Behavior Analysis Association of Michigan Convention Program
(All times, descriptions, and other aspects of the schedule subjective to change)

BAAM Registration is open all day in Room 350 of the Student Center

Convention Information Page

Ballroom 2nd Floor

(Thursday 9 am - 10 am)

(1.0 BACB Type-II CEUs)

  1. Operant Principles Everywhere: Interdisciplinary Behavior Analysis and the Future of Our Field

Susan M. Schneider

University of the Pacific)

Breakout Sessions: Thursday February 20

10:00-10:50 a.m. Room 320 (1.0 BACB Type-II CEUs)

Behavioral Interventions for Vocal Stereotypy in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Tamara Pawich (Scott Center for Autism Treatment at Florida Institute of Technology)

  1. Children with autism spectrum disorders frequently engage in vocal stereotypy, defined as persistent vocalizations that are nonfunctional, acontextual, and repetitive.  Common examples include reciting lines from movies and television programs, repeating words or sounds, and laughing in the absence of humorous events.   Vocal stereotypy can be disruptive, socially stigmatizing, and interfere with skill acquisition.  Typically, vocal stereotypy has  an automatic function, which presents a significant challenge for clinicians as response blocking cannot be applied to vocal responding, and reinforcers maintaining responding cannot be directly manipulated, requiring the development of individualized procedures, often with a punishment component.  Echolalia is also problematic during the teaching of intraverbal language skills, which is not surprising given the strong history of building echoic repertoires during early language training. This presentation will review three empirical studies that target reduction of vocal stereotypy with particular focus during discrete-trial instruction. Behavioral interventions that were evaluated include response interruption and redirection, differential reinforcement of other behavior, and video modeling.

10:00-10:50 a.m. Room 352 (1.0 BACB Type-II CEUs)

Hanging a Shingle as a Behavioral Consultant or Working for Other Entities: A Comparison and Some Thoughts. Lloyd Peterson (COMPASS, A Positive Direction In Behavioral Intervention, LLC)

  1. Hanging your own shingle as a behavior analyst or working for another entity as a credentialed professional can be a rewarding but complex process.  Dr. Peterson will speak from personal experience regarding many of the issues that can be encountered with either option.  He will discuss what those issues are, various methods that may be effective for overcoming those issues, and how those issues may affect staff working for agencies.  The discussion will include a segment concerning the roles and responsibilities of staff employed as behavior analysts.

10:00-10:50 a.m. Room 310B  (1.0 BACB Type-II CEUs)

The Role of Choice Making in School Settings. Stephanie M. Peterson (Western Michigan University.)

  1. “Choice” can be viewed in at least a couple of different ways in school settings.  First, it can be viewed as a discrete skill children must display when faced with a choice opportunity.  For example, a teacher may say “Do you want chocolate or white milk with your lunch?”  To make a choice in this context, the child must display a specific response to indicate his or her choice.  Second, it can be viewed as a free operant, in which a discrete “choice” response is not displayed.  Rather, in this situation, allocation of behavior is examined.  For example, when a teacher asks a question, a child could either shout the answer out or raise his/her hand.  This second situation is often misunderstood as a “choice” context.  This tutorial will discuss the concept of “choice” in school settings, how choice responding is taught and managed, and the role choice can play in effective behavior management.

10:00-10:50 a.m. Room 330 (1.0 BACB Type-II CEUs)
Latent Responses and the Duration of Stimulus Control. Thom Ratkos and Jessica Frieder (Western Michigan University)

  1. In his 1957 book, Verbal Behavior, Skinner stated that verbal behavior may begin as overt behavior and then shrink in magnitude until it is no longer observed, and speculated to some mechanisms that would cause this reduction in magnitude. This investigation aimed to provide evidence that mediating responses can begin as audible speech then be shaped until they are no longer detectable. Children were trained to use a vocal mediating response to invoke joint control in a delayed selection task. During the investigation, however, it was observed that children were able to select the correct stimuli after a delay before they reached phases designed to teach covert mediation. Some participants were observed to stop attending to the task and talk about other subjects and still choose correctly. These results are interpreted in terms of latent responses and the discriminability of response strength. 

11:00-11:50 a.m. Room 320 (1.0 BACB Type-II CEUs)

Making Interventions that Produce Greater Outcomes for Autism Spectrum Disorder at Early Ages. Krista Kennedy (Children’s Hospital of Michigan Autism Center)

  1. Child development has been studied extensively in developmental psychology.  Much of the research has focused on preschool and early elementary aged children.  Also Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention procedures target children who are between the ages of 2-3.  However, this may be too late.  In relation to the treatment of Autism it will be helpful to take a closer look at the age range of birth-two.  This is the time in development when the infant and the caregivers are establishing a pattern of engagement that will direct all of their future interactions.  This is also a time when the infant is developing patterns of learning.  These caregiver-child interactions and patterns of learning will either elicit active learning and interaction patterns or ones that are reserved. These ineffective patterns of learning may limit their ability give the child ample opportunity to gain future skills that impact their potential for Intellectual Development.  

  2. Early parent-child interaction is an important part of Intellectual Development.  This phenomenon can be considered a bidirectional influence in development.  

  3. This paper will focus on the environmental variables involving caregiver-child interactions during this early stage.  We will examine environmental variables pivotal in the caregiver-child interactions that help to produce pivotal learning skills.  We will also describe the effects these interactions have on both the child and the caregiver and how to encourage more effective interaction patterns that will facilitate future learning.  We will discuss how operant procedures can be used more systematically during this stage of development to counter innate or less controllable environmental variables that pose a threat to Intellectual Development.

11:00-11:50 a.m. Room 352 (1.0 BACB Type-II CEUs)

Baer, Wolf, and Risley (1968): What Practicing Behavior Analysts Need to Know. John W. Esch (Esch Behavior Consultants, LLC, Kalamazoo, MI)

  1. In 1968 Baer, Wolf, and Risley defined seven characteristics of Applied Behavior Analysis: Applied, Behavioral, Analytic, Technological, Conceptually Systematic, Effective and Generality. Those characteristics describe practices that, when carried out, distinguish our professional behavior from the professional behavior of other professions, e.g., teachers, occupational therapists, social workers, speech pathologists. This talk will review the seven practices described by Baer, Wolf, and Risley, identify implementation barriers for practicing behavior analysts, and offer some suggestions that may be useful to address those barriers. Special attention will be given to the importance of data reliability and treatment integrity for a behavior analytic practice.

11:00-11:50 a.m. Room 310B (1.0 BACB Type-II CEUs)

Using Applied Behavior Analysis in the Classroom: Research-Based Approaches for Students with Common Psychological Disorders. Kim Killu (University of Michigan-Dearborn)

  1. National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) statistics reveal that over 20% of children currently have (or have had) a mental disorder as defined by the DSM-V. Within a classroom setting, these students can be challenging to teach for a variety of reasons.  Many of these children may be eligible for special education services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA).  Many, however, may not, thus placing the classroom teacher in the difficult position of addressing the student’s multiple needs.  These psychological disorders can have an adverse impact on classroom performance and academic achievement, interpersonal relations with teachers and peers, and overall school success.  The manifestation of common psychological disorders in the classroom, the role of educators in the treatment of these disorders, and a review of ABA approaches used to improve the school performance of these students are addressed.

11:00-11:50 a.m. Room 330 (1.0 BACB Type-II CEUs)
Using an Interdisciplinary Approach to Inform the Behavior Analytic Treatment of Feeding Problems in Children With and Without Developmental Disabilities. Amy Drayton (University of Michigan),  Laura Sayers (University of Michigan), Kim Renner (University of Michigan), & Teryn Bruni (Central Michigan University)

  1. Applied behavior analysis (ABA) is the only treatment approach for pediatric feeding disorders with well-documented empirical support, and behavior analysts have the treatment tools necessary to get food and fluids into children with feeding problems. However, behavior analysts do not always know HOW to safely deliver food and fluids to children or WHAT children should be eating and drinking for proper nutrition. Therefore, interdisciplinary collaboration is extremely helpful for most children and essential for some children. The potential contributions of speech-language pathologists and registered dietitians to the behavior analytic treatment of feeding problems will be discussed and case examples provided. Case examples will include children with autism and other developmental disabilities. The objective of this presentation is to help behavior analysts treat feeding problems that they may encounter in their practices more safely and effectively.

Noon - 1:30 p.m. 

Lunch on Your Own

1:30-2:2o p.m. Room 352 (1.0 BACB Type-II CEUs)

The Trouble with Teaching Tacting - A Case Study to Address Difficulty with Stimulus Control, Reinforcement, and Generalization. Michelle Fuhr, Victoria Beckmann, Ashley Nowak (Children’s Hospital of Michigan Autism Center)

  1. Tacting is a commonly taught verbal operant, which may include commenting or labeling, and occurs when a non-verbal stimulus is present. Unfortunately, tacting is typically taught in a manner which may not result in the child acquiring the desired skill. A child should engage in spontaneous tacting of a non-verbal stimulus for a tact to have truly taken place. So how can the typically taught "what is it?" be generalized to spontaneous tacting of non-verbal stimuli? Presenters will discuss common interventions and strategies supported by literature, including verbal prompts, such as “What do you see?” In addition, presenters will examine potential pitfalls with commonly used strategies of teaching tacting, including generalization, stimulus control, and reinforcement. Finally, presenters will discuss a case study aimed to increase spontaneous tacting in a child who is currently demonstrating motivation to socially engage with other individuals, as evidenced by babbling, echolalia or engaging in problem behavior as a function of attention.

1:30-2:50 p.m. Room 310A (1.5 BACB Type-II CEUs)

Panel Discussion: Autism Insurance, Constructive Suggestions from Multiple Perspectives. Wayne Fuqua (Western Michigan University)

  1. In recent years, the State of  Michigan adopted Autism Insurance Reform Legislation that extended private health insurance coverage for evidence-based treatments  to children and adolescents on the autism spectrum.  In addition, Michigan extended Medicaid coverage for children between 18 months and 6 years who were diagnosed with ASD.  These programmatic changes have been lauded for helping large numbers of children and adolescents benefit from access to evidence-based treatments for ASD.  Like any major policy change, the rollout of autism benefits has been complicated and has required good faith problem solving from a number of parties.  This panel discussion will provide perspective from parents, state advocacy groups, service providers and insurance providers regarding the ongoing progress and remaining challenges associated with the delivery of evidence-based treatment for children and adolescents on the ASD spectrum.  Emphasis will be placed on constructive problem solving in this interactive panel discussion.

  2. Parent Concerns and Advice for Accessing Autism Services and Insurance.  Tom Lucking (Parent, Kalamazoo, MI)

  3. State wide Efforts to Help Parents Navigate Autism Services and Insurance. Colleen Allen (President and CEO of Autism Alliance of Michigan)

  4. Perspectives From an ABA Service Provider.  Scott Schrum (CEO of Residential Opportunities, Inc. --on behalf of Great Lakes Autism Center)

  5. Perspectives from an Insurance Consultant. Bryan Davey (Ensure Billing)

  6. Perspectives from an Insurance Industry.  Bill Beecroft (Blue Care Network)

1:30-2:2o p.m. Room 310B  (Multi-paper session)

Accommodations and Frequency of Pediatric Sickness. Lauren Harrison & Catherine Peterson (Eastern Michigan University)

  1. Common childhood sicknesses, stomach aches and headaches, are inevitable for all children.  The influence parents have on their sick children has been well studied in chronic illness populations; however, few studies have examined these associations among general sickness conditions. One behavior of particular interest is parental accommodations, the readiness to support or assist children during sickness, which inadvertently reinforces the sickness complaint/anxiety. An survey was administered through a secure website examining the effect of parental accommodations on frequency of sickness and functioning (e.g., fulfill/preform daily activities) during sickness in children. A sample of 220 parents from the general community were recruited. Parents ranged in age from 18-65 years old (M = 34.49, SD = 10.28); children ranged in age from 1-18 years (M= 6.51, SD = 4.95). Overall, parental accommodations (r (220) = .153, p < 0.05) were related to frequency of sickness in children. Age of the parent was also significant with regard to frequency of sickness in children (r (220) = .255, p < 0.001) and functioning during sickness, (r (220) = .257, p < 0.001). The factor structure of the Illness Accommodations Scale was also examined. These findings suggest that parents play a large role in frequency of sickness complaints and functioning during sickness in children. Specifically, the results indicate that parental accommodations during sickness might be very important with regard to symptom severity and duration. Given this, it is important to understand the concept of accommodations, and the effects this behavior has on children’s sickness more globally.

