Online "Convention" Agenda
This program, including CEU offerings, is tentative and subject to change. Most items will be recorded, and available to view at any time. Links will be provided as the presentations arrive and are finalized.
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Online Symposia (80 minutes)
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The Development, Evaluation, and Dissemination of Smartphone-Based Contingency Management. Anthony DeFulio (Western Michigan University)
The evidence base in support of the efficacy of contingency management to promote health behaviors such as drug abstinence and medication adherence is immense and indicates its incredible potential to initiate and maintain abstinence. Nevertheless, contingency management has not been widely adopted in clinical settings. Technological advances have made it possible to surmount long-standing barriers to the adoption of contingency management. The purpose of this symposium is to highlight recent advances in technology-supported delivery of contingency management and related successes in dissemination.
Contingency Management - From Single Subjects to Smartphones. Hayley Brown (Western Michigan University), Anthony DeFulio (Western Michigan University)
Contingency management is an efficacious treatment for improving a variety of health-related behaviors. In contingency management, incentives are provided to participants contingent on the objective confirmation that they have engaged in a target behavior. Traditionally, contingency management has been implemented in-person to allow for confirmation of a target behavior by a provider. This traditional implementation can be burdensome to providers and patients alike. However, recent advances in technology have made remote confirmation of target behaviors and delivery of incentives possible, easing the burden of providers and patients. Specifically, smartphones have recently been used to implement contingency management as they are ubiquitous and especially fitted to remote implementation. This presentation will provide a brief overview of the development of contingency management, explain contingency management procedures, and describe in detail how contingency management can be implemented via smartphone and other digital technology.
Increasing Adherence to Life-Saving Medicine with Contingencies and Technology. Haily Traxler (Western Michigan University). Anthony DeFulio (Western Michigan University).
Antiretroviral therapy (ART) improves life expectancy and quality of life for individuals living with HIV. ART adherence of >95% drastically decreases the likelihood of transmission to others, but many people with a history of drug use do not maintain this level of adherence. The purpose of this study was to develop a mobile contingency management (CM) intervention for promoting medication adherence in people with a history of drug use. Fifty participants with a history of opioid or cocaine use were enrolled in the study for six months and randomly assigned to either a control (n=25) or treatment (n=25) group. Treatment group participants received a smartphone loaded with a CM intervention app that allowed for (1) direct observation of medication consumption through video selfies, (2) easy tracking of incentive earnings, (3) easy access to adherence-related resources, and (4) a dosing reminder texting system. The proportion of individuals who achieved 95% adherence increased over time in the treatment group and decreased over time in the control group, and was significantly different in the final study month (55% vs. 19%; p=0.015). Usage data showed a high levels of intervention engagement and correct usage, and self-reports showed a high level of intervention acceptability.
Use of a Smartphone-Based Contingency Management Platform to Improve Appointment Attendance and Decrease Substance Use for Patients in an Outpatient Clinic. Mark J. Rzeszutek (Western Michigan University), Anthony DeFulio (Western Michigan University)
Contingency management (CM) is an effective intervention for a variety for behaviors, such as medication adherence, drug abstinence, and increasing participation. Despite the efficacy of CM, it has not been widely adopted by providers due to several possible barriers (e.g., cost, effort, clinician beliefs). To help decrease some of these barriers, CM programs have been implemented using smartphone-based platforms, which can be automated and ultimately decrease the burden on clinicians and decrease the latency that participants receive incentives for target behaviors. In conjunction with DynamiCare Health, we assessed the efficacy and acceptability of a smartphone-based CM platform to supplement treatment for those enrolled in a traditional outpatient substance use program. Patients were matched to demographically similar patients receiving treatment for substance use at another clinic, and attendance to therapy sessions and negative urine samples were compared. Those receiving supplemental CM had increased attendance and increased negative urine samples compared to those in the matched-control group. Clinicians and patients reported high satisfaction and usability for the smartphone-based CM platform. Implications and future directions of smartphone-based CM platforms will be discussed.
