream IT research relentlessly attempts to understand and explain the psychological determinants of people's intention to accept and use of a new technology. In such an effort, Davis (1989) developed Technology Acceptance Model, the most researched and widely used theoretical model in IT literature, to study the factors that affect people's acceptance of IT. This presentation will discuss and analyze the effect of psychological factors on people's technology adoption behavior from the Technology Acceptance Model perspective.


•1:30 p.m. - 2:20 p.m.  Room 352

Multipaper Session: Issues in Verbal Behavior


Behavior Analytic Study of Narrative Identity: The What, Why, and How. Amanda Mahoney (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology), Laura A. Kruse (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology and First Leap)


Personal stories comprise contextually-controlled verbal relations that describe events in the life of the speaker, convey cultural rules, serve as models, and mediate events across a person's life. Iterations of a personal story over time are referred to as a person's narrative identity. The multiple repositories of personal stories accrued by and for behavior analysts illustrate their importance; such stories aid in disseminating behavior analysis, preserving artifacts of knowledge, and training students and professionals. The prompt, "What does being a behavior analyst mean to you," would likely yield very different responses from first-year students than it would professors, and identifying those characteristic differences and their relationship to characteristics of training and mentorship would likely yield meaningful information for the field. Given the vast bank of personal stories accrued by Alcoholics Anonymous readily available online, we borrow from those stories to illustrate the contextual processes that shape narrative identity and to describe how a behavior analytic research program can be enacted. We will describe potentially important functional relationships and offer several examples of dependent variables. Participants will learn how to: a) quantify story structures, b) apply Hineline's (2018) narrative diagram, c) apply the Multi-Level Multi-Dimensional framework (Barnes-Holmes, et al., 2018) to evaluate changes in narrative over time, d) conduct a verbal functional analysis, e) measure incidence of keywords and slogans, f) measure valence (Critchfield, 2018), and g) track variables related to dissemination.


A Behavioral Analysis of English Relative Clauses. Robert Dlouhy (Western Michigan University)


It has been argued that Skinner's relational autoclitic of order (RAO) is a verbal operant that is useful for behavior-analytic interpretation of syntactic phenomena (Dlouhy, 2016; 2017). Skinner (1957) did not elaborate on the RAO, but it seems he was describing a sequence of responses in which the positions of its responses evoke autoclitic effects (Dlouhy, 2018). These autoclitic effects are the relations between the referent of the entity named in a particular position and the entity referenced by the primary response of the RAO sequence. Basic verbal response sequences (i.e., simple clauses and phrases) are straightforwardly interpretable as RAOs. However, other RAO sequences may have embedded RAOs which relate to particular responses in the sequence. One type of embedded RAO is the relative clause, as it is conventionally termed by linguists. In behavior-analytic terms, a relative clause is a complex autoclitic that evokes relational responses between its constituent responses and a particular response in the clause that embeds it. Since this verbal phenomenon has not had a detailed behavior-analytic description, this paper will provide analyses of typical English relative clauses. The analyses will focus on the autoclitic effects evoked by different relative clause types.

•2:00 p.m. - 2:20 p.m.  Room 320

Today's Delays, Tomorrow's Impulsivities: Impulsive Choice is Determined by Recent Delay Exposure. Eric J. French (Central Michigan University), Basha Libman (Central Michigan University), Mark P. Reilly (Central Michigan University)


History effects are invoked as explanations for behavior and often in the absence of direct knowledge or observation of said histories. The mysterious nature of such explanatory constructs can be mitigated by empirical research. The presentation will provide an example of such an empirical approach using intertemporal choice procedures in which two alternative options are available; an "impulsive" option that provides one food pellet immediately and an alternative "self-controlled" option that provides three pellets after a delay. Our lab has found that the order of delay exposures (i.e., ascending and descending) has large and reliable effects on impulsive choice in rats. First, this ascending-descending delay history effect will be summarized by presenting re-analyzed data from a previously-published study on impulsive choice in a rodent model of ADHD. Second, a recent study designed to systematically investigate this history effect will be described. The recent study used Sprague-Dawley rats and provided additional cycles of the ascending-descending delay sequence to evaluate the reliability of the effect. A quantitative model was developed that incorporates features of delay-discounting models as well as accounts for the impact of previous delay exposure on current choice. Research with rodents is ideal for systematic investigations into history effects and will facilitate our understanding into how learning histories can effect impulsive choice and other translationally-important behavior.

•2:30 p.m. - 3:20 p.m.  Ballroom A  (1 BACB Type-II CEU)

Symposium: Recent Advancements in Preference Assessment Research with Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.


Chair: Matthew T. Brodhead (Michigan State University)

Discussant: Matthew T. Brodhead (Michigan State University)


Reinforcement is the cornerstone of any effective behavioral program. However, there is still much to learn about the efficacy and utility of systematic processes that lead to reinforcer identification. The purpose of this symposium is to survey and present original research from three areas of preference assessment research. Ultimately, this symposium aims to advance the understanding and application of preference assessments in order to increase their use in applied settings, as well as to inform future research on this topic.


Comparison of a Video-Based Assessment and a Collaborative Assessment to Identify Preferred Jobs for Individual's with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. Lauren M. Snyder (Michigan State University), Marisa H. Fisher (Michigan State University)


Unfortunately, integrated paid employment for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) is less than 10% (Hiersteiner, Bershadsky, Bonardi, & Butterworth, 2016). To improve outcomes for adults with IDD, school-to-work transition programs, such as Project SEARCH, provide supported employment experiences and assist students in obtaining competitive, integrated employment. Supported employment specifically addresses job matching for individuals with disabilities, (Persch, Cleary, Rutkowski, Malone, Darragh, & Case-Smith, 2015) and one way to ensure successful job matching is to conduct a job-related preference assessment. The current study compared two methods for identifying job preferences. Specifically, the current practice employed by Project SEARCH- ranking jobs from most preferred to least preferred- compared to a video-based preference assessment in which various job options are presented in a paired stimulus format, similar to Horrocks and Morgan (2009). The research questions are: (a) how do results from a video-based preference assessment compare to student preferences identified through current practice in a Project SEARCH classroom? (b) to what extent do preferred jobs identified from a video-based preference assessment relate to job match results identified on the VocFit? and (c) do participants and the teacher find the video-based preference assessment useful and helpful compared to current practice in the Project SEARCH classroom? Ten individuals with a range of IDD, ages 18-26, currently enrolled in Spartan Project SEARCH participated in the study.


Advancements in Video-based Preference Assessments. Emma L. Mitchell (Michigan State University), Matthew T. Brodhead (Michigan State University)


Video-based preference assessments with children with autism allow instructors to capture the visual features of stimuli (e.g., the active movement of a toy), a luxury not afforded by preference assessments conducted in pictorial format. Video-based preference assessments also allow instructors to mitigate the inherent constraint of presenting multiple large or complex stimuli at once and assess preference for protracted events. This presentation will describe a series of studies that evaluated video-based preference assessments that demonstrated that contingent access to chosen stimuli may not be necessary. The first study will describe initial findings of how video-based preference assessments without access to selected stimuli may accurately predict preference. The second study will discuss the utility of video-based preference assessments in assessing preference for novel stimuli. The third study will discuss results from a study that systematically examines the behavioral mechanisms responsible for the success of video-based preference assessments, when access to selected stimuli is not provided.


Further Evaluation of Preference Displacement. Alexa J. Foote (Michigan State University), Matthew T. Brodhead (Michigan State University), Emma. S. Sipila (Michigan State University)


Research has shown that individuals with intellectual disabilities and autism typically select edible items more often than leisure items when presented in a combined preference assessment. Thus, the purpose of this study was to evaluate which item was selected most often with children with autism. Over twenty participants were presented with three multiple stimulus without replacement (MSWO) preference assessments: edible items, leisure items, and combined. The results indicate that edibles do not reliably displace leisure items when presented in a combined MSWO preference assessment. Implications and future directions are discussed.


•2:30 p.m. - 3:20 p.m.  Ballroom B (BACB Type-II CEUs Pending)
Basic and Applied Evaluations in Behavioral Gerontology with Older Adults with Neurocognitive Disorder.


Chair: Haley C. Hughes (Western Michigan University)


As the aging population continues to grow and the prevalence of neurocognitive disorder increases, there is an increased need for behavioral gerontology and opportunities for research with a wide range of empirical questions needing to be answered. This will ultimately inform behavior analytic treatments available and increase the quality of life of older adults diagnosed with neurocognitive disorder (NCD). This symposium includes three talks that will cover wide applications of behavioral gerontology from basic preparations: (a) Stimulus control and Extinction with Older Adults with Neurocognitive Disorder: A Basic Research Study, in which researchers will present data from an ongoing evaluation on reinforcement, extinction and stimulus control; (b) Reinforcer Identification Form- a Tool to Identify Preferred Stimuli for Older Adults with Neurocognitive Disorder. Researchers will present on the development and use of a tool to assist in the identification of preferred stimuli; and (c) promoting activity engagement through systematically manipulating attention with preferred activities.