Experiential Avoidance and the Transmission of Psychological Distress in Pediatric Stem Cell Transplant. Rachel Kentor, Flora Hoodin, Michelle Byrd, Renee Lajiness-O’Neill, Ellen Koch (Eastern Michigan University)

  1. Survivors of pediatric hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) are a particularly vulnerable population. After undergoing intensive preparative regimens and a procedure with a high risk of mortality, many survivors are left with a host of psychological sequelae, ranging from behavioral problems to learning disorders to depression and anxiety. Additionally, mothers of transplant recipients also report significant psychological distress. Two models have attempted to explain the theoretical mechanisms that may be involved in the occurrence and the progression of child distress.  The first focuses on biomedical and psychosocial aspects of distress. The second model includes a developmental stage framework. This presentation will propose a new model, in which experiential avoidance mediates the effects of maternal distress on child distress. The presentation will begin with a brief overview of the pediatric HSCT process and the associated psychological distress in both patients and their mothers. The conceptual basis of experiential avoidance will then be examined in depth.  Finally, the possible role of maternal experiential avoidance in these pediatric cancer survivors will be explored, along with implications for intervention in these at risk dyads.

1:30-2:20 p.m. Room 320 (Multi-paper session)

Peer Referral for Mental Health Care on a College Campus. Natalie Morris, Lauren Ostarello, & Catherine Peterson (Eastern Michigan University)

  1. Within the past 10 years there has been a significant increase in violent incidents on college campuses (e.g., Fox & Savage, 2009). Closer examination of these incidents reveals that students who engage in these acts of violence often exhibited warning behaviors prior to the violent act that may have indicated mental health decompensation (e.g., declining hygiene, withdrawal, changes in mood or personality, decreased work or academic performance; Drysdale, Modzelski, & Simons, 2010). Many of these signs are merely recognized in hindsight, as the peers of college students either do not recognize or do not report these concerning warning signs to an individual of authority. With an increase in students on college campuses who are struggling with mental health issues, it becomes critical to explore the factors that affect peer referral for mental health care within the college population (e.g., Mowbray. Megiver, Mandiberg, Strauss, Stein, Collins, et al., 2006). Therefore, this presentation has several aims: 1) to describe the warning signs of mental health decompensation; 2) to discuss the potential consequences of untreated mental health issues; and 3) to describe psychoeducational needs in the context of potential campus wide interventions including environmental modifications and peer gate-keeping programs. Interventions of this scale are hypothesized to increase student awareness of the behavioral warning signs of mental health decompensation, which may ultimately result in increased peer referral and decreased on-campus violence toward oneself and toward others.

Treatment Integrity Improves When Staff Learn to Describe Moment-to-Moment Procedural Steps. David A. Eckerman, (AI)2, Inc. & Univ of NC at Chapel Hill) Laura Garrett (Step By Step Academy, Worthington, OH), Cindy Ring (Step By Step Academy, Worthington, OH), Michele LaMarche (Step By Step Academy, Worthington, OH), Roger D. Ray ((AI)2, Inc. & Rollins College, & John Solomon (Step By Step Academy, Worthington, OH)

  1. During their employment orientation, each participant received a 15 min. video-taped pre-test consisting of a role-play that enabled assessment of his or her baseline level of skill in carrying out a discrete trial discrimination training procedure involving prompting. Over the subsequent month, each was then given approximately four hours of individual training to describe steps in videos showing a paraprofessional delivering discrete trial training.  They were first trained to name each step as it was being delivered (sometimes with intentional errors).  Then they were trained to name each of several types of prompting that were being used.  This training was accomplished using videos produced by Step By Step Academy [Worthington, OH] shown byTrain to Code Software [a product of (AI)2, inc., described at ].  Self-paced training utilized errorless discrimination and programmed instruction principles to achieve high accuracy of unprompted description for all participants.  Following this training, each participant was again given a 15 min. video-taped role-play test.  One participant showed excellent performance in both pre- and post-tests.  Eight participants showed substantial improvement in their post-test performance.  Three participants did not improve in their post-test performance, though they did demonstrate improved knowledge about the procedure.  This training and testing approach appears to offer a useful  method for teaching and assessing treatment integrity.

2:30-3:5o p.m.  Room 320 (1.5 BACB Type-II CEUs)

An Innovative Approach to Intensive Behavioral Intervention for Adolescences with Autism Spectrum Disorder. 


  1. Chair: Scott McPhee (Children's Hospital of Michigan Autism Center)


  3. In Michigan there has been an increase in demand for services in ABA due to recent legislation making ABA a mandated benefit for many insurance providers.  Much of the state is focused on providing those services for preschool children.  However, services are covered through the age of 18.  At the Children's Hospital of Michigan Autism Center we have developed intervention services targeting the adolescent population.  Services are still intensive in nature but focused on skills and behaviors more applicable to children of this age group.  Services are centered-based and after school to be supplementary to their daily education programs.  This will allow children and their families to obtain additional support services rather than take away from services they already receive.  This presentation will provide an overview of our evening program describing our integrated approach.  In addition we will address three case studies of center-based interventions of children enrolled in our after school intensive behavioral intervention program.

  4. Adaptive Social Interaction with Siblings Using a Token Economy. Carly Bacinski (Children's Hospital of Michigan Autism Center)

  5. Our first case will involve a 14 year old male student with a history of non-compliance, aggressive behavior, and elopement.  Treatment goals focused on using a token economy to increase positive sibling interactions including but not limited to descriptive praise, corrective feedback, and supportive statements.  Discussion will include the development of target behaviors, tokens awarded for specific behaviors, data collection, modifications to the token system, and staff implementation.    

  6. Behavior Reduction Intervention With an 8-Year-Old with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Erica Layer (Children's Hospital of Michigan Autism Center)

  7. Our second case will involve an 8 year old male student who attends school during the day and our center based program in the evening.  Treatment goals focused on behavior reduction defined as a combination of complaining and non-compliance.  Treatment included a DRI technique to increase positive statements and decrease verbal complaining.  In addition a reactive strategy was incorporated to prompt appropriate behavior while providing the least amount of verbal attention.  Discussion will include treatment development using direction observation of the behavior (non-compliance/no responding) data collection and graphing, modifications to the treatment plan and implementation.   

  8. Self Monitoring and Performance Management With a 12-Year-Old Male Student with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Michelle Julian (Children's Hospital of Michigan Autism Center)

  9. Lastly, discussion will focus on a 12 year old male student with difficulties with self monitoring, time management, and organization skills.  Compounded medical complications in the form of headaches prevented this individual from participating in academic and social activities. Treatment included direct observation in the form of ABC data collection on headaches for the purpose of identifying antecedents and proactive strategies to prevent or ameliorate future headaches.  Discussion will involve data collection and implementation of performance management strategies. 

3:00-3:5o p.m. Room 352
Beyond Efficacy: Do We Know What We Think We Know About Why Efficacious Therapy Works?

  1. Chair:            C. Richard Spates (Western Michigan University)

  2. Discussant:Karis Calloway (Western Michigan University)

  1. Technology-based interventions continue to emerge for a range of psychological and behavioral problems. Integrating technology and psychological treatment have offered potential solutions for barriers to access, economics of implementation, and ease of entry into care. Although evidence supporting this treatment modality is growing rapidly, many of the studies fail to investigate the treatment integrity of the intervention to ensure that the purported therapy is being delivered as intended. Additionally, questions remain as to why certain treatment packages work. As the number of empirically supported treatments continue to grow, there is the growing need to emphasize the study of mediators and mechanisms of change. Previous research has shown that treatments for depression can change levels of activation and negative automatic thoughts, yet studies clearly demonstrating the temporal precedence of change in these variables have yet to be conducted with any frequency. In this symposium, we present a series of studies investigating the treatment integrity and efficacy of a computerized video-driven intervention based on behavioral activation, an evidence-based treatment for depression. Data from two treatment outcome studies are combined and relationships between changes in depression scores and other variables (e.g., treatment enthusiasm, values, age) are examined. Next, we present findings from a mediation analysis in which we examined weekly changes in activation scores, negative automatic thoughts, and symptoms of depression during treatment. Multiple methods of comparison are examined and strengths and limitations are discussed. Lastly, we pose the question, “Do we know what we think we know?” about why our treatments work, and discuss future directions.

  2. Computerized Therapies: What's in a Name? A Question of Treatment Integrity. C. Richard Spates (Western Michigan University)

  3. This presentation describes the current status, strengths, and shortcomings of technology-based psychological interventions. In an era of many empirically supported treatments, there is an increasing need to identify the core components of treatment packages to improve their parsimony. Discussion will include several topics including a call by thought leaders in the field for the identification of mediators and mechanisms of therapy packages, the importance of evaluating the treatment integrity of technology-based therapies, and report the results of a study examining the treatment integrity of a computerized version of behavioral activation.

  4. Combined Efficacy Outcomes for a Computerized Behavioral Activation Therapy. Andrew Hale (Western Michigan University)

  5. This presentation will focus on the combined results of two treatment outcome studies utilizing a computerized video-driven version of behavioral activation for depression. These studies collected repeated measures of several process and dependent variables each week as participants engaged in the treatment. Hierarchical linear modeling was used to examine individual differences in change over time across several variables. Relationships between rate of change in depression scores and other variables including values consistency, treatment encouragement, and age are examined.

  6. Mediation Analyses: Are We There Yet? Chelsea Sage (Western Michigan University)

  7. This paper will focus on the efficacy of a computerized version of behavioral activation. This presentation evaluates several methods for investigating mediation and discusses the strengths and limitations of each. The importance of establishing temporal precedence of change is highlighted. Because of the recency of attention called to this general area, consensual methods may need to be agreed up, less outcomes and interpretations differ across the multiple methods currently being tried. This will require thoughtful design and quantitative attention.

Special Guest Address
Ballroom 2nd Floor
(Friday 9:00 am - 9:50 am)

(1.0 BACB Type-II CEUs)

When You’re a Behavior Analyst, You Can Work Anywhere in the World

Theodore A. Hoch

George Mason University


Adam Dreyfus

Sarah Dooley Center, Richmond, Virginia

  1. Although the world population is currently approximately 7 billion behaving human organisms, only very few of thee are trained in behavior analysis, fewer practice behavior analysis, and most are located within the borders of the United States.  Need exists all over the world.  We will discuss our experiences in helping to equip others in areas outside of the United States to fulfill this need.  We will discuss issues pertaining to funding, training, credentialing, travel, cultural learning opportunities, translation, and other areas; and as they relate to work we have conducted in China, Russia, Belarus, and Ethiopia.  Additionally, we will discuss opportunities and challenges that can come with working as an individual, as part of an NGO, and through a University in conducting this work.

10:00-10:50 a.m. Room 310B (1.0 BACB Type-II CEUs)

The Relation Between Methodological Behaviorism and Mentalism. Jay Moore (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee)

  1. Methodological behaviorism is the position that psychologists should talk directly only about publicly observable experimental operations and the resulting relations between stimuli and responses in their theories and explanations.  The basis for methodological behaviorism is that science requires truth by agreement through observability.  Given that mental causes cannot be agreed upon because they are unobservable, psychologists should not appeal directly to them.  Mentalism is the position that psychologists should appeal directly to such unobservables as mental causes in their theories and explanations.  The basis for mentalism is that an adequate explanation cannot be framed in terms of publicly observable experimental operations and the resulting relations between stimuli and responses.  This presentation argues that despite appearances to the contrary, methodological behaviorism and mentalism are closely related, and that they cause certain explanatory problems.  The radical behaviorism of B. F. Skinner offers a resolution of these problems.

