Using arbitrary reinforcers to treat the off-topic speech of an individual with autism
Association for Behavior Analysis International
May 25-29, 2017
Date of Presentation
Results from previous research have shown that function-based treatments and those using arbitrary reinforcers are effective for decreasing perseverative speech. However, function-based treatments have shown to be more effective. As a result, it is unclear if or when to use arbitrary reinforcers to treat perseverative speech about restricted topics. We evaluated functional and arbitrary consequences to increase on-topic speech during 5 min conversations: attention, preferred topics, and preferred items. A reversal design was used to demonstrate experimental control across the differential reinforcement contingencies. Providing contingent attention alone or in combination with preferred topics did not improve the participant’s on-topic speech. Providing access to preferred items contingent on on-topic speech did demonstrate to be effective in improving behavior. However, additional treatment components should be considered to condition attention as a controlling variable for on-topic speech. Generalization of treatment effects was assessed and measures of social acceptability were collected from the participant’s mother.
Classen, K. K.,
Stocco, C. S.
Using arbitrary reinforcers to treat the off-topic speech of an individual with autism.
Paper presented at Association for Behavior Analysis International in Denver, CO.