Dissemination of Smartphone-Based Contingency Management: Successes and Challenges. Anthony DeFulio (Western Michigan University)
The dissemination of contingency management interventions is greatly facilitated by smartphones and related digital technologies. This presentation will describe how digital technologies surmount common barriers to the dissemination of contingency management, describe recent successes in disseminating contingency management, and outline current challenges to the ongoing efforts to disseminate contingency management on a national scale.
Online Paper Presentations
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Systematic Review of Transition Assessments for Young Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder from Early Intervention to Special Education. Akrum H. Eidelsafy (Western Michigan University), Katherine Lalonde (Western Michigan University), Starla Scott (Western Michigan University)
Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), their families, and teachers face many challenges during the transition from early intervention into public education. One tool that may facilitate and streamline this transition is the use of a comprehensive transition assessment. The purpose of the current study was to conduct a systematic literature review on peer-reviewed kindergarten transition assessments for children with ASD. The systematic literature review yielded six studies that met inclusion criterion. Within those six studies, 20 assessments were analyzed by reviewing the (1) type of assessment, (2) assessment timeline, and (3) use of assessment results. The results of this study showed the majority (80%) of studies used indirect assessment measures. Of the assessments used, 20% utilized the results in an instructional manner, while the remaining were used descriptively. Implications of these findings and directions for future research are discussed.
Systematic Identification of Video Preferences and Reinforcers in Children With Autism. Hugo Curiel (University of Texas Rio Grande Valley)
This study identified video preferences and their reinforcing effects for 4 children diagnosed with autism. Staff and parents identified and rank-ordered the videos that were used in the assessments. Multiple-stimulus-without-replacement (MSWO) preference assessments were conducted using multiple computerized tablets. When the staff- and parent-derived ranks were compared to the MSWO-derived ranks, their correspondence was low. Concurrent-operants reinforcer assessments were subsequently conducted with the participants' high-preferred, low-preferred, and control videos. High-preferred videos sustained higher levels of target responses, compared to the alternatives, on sorting or puzzle tasks. Nominated stimuli and presumed ranks, video preferences, and the predictive validity of the preference assessment are discussed.
Effects of Coaching Paraprofessionals to Promote Communication for Students with Complex Communication Needs During Academic Instruction. Eric J. Anderson (Ohio State University), Kara N. Shawbitz (Ohio State University) (20 min)
Paraprofessionals are often tasked with supporting students with autism complex communication needs (CCN) without being prepared to promote communication for these students. Previous studies have focused on training paraprofessionals to promote communication during non-instructional contexts, and we extend the literature by focusing on promoting communication during academic instruction. We used a multiple-baseline-across-participants design to test the efficacy of coaching three paraprofessionals to increase Opportunities to Respond (OTIs) for students with autism and CCN by using facilitation strategies to elicit student requests, comments, and conversational exchanges. The training package included a rationale, an implementation checklist, didactic instruction, roleplay, and performance feedback. A functional relationship was established between the training package and paraprofessional implementation of the facilitation strategies, and OTIs increased for all three students. This study extends the literature by demonstrating how paraprofessionals can be trained to promote communications for students with CCN during academic instruction.
Further Investigation of Differential Reinforcement of Alternative Behavior without Extinction for Escape-Maintained Problem Behavior. Adam M. Briggs (Eastern Michigan University) (20 min)
Previous research indicates that manipulating dimensions of reinforcement during differential reinforcement of alternative behavior (DRA) for situations in which extinction (EXT) cannot be implemented is a potential approach for treating problem behavior. Therefore, we replicated and extended previous research by evaluating the effects of DRA without EXT for escape-maintained problem behavior by determining (a) the conditions under which DRA without EXT was effective for decreasing and maintaining low levels of problem behavior and (b) whether intervention effects would maintain while the token exchange schedule for the alternative response (i.e., compliance) was thinned. Results showed that effective treatments were developed in the absence of EXT by manipulating the magnitude and quality of reinforcement for compliance for all four participants and maintained when reinforcement schedules were thinned for three of the four participants. Implications and future directions related to manipulating dimensions of reinforcement for alternative responding without EXT for problem behavior maintained by social-negative reinforcement and schedule thinning are discussed.
Posters are presented as 5-minute prerecorded presentations. Go to the link below to register for the posters you'd like to see. A viewing link will be sent.
