Positive Behavior Interventions
Volume 3, Number 3, Summer 2001
TABLE OF CONTENTS AND ABSTRACTS
Robert L. Koegel and Glen Dunlap
Using Choice with Game Play to Increase Language Skills and Interactive Behaviors in Children with Autism
Cynthia M. Carter
This study examined the use of providing choice to decrease disruptive behaviors, encourage interactive play, and increase language skills in children with autism. Children with autism often exhibit significant language delays. The developmental literature suggests that language skills may be increased by engaging in play interactions, but children with autism are unlikely to engage in interactive toy and game play. Children with autism also may exhibit extreme disruptive behaviors when confronted with task situations or other interactions they would rather not partake in. However, the literature suggests that providing choice opportunities will increase responding and adaptive behaviors in children with autism. Therefore, this investigation was conducted to assess the effects of choice during language intervention on disruptive behavior, social play/pragmatic behaviors, and language development.
Participants were 3 children who exhibited problem behaviors, a lack of engagement in interactive play, and delayed acquisition of grammatical morphemes. Within a reversal (ABAB) design, a choice and no-choice condition were compared in a naturalistic language intervention procedure using play. In the choice condition, the participant was allowed to choose desired interactive toys and games to be used during the language intervention session and the order of which these games were played. In the no-choice condition, the interventionist selected the interactive games and toys to be used during the language intervention session based on previously selected (i.e., preferred) games by the child. Results indicate that when choice is permitted during language intervention within a play context, disruptive behaviors are considerably reduced, and levels of appropriate social play/pragmatic skills increase, thereby reducing interventionist redirection. Moreover, the children participating in the study only showed generalization of the targeted language structures to their home environments following intervention in the choice condition. Findings are discussed with regard to the importance of providing choice for children with autism, increasing desirable language and social behaviors in these children, and directions for future research.
The Influence of Preference and Choice of Activity on Problem Behavior: Review and Analysis
Cathryn Romaniuk and Raymond G. Miltenberger
A growing body of research suggests that assigning preferred tasks or providing opportunities for choice among tasks can lead to reduced levels of problem behavior for individuals with developmental disabilities. The purpose of the present paper is to review the literature concerning the influence of preference and choice of activities on problem behavior. Possible mechanisms of action underlying the positive effects of preference and choice making are examined, and the usefulness of conducting a functional assessment prior to designing interventions involving such antecedent manipulations is discussed. Finally, important areas for future research are highlighted.
Parent Education for Autism: Issues in Providing Services at a Distance
Jennifer B. Symon
Providing effective support services for families of children with autism living in geographically distant locations is a growing area of concern. There are individual and system level risk factors associated with having autism that could result in poor outcomes. Positive behavioral interventions that address individual and family needs could potentially ameliorate the risk factors. Literature on parent education, effective behavioral interventions, and the importance of viewing the individual within a socioecocultural framework are presented. These components should be considered in designing effective intervention programs for families. This article documents through a review of relevant research the need to provide appropriate services along with the need to develop service delivery models that will increase the spread of effect to reach families who live geographically distant from a specialized autism intervention center.
Attributional Style and Depression in Adolescents with Asperger Syndrome
Gena P. Barnhill and Brenda Smith Myles
Despite research indicating that adolescents with Asperger syndrome are prone to depression (Ghaziuddin, Weidmer-Mikhail, & Ghaziuddin, N., 1998; Tantam, 1991), there is no research investigating the attributions of these individuals and the possibility of a learned helplessness attributional style that may predispose these persons to depression as well as maintain depressive symptoms. This study investigated the relationship between level of depressive symptoms and general attributional or explanatory style in 33 adolescents with Asperger syndrome. Support was found for the reformulated theory of learned helplessness (Abramson, Seligman, & Teasdale, 1978) in adolescents with Asperger syndrome. The more depressive symptoms the adolescents reported, the more they explained negative events by internal, stable, and global causes. One-third of the participants obtained scores on the Children's Attributional Style Questionnaire (CASQ; Seligman et al., 1984) composite for positive events considered suggestive of a very pessimistic, failure prone style. However, only 9% of the participants rated themselves as having substantially more depressive symptoms than peers on the Children's Depression Inventory (CDI; Kovacs, 1992). Given that 70% of the participants were taking medication for depression, these findings may suggest that the medication controlled depressive symptoms but did not affect the maladaptive attributional style. Findings of the study are discussed relative to implications for practitioners in designing positive behavioral interventions.
Socially valid outcomes of intervention for people with mental retardation and challenging behavior: A preliminary descriptive analysis of the views of different stakeholders
Peter Fox and Eric Emerson
Potentially salient outcomes of intervention for challenging behavior shown by people with mental retardation were identified by focus groups and through a literature review. Items generated by this process were subsequently rated by 150 respondents from seven stakeholder groups: 28 people with mental retardation, 9 parents of people with mental retardation, 22 clinical psychologists, 7 psychiatrists, 31 nurses, 33 managers and 20 direct support workers. Results indicated that: (1) reduction in the severity of challenging behavior was considered the most important outcome of intervention for a child/young adult living with their family by four of the seven stakeholder groups; (2) reduction in the severity of challenging behavior was considered the most important outcome of intervention for an adult living in a community-based group home by three of the seven stakeholder groups; (3) alternative outcomes considered to be the most important by stakeholder groups included increased friendships and relationships, changes in the perceptions of individuals by others, learning alternative ways of getting needs met, increased control and empowerment; (4) there were moderate levels of agreement on the relative importance of outcomes between individual members of stakeholder groups who did not have mental retardation; (5) there were high levels of agreement on the relative importance of outcomes between stakeholder groups who did not have mental retardation; (6) levels of agreement on the relative importance of outcomes between people with mental retardation and all other stakeholder groups did not reach the level of statistical significance.
Family-Centered Intervention to Resolve Problem Behaviors In a Fast Food Restaurant: A Case Example
Bobbie Vaughn, Diane Wilson, and Glen Dunlap
Problem behaviors in public contexts can be a significant problem for families attempting to carry out normal daily routines. In this study, functional assessments and assessment-based interventions were conducted in a family-centered manner to resolve the disruptive behaviors of a boy with significant disabilities in the context of a fast-food restaurant. The study utilized a multiple-baseline design across three problematic subroutines associated with the fast-food restaurant. The results provide an empirical demonstration of family-centered interventions in a popular community setting, and thereby, add to an expanding literature on community-based, positive behavior support.