10:00-10:50 a.m. Room 320 (1.0 BACB Type-II CEUs)

White Noise: It’s Not Just for Skinner Boxes Anymore. Carl Merle Johnson (Central Michigan University)

  1. With regard to environmental variables Skinner (1953) asked, “What is the structure of the world which we see, hear, touch, smell and taste? We should not prejudge these events from their effects on the organism. They are to be described in the usual terms of the physics of light and sound, the chemistry of odorous or tasteful substances, and so on. We are interested, of course, only in conditions or events which have an effect upon behavior.”  p. 130. One physical variable that clearly impacts behavior is white noise, sound from 20-20,000 Hz presented at equal intensities at all frequencies within the range of human hearing. White noise, or approximations to true white noise, has been used for decades in basic research to mask sounds such as movement of mechanical equipment outside the operant chambers. However, this environmental variable impacts behavior directly by reducing arousal after its initial presentation (which may elicit a startle reflex). Research on using white noise to reduce arousal during crying episodes for infants, improving sleep, and mitigating ADHD behaviors will be presented.

10:00-10:50 a.m. Room 330

What Behavior Analysts Should Know about IQ Testing in Children with Autism. Carol R. Freedman-Doan, Miriam Goldstein, & Renee Lajiness-O’Neill (Eastern Michigan University)

  1. Children with autism spectrum disorder show characteristic profiles on standardized measures of intelligence, characterized by strengths on certain indexes and subtests and weaknesses on others. These strengths and weaknesses have important implications for behavior analysts working with children with autism. This presentation provides an overview of the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC-IV), the most widely used IQ battery, followed by typical WISC-IV profiles seen in children with autism. For example, children with high-functioning autism show strengths on the Verbal Comprehension and Perceptual Reasoning Indexes and weaknesses on the Working Memory and Processing Speed Indexes, as well as subtest-specific strengths and weaknesses. Based on the IQ profiles of children with autism, we recommend steps behavior analysts can take to improve interventions for children with autism. Finally, we briefly review alternative measures of intelligence for children with autism and illustrate how scores on these measures have suggested that intelligence may be underestimated in children with autism.

10:00-10:50 a.m. Room 352 (1.0 BACB Type-II CEUs)
Analysis and Implications of Recent BCBA Exam Results and Exam Preparation Strategies.  Stephen Eversole, Aaron Jones, Bela Beaupre, Lydia DiPietro, Christina O'Donnell, & Theresa Eversole (Behavior Development Solutions.)

  1. The 46% pass rate on the September 2011 BCBA exam was a sudden decrease from the 70% range that had been predominant for several years.  Factors that contributed to the decrease in pass rate and findings of these surveys will be discussed.  Also, a new model for providing data to university programs will be presented.  These data will enable formative evaluations of student and cohort performance as they progress through their programs, thus enabling professors to identify weak areas and take appropriate and timely action while students are still taking coursework.  We will also discuss other factors associated with practitioner training, including admissions criteria, on-campus vs. online preparation, practicum opportunities, and supervision.

11:00-11:50 a.m. Room 310B (1.0 BACB Type-II CEUs)

Behavior Analysis Concepts in the Development and Promotion of Ethical and Moral Behavior. Wayne Fuqua (Western Michigan University)

  1. Understanding ethics and moral behavior requires a conceptual model that adequately addresses a) the manner in which ethical principles and moral values are established and evolve within a social group; b) the manner in which those values are transmitted to members of a given social group and c) the manner in which ethical and moral behavior is promoted within a social group.  Traditional theories of ethical and moral behavior have emphasized religious and supernatural origins of moral and ethical values and the development of personal traits, such as moral character, as the mechanisms for promoting ethical and moral behavior.  This presentation will provide an alternative model, based in behavior analysis concepts, for the development and transmission of ethical and moral values and offer practical suggestions for the promotion of ethical and moral behavior.   Coverage will include a number of behavior analysis concepts including, selection of cultural practices, stimulus function transformation operations, contextual and motivational variables, rule-governed behavior and contingency-shaped behavior.  

11:00-11:50 a.m. Room 320 (Multi-paper session)

On Autoclitics of Order. Robert Dlouhy (Western Michigan University)

  1. In chapters 13 and 14 of Verbal Behavior, Skinner devotes a considerable portion of his discussion to the ordering of verbal responses.  Much of his analysis is concerned with response strength, but he specifically mentions autoclitics of order in chapter 13.  Although these autoclitics are not discussed at length in these chapters, they have the potential to be very important for explaining syntactic and morphological phenomena.  This paper will discuss these autoclitics from both syntactic and morphological perspectives, and stress two points.  First, autoclitics of order are ubiquitous, and second, they form specific response classes in the verbal behavior of a community (i.e., a language).  Skinner discussed autoclitics of order as a syntactic phenomenon, but in many languages, words themselves are complex responses whose constituent responses are strictly ordered.  The regularity of response ordering in both syntax and morphology , then, can be accounted for by autoclitics of order.  Further, regularity entails repeatability, and for this reason, autoclitics of order can be considered response classes within a language.

Thorndike’s Contributions to Psychology Today: The Obvious and the Not-So-Obvious. Michael Palmer (Central Michigan University)

  1. Operant conditioning can be traced back to Edward Lee Thorndike’s dissertation. Thorndike laid the foundations for the law of effect based on his puzzle box experiments. He is well known for his puzzle box experiments, his law of effect, and for intelligence testing in education. While Thorndike deserves credit for his contributions to the fields of behavior analysis and educational psychology, other areas to which he contributed are not well known. The fields of social psychology, industrial and organizational psychology, and neuroscience all received contributions from Thorndike; yet, in most areas his name is not mentioned. Thorndike was committed to the integrity of science and was not afraid to venture into various areas of human behavior. Perhaps behavior analysis has some additional lessons to learn from Thorndike.

11:00-11:50 a.m. Room 352

Interplay Between the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, Applied Behavior Analysis and Applied Animal Behavior:  Exploring the Heterogeneity and Homogeneity within the Science of Behavior. Jessica S. Buccilli & Robin Kuhn (Central Michigan University)

  1. Applied Animal Behavior (AAB), or the scientific application of behavioral principles to improve the quality of life and well-being for animals in applied settings, is growing in popularity and becoming a widely recognized facet of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). The influence of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior (EAB) on both ABA and AAB is evident; behavioral principles identified in the non-human, basic laboratory serve as the basis for applied behavior analytic procedures implemented to promote meaningful behavior change in humans and non-humans alike. The purpose of this poster is to explore the dynamic interplay in research and practice between AAB, ABA, and EAB by chronicling the significant discoveries in operant and respondent conditioning that have shaped the science of behavior analysis. Contributions from, as well as interactions between, the branches and sub-disciplines of the field of behavior analysis will be highlighted, emphasizing the heterogeneity and homogeneity within the science of behavior.

11:00-11:50 a.m. Room 330 (Multi-paper session) (1.0 BACB Type-II CEUs)

A Qualitative Analysis of the Verbal Behavior of Interdisciplinary Autism Professionals. Teryn Bruni (Central Michigan University), Michael Hixson (Central Michigan University), & Maureen Connolly (Brock University)

  1. Applied Behavior Analysts who work with children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) commonly practice among professionals from various disciplines. Limited research has been conducted on the possible implications of an interdisciplinary model of service provision for children within this population.  The current qualitative analysis pointed toward some potential directions for future research in the area of professional collaboration and interdisciplinary practice within service provision for children with ASD. Two service providers, a Behavior Analyst and an Occupational Therapist, were interviewed and asked to discuss video footage of the same four children engaging in various forms of stereotypic behavior. Each professional provided interpretations of child behavior from their own disciplinary framework. The results indicated that there could be potential discrepancies between the discipline-specific discourses used by each professional, suggesting that it might be important to more formally study possible differences in professional verbal behavior in the context of interdisciplinary practice. Due to the potential for such differences to have a considerable impact on collaboration efforts and coordinated service provision, a more formal analysis of professional verbal behavior may be warranted in the study of interdisciplinary practice.

A Review of the Literature: Evaluating the Effectiveness of Parent Training Models for Skills Acquisition, Maintenance, and Generalization of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Karla Maschalko, Jessica Morisson, & Mary Schrier (ABA Pathways, Ann Arbor. MI)

  1. The structured technique of Discrete Trial Training (DTT) successfully increases the rate of learning in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), but is often criticized as an intervention that does not naturally transfer into less controlled settings. A widely used alternative to DTT is naturalistic intervention, in various forms, including Natural Environment Training (NET), Incidental Teaching (IT), and Pivotal Response Training (PRT). These interventions boast a higher rate of generalization and maintenance when compared to DTT. In addition, they are frequently used to educate parents and caregivers how to teach children with ASD to generalize newly learned skills. Questions that arise are, what makes these naturalistic techniques more effective than DTT for generalization? Also, what would be the outcome if a number of techniques, such as DTT and IT or NET, were combined when teaching children to generalize skills?  This literature review evaluates the effectiveness of training parents, caregivers, and teachers to use one or a combination of these ABA techniques to enhance maintenance and generalization of new skills acquired through DTT.

Noon - 1:30 p.m. 

Lunch on Your Own


Reunion: BATS @ BAAM

Fri 12:00–1:20 p.m. Room 300

Reunion for WMU’s Behavior Analysis Trainings System (BATS)

Alumni,  Current Students, & Prospective Student s. Grab a lunch

downstairs and bring it on up.


1:30-2:2o p.m. Room 330

Scale-Up of a Statewide Integrated Academic and Behavior Multi-Tiered Model of School-Wide Support. Steve Goodman (Michigan’s Integrated Behavior and Learning Support Initiative (MiBLSi), Holland, MI)

  1. Michigan’s Integrated Behavior and Learning Support Initiative (MiBLSi) is a statewide structure to create capacity for an integrated Behavior and Reading Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS) that can be implemented with fidelity, is sustainable over time and utilizes data-based decision making at all levels of implementation support. Funding for this project is provided by Michigan Department of Education and also the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs. In this model, the unit of implementation is the school while the unit of implementation support is at the district level. School districts develop implementation teams that coordinate and manage the application of MTSS within the schools. In order for the work to sustain, an emphasis is placed on implementation teams who incorporate data-based decision-making at grade level, school level, and district level Throughout this process, the goal is to develop local capacity rather than dependency on the project for MTSS implementation. In order for the project to be scalable, critical components of the program need to be implemented through local structures that in-turn contextualize the adaptation to the diversity of districts based on need and resource availability.  Project results will be shared.

1:30-2:50 p.m. Room 320 (1.5 BACB Type-II CEUs)

Symposium: New Developments in Dissemination, Application, and Measurement of Contemporary Behavior Therapies.

  1. Chair:Christopher A. Briggs (Western Michigan University)

  1. Clinical behavior analysis involves the application of strategies derived from behavioral

  2. concepts and principles to traditional (outpatient) psychotherapy settings and populations. Like many of the different domains of behavior analysis, clinical behavior analysis strives to efficiently disseminate effective treatments, understand the process and effectiveness of treatments, and accurately measure behaviors of interest. This symposium takes a broad look at issues that impact the science of clinical behavior analysis in the aforementioned domains. In the first study the authors investigate the efficacy of dissemination of behavioral activation via a one day training. The second study investigates the dissemination of motivational interviewing techniques through a single day training. The third study is designed to evaluate the efficacy of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy in a depressed high school student population. The fourth study is designed to evaluate the predictive validity of a measure of classes of behavior that can function as target behaviors.