Stimulus Control and Extinction with Older Adults with Neurocognitive Disorder: A Basic Research Study. Jordan D. Bailey (Western Michigan University), Sandra Garcia (Western Michigan University), Jonathan C. Baker (Western Michigan University)


The effects of extinction have been demonstrated in community dwelling older adults (Plaud, Plaud, & Duvillard, 1999), but to date, the effects of extinction have not been empirically demonstrated for older adults with neurocognitive disorder. Therefore, the purpose of the study was to examine whether withdrawal of a reinforcer from a previously reinforced behavior would result in behavior change for this population. Preferred stimuli (pictures) were identified prior to implementation through use of a preference assessment followed by reinforcer assessment. The effects of the schedules were assessed with a computer program on a tablet PC. Conditions were signaled by the presentation of various shapes along with the buttons. The effects of reinforcement were compared with extinction and/or non-contingent reinforcement schedules. The experimental arrangement consisted of a presentation of two buttons that (a) would activate a preferred picture; (b) produce nothing (in the extinction condition); or (c) produced nothing (but pictures were available on a time-based schedule). These data will be discussed with respect to the implications for both basic and applied research. This study extends a study presented last year with the use of a multielement design rather than a reversal.


Reinforcer Identification Form: A Tool to Identify Preferred Stimuli for Older Adults with Neurocognitive Disorder. Andrea Perez (Western Michigan University), Jonathan C. Baker (Western Michigan University)


An important line of research within behavioral gerontology has been skill acquisition and activity engagement procedures with older adults with neurocognitive disorder. A critical underlying aspect of such work is to ensure that the stimuli that are being used in these procedures are functioning as reinforcers. Currently, research on preference assessments with older adults appears to involve the arbitrary selection of items informed by existing structured, close-ended and non-individualized tools. This approach is problematic because it may lead to the identification and selection of items that may not be preferred by an individual, and can lead to poor programming. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to evaluate the utility of a new tool, The Reinforcer Identification Form, and to validate the items identified by implementing a stimulus preference assessment and a modified engagement assessment.


Promoting Activity Engagement in Older Adults. Sydney Bulock (Western Michigan University), Jonathan C. Baker (Western Michigan University)


Older adults with intellectual disabilities are likely to have lower levels of engagement. In efforts to increase activity engagement, researchers have implemented various strategies to increase engagement (Engelman, Atlus, & Mathews, 1999; Engstrom, Mudford, & Brand, 2015). Current literature, however, has not directly compared those approaches to one another. The purpose of this study was to use an alternating treatments design to compare the following four strategies: 1) provided access to preferred items with no attention, 2) provided attention every 10 minutes for 60 seconds, 3) provided attention every 10 minutes for 10 minutes, and 4) provided 30 minutes of attention followed by 30 minutes of no attention. The participant was a 63-year old male diagnosed with moderate intellectual disability and attended an adult day program. Prior to implementing those approaches, a paired stimulus preference assessment was conducted to determine the participant's top preferred activities. Results suggest that providing social attention for 30 minutes followed by no attention produced the greatest level of activity engagement. Implications and suggestions for future research will be discussed.

•2:30 p.m. - 3:20 p.m.  Auditorium

Multi-Paper Session: Intervention Issues


Using Video Modeling to Teach Typical Adolescents to Interact Socially with Peers with ASD. Mari MacFarland (Saginaw Valley State University), Josh Plavnick (Michigan State University)


Research has shown video modeling to be an effective procedure for training adult service providers to administer evidence-based practices to children with autism spectrum disorder (Brock & Carter, 2013; Catania et al., 2009; Lipschultz, Vladescu, Reeve, Reeve, & Dipsey, 2015; Vladescu, Carroll, Paden, & Kodak, 2012; Weldy, Rapp, & Capocasa, 2014). The present study extends previous video modeling training (VMT) research by teaching typical adolescents to administer naturalistic evidence-based practices to adolescents and young adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This was accomplished by examining the effects of VMT on typical adolescents' performance of peer mediated social interaction (PMSI), a 10-step procedure comprised of simplified behavioral practices, during roleplay with an adult actor.


A multiple probe design across participants was used to evaluate the effects of VMT on delivery of PMSI by five typical adolescents. All participants demonstrated an immediate increase in PMSI as video modeling was systematically applied. Typical adolescents also generalized delivery to adolescents with ASD. Social interaction between two youths with ASD and typical adolescent participants was also evaluated within a peer mediated setting before and after VMT. Social interaction for both youths with ASD improved following VMT.


Reducing Flopping During Transition: Exploring a Practitioner-Friendly Research Model. Kohei Togashi (Western Michigan University), Richard W. Malott (Western Michigan University)


Problem behavior during transitions between activities and locations is a common issue. In particular, transition-related problem behavior is common in many early intensive behavioral intervention classrooms. Problem behavior during transitions may result in negative outcomes such as loss of instructional time, opportunities for elopement, and potential reinforcement of transition-evoked maladaptive behavior. Additionally, only a small portion of practitioners engage in research activities, thus further widening the research-to-practice gap. Therefore, the goals of this project were two-fold: (1) to evaluate a differential reinforcement procedure to reduce flopping during transitions between locations and activities, and (2) to explore a potential, practitioner-friendly research model. Results of the study indicated that the intervention effectively reduced problem behavior during transitions. The implications of these results, as well as a research model for practitioners whose goal is positive clinical outcomes will be discussed.



Thursday 1:00 p.m. - 3:50 p.m. 304  (3 BACB Type-II CEUs , Ethics)

3-Hour Workshop:  Acting Out: Learning BACB Ethics and Problem Solving Strategies Through Interactive Team-Based Learning. R. Wayne Fuqua (Western Michigan University)


Workshop cost: $50

Workshop materials cost: 0

Workshop attendance limit: 25


This workshop is designed primarily for practitioners who have some familiarity with the Professional and Ethical Compliance Code for Behavior Analysis from the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) and wish to improve their skills to (a) identify and analyze ethical challenges, (b) practice and refine strategies to tactfully and effectively resolve ethical challenges, (c) develop organizational level strategies to prevent ethical lapses and (d) obtain CEUs in the ethics domain as required for BACB recertification. Others, including licensed psychologists, who are interested in applying BACB ethical guidelines to real-world ethical challenges in practice and research are also encouraged to attend. Participants should be prepared to describe and discuss real world ethics cases in a manner that protects the identity of those individuals involved in the ethics cases.


Friday 12:30 p.m. - 3:20 p.m. 304
3-Hour Workshop: How to Build a Customized Behavior Support Plan Template Using Microsoft Word. Cody Morris (Western Michigan University), Nathan VanderWeele (Western Michigan University)


Workshop cost: $35

Workshop materials cost: $0

Workshop attendance limit: 20


Writing behavior support plans is a task commonly required of behavior analysts. While individualization for each plan is required, behavior analysts often have many criteria that they are obligated to include in plans. Therefore, a method for creating structured templates specific to organizational need would be advantageous. Microsoft Word is a commonly used program that requires no additional costs, is adaptable to complete individualization, and is deemed appropriate to use by most organizations. The purpose of this work is to teach practitioners to build their own customized BSP template using Microsoft Word. This training will include (a) an introduction to developer tools in Word, (b) a review of example plans, and (c) practice using tools to build sections of plans. Participants of this workshop do not need extensive experience using Microsoft Word, but will need to bring a PC computer loaded with Microsoft Word to the workshop.


** All participants must bring a Windows-Based PC computer with Microsoft Word. **



Friday 3:30 p.m - 5:00 pm

(Includes light food/refreshments)


Assessing the Effects of Concurrent Facial Imitation Training on an Echoic-to-Mand Procedure. Emily Goltz (Western Michigan University), Michael Tomak (Western Michigan University), Kelly Kohler (Western Michigan University), Richard W. Malott (Western Michigan University)


Children with communication delays often have difficulty manding for desired items. According to Greer & Ross (2004), echoic behavior is important in the instruction of mands. However, there is little research on the production of articulate echoics followed by the instruction of mands. The current study assessed the effects of concurrent facial imitation with an echoic-to-mand procedure. Each facial imitation target attempted to replicate the facial movements made when speaking the name of targets used in the echoic-to-mand sessions. Facial imitation sessions were faded out. The use of concurrent facial imitation with echoic-to-mand resulted in the acquisition of articulate echoics and all target mands.


An Assessment of the Value of Increasingly Generalized Tokens in a Paint-By-Number Activity. Haily Traxler (Western Michigan University), Anthony DeFulio (Western Michigan University)


Skinner (1953) stated that the effects of generalized conditioned reinforcers should maintain longer than specific conditioned reinforcers because their effects are not dependent on a particular motivating operation. Tokens easily model different levels of generality because tokens can be paired with one or more back-up reinforcers. In the current study, three types of tokens were assessed that could be exchanged for either salty snacks, food and drinks offered in a small marketplace, or money on a gift card. Token preferences were assessed using a paired stimulus preference assessment and a progressive ratio (PR) task in a paint-by-number activity. The results of the preference assessment and PR task support that as generality increases, the relative reinforcing value of different types of tokens also increases. The results demonstrate concordance between paired stimulus preference assessment and PR tasks in assessing value. Finally, the results illustrate the utility of a graded approach to assessing the value of token reinforcers.