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The Acceptability of Consultative Behavior Analytic Service Provided via Telehealth Daphne Snyder (Western Michigan University), Leanne Latocha (Western Michigan University), Jessica Detrick (Western Michigan University), Kelsey Stapleton (Western Michigan University), Stephanie Peterson (Western Michigan University), Daphne Snyder (Western Michigan University),
A telehealth model has been shown to be efficacious for the assessment and treatment of problem behavior (Machalicek, et al., 2016; Wacker et al., 2013). With recent events involving the COVID-19 pandemic, telehealth has become a more widely utilized service delivery model for behavioral health services. However, when utilizing this service delivery model, behavior analysts have an obligation to consider the acceptability and preference of their clients and the caregivers they are working with (PECC, 2014). The purpose of this project was to analyze the acceptability of consultative behavior analytic services delivered using a telehealth model over time in order to assess and treat challenging behavior. A survey was disseminated to clients and caregivers receiving behavior analytic consultative services following three months and six months of telehealth services. The survey assessed the utility of a telehealth treatment model to maintain rapport with the clinician, the feasibility of implementation of services using telehealth, client progress, and overall acceptability. Results indicate that consultative telehealth services are generally accepted upon initial implementation.
Assessment and Treatment of Multiply-Controlled Problem Behavior in a Classroom Setting. Molly Mattes (Western Michigan University), Sacha Pence (Western Michigan University), Kelly T. Kohler (Western Michigan University), Richard Malott (Western Michigan University)
A multitude of studies have examined various assessment and analysis techniques for determining the function of problem behavior before implementing an intervention for that behavior. One of the potential findings of these assessments is that the problem behavior is maintained by multiple antecedent and consequence events in the environment. When this is the case, interventions are often difficult to implement and behavior reduction is often difficult to obtain. The current case study involved the use of conditional and background probabilities to assess environmental conditions surrounding problem behavior as well as a multi-phase concurrent operant assessment to determine preference for various social contingencies. This information was then used to aide in hypothesizing the function of problem behavior emitted by a 3-year-old student in an early childhood special education classroom. These assessments revealed that the student's problem behavior was likely multiply maintained by access to social attention and escape from demands. Following these assessments, a functional communication training protocol was implemented in an attempt to decrease the frequency, duration and magnitude of problem behavior. Results should indicate that while effective in decreasing problem behavior, students might overuse these alternative responses in ways that are inappropriate for the natural environment. In this case, the addition of a schedule thinning procedure or an additional treatment component may be needed to reduce the unwanted effects of overusing functional communicative responses.
Decreasing Challenging Behavior in an Adolescent: A Case Study. Sydney J. Bardelli (Western Michigan University), Sydney Harbaugh (Braintrust Behavioral Health LLC), Kelly T. Kohler (Western Michigan University), Richard Malott (Western Michigan University)
The current study looked at a 13-year-old boy diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, attention deficit hyper-activity disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, and intermittent explosive disorder. We explored various interventions to decrease severe challenging behavior while increasing skill acquisition. Some of these interventions include, differential reinforcement of other behavior (DRO), extinction, token economies and more. The current study described the strengths and weaknesses of each intervention.
Decreasing Public Masturbation Using Functional Communication Training (FCT). Lily Heitz (Western Michigan University), Sydney Harbaugh (Braintrust Behavioral Health LLC), Kelly T. Kohler (Western Michigan University), Richard Malott (Western Michigan University)
There is limited research available on decreasing public masturbation in individuals with ASD, especially for individuals who are considered lower functioning. This is a serious problem given that 65% of children over the age of 9-years-old diagnosed with ASD engage in inappropriate sexual behaviors (Cividini-Motta et. al, 2020). Masturbation in a normal part of sexual development and practitioners and parents should expect these behaviors to develop with children with ASD or other intellectual disabilities (American Academy of Pediatrics, 1996). Unfortunately, there are few and limited analyses for evaluating behavioral interventions for decreasing public masturbation and other inappropriate sexual behaviors. In the current study, a 10-year-old boy diagnosed with autism engaged in public masturbation at the clinic where he received ABA services. The researchers used a treatment package to decrease public masturbation and increase appropriate mands for privacy to engage in those sexual behaviors using functional communication training (FCT) and differential reinforcement to decrease the frequency and duration of public masturbation at the clinic.
