home.gif (2772 bytes)

Conference Info

Membership Info

What's New @ BAAM

behavioral resources

Autism Information Button

 Small BAAM Logo BAAM 2008
Convention Schedule

BAAM 2008 Convention Program
(Subject to Modification)

Please let BAAM know about errors and omissions

Workshops | Posters | Thursday | Friday

BACB and Michigan State Board CEUs available.
See session information for session with BACB CEUs.

Important Note to BAAM presenters

BAAM can supply a digital LCD projector. BAAM cannot supply laptops. Please bring your own laptop and appropriate adaptors if you are going to use a digital projector. Please bring a backup copy of your presentation on a disk-key or CD. Test everything.

Because certain projectors sometimes do not work with certain computers, it is BAAM's very strong recommendation that you bring your own tested projector and computer.

Thursday March 13, 2008

8:00-9:00 a.m. Reception Area (2nd Floor)
(Open all day)
Note: Continental breakfast will be available in the Ballroom during registration. Free for convention registrants.

Keynote Address

Motivating Operations: The Current Approach

Jack Michael, Ph.D.
(Western Michigan University, Emeritus)
1.0 BACB Type 2 CEUs

9:00-10:20 a.m. Ballroom A

BAAM is pleased to announce that its 2008 opening Keynote Speaker will be Jack Michael, Professor Emeritus of Western Michigan University

Keynote Abstract

Dr. Michael's keynote address will describe the outcome of over two decades of research and analysis on the topic traditional psychologists might call "motivation." Dr. Micheal's work on "establishing operations," later known as "movtivating operations," started with the 1982 publication of his seminal article "Distinguishing Between Discriminative and Motivational Functions of Stimuli" in the Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior and has continued until the present day.

Brief Biography

Jack Michael, PhD. Dr. Michael was born in 1926 in Los Angeles, and entered UCLA in 1943 as a chemistry major. He served two years in the army, and returned to UCLA in 1946, this time as a psychology major. He obtained a B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. at UCLA, finishing in 1955. As a graduate student his main interests were statistical methodology, physiological psychology, and learning theory. During his first teaching job (Kansas University) he was much influenced by B. F. Skinner's Science and Human Behavior, and since then has been primarily involved in teaching behavioral psychology at Kansas U., the University of Houston, Arizona State University, and since 1967 at Western Michigan University. In 1957 as a result of influence by the rehabilitation psychologist, Lee Meyerson, he began to apply Skinner's behavior analysis to applications in the areas of mental retardation, mental illness, and physical disability. During the next several years "behavior modification" was in a period of rapid expansion and Dr. Michael contributed with his teaching, writing, and public presentations. Most recently he has been concerned with the technical terminology of behavior analysis, basic theory regarding motivation, and verbal behavior. Dr. Michael contributed to the founding of the Association for Behavior Analysis in 1974 and served as its president in 1979. Dr. Michael was Western Michigan University's Distinguished Faculty Scholar for 1989. He received the 2002 Award for Distinguished Service to Behavior Analysis from the Association for Behavior Analysis, and the 2002 Don Hake Award from Division 25 of the American Psychological Association.

Thursday Breakout Sessions

10:30-11:50 am Room 330
Symposium: Applications of Behavioral Technology Across Diverse Problems
Chair: Sarah A. Lechago (Western Michigan University)
1.5 BACB Type 2 CEUs

Empirical studies from the Autism and Developmental Disabilities, Clinical Behavior Research, and Behavioral Medicine laboratories at Western Michigan University.

Teaching College Students to Visually Inspect Single-case Design Data. Candice M. Jostad & James E. Carr (Western Michigan University)

Visual inspection is the primary method of data analysis used in behavior analysis. Thus, it is important that members of our field have the skills necessary for accurate visual inspection. Research has shown that visual inspection is unreliable (e.g., DeProspero & Cohen, 1979), which has broad implications for the evaluation of treatment effects using this method. Traditional lectures have been shown to be ineffective in teaching visual inspection skills to a satisfactory level (e.g., Stewart, Carr, Brandt, & McHenry, in press). Improvements in visual inspection have been accomplished using statistical methods and aids such as lines superimposed on graphs (e.g., Fisher, Kelley, & Lomas, 2003; Stewart et al., in press). However, these methods are not effective when the aids are removed, and the aids typically are unavailable when inspectors evaluate graphs in the natural setting (e.g., when reading journal articles). The current study evaluated the effects of a portable job-aid on the visual inspection skills of undergraduate students.

Differential Reinforcement of Low Rates: Interval vs. Full-Session DRL. Season M. Almason & R. Wayne Fuqua (Western Michigan University)

Differential reinforcement of low rates (DRL) procedures are typically used in applied settings to reduce behavior that is problematic only because it is occurring at an unacceptably high rate. The DRL procedures that are most frequently used in applied settings are full-session and interval DRL. Researchers have used these DRL procedures to effectively reduce unacceptably high rates of behavior for children with and without developmental disabilities as well for adults with developmental disabilities. However, there is no standard protocol for implementing these procedures and many procedural variations have been found to be effective. Also, these procedures have never been compared to see if one is more effective than the other. The purpose of the present study is to compare full-session and interval DRL schedules to determine which procedure is the most effective in reducing high rates of behavior.