Behavior Analysis Training System. Richard W. Malott (Western Michigan University), Kelly Kohler (Western Michigan University), Hannah Betz (Western Michigan University), Katarina Rotta (Western Michigan University)


The Behavior Analysis Training System (BATS) is an ABAI accredited, practitioner-based program at Western Michigan University. Students in BATS complete a BACB approved course sequence, a 750-hour intensive practicum, and lead two semesters of an undergraduate seminar on the principles of behavior. In place of a thesis, students complete two Master's projects: a Graduate Portfolio Project and a Systems Analysis Project. By the end of the program, students attain desired skills such as time management, supervision experience, systems analysis experience, and professional presentation/communication skills. Following graduation, students are prepared to sit for the BACB certification exam.


Can I Help? Teaching Pro-Social Behaviors Through Video Modeling. Jacob Kobylarz (Judson Center), Jared Coffin (Judson Center), Alison Maloney (Judson Center), Melissa Wilson (Judson Center)


The purpose of this research study was to examine the effectiveness of video modeling in teaching an individual to initiate a request to help and perform a variety of helpful behaviors. This study utilized a multiple baseline design across behaviors with an 18-year old participant with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) who has a history of prompt dependency and poor generalization skills. Previous research has indicated that video modeling can be effective as an antecedent intervention when teaching social initiations (Nikopoulos & Keenan, 2004). This intervention package included video modeling, reinforcement, and prompting. In this research study the learner was taught to respond to both "yes" and "no" discriminative stimuli. In the affirmative condition the learner was taught to perform the helpful activity. In the negative condition the learner was taught to not provide any additional help. Following intervention phases, probe sessions were conducted to assess generalization across multiple exemplars; including people, settings, and time.


A Comparison of Prompting Methods for Teaching Receptive Identification. Kaylee Tomak (Western Michigan University), Kelly Kohler (Western Michigan University), Richard W. Malott (Western Michigan University)


Receptive language is critical for the development of spoken language (Grow & LeBlanc, 2013). Many activities that children engage in throughout their daily lives and education require them to have a receptive identification repertoire. Fisher, Kodak, and Moore (2007), and Carp, Peterson, Arkel, Petursdottir, and Ingvarsson (2012) compared methods for teaching receptive identification to individuals with autism. The methods used include a control condition, the use of a least-to-most prompting hierarchy embedded in the error correction, and the use of a picture prompt embedded in the error correction. This study was a replication of their comparison that extends their findings and assesses the efficacy of an additional method, the use of an immediate picture prompt being presented simultaneously with the auditory sample stimulus. This study is expected to help children with autism and other developmental disabilities acquire a receptive identification repertoire. If successful, this procedure could determine a more efficient alternative to other receptive identification procedures.


A Component Analysis of an Intervention to Reduce Food Stealing Behavior. Jessica J. Detrick (Western Michigan University), Cody A. Morris (Western Michigan University), Kelsey E. Webster (Western Michigan University), Stephanie M. Peterson (Western Michigan University)


The purpose of this study was to determine the active components of an intervention package used to reduce food stealing behavior by a 45-year-old male diagnosed with Mild Intellectual Disability, Asperger's Syndrome, and Bipolar I Disorder. All procedures were implemented within the client's home. The component analysis was conducted as a dropout analysis, by implementing the full treatment package and then systematically removing components. The full treatment package consisted of 8 components (i.e., Cue 1, Cue 2, Observer Response 1, Observer Response 2, Eye Contact, SD, SDelta, Praise). Each component was evaluated using reversals embedded within a multielement design. If the component was deemed to be ineffective in decreasing food stealing behavior, then the component was removed before evaluating the next component. This process was continued until all unnecessary components were eliminated, producing a less cumbersome treatment package. Results demonstrated not all 8 of the components were active and responsible for reducing food stealing behaviors.


A Descriptive Analysis of Drug Interaction Effects. Matthew Boss (Western Michigan University), Baylee Bancroft (Western Michigan University), Kelsey Webster (Western Michigan University), Cody Morris (Western Michigan University), Stephanie Peterson (Western Michigan University)


Individuals diagnosed with ASD and other DDs are commonly prescribed psychotropic medications with the purpose of improving mood and cognitive skills, and reducing challenging behaviors. However, in addition to potentially therapeutic effects, psychotropic drugs can produce unwanted and potentially counterproductive physiological and behavioral side effects. These side effects can then be exacerbated if prescribed multiple psychotropic medications which is commonly practiced with Autism and DD populations. The purpose of this poster is to describe methodology for evaluating single drug and interaction side effects as well as present the results of a descriptive†analysis conducted with a small behavioral consultative organization.


Echoic-to-Mand. Guadalupe Batlle (Western Michigan University), Michale Lee Tomak (Western Michigan University), Kaylee Tomak (Western Michigan University), Kelly Kohler (Western Michigan University), Richard W. Malott (Western Michigan University)


Manding is critical for the development of a child's communicative repertoire and many studies have discussed methods successful in teaching a child to mand. This study evaluated the effects of a vocal manding program that combined components of a naturalistic teaching intervention in a discrete-trial format. Preferred edible items were identified and used throughout the intervention, with preference being determined at the beginning of each session. The intervention included the use of echoic models, a time delay before the echoic model was provided, and primer trials across the phases, until the child was independently manding for the edibles, without requiring an echoic model. The primer trials involved the immediate presentation of the echoic model for a specified number of trials at the beginning of a session. The number of primer trials conducted in a session were decreased across phases. As part of the intervention, we faded the visibility of the edibles, to increase spontaneous manding. Results indicated that this was an effective procedure to teach vocal manding.


The Effects of an Auditory Matching iPad App on Three Preschooler's Echoic and Listener Responses: A Systematic Replication. Clare Christe (Western Michigan University), Richard W. Malott (Western Michigan University), Emily Goltz (Western Michigan University)


A generalized auditory matching repertoire is considered an early milestone in the development of verbal behavior (Greer & Keohane, 2009). The literature has demonstrated that an auditory match-to-sample procedure can help improve accuracy of echoics and listener responding in individuals with developmental disabilities. The purpose of this study was to systematically replicate an intervention exploring the efficacy of a match-to-sample procedure on echoic articulation and direction following using a multiple-probe and delayed multiple-probe design (Du, Speckman, Medina & Cole-Hatchard, 2017). Early phases of the intervention focused on matching of environmental sounds; later phases targeted matching words that sound increasingly similar.


The Effects of Using RIRD to a Silicone Accessory to Decrease Inappropriate Mouthing. Rosemary Brewer (Healing Haven), Julia Key (Healing Haven), Gabriella Tedesco (Healing Haven), Stephen Lyons (Healing Haven)


Children with autism frequently engage in mouthing non-edible items. We observed this behavior in 3 children that were diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. We attempted to decrease this behavior using Response Interruption and Redirection (RIRD). Participants were redirected to a silicone accessory made for chewing. Redirection and independent use of the silicone accessory were differentially reinforced using praise and preferred tangibles. Our results showed that RIRD and differential reinforcement was an effective intervention package for decreasing hand and object mouthing.


Effects of Video Model Training on Self Monitoring Behaviors. Amy Finkel-Nitschke (Judson Center), Brandon Gillespie (Judson Center), Sarah Brown (Judson Center), Sarah DeLand (Judson Center)


Self-monitoring checklists are a system in which a person observes and records their own behavior and have been shown to be an effective way to decrease challenging behaviors in individuals diagnosed with ASD (Coyle & Cole, 2004). In addition, video modeling, in which a person views a video of themselves modeling target behavior, has been shown as an effective tool for increasing target behaviors in the same population (Coyle & Cole, 2004). The participants in the current study are 8 individuals diagnosed with ASD, 5 of which have pre-existing self-monitoring systems and 3 of which have not used self-monitoring systems previously. This project uses a multiple-baseline design across participants to examine using video modeling as a training method for self-monitoring checklists and compares these results to individuals given no formal training in self-monitoring systems. In particular, we examine the effects of these self-monitoring systems on the challenging behavior currently exhibited by the participants.


Evaluating Prompting Methods for Teaching Receptive Identification. Jazmyn S. Souryamat (Western Michigan University), Kaylee R. Tomak (Western Michigan University), Sofia F. Peters (Western Michigan University), Kelly T. Kohler (Western Michigan University), Richard W. Malott (Western Michigan University)


The development of language is important. Receptive identification is thought to be a prerequisite skill for developing spoken language. Individuals will need a receptive identification repertoire to engage with the world around them. Some individuals with an autism diagnosis do not have a receptive identification repertoire. Fisher, Kodak, and Moore (2007), and Carp, Peterson, Arkel, Petursdottir, and Ingvarsson (2012) compared three methods for teaching receptive identification to individuals with autism: a control condition, the use of a least-to-most prompting hierarchy of error-correction, and the use of picture prompts in the error-correction. This study used an alternating treatment design to replicate that study with the addition of a new method, the use of an immediate picture prompt presented with the auditory sample stimulus. The goal of this study was to assess the most effective method for teaching receptive identification to individuals.