The Effects of Arbitrary Distractor Stimuli on Stimulus Control. Erin E. Baum (Western Michigan University), Sacha Pence (Western Michigan University), Kelly T. Kohler (Western Michigan University), Richard Malott (Western Michigan University)
Previous research, along with a number of curriculum guides recommend teaching object-imitation as a first step to imitation training with children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) (Ledford & Wolery, 2011). However, there is no focus on the characteristics of the environment that may come to control the imitative response within object imitation training trials. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of arbitrary distractor stimuli on the stimulus control of the model in object imitation training. Changing features of the target stimulus, such as the size, will help facilitate the stimulus control of the model. Throughout the object-imitation trials, the presence of the arbitrary distractor stimuli should have little to no effect on the stimulus control of the model. The results of this study will help determine how to better facilitate imitation training trials to ensure true stimulus control of the model or instruction, rather than faulty stimulus control of any arbitrary objects in the environment.
The Effects of Demand Fading Using FCT and a Delay-to-Reinforcement Intervention on Multiply Maintained Self-Injurious Behaviors. Sruthi Rameshkumar (Western Michigan University), Rebecca Eldridge (The Kalamazoo Autism Center), Kelly Kohler (Western Michigan University), Richard Malott (Western Michigan University)
The client of interest engaged in high levels of self-injurious behavior, including hitting themselves in the face or head, or hitting their head to the ground or walls. Using a changing criterion experimental design, a treatment package will be implemented to target self-injurious behaviors maintained by functions of escaping from demands and denied or delayed access to tangibles. In this study, demand fading with functional communication training and a delay-to-reinforcement intervention will be used to systematically increase completion of required work trials and teach engagement in alternate activities during delayed tangible intervals. The study aims to implement several protocols at once to reduce the duration of self-injurious behavior with the client.
Implementing a Behavior Tech Training System. Lex W. Botkin (Western Michigan University), Alyssa Darrah (Braintrust Behavioral Health), Kelly T. Kohler(Western Michigan University), Richard W. Malott (Western Michigan University)
Behavior analysts often rely on behavior technicians to implement behavior reduction plans and skill acquisitions programs. Technicians are often responsible for other important tasks like data collection and billing-note documentation. For this reason, a quality technician training process is an important part of providing quality behavioral services. Behavioral skills training is a well-supported method for training new technicians. The purpose of this project is to use behavioral skills training to improve the performance of new behavior technicians at an autism treatment agency. The agency was previously using computerized training but was struggling with technician competency and job satisfaction. This project also seeks to compare the effects of a purely computerized training to the effects of a computerized training with added in-person behavioral skills training.
Increasing Employee Effectiveness and Satisfaction Using an Automated Feedback System. Laurel Jungblut (Western Michigan University), Rebecca R. Eldridge (Western Michigan University), Kelly T. Kohler (Western Michigan University), Richard Malott (Western Michigan University)
The goal of the current study is to increase both staff performance and satisfaction with supervision and feedback at a clinic-based autism center by implementing a new feedback system. The participants include 22 Behavior Technicians (BT's) and Registered Behavior Technicians (RBT's), 4 masters level practicum students, and 4 Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA's) employed at the center. Initially, employee feedback on supervision, training, job satisfaction, and other relevant aspects of the job was collected through the use of an Employee Satisfaction Survey (ESS). This will be followed by the application of an electronic feedback system which allows BCBAs to rate technicians on certain aspects of ABA procedure implementation and professionalism, and automatically upload those ratings to a visual dataset for each technician to view their individual performance over time. It is expected that this system will allow BCBA's to provide more specific feedback to staff without increasing their workload and will increase employee performance and satisfaction with the quality of supervision they receive.