Decreasing Hoarding in a Person with Dementia. Jonathan C. Baker, Linda A. LeBlanc, Laura C. Hilton, & Paige B. Raetz (Western Michigan University)

Hoarding is a problematic behavior sometimes seen in older adults with dementia. Previous intervention studies (e.g., Goddaer & Abraham, 1994; Schroepfer & Ingersoll-Dayton, 2001; Thomas, Heitman, & Alexander, 1997) have been met with limited success. The present study used a preference assessment procedure to determine why hoarding might be occurring (i.e., the function of hoarding) for an 80 year-old woman with a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease. The results of the assessment were used to develop a function-based intervention using non-contingent reinforcement (NCR). NCR was compared to a non-function based intervention of blocking and redirection. NCR greatly reduced hoarding while blocking and redirection resulted in a smaller reduction in hoarding. Implications for designing positive environmental supports for older adults with dementia are discussed.

10:30-11:20 am Room 352
Paper Session: Topics in Special Education
Chair: John Palladino (Eastern Michigan University)

Teachers' Insights About The Behavioral Needs Of Youth In Foster Care: Findings From a National Study. John M. Palladino (Eastern Michigan University)

Each year thousands of our nation's youth experience abuse and neglect severe enough to warrant their placement into states' foster care systems. The Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) of the United States Department of Health and Human Services estimated that 523,000 of the nation's youth were living in foster care as of September 30, 2003 (United States Department of Health and Human Services, 2005). The reasons for their entry into foster care included experiences or potential risk for physical, sexual, and/or emotional abuse, in addition to parental/caregiver neglect and maltreatment. The amelioration of hardships that this population endures requires a leadership response from all sectors of society that interact with youth, school teachers included.

This presentation will include the findings from a survey administered to 1,000 teachers selected from 8 different states about their perceptions about the educational wellbeing of youth in foster care. Findings revealed teachers' significant concerns about the high incidences of emotional-behavioral disorders prevalent among this population. This presentation will include a discussion about the related survey items that correlated with the teachers' concerns about unmet behavioral needs among this population.

Burned Out Or Fatigued?: What's the Real Cause of Special Education Teachers' Exoduses From the Profession. John M. Palladino (Eastern Michigan University ) & Shari Hoffman (University of Nebraska-Lincoln)

Compassion fatigue is a theoretical framework researchers have applied to helping professions other than teaching. The purpose of this study was to use this theory to better understand the prevalent rates of special education teachers' exit from the profession often labeled as burnout. A qualitative study with preservice and inservice special education teachers ensued. Findings support the need for greater infusion of a compassion fatigue theoretical framework within the academy and among K-12 practitioners. Implications for professional development, preservice preparation, practice, and additional research will be presented and discussed.

11:00-11:50 am Room 320
Using Portable Web-Enabled Devices for Real-Time Data Recording: Things You Can Do. James T. Todd (Eastern Michigan University) & Lisa M. Manthey (Wayne State University)
1.0 BACB Type 2 CEUs

The effectiveness of behavioral interventions is often compromised by the lack of timely and accurate information about behavior. Even when the importance of good data is acknowledged, good data are not often found. The data might be taken incorrectly, lost, not collected at all, recorded "from memory" at the end of a shift, guessed at, and even just made up. The new class of wireless Internet browsers-the iPod Touch, the iPhone, BlackBerry PDAs, and web-enabled telephones-provides almost anyone with some server space and an email account the capability of creating simple and reliable online, real-time data recording applications that can be run on web-enabled devices without proprietary software or costly software licensing fees. This presentation provides an introduction to the implementation of some of these simple server-based solutions for real-time data recording.

Noon - 1:20 pm--Lunch (on your own)

1:30-2:50 pm Room 330
Symposium: Utilizing Organizational Behavior Management and Industrial and Organizational Psychology Measurement Methodologies to Improve Customer Service
1.5 BACB Type 2 CEUs

Chair: Michael Kephart (Central Michigan University)
Discussant: Carl Johnson (Central Michigan University)

Three field studies were conducted to measure and improve customer-service behaviors using a combination of industrial and organizational (I/O) psychology and organizational behavior management (OBM) techniques. Service behaviors were measured via survey data collected from customers and unobtrusively from observation data collected by trained observers/raters. An intervention was implemented in each study to test the efficacy of a service-behavior improvement package. Three different settings were utilized in these studies which included: coffee shops, submarine sandwich shops, and convenience stores. The survey data and observational data were collected during baseline and after the implementation of the intervention. The hypothesis that both methodologies could easily be completed simultaneously was supported. The hypothesis that important information is obtained using both methods was supported. Although both techniques provide some overlapping information, data resulting from each method uniquely contributes to the assessment. Using only one technique can result in the researcher/practitioner having an incomplete evaluation.