  1. Evaluating a Therapist Training on Values-Based Behavioral Activation for Adolescent Depression. Julissa Duenas & Scott Gaynor (Western Michigan University)

  1. Depression is a significant problem among all age groups, but adolescents are at greater risk of long-term effects such as recurrence in adulthood; therefore, it is important to treat depression as early as possible. Behavioral Activation (BA), an evidence-based treatment based on the behavior analytic theory of depression, has been described as a more parsimonious and more easily implemented treatment than Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. However, research in the area of BA dissemination is limited. The purpose of this study was to develop and evaluate a one-day workshop for clinicians on Values-Based Behavioral Activation (VBBA) as a treatment for adolescent depression. The training used the Behavioral Skills Training method (BST; Miltenberger, 2008), which incorporates instruction, modeling, rehearsal, and feedback, and was evaluated using Decker, Jameson, and Naugle’s (2010) Therapist Training Evaluation of Outcomes Framework. Fourteen clinicians and clinicians in-training attended one of three workshops held and completed pre- and post-workshop questionnaires. Results from the main outcome measure showed that VBBA knowledge significantly increased from pre- to post-workshop and that knowledge was maintained through the one-month follow-up. These results provide support for the BST method used in the study and extend the limited research area examining BA dissemination.

  1. Motivational Interviewing: A One Day Workshop Training Study. Justin A. Moore & Scott Gaynor (Western Michigan University)

  1. MI is a brief, evidence-based psychosocial intervention for increasing behavior change tendencies. The approach taken in MI is consistent with behavior analysis (Christopher& Dougher, 2009). Dissemination of MI to practitioners requires evaluation of training procedures. In the present study novice therapists received training in MI during an 8 hour workshop following the Behavior Skills Training model (Miltenberger, 2008). The efficacy of the workshop was evaluated at the lower levels of Kirkpatrick’s model for training evaluation: satisfaction and acquisition of knowledge, reasoning that evaluation at higher levels would not be warranted if the training failed at lower levels. Across 2 trainings, 36 participants received training for which they reported  high satisfaction (M = 4.11 [.63] on 1-5 Likert scale), which was significantly higher than a neutral score of 3, t(34) = 10.45, p = .000. In addition, participants knowledge from pre-workshop scores (M = 9.14, SD = 6.55) was significantly different from post-workshop (M = 23.28, SD = 5.114), t(35) = 17.42, p < .001, and 1-month follow-up, t(14) = 5.57, p < .001. The workshop, based on the BST model, appeared to be enjoyed by participants and resulted in a significant increase in their knowledge of targeted MI principles.

  1. Motivational Interviewing and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy: A Stepped-Care Approach to the Treatment of Adolescent Depression. Rachel Petts, Julissa Duenas, & Scott Gaynor (Western Michigan University)

  1. Adolescent depression is a significant medical and mental health concern; thus, research on treatment outcome and potential mediators of outcome is indicated in this population. The purpose of the current study was to determine the effectiveness of using a stepped-care approach to treat adolescent depression in a school setting. Depressed adolescents, aged 14-20, were invited to begin participation in a minimal intervention phase (i.e., three weeks of Motivational Interviewing Assessment (MIA)), and then entered a more involved intervention phase (i.e., ten weeks of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)), if they did not respond to MIA. The current study also sought to assess potential mediators of ACT, including activation and defusion. Data collection is currently underway using a single subject design. Six adolescents have entered the study and two have completed the protocol. Participant 1 demonstrated a clinically significant response after 7 weeks of ACT, which was maintained at one-month follow-up. There was a reliable change in activation during MIA and during the ACT phase; however, temporal precedence was not established. Post-ACT data for participant 2 has not been collected yet. However, a reliable change in activation was demonstrated during the ACT phase. Results thus far suggest that ACT may be an effective treatment for adolescent depression.

  1. The Predictive Validity of the FIAT-Q. Daniel W. Maitland, Rebecca Rausch, Kellie Reynolds, & Scott Gaynor (Western Michigan University)

  1. The Functional Idiographic Assessment Template Questionnaire (FIAT-Q) is a questionnaire that allows a clinician to assess the interpersonal strengths and weaknesses of a client. The scale was designed in such a way to assess the extent of client problem behaviors and suggest improvement response classes that may be a focus of treatment (Callaghan, 2006). To date, there has been no research published on how scores in the FIAT-Q relate to behaviors in day to day life. In the current study, students from a large Midwestern university were given an online version of the FIAT-Q. After completing the online questionnaire, participants were invited to participate in a second phase. The second phase of the study consisted of participants filling out a brief demographics questionnaire, a questionnaire assessing psychological characteristics (the Outcome Questionnaire-45) and complete 13 brief role plays derived from the Simulated Social Interactions Test. The relationship between participant’s scores on the FIAT-Q and the Simulated Social Interactions Task will be reviewed during the course of the study. Currently 93 participants have completed phase one of the study, and 12 have completed phase two. It is expected to have 300 in the first phase and 50 in the second by presentation.

1:30-2:50 p.m. Room 301

Panel Discussion: Behavioral System Engineering in an Acute Neurological Rehabilitation Center

Chair & Discussant:Thomas J. Gola (Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan)

Panelists: Diana Van De Kreeke & Kaja Harper (Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan)

  1. This panel discussion will focus on the use of proactive, social interaction techniques that employ both applied behavioral and interbehavioral principles in an acute inpatient rehabilitation neurological injury service.  The panel discussion will inform the audience of methods and techniques that serve to adapt the treatment system for increasing patient participation in nursing and therapy treatments, manage agitation, improve treatment gains, improve system participant's knowledge of managing system interactions, and adaption of interaction styles to achieve timely rehabilitation gains.  

  2. Specific discussion topics will introduce the audience to management of Demand Schedules, Functional System Assessment, Environmental Engineering to minimize negative reinforcement traps, Performance Feedback Systems, and considerations of patient behavioral competencies in planning teaching and interaction styles.

  3. The outcome of this discussion is to improve the audience's appreciation of how behavioral system factors influence outcomes in a rehabilitation setting, and more specifically, how consideration and implementation of these system techniques can improve outcomes not only in consideration of patient progress, but also in effective interaction techniques used by staff that contribute to these outcomes.

1:30-2:50 p.m. Room 352 (1.5 BACB Type-II CEUs)

Implementation of the Autism Medicaid Benefit

  1. Chair: Krista Kennedy (Children’s Hospital of Michigan Autism Center)

  2. Discussant: Krista Kennedy (Children’s Hospital of Michigan Autism Center)

  3. The state of Michigan has implemented a benefit to offer ABA services to children with ASD.  This benefit is new for the state and Community Mental Health agencies have been creating systems to provide this benefit to the children in their care.  However, there are barriers that impact the start up of this service.  These barriers include a workforce that is ill prepared for the implementation of these services, the need to create an entirely new system for services and other barriers involved in providing services to low socio-economic consumers.  This presentation will describe how to overcome these obstacles and provide effective ABA services within the guidelines of the Autism Medicaid Benefit.

  4. Understanding the New Benefit. Krista Kennedy (Children’s Hospital of Michigan Autism Center)

  5. The Autism Medicaid Benefit was mandated in April of 2013.  This is a brand new service for Medicaid recipients with ASD.  The benefit has been developed by a team of experts at the state in conjunction with consultation from community treatment providers and researchers.  The benefit has limitations for implementation, but is a step in the right direction.  This presentation will focus on what the mandate is and what is expected from the service providers who implement this service.

  6. Developing a System of Care and Training for Effective Implementation of the Autism Medicaid Benefit. Rachel O’Doherty (Children’s Hospital of Michigan Autism Center)

  7. In order to provide behavioral services that utilize the Autism Medicaid Benefit, a system of care and training has been developed by the Children's Hospital of Michigan Autism Center. To keep the cost ratio low and treatment integrity high, a complex system of supervision, professional feedback, and accountability was established.  Utilization of graduate level students, a qualified supervising BCBA and a Senior Behavioral Technician and/or BCaBA create the treatment team.  In addition, all training, consultations, and supervision occurs on the same day increasing the effectiveness of both treatment and acquisition of developing therapist skill sets.  Accountability and attendance are a primary focus of treatment at the onset to establish healthy boundaries and expectations for therapy.  This system allows for ample learning opportunities for the graduate student, as well as, a high degree of treatment integrity for the consumer.

  8. Barriers to Providing Treatment to the Medicaid Population. Ashley Nowak & Stephanie Murphy (Children’s Hospital of Michigan Autism Center)

  9. Historically ABA has been a service provided to those who can afford it. This has problems associated with access to a large portion of the community.  However, it makes for a population of consumers who are highly motivated to participate in the treatment due to the extensive amount of financial expenses that have been associated with the implementation of ABA.  With a Medicaid Benefit there are other barriers to treatment including high rates of absences, transportation and a variety of other difficulties associated with lower socio-economic status. This presentation will focus on common barriers to treatment within this population and creative solutions in dealing with these problems.

2:30-3:50 p.m. Room 300

Job and Practicum Fair

  1. BAAM's annual Job and Practicum Fair will feature presentations by local and regional organizations and agencies that hire behavior analysts and sponsor practicum opportunities. Following the formal presentations, job seekers may meet with representatives of the agencies and organizations.

3:00-3:50 p.m. Room 320 (Multi-paper session)

Stimulus Compounding and Temporal Discrimination of Inter-Reinforcer Intervals. Michael A. Brooks & Mark P. Reilly (Central Michigan University)

  1. Stimulus compounding is a procedure in which two or more discriminative stimuli, trained separately, are presented simultaneously in probe sessions and typically results in summated response rates of the compound components. The purpose of this study was to produce the compounding effect of additive summation using stimuli that, during training, alternated daily rather than within the session as is more traditionally done with multiple schedules.  Six Sprague-Dawley rats were trained to lever press under a variable-interval 60-s schedule in the presence of either a light or tone stimulus, with the absence of the light and tone signaling extinction. Sessions featuring light or tone alternated daily and were separated by extinction sessions. After extensive training on this procedure, compound probes revealed no evidence of additive summation when the light and tone were presented together. Subjects responded steadily during extinction sessions until a length of time equal to the longest interval of the variable interval schedule had elapsed, at which point responding ceased.  Although responding was intended to come under control of exteroceptive tone and light stimuli, it appears that the longest constituent schedule within the array of VI values gained control over responding via acquisition of a more abstract temporal discrimination.

Delay Signal Observing: Investigating A Novel Method of Assessing the Establishment and Maintenance of Delay Signals as Conditioned Reinforcers in Rats. Robin Kuhn & Mark P. Reilly (Central Michigan University)

  1. Despite the plethora of studies conducted on conditioned reinforcement, the conditions necessary and sufficient for establishing conditioned reinforcers, or for producing conditioned reinforcement effects, remain unclear. The present experiments, conducted with rats, investigated conditioned reinforcement within a delay-of-reinforcement context, as delays to reinforcement are ubiquitous and their effects on behavior are well understood: longer reinforcement delays and resetting delays suppress responding relative to shorter delays and non-resetting delays, yet delay signals have been shown to ameliorate these effects (presumably by functioning as conditioned reinforcers). Experiments 1 and 2 offer a new procedure for examining conditioned reinforcement involving the observing of delay-of-reinforcement signals during resetting and non-resetting delays, respectively. Experiment 3 presents further examination of the conditions necessary to establish and maintain delay signal observing. The results of Experiments 1 and 2 indicate some of the conditions under which delay signals function as conditioned reinforcers, such as experience with signaled delays prior to experience with unsignaled delays. The results from Experiment 3 further delineates the specific history with delay signals required for such stimuli to serve as conditioned reinforcers. Taken in sum, findings from the proposed experiments contribute to the extant theoretical and methodological literature that informs the contemporary study of conditioned reinforcement.

3:00-3:50 p.m. Room 301

How to Get Into Graduate School. Alissa Huth-Bocks (Eastern Michigan University) & Jennifer Kowalkowski (Oakland Integrated Healthcare Network)

  1. Advice, guidance, and hints about getting into graduate school. Will cover GRE, letters of recommendation, statement of purpose, selecting a school, masters versus doctorate, Psy.D. versus Ph.D., how many schools to apply to, meeting dates and deadlines, interviewing, and many more topics. Will include question-and-answer period.