An Interview-Informed Synthesized Contingency Analysis to Determine the Functions of Self-Injurious Behavior. Elizabeth Wiegand (Western Michigan University), Ivana N. Garcia Sevigny (Western Michigan University), Kelly T. Kohler (Western Michigan University), Richard W. Malott(Western Michigan University)
The aim of the current study was to apply the Interview-Informed Synthesized Contingency Analysis (IISCA) modeled by Hanley et al. (2014) to decrease severe head banging by a 6-year-old boy who had been diagnosed with autism. A highly individualized test-control analysis was presented to identify the variables maintaining problem behavior. Following the identification of the variables maintaining problem behaviors, skill-based treatment was designed and implemented to reduce problem behavior, increase functional communication responses (FCRs), toleration to denials and compliance to demands. The results of this study add to the literature describing the use of IISCA for the assessment and treatment of severe problem behavior
Orienting to Name. Madeline F. Klingensmith (Western Michigan University), Sacha T. Pence (Western Michigan University), Kelly T. Kohler (Western Michigan University), Richard W. Malott (Western Michigan University)
Responding to your name is a skill that can be considered a behavioral cusp due to the possibility of leading to the acquisition of new skills, gaining new behaviors and allowing the learner to come into contact with more contingencies in the environment. Responding to your name is a common goal targeted for individuals diagnosed with ASD. This project is meant to help provide framework to be used by practitioners to teach responding to name and increase overall instances of eye-contact. The researchers paired the child's name with a reinforcer to establish their name as a reinforcer so they would then orient toward the speaker when their name was called. This method is meant to be less intrusive than other methods commonly used. This research is still pending results. Key words: autism, responding to name, eye-contact, pairing
Parent Training in Treating Comorbid Symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Jessica Good (Eastern Michigan University), Jasmine Dhuga (Eastern Michigan University), Leah LaLonde (Eastern Michigan University), Michael Vriesman (Eastern Michigan University), Efthymia Orkopoulou (Eastern Michigan University), Tatum Teeple (Eastern Michigan University), & Alexandros Maragakis (Eastern Michigan University)
Children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) frequently have at least one comorbid psychiatric disorder—many of which accompany behavioral problems. Given this high comorbidity, children may demonstrate a variety of external behavioral excesses or deficits, including defiant behaviors, excessive rule-governed behavior (i.e., pliance), and withdrawal from pleasurable activities. While beyond the scope of the BCBA to treat such comorbid psychiatric disorders (e.g., depression, anxiety, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder), identifying behavioral problems—as well as implementing behavioral strategies to target such problems—is essential to improve client outcomes. Some of these behavioral strategies include providing parents of children with ASD resources on how to work with behavioral problems. This presentation aims to discuss evidence-based behavioral skills for parents that can aid with the amelioration of these behavioral excesses or deficits, while addressing real-life barriers outside the therapeutic setting (e.g., having other children in the home who need care; life stressors; varying education levels, etc.) that may contribute to parents having a difficult time effectively addressing the behavioral concerns in their homes.
Reducing Challenging Behavior (in a Boy with ASD). Samantha K. Thompson (Western Michigan University), Sydney Harbaugh (Braintrust Behavioral Health LLC), Kelly T. Kohler (Western Michigan University), Richard Malott (Western Michigan University).
This study aimed to reduce a wide range of challenging behaviors in a 9-year-old boy with autism.
Stop Stressing Out and Start ACTing Up. Cara Cech (Western Michigan University), Allysa Darrah (Western Michigan University), Kelly T. Kohler (Western Michigan University), Richard Malott (Western Michigan University)
This project was introduced to staff members working with young adults who engage in intense or dangerous problem behavior. Baseline data were collected on the staff's current stress level, burnout level, the frequency of negative overt talk (about the company or clients), staff's psychological flexibility, and staff's engagement in the companies committed actions. During phase 1, staff were introduced to the data collection system. When phase 2 is conducted, staff members will be required to participate in a one-hour introduction of acceptance and commitment therapy and participation in weekly exercises involving the six interrelated therapeutic processes. Additional resources will be available for the staff to complete independently (data will be collected on the companies committed actions). After the completion of phase 2, data will be collected again on staff's stress level, burnout level, the frequency of negative overt talk (about the company or clients), staff's psychological flexibility, and staff's engagement in the companies committed actions. After the results, this intervention will be rolled out throughout the company.