The Implementation of Universal Strategies to Improve Classroom Management in a Special Education Classroom. Delanie Lombardo (Western Michigan University), Kimberly Peck (Western Michigan University), Jessica Frieder (Western Michigan University)


Tier 1 interventions are an essential foundation for classroom management and help set students up for success (Brown-Chidsey & Steege, 2005). These strategies can be implemented concurrently and benefit all students. Without the implementation of Tier 1 strategies, an increase in unnecessary Tier 2 and Tier 3 referrals may occur. Although Tier 1 interventions require additional planning at the onset, they yield valuable time-saving benefits for teachers and students (Witt, VanDerHeyden, & Gilberson, 2004). These strategies also help to increase on-task behavior and decrease disruptive behavior. This poster will outline two Tier 1 interventions implemented in a special education classroom that increased effective classroom management and helped prepare students for instruction. First, teachers in a special education classroom were trained on the importance and how to implement various types of praise statements (Peterson, Peterson & Lacy, 2003). After the training, teachers' praise rate increased and maintained. Second, teachers were trained on the importance of learner readiness skills and how to teach skills using a discrete trial teaching format. Students demonstrated an increase in acquisition on various learner readiness skills. Graphs with data from both interventions will be presented. The discussion will focus on how these universal strategies helped to prepare teachers with effective tools to create a solid foundation for students and helped to promote success in the classroom.


Increasing Practicum Students' Reinforcement of Compliance Behaviors. Sruthi Rameshkumar (Western Michigan University), Jon Lawrence Micelli (Western Michigan University), Richard W. Malott (Western Michigan University)


The goal of this project is to increase the rates of reinforcement of compliance behaviors by tutors at the West Campus practicum site by means of a self-monitoring data sheet. When teaching students with autism skills, the first skills they must learn are basic compliance behaviors such as eye contact, sharing objects through the "my turn" procedure, and keeping their hands in their lap through the "quiet hands" procedure. However, after these skills are mastered, they are not consistently reinforced by tutors and behavioral technicians, and instead are punished as demands often precede instruction. Therefore the frequency of such compliance behaviors are decreased and increases the frequency of aggression and non-compliance behaviors. This project utilizes self-monitoring tool to increase the tutors' behaviors of reinforcing their students' compliance behaviors. The treatment will be discussed with tutors at group meetings, and an additional self-tracking sheet will be used by tutors to monitor their own performance. The data for the baseline and treatment will be recorded by research assistants during practicum sessions and will be a multiple baseline across participants design. The project will contribute to the tutors' skills as their behavior of reinforcing appropriate compliance behaviors will increase, and therefore improve their fluency in reinforcing similar behaviors in other students they work with. Therefore, the results of this study, if the hypothesis is successfully supported, will provide a new procedural plan for the practicum site to use when training these behaviors in tutors.


Increasing Rate and Variability of Vocalizations and Developing Echoic Stimulus Control. Lauren Bauer (Gateway Pediatric Therapy), Jesse Riojas (Gateway Pediatric Therapy), Christina Vestevich (Gateway Pediatric Therapy)


Several teaching procedures have been used to teach echoic behavior for individuals who lack echoic repertoires, including vocal imitation training, stimulus-stimulus pairing, rapid motor imitation antecedent, and mand-model procedure (Stock, Schulze, Mirenda, & 2008; Esch, Carr, & Michael, 2005; Tsiouri & Greer, 2003; Drash, High, & Tudor, 1999). While successful for many individuals, these procedures are not always effective in developing echoic repertoires and may be less effective in individuals whose vocal behavior is not under stimulus control. The methods of this poster replicate and extend Shane's (2016) dissertation which intervened to increase the rate and variability of spontaneous vocalizations and bring these under stimulus control. In the present study, a practical application of a percentile reinforcement schedule was used to increase vocalization variability. The procedure was successful in increasing the rate, variability, and stimulus control of vocalizations in an individual who previously did not echo during vocal imitation training. This individual was subsequently able to participate in traditional vocal imitation training which was resumed following this protocol.


Increasing the Reinforcement of Compliance Behaviors By Practicum Students. Jonathan Miceli (Western Michigan University), Sruthi Rameshkumar (Western Michigan University), Kelly Kohler (Western Michigan University), Richard W. Malott (Western Michigan University)


Compliance behaviors, such as handing over preferred items, making eye contact, and folding hands in a ready position prior to the delivery of instruction help prepare students for success in discrete-trial training (DTT) interventions. Without maintenance of these behaviors, they are likely to decrease in frequency and may lead to the use of restrictive or intrusive methods to gain compliance during DTT sessions. The current study assessed the effects of information, self-monitoring, graphic feedback, and goal setting on the number of reinforced compliance behaviors by practicum students in an early intervention classroom using a multiple-baseline across participants design.


Increasing Vocal Behavior and Establishing Echoic Stimulus Control in Children with Autism: A Systematic Replication. Heriberto Bobadilla (Western Michigan University), Richard W. Malott (Western Michigan University)


Children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and other developmental disabilities typically have marked delays in speech/language (CDC, 2018). The purpose of this study was to systematically replicate an intervention targeting the shaping of vocalizations (Shane, 2016). The general procedure began with reinforcing all vocalizations until a high-rate was achieved. Once this occurred, we differentially reinforced variability of vocalizations by implementing a lag schedule of reinforcement. Once novel vocalizations were occurring at a high-rate we established those vocalizations as echoics by providing a vocal model and reinforcing correct, or close approximations, to the vocal model.


Intraverbal Fluency: Decreasing Response Latency During Social Questions for School-Aged Learners with ASD. Katelyn Hannivan (Judson Center), Madison Malott (Judson Center), Shelley Liquia (Judson Center), Kelsey Murphy (Judson Center)


The purpose of this study is to decrease response latency during social questions for two female participants with ASD, ages 8 and 13. The changing criterion design has been utilized to increase the rate of fluent oral responding for learners with ASD (Fienup & Doepke, 2008). However, there is a lack of research in utilizing the changing criterion design for decreasing response latency within a social context. Targeting a decrease in intraverbal response latency for school-aged children with ASD is particularly important to allow for more frequent social interaction opportunities between learners with ASD and their peers. While the participants in this study demonstrated an average rate of oral responding during skill acquisition (such as reading sight words out loud), they were consistently slow to respond to social questions asked by peers and adult. The high intraverbal response latency demonstrated by participants has limited the frequency of social interaction opportunities for them. The current study will utilize a changing criterion design to decrease response latency during social questions asked by peers and adults.


Investigating the Effects of a Partitioning “Nudge” in Multiple Stimulus Without Replacement Preference Assessments. Alexis L. Price (Central Michigan University, Central Autism Treatment Center), Amy W. Shaw (Central Michigan University, Central Autism Treatment Center), Daniel A. Moreno (Central Michigan University, Central Autism Treatment Center), Molly M. Conway (Central Michigan University, Central Autism Treatment Center), Seth W. Whiting (Central Michigan University, Central Autism Treatment Center)


Multiple stimulus without replacement preference assessments (MSWO) are conducted to identify potential reinforcers for reinforcement-based programs. Options are presented in a line to eliminate bias, but partitioning, or dividing response options, has been shown to “nudge” choice and may be used to increase response allocation to targeted stimuli. The purpose of the present study was to test the effects of a partitioning nudge on choices in MSWO preference assessments. We compared the effects of a standard MSWO preference assessment and a partitioned preference assessment for two children (aged 3 and 19) diagnosed with ASD and other disabilities. Standard MSWO and partitioning trials were completed in random order with each participant. During MSWO trials, the eight stimuli were placed in an array and the client was directed to "pick one" until all the items are chosen. Partitioning trials were the same except stimuli were placed in a cluster with one random item separated outside of the cluster. Preliminary data suggests that when an item is partitioned, items identified as less preferred in standard MSWO trials are unaffected, and items identified as highly preferred in standard MSWO trials are selected sooner in the array, suggesting that partitioning increases stimulus salience. Implications for identifying potential reinforcers and manipulating choice will be discussed.


Investigating the Efficacy of the PEAK-G Module to Generate Generalization of "Wh" Questions. Molly M. Conway (Central Michigan University, Central Autism Treatment Center), Seth W. Whiting (Central Michigan University, Central Autism Treatment Center)


As a tactic to increase appropriate social interactions with adults and peers, a 10-year-old boy with autism underwent treatments for 4 separate programs targeting "WH questions from the PEAK-Generalization module: PEAK-G 8M (Who), PEAK-G 4F (What), PEAK-G 11S (Where), and PEAK-G 10J (Chaining "WH" Questions). Using a multiple baseline across behaviors design, PEAK 8M, 4F, and 11S showed consistent low performance in baseline suggesting that the participant could not appropriately use "who," "what," or "where" questions to mand for information. Administered sequentially, multiple exemplar training procedures with embedded generalization probes resulted in mastery across programs and novel stimuli. PEAK-G 10J was introduced, requiring the use of chaining two of the three "WH" questions previously taught to mand for information. Low baseline scores increased to mastery for PEAK 10J at a relatively accelerated rate, suggesting that despite multiple exemplar training of all component skills, PEAK-G programs designed to extend skills into chains or into other environments are necessary to build more advanced generalization skills.


Language Differences for Children with Autism Between Home and Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention Environments. Savannah Csokasy (Michigan State University), Greeshma Sanchula (Michigan State University), Sarah Avendano (Michigan State University)


Language environments have a significant impact on language development of young children. The purpose of the present investigation was to use observational research to preliminarily analyze the language environments of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, and to assess for differences in language production across two environments. Three children, between the ages of 2 and 5 years, were observed in their home and early intensive behavioral intervention (EIBI) settings. A Language ENvironmental Analysisô (LENA) device was used to automatically capture and analyze child vocalizations, adult vocalizations, and conversation turn counts, in the home and EIBI environments over the course of a day. Results and implications are discussed.