3:00-3:50 p.m Room 310A (1.0 BACB Type-II CEUs)

Notes from a Rambling Radical Behaviorist. Richard W. Malott (Western Michigan University)

  1. AKA Deep Thoughts or Richard’s Rants. These are among the topics  that might or might not be discussed: Science sucks. Behavioral introspection rocks. So does FaceBook. The Gina Green Rule. Is it really an if-then statement? Is it really imitation? What’s in a deadline? Is operant stimulus-stimulus pairing respondent? Don’t confuse reinforcer with reinforcement, like most other behavior analysts do, even Skinner. Biological determinism sucks; and saying that a functioning brain and nervous system are a necessary prerequisite for some behavior is not the same as saying some of us are biologically programmed to like polkas and others to like Viennese waltzes. Should Thorndike get the credit for inventing behavior analysis? Is conditioned suppression really discriminated punishment? Can you dial a phone without saying the numbers to yourself, as you dial; and so what? How many exemplars do we really need to teach concepts to kids? The flashcard-fluency folly. Should autism mamas force their kids to say, "Hi." to Dr. Malott? Why do some autistic kids receive almost no benefit from extensive, early behavioral intervention? Our primary goal should not be to get the kids ready for a more typical special or regular ed. classroom.

Poster & Social Session
(4:00 - 4:50 p.m.)

An Analysis of Specific Skill Acquisition, Rate of Acquisition, and Problem Behavior as Indicators for Placement in Desirable Academic Settings for Children with Autism. Joseph Shane, Jennifer Mrljak, & Richard Malott (Western Michigan University)

  1. Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention (EIBI) has become widely accepted as a highly efficacious treatment option for children with autism.  A substantial number of studies have shown significant improvements in participants who received Discrete Trial Training (DTT).  However, studies with large numbers of participants consistently report a proportion of students who fail to make much progress with the standard EIBI treatment package.  A concern, therefore, of everyone providing early intervention should be to determine why these children do not make adequate progress.  Theories and rationales for slow progress are numerous.  Some children may have lower cognitive abilities, some may exhibit high rates of interfering problem behaviors, and some appear to lack effective reinforcers, along with other barriers to learning.  This poster will discuss the authors’ attempts to isolate certain characteristics that may be indicative of long-term success or failure in an EIBI program.  Data were analyzed from children who were placed into desirable academic settings following graduation from a DTT classroom, and compared to data from children who transitioned to less desirable, more restrictive settings.  Discussion of the key differences, and further research into this area, should allow the field to determine how to best help the typical “low performers.”    

An Assessment of Response Rate Calculations in Rats Lever Pressing Under Ratio Schedules of Reinforcement. Eric J. French & Mark P. Reilly (Central Michigan University)

  1. Overall response rate has been a primary dependent variable in the Experimental Analysis of Behavior since its early days. The traditional calculation is the total responses divided by the session duration (including post-reinforcement pauses and excluding reinforcer delivery time).  Responding under certain schedules of reinforcement often conform to bout patterning, defined as bursts of rapid responding intermixed with responding separated by longer pauses. This engagement/disengagement pattern of responding creates a highly skewed IRT distribution.  Due to long pauses driving rates down, when bout patterns are detected this measure may not be a desirable.   In the present study, the average response rates are compared to the overall response rates, and log survivor plots are proposed to explain the possible disparity in the two rate measures. The reciprocal of each IRT yields each individual response rate, and by averaging these reciprocals, the average response rate is calculated. Unlike the overall response rate, this measure is largely unaffected by long IRTs.  Log survivor plot display the proportion of total IRTs beyond the corresponding temporal interval on the x-axis; capturing the engagement disengagement pattern of responding described above.  In the current study responding of four rats were examined:  two experiencing fixed-ratio and two variable-ratio schedules. The study began with ratio = 2 and doubled every three days. As anticipated, the average response rates were consistently higher than the overall response rates. Due to their non-linear data paths, most notably at ratio = 512, the log survivor plots provide an accurate description of bout performances.

The Combined Effects of Picture Activity Schedules and Extinction plus Differential Reinforcement on Problem Behavior During Transitions. Gina Cross, Jessica Hurdelbrink, Sarah Lichtenberger, & Richard W. Malott (Western Michigan University)

  1. A picture activity schedule is a tool used to promote independent engagement and performance of classroom activities and decreasing dependence on adults when teaching children with developmental disabilities. Previous research involved training complex response chains through picture activity schedules to increase on-task and on-schedule behavior (Bryan & Gast, 2000). This procedure was implemented to examine the effectiveness of a picture activity schedule when completing transitions from one area to another. First, the activity schedule was presented containing pictures of a certain areas in the classroom that are listed under the “to-do” section. After each transition was completed, a physical prompt was immediately delivered to move the picture of the activity to the “done” section and the child received a small reinforcer. Results from previous studies indicated that the use of picture activity schedules increased the number of instances of on-task behavior over time and these behaviors have generalized across people, settings and situations. It is predicted that the use of a picture activity schedule combined with extinction plus DRA will increase instances of compliance during transitions from one activity to another and these behaviors will be generalized across people, settings and situations.

A Comparison of Stimulus-Stimulus Pairings to Increase Functional Mands. Colette Gillis, Sarah Schmitt, Jessica Korneder, & Richard W. Malott (Western Michigan University)

  1. Stimulus-stimulus pairing (SSP) procedures with a direct reinforcement (DR) component have been shown to increase functional mands for targeted items (Yoon, 1998). This study continued to assess previous research of a modified SSP procedure with a DR component to increase independent vocal mands among children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. In addition, this study compared the effects of different number of pairings during the SSP training by recording the frequency of spontaneous emissions of the target vocalizations. Two reinforcers were used for each participant. One was paired on a 5:1 vocalization to pairing ratio and the other on a 1:1 ratio.  Following each 5 minute pairing session, there was a 5-minute DR session, where any emission of the target vocalization resulted in immediate delivery of the reinforcer. Mastery criteria were set as making the desired vocalization in 80% of opportunities across two consecutive DR sessions.  This study aims to continue the research on the most effective way to use SSP to teach functional mands.

Comparisons of Condition Duration in a Functional Analysis of Low Frequency – High Intensity Problem Behavior. Rebecca Wiskirchen (Western Michigan University), & Pamela Lozada (ACCEL, Phoenix, AZ)

  1. Standard functional analysis procedures do not yield definitive results for low rate problem behavior in many cases, suggesting a need for modifications to functional analysis procedures.  The following study is a replication of Davis, Khang, Schmidt, Bowman, & Boelter (2012) in which the results of a standard functional analysis (Iwata, Doresey, Slifer, Baumen, & Richman, 1982/94) was compared to the results of a functional analysis (FA) with modification to the duration of each condition.  In the current study, researchers examined elopement behavior within a self-contained classroom setting for a 16-year-old male with autism.  Researchers began by conducting a standard FA, which consisted of 5-minute conditions.  A partial interval recording system was used to calculate the percent of intervals.  Results from the standard FA did not show distinctions between conditions, as the target behavior occurred at near zero rates across all conditions.  The modified FA extended the duration of each condition to 6-hours. Results from the modified FA support the original finding of Davis et al (2012), which suggest that using prolonged conditions for low rate problem behavior yields greater distinctions between conditions. 

Communicative Eye Gaze and Rett Syndrome: How Long Must I Look? Robin Kuhn (Central Michigan University) & Nicole Henriksen (Western Michigan University)

  1. Rett Syndrome (RS) is a neurobiological disorder marked by regression in several areas (e.g., language, cognitive, motor, social, and adaptive functioning), deceleration of head growth, and emergence of hand stereotypies. Girls with RS may require augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) devices to effectively communicate. Devices employing eye gaze technology (EGT) have received increasing attention as a viable AAC option for those with RS, yet there is a dearth of research demonstrating their effectiveness and guiding practitioner use of EGT. The purpose of this study was to develop a method of determining an appropriate dwell duration requirement (DDR) for requesting using an AAC with EGT, as a DDR that is too short could hinder scanning of all available options and a DDR that is too long could result in extinction-induced variability and frustration. A child with RS with a newly-acquired AAC with EGT served as the participant. Across ten trial bins, the DDR was increased and then decreased in 120 ms increments between 100 ms and 820 ms, yielding 20 data points for each of six DDR (100 ms, 220 ms, 340 ms, 460 ms, 580 ms, 700 ms) and ten data points for the longest DDR (820 ms). Collateral data on assent withdrawal and behavior indicative of frustration were collected. Preliminary results suggest that an appropriate DDR can be quickly and easily empirically-determined for a child with RS using an AAC with EGT. A discussion of how this method could be used to enhance teaching of communication skills is discussed.

Computer-Based Treatment of Depression: Patterns of Relationships Between Mediators and Outcomes. C. Richard Spates, Andrew C. Hale,. Chelsea E. Sage, Karis Calloway (Western Michigan University)

  1. This poster presentation examines several interesting and crucial relationships among potential mediators and outcomes of a computer-based intervention for depression. Some of these relationships challenge the traditionally framed debate concerning the centrality of cognitive change (in automatic negative thinking) versus behavioral activation, as determinative of outcome. Here we identify the mediating role not only of automatic negative thoughts and activation, but values consistent behavior strategy, and perception of the program as encouraging; all measured on a week-to-week basis for each client. We also examine differences in age groups as pertinent to these potential mediators. We argue that the debate may be too simplistically framed in light of our findings and certain predictors (mediators) achieve their effects through operation on other mediators rather than directly on the principal outcome measure(s). The psychometric overlap of our commonly used measure of automatic negative thoughts with our principal measure of depression also introduces a weakness in the overall debate in our opinion, and prevents a parsimonious position on this issue.

Conditioning Praise as a Learned Reinforcer Part II. Jennifer Freeman & Richard W. Malott (Western Michigan University)

  1. Social approval does not function as a powerful reinforcer for many children with autism, thereby making it difficult to reinforce appropriate behaviors in a functional and consistent manner. Additionally, disapproval does not punish behaviors of many children with autism, which may be the reason that maladaptive behaviors are so prevalent with children within this population. By establishing approval statements as discriminative stimuli, we would expect them to also become learned reinforcers. This same procedure would also establish disapproval statements as s-deltas, in hopes that they might take on an aversive function. Once these approval statements have been effectively established as reinforcers, we will work to establish other approval statements and gestures as learned reinforcers. We will begin using these statements functionally throughout the child’s day to increase appropriate behaviors while reducing the use of added, contrived reinforcers.

Contriving Motivation to Increase Mands for Missing Items in Children with Autism. Jeremy F. Walker, Christopher M. Fowler, Sarah N. Lichtenberger, & Richard W. Malott (Western Michigan University)

  1. The concept of transitive conditioned motivating operations has demonstrated to be a useful tool in teaching mands, or requests, to individuals with developmental disabilities (Hall & Sundberg, 1987; Albert et al., 2012). In the present study, an interrupted chain procedure was used to teach independent mands for missing items to children with autism. Participants included three children with autism enrolled in an Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) classroom who routinely emitted mands in the presence of items but not when they were out of sight. Initially, participants were taught to perform three behavioral chains related to activities previously identified as reinforcing. After pre-training, motivation was contrived by removing one item from each chain needed to complete the activity and gain access to the terminal reinforcer. Baseline data were collected on the number of independent mands for missing items. During the training phase, mands were taught for missing items at the point of interruption using a time-delay vocal prompt procedure. Following mand training, probe measures were conducted to assess independent manding for the same items under novel conditions (different technicians, settings, chains). It is predicted that for each participant independent mands increased during training sessions and across subsequent generalization conditions.

