Assessment and treatment of pica and destruction of holiday decorations

Daniel R. Mitteer, Patrick W. Romani, Brian D. Greer, Wayne W. Fisher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Problem behavior exhibited by individuals with autism can be disruptive to family traditions, such as decorating for the holidays. We present data for a 6-year-old girl who engaged in automatically reinforced pica and destruction of holiday decorations. Treatment was evaluated within an ABCDCD reversal design. During baseline (Phases A and B), we observed elevated rates of problem behavior. We implemented differential reinforcement of alternative behavior in Phase C to teach a response to compete with problem behavior. Little change in toy play or problem behavior occurred. In Phase D, we added a facial screen to the differential reinforcement procedures, which resulted in increases in toy play and decreases in problem behavior. Findings are discussed in terms of how interventions for problem behavior can promote alternative behavior while they facilitate household activities and traditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)912-917
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of applied behavior analysis
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015


  • differential reinforcement
  • facial screen
  • pica
  • property destruction
  • punishment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Applied Psychology


Dive into the research topics of 'Assessment and treatment of pica and destruction of holiday decorations'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this