Let's Get Engaged: Increasing Quality Staff Engagement. Emily Wilcox (Judson Center), Elise Hester (Judson Center), Ashley Pierson (Judson Center), Audrey Torma (Judson Center)


The purpose of this project is to increase staff engagement with clients during table top work and trade-ins through the use of staff training's and a modified BST model. Trade-in time provides a unique opportunity for staff to initiate incidental teaching opportunities as well as create a reinforcing relationship between the staff and client. However, this time is not always used to its full potential. There have been highly variable levels of engagement throughout our center which can have a negative impact on client progress. A study by Para-Cremer (2008) demonstrates that intervening on engagement procedures by training proper interactions can increase engagement by staff members, the quality of engagement by staff members, and a produce a reduction in clients' inappropriate behaviors.


Our first target will be to increase staff engagement by providing a one-hour training that includes video modeling, on the floor modeling, and in the moment feedback to shape proper engagement. Examples and non-examples will be shown via video in which an actor will be working with a child. The staff will take data on whether or not the actor was engaging with the client in the video. Next, staff will participate in modeling on the floor with a client and will receive feedback on their engagement. Once participants reach a predetermined criterion of engagement, we will begin the training to increase learning opportunities during trade-ins.


A Literature Review on Tact Instructional Methods for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Ariel C. Graham (Michigan State University), Savana M. Y. Bak (Michigan State University), Ana D. Duéas, (Michigan State University), Sarah M. Avendaó (Michigan State University), Ariel Graham (Michigan State University)


The strength of all verbal operants depend on the acquisition of the tact. Studies show that establishing a generalized tact repertoire can directly impact the reduction of stereotypical and repetitive language, and potentially increase social communication in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). There is a need to determine effective intervention methods to promote a generalized tact repertoire in this population. The current literature review assessed the effects of tact interventions published between 2000 and 2017 for children with ASD. We reviewed 43 articles that incorporated five procedural strategies (i.e., maintenance, generalization, target selection, reinforcement, mixed settings). The five procedural strategies were based on recommendations from previous research to promote generalization in the tact repertoire for children with ASD. Of the 43 articles, none contained all five of the procedural approaches and 11 of the articles did not include any of the five strategies. With practitioners designing treatment programs for children with ASD, there is a need for replicable instructional methods and to shift focus towards interventions that follow effective models and high-quality strategies.


The Mediating Effect of Emotion Dysregulation on Attachment Anxiety and Borderline Personality Symptoms. Jessica Good (Western Michigan University), Dana Goetz (Western Michigan University), Amy Naugle (Western Michigan University)


Attachment related anxiety (i.e., private events related to the worry that someone close with you will not be responsive) has been associated with emotional detachment, heightened defensiveness in relationships, and decreased security in relationships (Bowlby, 1982; Pollard, Riggs, & Hook, 2014). Emotion dysregulation may be a persistent factor in people dealing with insecure attachment (Neilsen et al., 2018; Amstadter, 2008). Individuals with borderline personality symptoms (BLS) may especially have difficulties with attachment anxiety and deficits in emotion regulation as these constructs characterize the disorder (American Psychiatric Associated, 2013; Beeney et al., 2015; Herr, Rosenthal, Geiger, & Erikson, 2013). Symptoms including fear of abandonment and feelings of emotional vacancy are present in attachment anxiety, and could be expounded upon as BLS could develop from these early effects on attachment (Beeney et al., 2015). A previous study has shown that interpersonal problems and borderline personality symptoms was mediated by emotion dysregulation (Herr, Rosenthal, Geiger, & Erikson, 2013). The current study attempts to utilize the same mediation model, but replace interpersonal problems with attachment anxiety. Hayes (2013) boot-strapping mediation model will be used to further analyze the role of emotion dysregulation in the relationship between attachment anxiety and BLS, measured by self-report questionnaires. It is hypothesized that types of emotion dysregulation including impulsivity, lack of clarity, and lack of goal-directed behavior will mediate the relationship between attachment anxiety and BLS, but nonacceptance of emotions and lack of strategies will not. The results and treatment application will be further discussed.


Most-Least Within-Session Prompt Fading. Akrum Eidelsafy (Western Michigan University)


Imitation is a crucial skill and supports the student's ability to learn from his/her peers and the environment around them. This holds significant implications for intervention approaches and therefore required an in-depth look into bringing imitation under perfect stimulus control. The participant involved in this study had limited play, social as well as listener responding (receptive) skills, as assessed by the VB-MAPPS. When treatment trials began, the participant showed signs of prompt dependency. Therefore, a most-to-least (M-L) within session prompt fading procedure was created so that the implementation of the procedure faded prompts quickly and efficiently. It was further modified so that the experimenter did not require a prompter. The targets listed in the procedure were specifically selected so that a tutor may deliver a model and a prompt simultaneously. The prompt levels are faded systematically and promoted contingent on two correct responses or demoted based on two instances of incorrect responses. The various prompts were faded based on the topography of the response being modeled for the student to imitate, until the student was engaging the response independently. This was done so that the student may make as few errors as possible while fading prompts as quickly as possible thus lessoning the risk of prompt dependency.


Parent-Child Group Intervention for Young Children with ASD. Costanza Colombi (University of Michigan), Angela Fish (University of Michigan), Angela Capuano (University of Michigan), Jessyca Judge (University of Michigan)


Background: Despite strong evidence for the positive impact of early intervention that begins immediately following diagnosis (Koegel et al., 2014), access to high quality treatment is quite limited, and this is particularly true for very young children with ASD. One way of increasing access to intervention is to teach intervention strategies to parents immediately after diagnosis.

Objectives: The aim of this project was to adapt an existing evidence based intervention, the Early Start Denver Model (ESDM) (Rogers and Dawson, 2010), to a parent-child group delivery in order to increase access to treatment in the period immediately following diagnosis, and thereby improve child outcomes.

Methods: The Parent-Child group ESDM was delivered to 5 young children with ASD, between 24 and 48 months of age, and their caregivers. Each family participating in the study received one 1-hour session per week of the treatment, delivered in a group of 5 child-caregiver dyads, for 12 weeks.

Results: Preliminary data indicated gains in social-communication behaviors in children as measured by the Brief Observation of Social Communication Change (BOSCC) (Lord et al., 2016). Acceptability of the program was very good as indicated by retention of all participants. Moreover, results from a five-point Likert-based scale survey indicated that the caregivers agreed or strongly agreed that the program was useful and satisfying.

Conclusions: Our preliminary results suggest that the ESDM delivered in group may be useful to teach intervention skills to parents and to increase social communication in young children with ASD.


Recent Research on Activity Schedules with Children with Autism. Nicole Deel (Michigan State University), Kimberly Meister (Michigan State University), Matthew T. Brodhead (Michigan State University)


Activity schedules consist of visual or auditory cues that serve as discriminative stimuli to engage in a response or a series of responses. Activity schedules have been an extremely effective educational tool with individuals with autism, resulting in increases in on-task and independent behaviors during independent play, task completion, and social interactions with peers. The purpose of this poster is to systematically review activity schedule research with individuals with autism that have been published within the last five years. Implications and future directions for future research and practice will be discussed.


Receptive to Echoic to Tact Transfer Procedure. Sam Francis (Western Michigan University), Sofia Peters (Western Michigan University), Kelly Kohler (Western Michigan University), Richard W. Malott (Western Michigan University)


This study attempted to teach tacts to a 3-year-old child diagnosed with autism using a receptive to echoic to tact transfer procedure as outlined in Barbara & Kubina (2005). The participant had echoic and receptive skills and significant deficits in the tact domain as assessed by the VB-MAPP. Baseline data were collected to determine targets that the participant was not able to tact, but could receptively identify. A multiple baseline design across targets was used. Cold probes of the tacts were conducted daily followed by teaching sessions. Targets were divided into 3 sets of 3 picture cards. Each set of 3 tacts were trained separately with training beginning with set 1. Set 2 was introduced only when the participant demonstrated mastery of the previous set, as assessed by the probe measures. Set 3 was introduced following mastery of set 2. Results and implications are discussed, as well as directions for future research.


Reduction of Self-Injurious Behavior in a Preschool Age Child. Nikki Smilak (Western Michigan University), Jon Miceli (Western Michigan University), Kelly Kohler, (Western Michigan University), Richard W. Malott (Western Michigan University)


This case study was conducted with a 4 year old child in a one-on-one special education school setting over the course of approximately 16 months. The child demonstrated high rates of hand biting, flopping, and crying. Direct observational methods such as ABC data collection and narrative recording were employed to determine a hypothesis for the function of her behavior. Self-injurious behavior was primarily observed under conditions in which the child was denied access to preferred locations, indicating a possible tangible function for the child's behavior. Various interventions were implemented throughout the course of the child's time in the special education classroom, including a transition protocol, a clock based-daily schedule, and a wait protocol. An echoic to mand procedure was also implemented to increase her use of vocal communication to compete with her inappropriate manding repertoire. Should these protocols be successful, we will see an overall decrease in rates of hand biting, flopping, and crying, as well as an increase in appropriate waiting and manding.