Investigating the Effects of Difficulty Level and Task-Related Earnings on Delay Discounting Following Violent Video Game Play. Mariah Conklin, Robin Kuhn, Michael D. Hixson, Mark P. Reilly (Central Michigan University)

  1. The putative link between violent video games and aggression has received an abundance of media attention throughout the past decade, however more recent headlines emphasize an increase in impulsivity due to violent video game play. In the present study, we examined the effects of violent video game difficulty, accompanied or unaccompanied by an increase or decrease in task-related earnings, on the delay discounting of college students. During both Experiments 1 and 2, experienced gamers played Call of Duty: Black Ops for two short, consecutive sessions. One group of subjects played on the recruit setting during both sessions (Easy-Easy group), whereas another group played first on the recruit, and then on the veteran, setting (Easy-Hard group). During Experiment 1, Participants in the Easy-Easy group earned slightly more money following their second session than their first, yet the reverse was true for the Easy-Hard group; all participants, however, received the same total amount of money. During Experiment 2, task-related earnings were omitted. Immediately following each game play session, participants completed a questionnaire, rating several aspects of their game play experience. Prior to debriefing, participants completed a hypothetical delay discounting task, a commonly-employed measure of impulsivity. The results of Experiment 1 indicated significant between-group differences in discounting, however these results were not replicated in Experiment 2. Discussion of these findings, and their implications, will be presented.

The Effects of a Behavioral Intervention on Latency to Meal Completion by Cooks in a Restaurant Setting. Michael Palmer, Christian Cullinan, & C. Merle Johnson (Central Michigan University)

  1. The service industry poses unique problems including high turn-over, complex systems, and low job satisfaction. Behavioral interventions in this sector of the economy typically involve multiple components, most often including performance feedback to service employees. Performance feedback has been shown to help change behaviors while maintaining or increasing job satisfaction (Palmer & Johnson, 2013; in press). In restaurants the time it takes a customer to receive their meal(s) influences their ratings of the service provided. Each restaurant typically sets a standard on how long meals should take to prepare, and at this site meals were taking considerably longer than the standards for this restaurant chain. A group performance feedback and task clarification intervention was set up to help remedy this problem. Data were collected from an average of three cooks at a family style restaurant in North Central United States. During baseline, 57.4% of meals were completed under the set 12-minute standard. During the intervention, 66.6% of meals were completed under the standard, a 9.2% increase over baseline. A return to baseline yielded 61.6% of meals completed under the standard. A second implementation of the intervention, with a shorter delay for feedback supplemented with incentives, produced a systematic replication with 67.2% of meals being completed under the standard. Further data analysis suggests a reliable effect was obtained for the intervention with a limit on performance obtained at around 75%.

Effects of an Observing Response on Attending and Discrimination in Children with Autism. Roxanne Gayle, Jessica Korneder, & Richard W. Malott (Western Michigan University)

  1. Matching-to-sample is a skill that generally needs to be acquired early on in discrete trial training curriculum in order for children to learn more complex discrimination skills and progress to other educational goals (Fisher, 2007). When a child makes an incorrect response during a matching-to-sample procedure, most commonly least-to-most prompting (e.g. progressing from modeling the response to physically prompting) is used until the target response occurs (Fisher, 2007). The problem is that prompting may not require the individual to attend or discriminate between the stimuli and/or may cause prompt dependence. The purpose of this study was to assess the effect on correctness of responding during a matching-to-sample task by increasing attending to stimuli in children diagnosed with autism. An observing response (DORs) was used to prompt participants to make discriminated responses between three stimuli while making a match-to-sample response. The child was required to touch the sample stimulus and corresponding comparison stimuli before the opportunity to respond independently was presented. Using an AB design, trials to mastery criterion (three consecutive sessions of 80% or better) was assessed. This intervention may provide the behavior analysis community with more evidence and support on observing responses to promote discrimination and attending to stimuli when teaching matching procedures.

Establishing Approval and Disapproval as Learned Reinforcers. Kelly Kohler & Richard W. Malott (Western Michigan University)

  1. Approval and disapproval often do not function as effective reinforcers or aversive conditions for children with autism as they do for many typically developing individuals. This can cause several problems. If approval does not function as a reinforcer for these individuals, additional contrived reinforcers are required in order to increase or maintain appropriate behaviors. These extra reinforcers are more difficult to deliver, less functional, and often suffer the effects of satiation. Due to these reasons, skill acquisition is typically much slower for these individuals than for individuals for whom approval functions as a reinforcer. Additionally, if disapproval does not function as an aversive condition, suppression of inappropriate behaviors also becomes more difficult. Many socially stigmatizing behaviors maintain in individuals for whom disapproval is not an effective aversive condition, which only further isolates them from their typically developing peers. We will establish approval stimuli (e.g., smiles, nods, praise statements) as discriminative stimuli and disapproval stimuli (e.g., frowns, head shakes, "no") as s-deltas. This procedure will involve presenting reinforcing items (e.g., toys, snacks) in the child's vicinity. On approval trials, approval stimuli will be presented and the child will be allowed (and prompted, if necessary) to reach for and consume the reinforcer. On disapproval trials, disapproval stimuli will be presented and the child’s attempts to reach for the reinforcer will be blocked. Once it is apparent that a clear discrimination has been established between approval and disapproval stimuli, we will test the effects of approval and disapproval stimuli in the children's everyday lives (e.g., academic instruction, reducing behavioral problems).

Establishing Auditory Discrimination in Children with Autism. Christina Henderson, Taylor Delaney, Joseph Shane, & Richard W. Malott (Western Michigan University)

  1. The ability to discriminate stimuli in the environment is a prerequisite skill necessary to acquire other crucial learning skills (Green, 2001). A pre-test showed that children in an early intervention pre-school classroom could not discriminate auditory stimuli, though they did demonstrate basic visual-discrimination skills.  Prior research has shown that children with autism learn to discriminate non-verbal stimuli more quickly than verbal stimuli (Eikeseth & Hayward, 2009). The current study uses a basic auditory-discrimination procedure to foster more complex discrimination skills. The children were first taught basic auditory-discrimination skills using contrasting sounds. Once that skill was acquired vocal stimuli were added. Data was collected on the children’s performance on listener-responding procedures. This study adds to previous research that suggests an intermediate step is sometimes needed to establish receptive-language skills in children with developmental disabilities (Chow, 2010). Acquiring these skills will increase the rate of learning and allow the children to progress though the curriculum.

Evaluating Barriers to the Use of Video Modeling for Children with Autism. Victor M Torres, III & Joshua Plavnick (Michigan State University)

  1. Video modeling is an evidence-based practice for teaching a variety of behaviors to individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Despite its effectiveness, video modeling has yet to be widely adopted by service providers. Interventions that have extensive empirical support but lack large-scale adoption by practitioners may suffer from issues related to social validity. Social validity is a construct used to explain the extent to which consumers value the goals, procedures, and outcomes associated with a particular intervention. The present study sought to evaluate the social validity of video modeling within public educational settings. Educational service providers were involved in trainings on using video modeling with children with ASD and others administered video modeling interventions with coaching provided by members of the research team. A number of social validity measures including questionnaire, practitioner interviews, observation of sustained practitioner implementation, and participant preference were used to used to derive conclusions about the overall social validity as an intervention for children with ASD. Trends in data revealed specific issues within the factor of systems support; continued post-study coaching, immediate access of video banks and ongoing training along with other elements were important aspects to the sustainability of the intervention.

Exploring the Relationship Between Employee Customer-Service Behaviors and Customer Satisfaction Ratings: A Follow-Up Study, Part Two. Michael Palmer, Tyler Foster, Kyle Cadieux, Brian Davis, Brittany Lesage, Haylee Tanton, & Carly Walter (Central Michigan University)

  1. This experiment examined the relationship between observed customer-service behaviors and the customers’ opinions about the services provided. Data were collected from four coffee shops around the campus of Central Michigan University. One establishment is locally owned, two are part of a regional franchise, and one is an internationally recognized brand. Observers were trained to measure customer-service behaviors and response products which included: smiling, greeting, eye contact, clean tables, clean counters, employee to employee discussions (non-work related), employee-customer discussions (non-work related), and a closing statement. Observers also measured various service-behavior time components and all measures were unobtrusive. After baseline customer satisfaction surveys were given prior to various behavioral interventions to measure perceptions of service. Surveys were continued through the intervention. Customer survey results and customer-service behaviors were correlated to determine which variables were most related to perceptions of customer service.  

Exploring the Relationship Between Employee Customer-Service Behaviors and Customer Satisfaction Ratings: A Follow-Up Study, Part One. Michael Palmer, Tyler Foster, Kyle Cadieux, Brian Davis, Brittany Lesage, Haylee Tanton, & Carly Walter (Central Michigan University)

  1. This experiment was designed to increase customer-service related behaviors. Data were collected from four coffee shops around the campus of Central Michigan University. One establishment is locally owned, two are part of a regional franchise, and one is an internationally recognized brand. Observers were trained to unobtrusively measure customer-service behaviors and response products which included: smiling, greeting, eye contact, clean tables, clean counters, employee to employee discussions (non-work related), employee-customer discussions (non-work related), and a closing statement. Observers also measured various service-behavior time components. Baseline data suggests that the international brand coffee shop baristas exhibited the least amount of the customer-service behaviors with the exception of the clean counters and clean tables. Baristas at the two regional franchises exhibited the highest prevalence of eye contact and greeting behaviors. The two regional franchise locations were vastly different in two of the measures: smiling and employee to customer discussion. An organizational behavior management (OBM) intervention to increase customer-service behaviors was implemented including performance feedback and task clarification. The current study highlights the importance of customer-service behaviors on customer satisfaction and improvements should increase customer satisfaction.

Facilitating Discrimination of Icons by Requiring an Observing Response. Hironobu Matsuoka, Derek Seelbinder, Joseph Shane, & Richard W. Malott (Western Michigan University).

  1. Currently all students in our practicum site are learning to use the icon exchange which is based off of the Picture Exchange Communication System (Bondy & Frost, 1994). Students exchange icons corresponding to the items that they are motivated for to receive those items. This sequence of behaviors is sometimes very difficult for students to learn especially when learning discrimination of icons. We found our students were often not observing the icons before or during the exchange. This kind of problem is sometimes seen in other procedures such as matching-to-sample. Some studies reported that requiring an observing response improved accuracy during matching-to-sample. Based upon these studies, we think an observing response in the early phases of the icon exchange system may facilitate discrimination in the icon exchange. The purpose of the current study is to establish an observing response during an icon exchange chain. We will require our participants to observe icon before they exchange icon and test whether establishing this observing response will facilitate learning discrimination of icons. Thus, our goal is to contribute to the improvement of our children’s learning to use the icon exchange system by establishing the observing response.

Functional Analysis of Severe Aggression: Implications for Treatment Adherence. Meaghan M. Lewis & Marilyn K. Bonem (Eastern Michigan University)

  1. The present case study employed a differential reinforcement of other behavior (DRO) intervention targeting an adolescent with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) diagnosis and severe aggression in the form of biting, scratching, hitting, kicking, and spitting at others. Additional problem behaviors and relevant contextual variables included pica behavior, stereotypic rituals with symmetry issues, and a limited verbal repertoire. A functional analysis indicated that severe aggression seemed to be maintained by escape and attention. Direct observation elucidated criticisms, task demands, and negative corrective feedback as possible antecedents occasioning aggression. DRO commenced on a three minute fixed interval schedule of reinforcement and utilized tangible stimuli as reinforcers for behavior other than aggression. Compliance with task demands in the home was reinforced with a preferred reinforcer derived from a daily preference assessment administered prior to the DRO. Treatment adherence difficulties; however, limited the effectiveness of results. As such, implications for treatment adherence and ecological validity will be discussed.