Teaching Perspective Taking to Children with Autism. Lindsay P. Houseknecht (Western Michigan University), Kaley L. Orolin (Acorn Health), Kelly T. Kohler (Western Michigan University), Richard Malott (Western Michigan University)
Perspective taking is an important and complex skill that children with autism often have difficulty acquiring. The purpose of this study was to use video modeling and reinforcement to teach perspective taking to two individuals diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. The results of this study are still ongoing, but so far it has been successful with one participant and adjustments are being made for the second participant.
Using Elements of DTT and PRT to Increase Joint Attention Through Structured Play. Angela Thweni (Judson Center)
The purpose of this study is to use a behavior modification technique with elements of DTT and PRT to train joint attention with a 2-year-old child with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Joint attention can be defined as the ability to coordinate attention between an object and another person in a social context (Whalen and Schreibman, 2003). Joint attention is important within Autism research due to it being one of the earliest developing social behaviors, and deficits in joint attention become evident prior to the development of language. These skills are pertinent to the development of other important social skills as a child develops such as engaging in shared experiences with others. Previous research has shown that training joint attention through the use of response and initiation phases overall increased participants ability to engage in shared experiences with others through eye contact, pointing, and playing with a shared toy (Whalen and Schreibman, 2003), (Isaksen and Holth, 2009), (Pamela J. White, Mark O'Reilly, William Streusand, Ann Levine, Jeff Sigafoos, Giulio Lancioni, Christina Fragale, Nigel Pierce, Jeannie Aguilar, 2011). Joint attention will be targeted using a multiple baseline design across behaviors in which the skills will be separated into two phases: response and initiation. This study expands upon previous literature on training joint attention and aims to provide behavior analysts with an effective way to increase joint attention skills and social skills with clients.
Using Systematic Desensitization to Increase Mask Wearing. Hannah S. Vandenboom (Western Michigan University), Madeline F. Klingensmith (Western Michigan University), Alexandria R. Chester (Western Michigan University), Sydney L. Hull (Western Michigan University), Sacha Pence (Western Michigan University), Kelly T. Kohler (Western Michigan University), Richard Malott (Western Michigan University), Hannah Vandenboom (Western Michigan University)
Due to the current pandemic and spread of the infectious disease, COVID-19, individuals that are two years and older are required to wear a face mask while in public spaces. This requirement can purpose some problems for families with younger children and for individuals with autism and other disabilities. The purpose of the current study is to examine the effectiveness of using a systematic desensitization procedure to desensitize students to an adult putting a mask on their face and keep the mask on for five seconds. This procedure is a part of a comprehensive study conducted across the three classrooms. Once students meet this criterion, they would proceed to the shaping procedure to increase the duration of wearing the mask and then to a chaining procedure where students will learn to put the mask on independently. This research is still pending results. The following study builds upon previous research by applying the methodology of systematic desensitization to address current requirements for public safety.
Utilizing a Telehealth Consultative Model to Train Parent-Implemented Treatment Package for Pica. Ali Schroeder (Western Michigan University), Jessica Detrick jessica.j.detrick (Western Michigan University), Kelsey Stapleton (Western Michigan University), Stephanie Peterson (Western Michigan University), Ali Schroeder (Western Michigan University)
Pica is a dangerous behavior that poses significant risk to an individual's health, including potential digestive problems and poisoning. Estimates indicate that 21.8% of individuals with developmental disabilities engage in pica (Ashworth, Martin, & Hirdes, 2008). Empirically validated interventions to decrease pica include differential reinforcement of other behavior (DRO; Muething, Call, & Clark, 2020), enriched environment (Favell, McGimsey, & Schell, 1982), and non-contingent reinforcement (Ing, Roane, & Veenstra, 2011). For this study, behavior analyst conducted weekly one-hour sessions using Webex video to train the participant's mother to implement a treatment package in the family home. The treatment package consisted of DRO and enriched environment. Data were collected on pica/mouthing during weekly observations via video. The treatment package decreased pica/mouthing in a nine-year-old boy with Autism Spectrum Disorder as indicated by minimal rates of pica/mouthing during weekly observations and parent-reported decreases in inedible items found in the participant's bowel movements. Results indicated the telehealth consultative model produced a meaningful decrease in the participant's pica/mouthing. The participant's mother also reported high levels of social validity.
Behavior Analysis Association of Michigan, Department of Psychology, Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, MI 48197