Self-Monitoring as a Strategy to Increase Showering in an Individual Diagnosed with Schizophrenia. Patrick Wieszciecinski (Western Michigan University), Cody Morris (Western Michigan University), Alissa Conway (Western Michigan University), Stephanie Peterson (Western Michigan University)


Showering is important beyond an individual's physical appearance and odor and extends to an individual's skin health. Avoiding bathing for an extended period of time may cause serious harm to an individual's skin, resulting in issues such as skin breakdown that can develop into a serious concern impacting the individual's skin, muscle, and bone. Self-Monitoring is an intervention that teaches an individual to observe their behavior systematically and record occurrences or non-occurrences of their behavior. The use of Self-Monitoring has been validated through many various applications including reducing overeating, to decrease smoking, and increasing appropriate classroom behaviors. One strength of self-monitoring is that it has been shown to be effective in assisting an increase in desired behaviors. This study focused on utilizing a self-monitoring intervention combined with reinforcement to increase showering behaviors in an individual diagnosed with schizophrenia. This project evaluated the quantity as well as the quality of this individuals showering habits. This was done through creating a level-system for the client's quality of shower and providing feedback to the client on the quality of that shower.


Simple Reaction Time Task I: Insensitivity of Response Latency to Reinforcement Probability. Travis Herr (Central Michigan University), Erin Zdrojewski (Central Michigan University), Lillian L. Skiba-Thayer (Central Michigan University), Eric J. French (Central Michigan University), Mark P. Reilly (Central Michigan University)


The goal of this project was to develop a simple discrete-trial procedure that could be employed to study variables (e.g., drugs) affecting attention in rats. The procedure was modeled after the commonly-used 5-choice serial reaction time task, but did not require the specialized equipment. Trials began with illumination of a stimulus light above the lever, after which the first lever press could produce a food pellet. An inter-trial interval (ITI) consisting of a variable-time 45 s separated each trial. Each lever press during the ITI would prolong the onset of the next trial by 5 s. In three experiments, the probability that a lever press produced a food pellet during stimulus light illumination was manipulated. Experiment 1 used a within-subjects design where four rats successively experienced the 100% followed by the 40% probability condition. Experiment 2 investigated the same probabilities in a between-subjects design. Experiment 3 also employed a within-subject design. However, the two probabilities were presented across trials within the same session and were each associated with one of two different levers. Surprisingly, there were no differences between the lever-press latencies maintained by the 100 and 40% reinforcement probability contingencies across the three experiments. Lever pressing, however, was nearly eliminated when food was discontinued. These findings suggest that the simple fixed-ratio 1 response requirement coupled with the discrete-trial nature of the task generated robust behavior that was insensitive to a wide range of reinforcement probabilities.


Simple Reaction Time Task II: The Role of Inter-Trial Interval and Fixed-Ratio Contingencies. Lillian L. Skiba-Thayer (Central Michigan University), Eric J. French (Central Michigan University), Mark P. Reilly (Central Michigan University)


The purpose of this study was to refine a procedure developed in our lab (the Simple Reaction Time Task or SimpRTT) and evaluate its suitability as an attention task. In previous work, lever press latencies generated by the SimpRTT were invariant across reinforcement probabilities of 1 and 0.4. Procedural modifications were made in an attempt to produce differences in response latency. Trials began with illumination of a stimulus light above the lever, and a food pellet was delivered (probability, p = 1) for completing the fixed-ratio response requirement. A variable-time, 45-s ITI separated each trial. Two groups of four rats differed based on the presence or absence of a 5-s resetting contingency at the end of the ITI. Rats in the resetting ITI group were required not to lever press for a minimum of 5 s before trial onset. This modification was expected to result in group differences in ITI responding that would then impact trial-onset response latency. In a second phase, the fixed-ratio requirement was increased for each rat from 1 to 5. This modification was expected to increase response latency. Neither manipulation had the intended effect. As in the previous work, response latencies were remarkably invariant across various conditions. Only 2 of the 4 rats in the non-resetting ITI group lever pressed consistently during the ITI; still, this ITI responding did not impact response latency. The results are consistent with prior research, showing that latencies are quite robust across a variety of experimental manipulations.


A Systematic Removal of Restrictive Procedures. Kelsey Webster (Western Michigan University), Cody A. Morris (Western Michigan University), Stephanie M. Peterson (Western Michigan University)


Individuals diagnosed with developmental disabilities, including autism, may engage in severe problem behaviors that require behavior intervention plans. In addition to proactive and reactive interventions, behavior plans may include restrictive strategies. These may restrict movement, access to items, and/or activities. Though research supports the use of restrictive procedures in necessary situations, there is limited guidance for systematic removal of restrictive procedures. Without a system, these strategies may remain in place when less restrictive strategies are more appropriate. This poster will describe an example of a restriction removal process for ensuring that when no longer necessary, restrictions are faded.


Teaching a Young Child to Request for Help Using an Icon. Lauren E. Davis (Western Michigan University), Alyssa Uher, MA (Western Michigan University), Kaylee R. Tomak (Western Michigan University), Kelly T. Kohler (Western Michigan University), Richard W. Malott (Western Michigan University)


Many children who are diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) experience communication delays. Certain communicative delays can cause stress during difficult situations in which they need assistance and are unable to ask for it. The purpose of this project was to teach a three-year-old boy with ASD to request for assistance in difficult situations. By using an icon exchange communication system, we were able to teach the child how to request for assistance in a variety of situations. A "requesting help" procedure was implemented using a "help" icon. The procedure created contrived situations in which the "help" icon would be appropriate to communicate, such as a hard to open container and mismatched train tracks. In between contrived teaching sessions, opportunities were interspersed throughout the students day to target generalization. This procedure will teach the student how to appropriately communicate in both a social and educational environment. Having the skill to be able to communicate when help is needed is a skill that will benefit this child not only in our classroom, but also future classrooms and at home.


Teaching Children with Autism to Make Independent Requests Using Echoic-to-Mand. Michael Tomak (Western Michigan University), Kelly Kohler (Western Michigan University), Richard W. Malott (Western Michigan University)


Mands are a vital skill for the development of a child's communicative repertoire and are typically a major focus of early intensive behavior intervention (EIBI). Naturalistic teaching is more efficient than Discrete-Trial Training (DTT) for teaching mands (Jennet, Harris, & Delmolino, 2008). The present study used crucial components from naturalistic teaching to teach mands in a discrete-trial format, using an echoic-to-mand procedure. The intervention increased the children's independent vocal requests. Initially, it taught the children to mand for items in sight and eventually for items out of sight.


Teaching Eye Contact Pre-Requisites with PEAK-DT to an Individual with a Limited Skill Repertoire. Amy W. Shaw (Central Michigan University, Central Autism Treatment Center), Molly M. Conway (Central Michigan University, Central Autism Treatment Center), Seth. W. Whiting (Central Michigan University, Central Autism Treatment Center)


Eye contact is a key component of social interaction and is prerequisite to many other verbal and academic skills trained in behavior-analytic practice. The PEAK: Direct Training module, an evidence-based language assessment and training curriculum, begins with such pre-requisite skills which prepare the client for further learning. The purpose of the present study was to examine the use of PEAK curriculum to train eye contact pre-requisite skills with a participant with a very limited repertoire. Upon his first assessments, a four-year-old boy with autism scored 3 out of 184 on the PEAK-DT assessment and 6 on a VB-MAPP assessment. Training began with PEAK-DT 1A: Eye Contact and 2A: Holding Eye Contact, with different eye contact skills as targets used in training. Using discrete trial teaching procedures, the participant sequentially mastered making eye contact when his name was stated, then making eye contact with preferred and non-preferred tangibles present on his desk, then at locations outside of his work table. Despite this, initial scores on PEAK-DT 2A: Maintaining eye contact were minimal. Using different time requirements for holding eye contact as targets in the program, the client mastered holding eye contact for increasing amounts of time up to five seconds. Designing target stimuli appropriate for a child with zero eye contact skills and gradually shaping responses within PEAK programs proved effective in teaching mastery of eye contact skills, and overall scores on both VB-MAPP and PEAK assessments doubled at 6 month follow-up.


Teaching Imitation Using Video Models and Least-to-Most Prompting. Corinne Kelley (Western Michigan University), Sofia Peters (Western Michigan University), Kelly Kohler (Western Michigan University), Richard W. Malott (Western Michigan University)


A study was conducted to assess the difference between the classroom program of live modeling with least-to-most prompting and a treatment package of video modeling with most-to-least prompting and within session prompt fading to teach imitation to a 3 year old diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Baseline for this study was the classroom program. A multiple baseline across target behaviors was conducted to assess skill acquisition of two targets: clap (live model classroom program) and touch nose (video model treatment package). Mastery was first reached for touch nose after which clap was switched to the video model treatment package. Probes were conducted following mastery of both targets to assess generalization to live models, novel targets, and a novel instructor. The two targets generalized to live model and he imitated novel targets with a novel instructor. Results from this study suggest that the video model treatment package may be more efficient at teaching imitation than the live model classroom program.


Teaching Instruction-Following with Objects to a Child with Autism. Sydney J. Bardelli (Western Michigan University), Sam Francis (Western Michigan University), Sofia F. Peters (Western Michigan University), Kelly T. Kohler (Western Michigan University), Richard W. Malott (Western Michigan University)


The purpose of this study was to teach instruction following with objects to a 3-year-old student diagnosed with autism. Instruction following can improve a child's quality of life for reasons such as, children are expected to be able to follow instructions given by teachers and parents. Having this skill in their repertoire could potentially allow the child to access a less restrictive classroom and home environment. Two sets of three instructions were trained during this study. Baseline data were collected on all sets of instructions before training began. The first set of instructions were trained with one object. This was done because previous studies have shown that teaching one target per object can lead to faulty stimulus control, where the response is controlled by the presence of the item associated with the action instead of the vocal instruction. After the student mastered the first set, generalization of those instructions was tested with novel objects. Once the participant met mastery criteria with the first set, the second set of instructions was introduced using a novel object. Results and implications will be discussed.