A Graphical Representation of Citation Practices by Advocates of Facilitated Communication: Prompt Fading and Shaping. Chelsea M. Doré & James Todd (Eastern Michigan University)

  1. Facilitated communication (FC) is technique in which a person interacts with a keyboard or other typing device to communicate while assisted by a facilitator. This facilitator will support the person’s hand or arm while they type. Crossley (1997) defines it as, “…an educational technique intended to allow people who cannot speak or sign fluently to develop the hand skills necessary to use other non-speech communication strategies. It involves the support of the arm, wrist or hand of the student, who is thus enabled to control his pointing…”(p.61). Creators and supporters of FC claim that these physical prompts are eventually faded and their goal is for each person to be able to type independently. An in-depth search of a select portion of the FC literature fails to produce any evidence of proper fading of these prompts.

Gradual Guidance and Independent Activity Schedules for Children with Autism. Ali Markowitz, Amanda Driscoll, Sarah Lichtenberger, & Richard W. Malott (Western Michigan University)

  1. Past research on activity schedules have suggested that independent activity schedules increase on-task and on-schedule behavior for children with autism (MacDuff et al. 1993). This study was conducted in an Early Childhood Special Education Delayed (ECSE) classroom with two children diagnosed with autism.  These children demonstrated several skills with adult prompts but these skills did not generalize to unprompted conditions. This study focuses on the use of gradual guidance and activity schedules to help increase independence.  In the first phase, the children were taught to complete closed-ended tasks independently.  The second phase introduced the activity schedule with one task. Finally, the third and fourth phases introduced a two-sequence schedule and three-sequence schedule respectively.  The independent activity schedules increased the children’s on-task behavior and generalized to different sequences and new activities.  This study adds to the body of research on the advantages of using independent activity schedules to increase on-task behaviors and generalize acquired skills.

Increasing Functional Eye Contact Using a Shaping Procedure Before Instruction. Kara Jokela, David Coppock , Joseph Shane, & Richard W. Malott (Western Michigan University)

  1. Attending is a frequent deficit in children with autism. Attending before instruction helps increase the likelihood of a correct response. A common characteristic of attending is eye contact. Eye contact is also a crucial component of communication. The goal of the current study is to have eye contact function as a discriminative stimulus for the next instruction as a form of communication. A common form of teaching eye contact to children with autism is through prompting methods such as, a pinch where the child tracks the object to the tutors eyes, and slowly fade out the pinch. In this study eye contact will be acquired solely through time delays without prompting.  The author intends to present a method of requiring eye contact before an instruction is given.

MEG Analysis of Language Processing in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Fara Di Noto, Kaitlyn McFarlane, Annette Richard, Renee Lajiness-O'Neill (Eastern Michigan University)

  1. Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are characterized by altered social, communicative, somatosensory, and restricted and repetitive behaviors, the etiology of which remains largely unknown. A current major theory suggests that abnormalities in synchronous neural activity, which is vital to the the development of short- and long-range connectivity, may be a core pathophysiological mechanism. The functional neuroimaging technique, Magnetoencephalography (MEG), can characterize potential abberant neural synchronization that may underlie the sensory processing and cognitive abnormalities that contribute to the observable symptoms of ASD. Our investigation explored neural synchronization during auditory and word processing to characterize connectivity pattern differences in ASD compared to typically developing children.  This methodology has the potential to illuminate a core pathophysiological biomarker in ASD. 

Photographic Activity Schedule for Tooth Brushing and Peer Manding. Jennifer C.Ward, Elizabeth Fernandez, Kelly Kohler, Richard W. Malott (Western Michigan University)

  1. Children with autism can easily become prompt dependent when teaching various skills, such as tooth brushing or peer manding.  This intervention will utilize photographic activity schedules to teach two children with autism and a history of discrete trial training tooth brushing or peer manding.  We will implement photographic activity schedules as described by Krantz et al.  We will measure the quantity and type of prompts required during the baseline and teaching phases and we expect that this procedure will decrease prompt dependency.

Promoting Transfer of Training Using Multiple Discriminative Stimuli. David Nichol, Caleb Fiorini, Kelli Perri, Richard W. Malott (Western Michigan University)

  1. Transfer of training occurs when the training of a behavior at one time or place now occurs in a different time and place.  When working with young children with autism, we have to include this type of training in our programming as it often does not occur naturally (Baer, Wolf, and Risley, 1968). One such area that practitioners can overlook is generalization of commands or discriminative stimuli. The current study sought to improve transfer of training of body part identification for a four year old child with autism using multiple discriminative stimuli to elicit a single response. This participant was selected based on an inability to respond to different yet similar directions within a body part identification procedure. The goal of the intervention is for training of multiple discriminative stimuli for a limited number of target responses to transfer across settings, persons, and additional targeted responses. Acquisition of these skills can facilitate student’s progression and success in a less restrictive school environment where instruction is presented in a variety of different formats.

Response Repetition as an Error-Correction Strategy for Math Fact Acquisition. Jennifer Lynn Reynolds, The University of Toledo), Daniel D. Drevon (Central Michigan University), & Bradley D. Schafer (University of Toledo)

  1. Skill acquisition interventions usually incorporate error-correction to decrease incorrect responding rather than relying on reinforcement alone to increase correct responding. One simple error-correction procedure is response repetition. The present study is being conducted to extend the research on response repetition. This study will compare the effects of written response repetition to oral response repetition on math fact acquisition. Participants will be 3 to 5, fourth grade students from a local elementary school. A multiple baseline across participants’ research design will be used in the current study. Within each participant, a multielement design will be used to examine learning rates across error-correction conditions. During the intervention students will be presented with 8 unknown math facts, 3 times each, for a total of 24 exposures. On alternating intervention sessions students will follow one of two response repetition procedures. During the written response repetition procedure after an incorrect response, the interventionist will model the correct response by reading the math fact and its correct answer (e.g., “No. One plus one equals two), then require the participant to write the math fact and its correct answer five times. During the oral response repetition procedure the interventionist will require the participant to recite the math fact and its correct answer five times. Results will be interpreted by visual inspection of data and effect size for each condition evaluated via improvement rate difference.

A Review of the Literature: Evaluating the Effectiveness of Parent Training Models for Skills Acquisition, Maintenance, and Generalization of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Karla Maschalko, Jessica Morisson, & Mary Schrier (ABA Pathways, Ann Arbor. MI)

  1. The structured technique of Discrete Trial Training (DTT) successfully increases the rate of learning in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), but is often criticized as an intervention that does not naturally transfer into less controlled settings. A widely used alternative to DTT is naturalistic intervention, in various forms, including Natural Environment Training (NET), Incidental Teaching (IT), and Pivotal Response Training (PRT). These interventions boast a higher rate of generalization and maintenance when compared to DTT. In addition, they are frequently used to educate parents and caregivers how to teach children with ASD to generalize newly learned skills. Questions that arise are, what makes these naturalistic techniques more effective than DTT for generalization? Also, what would be the outcome if a number of techniques, such as DTT and IT or NET, were combined when teaching children to generalize skills?  This literature review evaluates the effectiveness of training parents, caregivers, and teachers to use one or a combination of these ABA techniques to enhance maintenance and generalization of new skills acquired through DTT.

Stimulus Fading Procedure to Establish Discrimination during Phase 3 of the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS). Kaitlyn Peitz, Marla Watts, Joseph Shane, & Richard W. Malott (Western Michigan University)

  1. Discriminating between pictures is a key component when using PECS, and without discrimination PECS is not functional as a communication device (Frost & Bondy, 2001). The purpose of this study is to teach discrimination between pictures of preferred and non-preferred items during phase 3 of the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS). This will be done by changing the non-preferred icons along one physical dimension, and slowly fading them back to normal as the child progresses through the procedure. Stimulus fading procedures exaggerate some physical dimension (e.g., color, size, intensity) of a relevant stimulus to help a person make a correct response (MacDuff, Krantz, & McClannahan, 2001). The study was conducted with children diagnosed with autism in an Early Childhood Developmentally Delayed (ECDD) classroom where PECS is used as the primary method of communication for the students. Data will be presented on the children’s performance on phase 3 of PECS.

  2. It is expected that the stimulus fading procedure will provide an alternative method to teach discrimination with PECS in the ECDD classroom.

Stimulus-Stimulus Pairing to Condition Procedure Materials as Reinforcers Kirsten Powers, Melanie Pomaville, Sarah Lichtenberger, & Richard W. Malott (Western Michigan University)

  1. In this study, stimulus-stimulus pairing  was used to condition neutral stimuli to function as reinforcers.  Stimulus-stimulus has been shown to condition books as reinforcers and as a result increase appropriate play and attending to the book (Longano & Greer, 2006).  The purpose of this study was to increase attending and decrease aberrant behaviors during procedures with children with developmental disabilities.  The study was  conducted with a child who is diagnosed with autism in an Early Childhood Special Education classroom.  Baseline data was collected on the progress of a current procedure in the child's schedule.  A multiple stimulus preference assessment to determine highly preferred stimuli was conducted.  After preferred stimuli were determined, the stimulus-stimulus pairing procedure was implemented.  The author alternated between training and testing trials.  During training trials, the tangible materials used in a specific procedure was paired with the preferred stimulus.  It is expected that by establishing materials used in procedures as reinforcers, problem behaviors will decrease and attending to the materials will increase.  This study adds to stimulus-stimulus pairing research and introduces a method for altering antecedent conditions to decrease problem behaviors during procedures.

Simple and Conditional Visual Discrimination Training for Children with Autism With Exceptional Learning Difficulties. Sarah Lichtenberger, & Katie Ouellette (Western Michigan University)

  1. Simple and conditional discrimination repertoires are critical components of many skills necessary for daily functioning, including communication, academic, and daily-living skills (Green, 2001). When visual discrimination is not under instructional stimulus control it can result in a delay in the acquisition of new skills. The purpose of this study was to teach simple and conditional visual discrimination to children with autism without using vocal discriminative stimuli and by introducing one stimulus at time, by first presenting only the stimulus designated as correct and slowly introducing distractor stimuli to increase the complexity of the task. The procedure was implemented with children who have been enrolled in a special education preschool classroom for at least 6 months and who have not demonstrated visual discrimination under instructional stimulus control and who are showing extremely delayed progress through the classroom curriculum. The procedure used a variety teaching methods based on the learners’ progress. Trial-and-error, within-stimulus prompt fading, and physical prompts were all used to aid in the acquisition of discrimination skills.

Teaching Visual Discrimination to a Child with Autism. Blaire Michelin, Rachel Burroughs, Sarah Lichtenberger, Katie Ouellette, & Richard W. Malott (Western Michigan University)

  1. According to Green (2001) it has been demonstrated that teaching simple visual discrimination has been shown to help cultivate the development of conditional discriminations. Green (2012) also stated that some individuals with autism show difficulty in acquiring conditional discriminations, but these individuals can acquire conditional discriminations after training on simple discriminations. The purpose of this study is to teach visual discrimination to a child who is diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. The child has not demonstrated visual discrimination and has delayed progress through the classroom curriculum. Visual discrimination will be taught using a most-to-least prompting hierarchy with no vocal discriminative stimuli.  The relevant research has shown that teaching this child simple visual discriminations will help to acquire conditional discriminations. Green (2012) stated, “many important skills require simple discriminations or responding differently to antecedent stimuli.” Research in stimulus control labs have developed methods for establishing simple and conditional discriminations but are rarely applied in practice.  This study should contribute to the growing research of teaching visual discrimination in an applied setting.

The Temporal Effects of Delayed Feedback on the Pace of Instruction of Undergraduate Applied Behavior Analysis Students in a Practicum Setting. Elian Aljadeff-Abergel & Stephanie Peterson (Western Michigan University)

  1. Undergraduate students who are interested being Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst® (BCaBA®) are required to complete, in addition to the coursework and an exam, supervised experience.  Although general guidelines regarding appropriate supervision activities are detailed on the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) website, it is not clear, what the most effective ways to provide supervision for this group of students are.  For example, the BACB guidelines state the need to provide specific and informative feedback. However, there is limited research on the most effective ways to provide feedback to individuals. Fast paced in instruction is an important skill to teach practicum students when working with individuals with autism or other developmental disabilities.  One way to increase pace is by decreasing the intertrial interval (ITI) duration.  Practicum students should, therefore, receive feedback on their pacing/IT during instruction. A single subject multiple baseline across students design was used to examine the effects of feedback provided (a) after the teaching session (i.e., as a consequence) versus (b) before the following teaching session (i.e., as an instruction and prompt) on the pace of instruction. Pace was measured using (1) average of ITI duration and (2) rate of opportunities to respond per min. Results suggest feedback in general was effective in improving students’ pace of instruction. With that said, no significant difference between feedback before and feedback after was found. Possible confounding variable will be discussed and future directions will be suggested.

