Positive Behavior Interventions
Volume 4, Number 2, Spring 2002
TABLE OF CONTENTS AND ABSTRACTS
Robert L. Koegel and Glen Dunlap
Treating Sleep Terrors in Children with Autism
V. Mark Durand
Sleep terrors manifest themselves as a sudden arousal from slow wave sleep accompanied by screaming, crying, and other signs of intense fear. Children with autism spectrum disorders may be more likely to display problems with sleep, and a few experience sleep difficulties such as sleep terrors on a chronic basis. This nighttime disruption can lead to a great deal of concern as well as disruption in sleep for other family members. In this first study of the treatment of sleep terrors among children with autism, the effectiveness of one behavioral intervention (scheduled awakenings) was evaluated. Scheduled awakenings involved arousing the child from sleep approximately 30 minutes before expected sleep terror episodes. Results through a 12-month follow-up using a multiple baseline across three children indicated that this intervention quickly and durably reduced the frequency of their nighttime difficulties. Scheduled awakenings is a potentially useful non-medical intervention for chronic sleep terrors among children with autism.
Multiple Microswitches for Children with Multiple Disabilities: Assessing Response Maintenance
Giulio E. Lancioni, Nirbhay N. Singh, Mark F. O'Reilly, Doretta Oliva, Lega F. D'Oro
This study assessed response maintenance with four children with multiple disabilities who had previously been exposed to intervention programs with multiple microswitches. Maintenance checks were carried out in the children's homes or educational settings, over periods of 6-8 months from the end of the original programs. Data showed that all four children retained high levels of responding during the maintenance checks. Such levels were comparable with those achieved during the last section of the intervention programs. Implications of the data for the use of microswitches in daily contexts of children with multiple disabilities were discussed.
Parent Education for Families of Children with Autism Living in Geographically Distant Areas
Robert L. Koegel, Jennifer B. Symon, Lynn Kern Koegel
Many families who live geographically distant from a center that specializes in intervention for autism are unable to access specialized services for their children. This paper describes an evaluation of an intensive, week-long center-based parent education program that teaches procedures for improving social communication for children with autism. Five representative families who participated in this program are described. Data were collected on parent implementation of target behaviors using specific motivational teaching procedures including maintaining child attention through selection of child choice activities, providing contingent natural reinforcement and reinforcing attempts during naturalistic parent-child interactions (also referred to as one of the major components of Pivotal Response Teaching). Pre-intervention, Intervention, and Follow-up measures were obtained for both parent and child behaviors. Data suggest improvements in the parents' use of the procedures, parent affect, and child expressive language during a week-long parent education session. Furthermore, follow-up measures demonstrate that these positive changes generalized to the families' home communities and maintained over time. These findings suggest the feasibility of a short-term, intensive parent education program for families who live in areas that are geographically distant from an intervention center.
Using Individualized Schedules as a Component of Positive Behavioral Support for Students with Developmental Disabilities
Gary B. Mesibov, PhD, Diane M. Browder, PhD, Cameron Kirkland
An important form of positive behavioral support is the use of predictor strategies that prevent the occurrence of problem behavior. Teaching students to follow a personalized schedule can be used as a predictor strategy. This article describes how to teach students to use personalized schedules through reviewing relevant research and by describing one method for encouraging schedule-use. Directions for future research on the use of schedules as a predictor strategy are recommended.
Families Speak Out: What are Quality Indicators of Professionals in Working with Children with Problem Behavior?
Jiyeon Park and Ann P. Turnbull
In this Forum article, we will present the perspectives that emerged from our qualitative data. Sixteen focus groups were conducted with 69 families of children with disabilities. From a larger study addressing partnerships between families and professionals, the data analyzed in this article focus on quality indicators of professionals in their work with children who experience challenging behavior. Findings from the qualitative analysis are organized into three themes: (a) respect for children, (b) skills to meet special needs, and (c) commitment. We particularly solicit reader reactions to these perspectives.
Measuring the Impact of Positive Behavior Support
Donald Kincaid, Tim Knoster, Joshua K. Harrower, Patrick Shannon, Selina Bustamante
Although Positive Behavior Support (PBS) approaches are often cited as influencing systems, families, and individuals, beyond changes in problem or alternative behavior, very few studies have directly assessed issues related to the social validity of these approaches. In response to this need, the Tri-state Consortium for Positive Behavior Support systematically evaluated broad ecological outcomes including behavioral outcomes and quality of life outcomes as measured through team members' ratings. Results of assessments of 78 initial child-centered teams indicate that the PBS approach had an important impact on multiple levels. This article discusses some specific areas of impact and highlights areas for future research on measuring behavioral outcomes, quality of life, and social validity issues relevant to PBS.
Teaching Children with Autism to Prefer Books or Toys Over Stereotypy or Passivity
Robin Nuzzolo-Gomez, Mandy A. Leonard, Eyleen Ortiz, and Celestina M. Rivera, R. Douglas Greer
Two experiments were conducted with four students with autism to test the relationship between either toys or books as conditioned reinforcers for observing or playing and their effect on stereotypy and passivity. Experiment 1 consisted of a single pre-school student who emitted frequent intervals of passive behavior and infrequent intervals of looking at books in a free play setting (number of partial 5-second intervals containing looking at books and passivity in 5-minute sessions). After systematic training sessions involving pairings of reinforcers with looking at books, he engaged in looking at books significantly more than in his baseline in free play, and decreased intervals of passivity. Also, after the treatment, removal of books from the play area resulted in more passivity and reinstatement of the books resulted in less passivity. Probes showed maintenance at one and three months. Experiment 2 involved a multiple baseline across 3 students. Baseline data were followed by toy play conditioning sessions run concurrently with free play observations. The two students who emitted frequent rates of stereotypy in baseline had significantly fewer intervals of stereotypy after toys were conditioned as reinforcers and toy play increased for all three students.