Teaching Receptive Identification Using Picture Prompts. Laurel Jungblut (Western Michigan University), Megan Young (Western Michigan University), Kaylee Tomak, (Western Michigan University), Richard W. Malott (Western Michigan University)


Receptive language is the occurrence of an appropriate response to the spoken language of another individual. This is a key element of development, especially in regard to the acquisition of spoken language (Grow & LeBlanc, 2013). While this appropriate responding is a skill generally acquired by typically developing children via interactions with their caregivers, in most situations it must be explicitly taught to children with developmental delays (Charlotte L. Carp, Sean P. Peterson, Amber J. Arkel, & Anna I. Petursdottir, 2012). An absence or delay of this skill will result in a child missing many important learning opportunities, leading to further delays in overall development. The goal of this present study is to teach receptive identification, a key part of receptive language, to a 3 year old girl with developmental delays. An Alternating Treatments Design (ATD) with three conditions will be used to teach this skill. These ATD conditions include an antecedent picture prompt, a consequence picture prompt, and an LTM physical prompt which will be randomly rotated each session. The student will be required to reach at least an 88% for correct identification for three of five consecutive sessions in order to meet mastery criterion. It is expected that this procedure will result in an acquisition of receptive identification which will aid the child in acquiring more advanced receptive skills later on.


Toilet Training in Half the Time: An Effective Protocol for Early Learners with ASD. Sarah Sorenson (Judson Center), Shelley Liquia (Judson Center), Kelsey Murphy (Judson Center)


This study is a replication of a toileting protocol previously developed by the Judson Center. The participant in the replication study is a three year old boy who demonstrated toileting readiness (sitting for 3 minutes on the toilet, engaging in joint attention, and basic gross motor skills). This toileting protocol has been effective for several early learners with ASD (ages 3-6), attending between 15-30 hours of ABA per week. Much of the research involving toilet training individuals with autism has required 40 hours per week or more of participation (Cocchiola et al., 2012, Azrin & Foxx, 1971, and LeBlanc et al., 2005). Recommendations of 40 hours per week spent in ABA and other therapies have often lead to an increase in stress levels in parents (Sawyer et al., 2010). Additionally, many families are limited in schedule availability due to parent preference and insurance restrictions. A procedure was developed utilizing seven major principles from the following studies: Azrin & Foxx (1971), Cocchiola et al. (2012), LeBlanc et al. (2005), Greer et al. (2016), and Smeets et al. (1985). These principles included wearing underwear, a "sit schedule," systematic fluid intake, isolated reinforcement for successful voids, error correction for accidents, proximity of bathroom, and a prompting procedure to request the toilet.


The Use of Conditional Probability Data to Inform the Functional Analysis and Treatment of Problem Behavior. Daphne Snyder (Western Michigan University), Cody Morris (Western Michigan University), Kelsey Webster (Western Michigan University), Stephanie Peterson (Western Michigan University)


While the Functional Analyses are viewed as the golden standard of assessment in behavior analysis, descriptive analyses still have utility in informing functional analysis procedures and treatment. This study examines the use of conditional probability within an ABC analysis to inform the functional analysis of aggressive behaviors displayed by a 9-year-old boy. Through ABC analysis, removal of a tangible was identified as a possible maintaining variable. Additionally, when tangibles were removed as a setting event, the conditional probability data also showed that other specific antecedents were more or less likely to produce problem behavior. For instance, the addition of the presentation of a demand during this setting event showed a lesser probability of target behavior occurring. These hypotheses were tested using a standard functional analysis and pairwise comparisons. The FA first confirmed that removal of tangibles was the function of the behavior. Then, repeated reversals between tangible removal and tangible removal plus demand presented were then tested. The results of the pairwise analysis confirmed that removal of a tangible would evoke target behavior, and that the presentation of demands during this setting event would abate target behaviors.


Using a Lag-X Schedule of Reinforcement to Increase Variability of Mands for Social Information. Daniel A. Moreno (Central Michigan University, Central Autism Treatment Center), Seth W. Whiting (Central Michigan University, Central Autism Treatment Center)


Utilizing a lag x schedule of reinforcement, where the x refers to the number of previous responses from which the current response must differ topographically to receive a reinforcer, we can increase the topography and variability of mands for social information. The purpose of this study is to extend the conversational repertoire in an individual who receives ABA services several hours a week at a treatment center. The participant is an 8-year-old male diagnosed with autism, receiving two hours of ABA services per week. After observations of social interactions with his peers it was concluded that the child had impaired conversational skills. A multiple baseline changing criterion design concurrent with a token economy is used to evaluate different lag schedules of reinforcement for mands of social information that varied topographically. Conducting baseline, the client's mands for social information never differed. Following training, the client met mastery one-hundred percent of the time.


Using a Progressive Variable-Ratio Schedule to Increase Lunch Consumption of and Fade Out Reinforcement for a Four-Year-Old Child. Megan Marie Harper (Western Michigan University), Jonathan Miceli (Western Michigan University), Kelly Kohler (Western Michigan University), Richard W. Malott (Western Michigan University)


A four-year old receiving applied behavior analytic services in a special education classroom drank from only a bottle. When presented with other cups, he would push them away, cry, and turn away from the table. An intervention was implemented to teach the child to drink from a developmentally-appropriate cup through shaping and the use of an iPad as a reinforcer. Drinks from his cup were reinforced and, as long as he drank every 15 seconds, he avoided losing the iPad. This resulted in an increase in independent drinking rate at lunch, but once the iPad was removed his drinking rate decreased. Additionally, this continuous-reinforcement method would not be feasible for his future kindergarten teachers to implement. The next intervention implemented a progressive variable-ratio schedule of reinforcement for sips and bites of food. This intervention attempted to thin the schedule of reinforcement and foster more independent responses as well as incorporate food consumption in order to avoid its reduction. If successful, the child's rate of lunch consumption will increase, he will eat more of his lunch, and he will finish his lunch without the presence of the iPad.


Using a Tablet for More than Just Leisure: Training Listener Responding with Video Modeling. Chelsey Harmon (Judson Center), Jared Coffin (Judson Center), Alison Maloney (Judson Center), Melissa Wilson (Judson Center)


The purpose of this research study was to gain a better understanding of the effectiveness of video modeling as a form of intervention to teach listener responding with varied discriminative stimuli. The study utilized a multiple baseline design across behaviors with a four-year-old female diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) who demonstrated limited listener responding skills as assessed by the VB-MAPP. Previous research suggests that presenting models from the learner's perspective improves attending to relevant stimuli (Corbett & Abdullah, 2005). However, further research is needed to assess the effectiveness of video modeling in teaching listener responding skills. The intervention package included video modeling, reinforcement, and prompting to teach indicating known objects. During intervention phases, the video model was presented in full to the learner. Immediately following the video, the learner was presented the objects to complete the modeled behavior. Following intervention phases, probe sessions were conducted to ensure the skill was maintained.


Using an Activity Schedule to Increase Successful Transitions. Alyssa M. Uher (Western Michigan University), Kohei Togashi (Western Michigan University), Kaylee R. Tomak (Western Michigan University), Kelly T. Kohler (Western Michigan University), Richard W. Malott (Western Michigan University)


Children with developmental disorders commonly respond well to pictures and icons that correspond with instructions. Activity schedules using icons are frequently used in special education classrooms. Activity schedules allow for advanced notice of a transition and may help decrease transition-related problem behaviors. Children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) can have issues with transitioning from one location to another. The purpose of this study was to implement an activity schedule with a three-year-old diagnosed with ASD in an Early Childhood Special Education classroom who frequently engaged in problem behavior during transitions including whining, crying, resisting prompts for transitions by pulling away from tutors, and flopping. The goal was to decrease the frequency of transition-related problem behavior and to prepare the student for future classrooms where activity schedules would be used. The activity schedule was shown to decrease the frequency of flops and increase the number of successful transitions throughout the student day.


Using an Echoic-to-Mand Procedure to Establish an Echoic Repertoire in a Preschool Child with Autism. Sarah Bradtke (Western Michigan University), Michael Tomak (Western Michigan University), Kelly Kohler (Western Michigan University), Richard W. Malott (Western Michigan University)


Echoic behavior is a critical skill for young children, including children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), as it allows for a more rapid acquisition of other verbal operants; children can quickly learn new words via imitating a vocal model instead of by the gradual shaping of sounds. While there are several ways to teach echoics, a common method involves teaching the skill in the context of manding. Preferred stimuli are withheld while a vocal model of the name of the item is presented. The child then receives the item contingent upon an approximation of the vocal model, with closer and closer approximations being accepted over time. This procedure was used in the present study to establish an echoic repertoire in a preschool aged child with ASD. Several mands were taught with an echoic model, and then probes were conducted on echoic behavior in a non-mand context. The child acquired the target mands and was able to demonstrate echoic behavior for novel words and sounds.