The Use of Response Interruption Redirection, Penalty, and Differential Reinforcement to Decrease Stereotypy. Jessica Korneder, Richard W. Malott, Nina Traver, Michael Jones (Western Michigan University)

  1. Behaviors such as toe walking, hand flapping, nonfunctional vocalizations, and rocking are examples of stereotypy. Stereotypy can occur at high rates in children with and without developmental delays (Smith & Van Houten, 1996). These behaviors can interfere with the acquisition of new skills (e.g., Dunlap, Dyer, & Koegel, 1983; Morrison & Rosales-Ruiz, 1997) and social interactions (Jones, Wint, & Ellis, 1990). The purpose of this study was to assess the effectiveness of response interruption redirection (RIRD), penalty, and differential reinforcement in reducing vocal and motor stereotypy with children who engage in automatically-reinforced high-rates of stereotypy. During leisure skills, the participant was given an iPad and highly preferred edibles were delivered on a differential reinforcement of other behavior (DRO) schedule. Each instance of stereotypy resulted in the loss of the iPad and the presentation of a RIRD sequence. During academic instruction the combination of RIRD and DRO was assessed. The combination of these techniques decreased stereotypy from 90 percent of 10-second intervals to below 30 percent of intervals during leisure skills and to approximately 40 percent during academic instruction. To assess the social validity of these procedures data on engagement during leisure skills and attending during academic instruction will be discussed.  

Using a Discrimination Training Procedure to Reduce Vocal Stereotypy. Kathleen Holehan, Olivia Banks, Sarah Lichtenberger, & Richard W. Malott (Western Michigan University)

  1. The purpose of this study is to decrease vocal stereotypy in children diagnosed with a language delay by using a discrimination training procedure. Vocal stereotypy is defined as a repetitive behavior that does not serve an adaptive function (Brusa-Richman, 2008). Previous studies have demonstrated the ability to reduce vocal stereotypy by training conditions in which stereotypy is not reinforced during an instructional time followed by free access to stereotypy (Doughty, 2007). In this procedure the absence of stereotypy in the presence of a orange stimulus (card) for a target duration will be reinforced with free access to stereotypy in the presence of a purple stimulus (card). It is predicted these data will show a decreased amount of vocal stereotypy in the presence of the orange stimuli and a stable amount of stereotypy in the presence of the purple stimuli. This procedure aims to provide evidence for the reduction of vocal stereotypy under stimulus control.

Using ABA to Promote Independent Living Skills in High Functioning Adult Populations: a Case Report. David Phillips (Eastern Michigan University)

  1. A clinician’s ability to control environmental variables is considerably reduced in high functioning, out patient, adult populations, making the task of influencing behavior difficult. Mental health professionals must judiciously use session time to reinforce effective behavioral repertoires, bolster desired establishing operations, promote independence, and establish their selves as discriminative stimuli for ethical reinforcement and punishment. Accomplishing these goals during a typical 50 min session, in a manner that has a lasting influence on behavior, is difficult.

  2. This poster presentation details a case report of a high functioning, adult diagnosed with ASD seeking behavioral treatment for a multitude of independent living skill deficits. Poster content consists of assessment data, base-line data, treatment-data, and a detailed description of the behavioral intervention. These visual stimuli will facilitate discussions on the difficulty of conducting functional assessment on independent adult populations, how to maximize independence using a multi-phase behavioral contract, and how to potentiate in session EO’s and SD’s. The behavioral implements used to facilitate treatment will be provided as nonproprietary handouts.

Using Intervening Activities to Increase Compliant Activity Transitions in Children With Autism. Kaila Goodrich, Alissa Bailey, Joseph Shane, & Richard W. Malott (Western Michigan University)

  1. The present study evaluates the effects of intervening activities on duration of noncompliance and frequency of challenging behavior during activity transitions in children with autism. Two students in an early childhood developmental delays classroom participated in this study. The study began with a preference assessment to identify preferred activities and continued with an assessment of challenging behavior during transitions between activities to identify the types of activity transitions that are challenging for these children. For each of the participants, the highest frequency of challenging behavior occurred during transitions from high-preference to low-preference activities. The study continued with an investigation of the effects of providing an intervening activity for ending high-preference activities and transitioning to low-preference activities. Noncompliance durations during transitions from high-preference to low-preference activities were reduced as a result of the intervening activity condition. Possible interventions for challenging behavior during transitions for children with autism are discussed in detail.

Visual Schedules to Increase Independence. Leasa Androl, Kelsey Laursen, Jennifer Freeman, & Richard W. Malott (Western Michigan University)

  1. Parents reported their desire for their child to remain engaged in an activity so that they have time to tend to other responsibilities. The goal of the current study was to use visual activity schedules to teach children to play independently. Visual activity schedules have been shown to increase independent play skills in children with autism (Betz, Higbee, & Reagon, 2008). The study was conducted with a child from the Kalamazoo Autism Center. Baseline data was collected on the child’s ability to remain engaged in independent play for at least ten minutes. The child was then taught to follow a visual activity schedule that included three simple activities. After this procedure was mastered, the simple activities were replaced with three different activities to test for generalization. Once the child demonstrated mastery with the new activities, the visual schedule was changed to include an activity of daily living. Engagement in the activities and number of prompts was measured during each phase of the study.

Requires Separate Additional Registration Fee
You do not have to register for these workshops to attend the conference.

Thursday, February 20:  1:30 - 4:30 p.m.  (3.0 BACB Type-II CEUs)

A Behavior Analytic Approach to Neurocognitive Disorders. Claudia Drossel, Ph.D. (University of Michigan Health System)

  1. Workshop Length: 3 hours
    Workshop Cost:Full $50/Students $25

  2. Workshop Materials Cost:$15

  3. Workshop Attendance Limit: 40

  4. Significant, life-interfering declines in thinking, reasoning, problem-solving, planning, or remembering are common.  They can be due to acquired brain injuries (e.g., traumas, cerebrovascular accidents), neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s or Lewy Body’s, infections, and a range of other conditions.  Almost all individuals with neurocognitive disorders will experience neuropsychiatric symptoms – from restlessness, anxiety, social withdrawal and depression to disruptive behaviors.  Rather than the cognitive decline per se, it is these affective and behavioral changes that tend to lead to restrictive environments across the age span, at great human cost.

  5. Emphasizing step-by-step clinical problem-solving, the current workshop will outline a general behavior analytic approach to the prevention and/or reduction of behavioral changes associated with neurocognitive disorders.  By the end of this introductory workshop, participants will be able to:

  6. Characterize the brain-behavior interplay from a behavior analytic perspective

  7. Conduct a comprehensive assessment

  8. Describe the importance of rule-outs of other, non-psychosocial factors

  9. Translate neuropsychological results into a behavior analytic framework

  10. Formulate behavior analytic interventions

  11. Assess barriers and facilitators to the implementation of behavioral plans

  12. The overall goal of the workshop is to generate a broad conceptualization of affective and behavioral changes as contextually understandable responses, albeit ineffective or disruptive, to the interpersonal and intrapersonal sequelae of cognitive loss. Participants will learn how such responses can be prevented through effective prosthetic scaffolding of the psychosocial environment.

Friday, February 21:  1:00 - 3:50 p.m.  (3.0 BACB Type-II CEUs)

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Behavior Analysts. Thomas J. Waltz, Ph.D. (Eastern Michigan University) & Claudia Drossel, Ph.D. (University of Michigan)

  1. Workshop Length: 3 hours
    Workshop Cost:Full $50/Students $25

  2. Workshop Attendance Limit: 40

  1. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a contemporary behavior therapy firmly rooted in the behavior analytic tradition. The ACT training community has developed a dissemination strategy that heavily relies on “middle level” concepts (e.g., acceptance, defusion) that are intended to support functional therapist behavior.  While there are benefits to this dissemination approach, it also obscures an understanding of this treatment in terms of foundational concepts grounded in the experimental analysis of behavior (EAB).  This workshop will relate therapeutic strategies in ACT to foundational EAB concepts (e.g., discounting, matching, behavioral momentum, behavioral variability, rule-governed behavior, and relational verbal repertoires) using a mixture of didactic and experiential exercises.  At the conclusion of the workshop participants will be able to characterize the relationship between the strategies used in ACT and foundational EAB concepts.  In addition, participants will be able to incorporate a broader range of EAB concepts into a functional analysis of clinically relevant behavior.


Florida Institute of Technology. Theresa M. Regan

Advanced Training Solutions. Treasure Rousselo

  1. Advanced Training Solutions is a leader in interactive video training. We combine real life video examples with adult learning best practice software to ensure professionals can learn and implement evidence-based autism and positive behavior supports.

Aim High School.  Stephanie L.Ritter

  1. Parents, teachers, and community members passionate about providing a safe, appropriate, educational environment for teens with autism spectrum disorders and similar learning styles combined their efforts and Aim High School was born - opening its doors in September 2011.

  2. Aim High provides an educational alternative where students feel safe and can focus on academics, health & wellness, and communication & life skills — a place where they are not overwhelmed by the size, noise, and social expectations of a large school. Our small class sizes provide our faculty the opportunity to get to know students and families on a personal level.

  3. A college-ready curriculum that encompasses academic, social, emotional, and physical education is tailored to each student's interests, skills, and needs. Personal curriculums, accommodations, and assessments allow us to provide an individualized education to encourage each student to achieve his best and to be prepared for an independent future.

Autism Alliance of Michigan. Suzi Macaluso.  (Thursday)

  1. The Autism Alliance of Michigan - a catalyst for changing autism in Michigan:  An organization collaborating statewide with private and public advocacy, provider, educational, and professional partners to improve outcomes for individuals with autism.

Autism Home Support Services, Inc.  Kenn Miller

  1. Autism Home Support Services (AHSS) is expanding to Michigan. AHSS partners with parents, their schools, psychologists, social workers, physicians and therapists to determine the families’ needs and to ensure the care and therapy is enhanced. ABA is the cornerstone of our care and our support staff is available to families 24/7 in-home and via technology. Our highly trained staff is hired locally and matched with each family to ensure consistency and a positive experience by all. We provide in-home services to children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Our experienced Care Team Members are empathetic, screened, and experienced and will work with insurance carriers whenever possible. The use of technology adds value for the collection and access to data and for the potential for 24/7 visual support from experienced supervisors and Care Team Members. Parents access their child’s development plans and reports online and meet with the Care Team regularly.

Behavior Development Solutions. Bela Beaupre.

  1. Behavior Development Solutions provides training products, services, and tools for Behavior Analysts.  The CBA Learning Module Series is the premier BACB exam prep resource.  Our new do-at-home CEU courses provide quality training for keeping up with recent research and practice methods.  Also new is a service to develop custom designed software to meet the training needs of your organization or students.  Additionally, we offer books on training and computer-based tools for graphing, data management, and data collection.

Ensure Billing. Bryan Davey  (Thursday Only)

  1. Built from over 30 years of autism and behavioral health experience, Ensure Billing offers the best practice management and online software available for ABA and related services insurance billing. Ensure Billing offers comprehensive practice management software for behavioral health providers, including Autism providers, and all medical practices who bill insurance. Our platform automates insurance claims, non-insurance billing, manages clients and employee data, performs scheduling, and offers accounts receivable reconciliation and reporting functionality. We are 100% web based and are HIPAA compliant. We also provide consulting for organizations, large and small, with first-class insurance benefits insight, organization and management services. Our consultants collaborate with provider networks and individual insurance companies.