Treatment of escape-maintained challenging behavior using chained schedules: An evaluation of the effects of thinning positive plus negative reinforcement during functional communication training

Amanda N. Zangrillo, Wayne W. Fisher, Brian D. Greer, Todd M. Owen, Andresa A. De Souza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: Previous research has supported functional communication training as an effective intervention for reducing challenging behavior. Clinicians often program schedule-thinning procedures to increase the portability of the treatment (i.e. reinforcement is provided less frequently). For individuals with escape-maintained problem behavior, chained schedules have proven effective in increasing task completion and supplemental procedures may ameliorate reemergence of challenging behavior as access to reinforcement is decreased. This study compared the use of a chained schedule-thinning procedure with and without alternative reinforcement (e.g. toys and activities) embedded in an intervention in which escape from the task is provided contingent on a request for a break. Method: Two individuals with escape-maintained challenging behavior participated. We compared two treatment conditions, escape-only and escape-to-tangibles, using a single-subject, alternating treatments design with each treatment implemented in a distinct academic context. Result: With the escape-to-tangibles treatment, we reached the final schedule in both contexts with both participants (4 successes of 4 applications). We did not reach the final schedule with either participant with the escape-only intervention (0 successes of 2 applications). Conclusion: The current results provided preliminary confirmation that providing positive plus negative reinforcement would decrease destructive behavior, increase compliance, and facilitate reinforcer-schedule thinning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)147-156
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Developmental Disabilities
Volume62
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 29 2016

Keywords

  • Alternative reinforcement
  • Functional communication training
  • Reinforcer-schedule thinning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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