Using Demand Fading to Reduce Self-Injurious Behavior. Kristianna Ferrier (Western Michigan University), Kaylee Tomak (Western Michigan University), Kelly Kohler (Western Michigan university), Richard W. Malott (Western Michigan University)


A student new to an Early Childhood Special Education Classroom (ECSE) exhibited high rates of self-injurious behavior (SIB), motor disruption, verbal protesting, and elopement immediately following the presentation of a demand. ABC data was collected, and it was determined that the maintaining variable was likely escape from demands. Baseline was collected across four sessions and locations. Locations included the hallway next to the classroom which included bikes and wagons, a table in the ECSE classroom, the student's work area, and the student's work area that was enriched by allowing free access to tangibles and an I-pad which was playing, independent of responding. A treatment package was used, which included alternating sessions of non-contingent reinforcement sessions and demand fading sessions where differential reinforcement was used. The first phase of the intervention involved having the student transition from the locations listed above, without any additional demands, with no problem behavior for 3 days. During the second phase, the behavior technicians working with the student introduced one demand per 15-minute demand session, approximately halfway through the session. Criterion for change was 80% compliance to the demands and 20% or less of the demands with SIB. A visual prompt was used to indicate when it was a work session (red card) or a play session (green card). Demands were slowly increased in variety and complexity. The goal of this intervention was to decrease SIB and increase compliance with demands.


Using Natural Environment Teaching to Teach Skills to a Child With Autism. Brooklynn Greene (Western Michigan University), Jonathan Miceli (Western Michigan University), Kelly Kohler (Western Michigan University), Richard W. Malott (Western Michigan University)


A three-year-old boy with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) was introduced to behavior analytic services with the use of discrete trial training (DTT) within a classroom setting. From the VB-MAPP, deficits were noted in the manding, echoic, imitation, and vocal categories (scoring.5, 0, 0, and 1 point, respectively). In observations, the child emitted spontaneous tacts, such as names of objects and their color, and some intraverbals, however, there was little stimulus control apparent. Through the use of daily data monitoring, little progress was observed using DTT procedures. It is thought that this is because DTT is highly structured with targets that are not functionally related to their reinforcers. Specialized training procedures were used, based off of natural environment teaching (NET). NET procedures have targets that are more functionally related to their reinforcers, which was the focus of adjusting procedures because the child showed skills during playtime, but not during direct instruction, such as manding and imitation. By making these changes, there should be the acquisition of both targetted behaviors as well as the generalization of those behaviors, such as being able to use imitation to learn direction following and an increased manding repertoire.


Using Pivotal Response Training to Teach Social Interactions with Peers. Lauren Parzianello (Judson Center), Jared Coffin (Judson Center)


Research indicates that children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) exhibit sever deficits in play skills as well as pro social behavior. Pivotal response training (PRT) is an evidence-based behavioral training procedure that has proven to be an effective method of teaching a variety of social communication skills to individuals with autism (Lei & Ventola, 2017). The purpose of this research study was to examine the effectiveness of PRT on teaching individuals diagnosed with ASD appropriate social interactions with peers. Key components of PRT are clear instructions, interspersed maintenance tasks, child choice, direct reinforcement, reinforcement of attempts, and turn taking (Stahmer, 1999). Treatment was implemented with three individuals diagnosed with ASD who all attended a center based ABA program a minimum 15 hours a week. Results indicate that PRT increased appropriate social interactions with all participants.


Using Transfer Trials to Teach Imitation. Megan Young (Western Michigan University), Kaylee Tomak (Western Michigan University), Kelly Kohler (Western Michigan University), Richard W. Malott (Western Michigan University)


An imitative repertoire is needed in order to learn many new skills. Although most children develop this repertoire without needing it to be discretely taught to them, some children need specialized interventions in order to develop this set of skills. Without an imitative repertoire, these children will have great difficulty developing beyond the most basic of skills (Cooper, Heron, & Heward, 2007). This project explored using transfer trials to teach imitation. Transfer trials have been used to teach several skills, such as intraverbal responding, tacting, and mand training, however little research has explored this technique to teach imitation. In this study, the transfer trial was divided into three sequences. In each trial, the student had 3 different learning opportunities to engage in the target response. Differential reinforcement was used for each sequence to reinforce independent responses (or approximation of responses) at different levels of prompting. The next sequent began if the student incorrectly responded or did not respond to the current sequence. This study is expected to help a student acquire an imitative repertoire through the use of transfer trials.


Using Video Modeling to Teach Imitation to Children with Autism. Sofia F. Peters (Western Michigan University), Corinne I. Kelley (Western Michigan University), Sarah A. Bradtke (Western Michigan University), Kelly T. Kohler (Western Michigan UNiversity), Richard W. Malott (Western Michigan University)


Imitation is a critical skill that allows individuals to learn through less restrictive prompting methods and may allow access to less restrictive learning environments. Many individuals with autism are able to learn to imitate with interventions that utilize live models with most-to-least or least-to-most prompting strategies, but for some, these methods are not successful or efficient. While video modeling has been used to teach a variety of skills to individuals with autism, there is limited research using video models to teach imitation. This study seeks to investigate the effectiveness of using video models to teach imitation to children with autism and developmental disabilities who have been unsuccessful using typical strategies.


Utilizing an Objective Formal Assessment Tool to Measure Staff Behavior. Christa Shurter (Judson Center), Sarah Gulino (Judson Center)


The purpose of this study is to utilize an objective formal assessment tool to encourage and strengthen staff performance. Much of the research involving staff performance discusses ambiguous evaluations that lead to inconsistent measurement problems (Bishop, 1987). The formal assessment tool will help target specific skill deficits of staff in an individualized manner to increase knowledge and implementation of applied behavior analytic principles and agency procedures. Using an unbiased tool allows to set specific criterion to assess staff in multiple domains, giving staff an equal opportunity to meet or exceed the set expectations. The formal assessment tool utilizes verbal testing, formal observations, and input from direct supervisors to measure staff performance. The overall domains being assessed with the formal assessment tool are agency policies, behavior excesses, powerful reinforcement, discrete trials, prompting, task analysis and chain of behavior, verbal behavior, generalization, group work, trade-ins and incidental teaching, case management, and professionalism. The goal of this study is to show an increase in staff performance by utilizing a formal assessment tool that specifically targets individualized needs.


Utilizing an Objective Formal Assessment Tool to Measure Staff Performance. Sarah Gulino (Judson Center), Dana Milliman (Judson Center)


The purpose of this study is to develop an unbiased formal assessment tool which can be used to measure staff performance. In doing so, supervisors can effectively target skill deficits of staff in an individualized manner to increase staff implementation of applied behavior analytic principles and agency procedures. Utilization of this tool allows for measurement of staff behavior in an objective, unbiased manner due to set criterion to assess staff in multiple domains. This provides staff with equal opportunity to meet or exceed job performance expectations. Domains in this assessment include behavior excesses, powerful reinforcement, discrete trial training, prompting, task analysis, verbal behavior, incidental teaching, case management, professionalism, and more. There is a lack of research on the utilization of formal assessment tools to measure staff performance. However, research does show that ambiguous evaluations are common in workplace settings and lead to measurement problems of staff performance, (Bishop, 1987). Holzbah (1978) stated that validity issues in staff performance measures include leniency errors, halo effects, and differential dimensionality. The tool used in this assessment provides set criteria on scoring each domain to ensure that all employees are measured using the same tools and receive scores that are consistent with performance based data. In this study, baseline data was recorded using observations that include tasks from each domain. Upon reviewing observations, staff were assessed using the formal tool and met with supervisors to review data, highlight strengths and weaknesses, and set goals to improve performance. Continuous observations were done with specific feedback given in target areas of weakness that were identified through the use of the formal assessment tool. In doing so, the goal of this study is to show an increase in staff performance due to use of an objective and unbiased assessment tool that better highlights individual staff needs


You're Promoted! Evaluating the Outcomes of a Job-Related Social Skills Group for Young Adults Diagnosed with ASD. Rachel A. Popp, (Western Michigan University), Kayla J. Jenssen (Western Michigan University), Jessica E. Frieder (Western Michigan University)


When compared to young adults from other disability categories, employment rates for those diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) remain low (Burke et al., 2010). Social skills are of critical importance to successful employment outcomes. Poor interpersonal interactions account for nine of the 10 most commonly cited reasons for rejecting an applicant during a job interview (Elskin & Elskin, 1991). Behaviors such as maintaining eye contact, reciprocal conversation skills, and initiating and responding to greetings are also cited as crucial components to positive social interactions that may be difficult for persons diagnosed with ASD to perform in a variety of settings, including vocational settings (McKinnon & Krempa, 2002). One strategy that has been effectively applied to teaching social skills is Behavioral Skills Training (BST; Miltenberger et al., 2017). Within a group format, BST may be particularly beneficial as a time-efficient tool for teaching multiple students. This may also lead to observational learning, peer feedback opportunities, a fast pace of instruction, and additional practice for other important skills (i.e. time-management, organization, etc.) This poster will present a project that involved the implementation of a job-related social skills group for three students diagnosed with ASD between the ages of 20 and 24. An overview of the procedures, participant results (pre- and post- social skill scores), overall group outcomes, and suggested future directions will be outlined.

Behavior Analysis Association of Michigan, Department of Psychology, Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, MI 48197