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An Evaluation of Three Methods of Denying Access to Computers to a Person with Learning Disabilities Duncan Pritchard Aran Hall School Marguerite Hoerger.

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Presentation on theme: "An Evaluation of Three Methods of Denying Access to Computers to a Person with Learning Disabilities Duncan Pritchard Aran Hall School Marguerite Hoerger."— Presentation transcript:

1 An Evaluation of Three Methods of Denying Access to Computers to a Person with Learning Disabilities Duncan Pritchard Aran Hall School Marguerite Hoerger Bangor University Annette Ikin, Jane Kochy, Karen Thomas & Heather Penney Aran Hall School F. Charles Mace Nova Southeastern University

2 Aran Hall School, Dolgellau Aran Hall School provides care and education to children and young people with autism, learning disabilities and challenging behaviour Children and young people referred to the school have experienced multiple placement breakdowns due to the severity of their problem behaviour IQ, ABAS

3 Literature Review ‘Do’ requests are more effective than ‘don’t’ requests (Adelinis & Hagopian, 1999) Problem behaviours are reduced when alternative reinforcers are made available in the absence of the preferred reinforcer (Fisher et al., 1998) Deprivation of the reinforcer may alter the sequence of responses making more severe topographies more likely (O’Reilly, 1999) That prosocial alternative behaviours can be added into a response class hierarchy to prevent escalation (Lalli et al., 1995)

4 Literature Review (cont’d) Response class hierarchies are defined by topographically distinct responses that produce common effects on the environment, but have different probabilities of occurrence (Lalli et al, 1995) The participant in the Lalli et al. study emitted escape- maintained screams, aggression and self-injury in a stable, escalating sequence To date, no research has explicitly examined the effects of different methods of denying children access to preferred activities on response class hierarchies maintained by positive reinforcement

5 Functional behaviour analysis A systematic means of identifying the variables that may control a behaviour Both the antecedents and the consequences are examined to help us understand why a behaviour occurs in a particular environmental context We can then design and implement a function-based intervention e.g. DRA, RIR

6 Pilot Study We replicated a pilot study carried out at Aran Hall by Mace et al. (in press) that evaluated the relative effects of three methods of ‘saying no’ on requests to engage in a preferred activity on the occurrence and escalation of problem behaviour

7 Participant in the pilot study 13 year old boy with high functioning autism and challenging behaviour Descriptive assessment indicated that challenging behaviour was maintained by access to preferred reinforcers The participant presented oppositional vocalisations, loud vocalisations, disruptive behaviour and aggression in a stable, escalating sequence

8 Three methods of ‘saying no’ A‘No you can’t; I’m busy doing my work’ B‘You can’t use it at the moment but you can play football with Kevin now’ C‘Yes you can, just as soon as you have done your school work’

9 Baseline 1Baseline 2Intervention B & C 1Intervention B & C 2 Percentage of 10-s Intervals Sessions

10 Limitations of the pilot study Only one individual with high functioning autism participated in the pilot study so additional replications are needed to establish generality The participant’s immediate and pronounced response to the alternative methods of ‘saying no’ may not hold true for all children The pilot study did not incorporate a preference assessment to establish the reinforcement value of the alternative activity i.e. playing football

11 Participant 17 year old male with a moderate learning disability, ADHD and severe challenging behaviour Good receptive and expressive language Height 185cm and weight 115kg Risperidone and Concerta XL prescribed for the management of problem behaviour Epilim for seizure control

12 Participant (cont’d) Excluded from two residential schools prior to his admission to Aran Hall School Problem behaviour interfering with the activities of the other pupils in his class Response class hierarchy i.e. hits objects (thumps desks, windows, walls), aggression (pushing, hugs, slaps, throwing objects), flops on to the floor

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14 Three ways of ‘saying no’ A“No you can’t; I’m busy with my work.” B“You can’t use it just now, but you can play your guitar, keyboard, football, or do some drawing. You choose.” C“Yes you can, just as soon as you’ve done some school work. Let me show you on the card.”

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16 Why does A work? Extinction ‘No you can’t; I’m busy doing my work’ Saying ‘no’ probably functioned as an S  by indicating the unavailability of reinforcement The baseline condition may reflect the undesirable effects of extinction such as increased responding (Lerman et al., 1999)

17 Why does B work? Matching Law ‘You can’t use it at the moment but you can play football with me now’ An S D for a preferred alternative e.g. football Choice is a function of relative rate, quality, delay to reinforcement and effort (Herrnstein, 1970)

18 Why does C work? Premack Principle ‘Yes you can, just as soon as you’ve done some school work. Let me show you on the card’ An S D for access to the computer The probability of a response will go up if it provides the opportunity to engage in another response more probable than itself (Premack, 1959)

19 Summary The research demonstrates that the evocative effects of ‘saying no’ may be reduced by modifying the stimulus properties of the refusal Use to prevent occurrences of escalating problem behaviours when access to preferred activities must be denied for indefinite periods of time

20 References Adelinis, J.D. & Hagopian, L.P. (1999). The use of symmetrical ‘do’ and ‘don’t’ requests to interrupt ongoing activities. Journal of Applied Behaviour Analysis, 32, Fisher, W.W., Kuhn, D.E, & Thompson, R.H. (1998). Establishing discriminative control of responding using functional and alternative reinforcers during functional communication training. Journal of Applied Behaviour Analysis, 31, Herrnstein, R.J. (1970). On the law of effect. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behaviour, 13, Lalli, J.S., Mace, F.C., Wohn, T. & Livezey, K. (1995). Identification and modification of a response class hierarchy. Journal of Applied Behaviour Analysis, 28, Lerman, D.C., Iwata, B.A. & Wallace, M.D. (1999). Side effects of extinction: Prevalence of bursting and aggression during the treatment of self-injurious behaviour. Journal of Applied Behaviour Analysis, 32, 1-8. Mace, F.C., Pratt, J.L., Prager, K.L. & Pritchard, D. (in press) Journal of Applied Behaviour Analysis. O’Reilly, M. (1999). Effects of presession attention on the frequency of attention- maintained behaviour. Journal of Applied Behaviour Analysis, 32, Premack, D. (1959). Toward empirical behaviour laws: 1. Positive Reinforcement. Psychological Review, 66,

21 An Evaluation of Three Methods of Denying Access to Computers to a Person with Learning Disabilities Duncan Pritchard Aran Hall School Marguerite Hoerger Bangor University Annette Ikin, Jane Kochy, Karen Thomas & Heather Penney Aran Hall School F. Charles Mace Nova Southeastern University


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