Improving Customer-Service Using a Multi-Method Approach in Submarine Sandwich Shops. Michael Kephart, Carlos Gallusser , & Shannon Difranco (Central Michigan University)

A field study was conducted in submarine sandwich shops to evaluate the feasibility of simultaneously using organizational behavior management (OBM) and industrial and organizational psychology methodologies. Customer service behaviors were measured via survey data collected from customers and unobtrusively from observation data collected by trained observers/raters. The survey data and observational data were collected during a baseline phase and during and after an implementation of an intervention developed to improve customer service behaviors. The correlations between the two different measures ranged from small to moderate for the different categories of customer service behaviors. The fact that the data derived from the two methods are interrelated supports the validity of each measure. However, the divergence between the two data sets suggests that each methodology provides unique insight into the relationship between customer service behaviors and customer satisfaction. Using a combination of both methods allows for a more comprehensive understanding of customer service in a given setting.

Exploring the Relationship between Employee Customer Service Behaviors and Customer Satisfaction Ratings. Amanda R. Rivard (Central Michigan University)

A field study was conducted in various coffee shops using a multiple baseline design. Specific customer opinion information was obtained using a satisfaction survey. In addition, observations were made of related employee customer service behaviors. The information derived from these two sources was compared in order to determine the relationship between these measures. The survey helped to pinpoint which aspects of customer service are more important to customers by assessing satisfaction with store cleanliness, employee friendliness, and latency. These environmental and behavioral components were simultaneously observed using trained observers. An intervention package was implemented to increase employee customer service-related behaviors. Survey information was then collected to determine if customer satisfaction increased as a result of improved customer service. Results indicate that customer satisfaction ratings may be somewhat independent of commonly evaluated employee customer service-related behaviors.

Incorporating a Performance Management System Involving Feedback and Intervention with Industrial and Organizational Psychological Survey Data on College Student-Staffed Convenience Stores. Eric O'Rourke (Central Michigan University)

In order to improve customer-service behaviors in college student-staffed convenience stores, a field study was carried out using both industrial and organizational (I/O) psychology and organizational behavior management (OBM) practices. Measurements were recorded through inconspicuous observations of service behaviors and interactions between customers and employees I convenience of similar age. Feedback, including verbal positive reinforcement from managers and tangible positive reinforcement from the experimenter, was used as an intervention and was given to employees based on subjective performance data gathered from managers and objective performance data gathered from observers. Survey data was collected from customers concerning service behaviors during the intervention phase. Results from data collection and surveys show improvement amongst the employees as a result of the intervention in performance of service behaviors in both the OBM and I/O related data. A trend was present in the results indicating a positive correlation between performance of service behaviors and gender dissimilarity between customers and employees.

1:30-2:20 pm Room 352
Confessions of a Christian Atheist. Richard W. Malott (Western Michigan University)

Most of my high-IQ, smart-guy, hard-science buddies can't resist a diatribal wallow in the reinforcers of righteous indignation, as they proclaim that religion is the root of all evil and enthusiastically cite the mean-spirited Sam Harris' The End of Faith as scientific proof. But I, as a Christian atheist, humbly and quietly suggest that religion may be the only thing standing between us and dog-eat-dog social chaos. Theologians have struggled for millennia in their futile effort to reconcile the reality of bad things happening to good people with the belief in a loving, just, omnipotent god. But I, as a Christian atheist, humbly and quietly suggest they suck it up and learn to love paradox. The new pope shocks the world by saying all religions are equal but Catholicism is more equal than others. And I, as a Christian atheist, say ecumenism was still born, long live ecumenism.

2:00-2:50 pm Room 320
"Girls Gone Bad:" A Behavioral Analysis of Selected American Films about Female Adolescents, 1997-2007. Mark Giesler (Saginaw Valley State University)

Recent America media coverage has suggested increasing violence among girls. Violent crimes committed by women, for example, have increased by 138% since 1970 (Geringer, 2003).

At the same time, researchers have distinguished female acts of violence from male-oriented ones. Underwood (2003) stated that relational or social aggression, whereby girls manipulate social relationships, may be a distinguishing facet of female violence.

Not coincidentally, the image of the "bad girl" has made a stronger appearance in American media in recent years. Acland (1995) proposed that in most films about contentious youth, society is the cause of delinquency. Films produced pre-2000 have depicted the ailing nuclear family, the spoils of middle- or upper-class life, or even (as in The Omen) demonic possession by an outside force as explanations for the "bad" in the "bad girl."

The present study explores the shift in perspective that more recent films about teenage girls have demonstrated: "bad" is behavioral-based, rather than society-produced; it reflects an internal rather than external locus of control. Using the DSM-IV-TR as a tool for analysis, the study examines the portrayal of "bad girls" in 8 films released in American theatres in the past decade.

The study asks and answers relevant questions: what form does "bad" take on film from a behavioral perspective? How does it reflect and contradict the current research about the behavior of female adolescents? If film shapes values and norms as much as reflects them, what are the implications of such a shift for the teenage girls who watch?

2:30-3:20 pm Room 352
A Developmental Center Case Analysis: Success and Failures of Behavior Analysis. Neil Duchac (Capella University)

This brief paper will address a case study of a 31 year old male residing at a developmental center diagnosed with Autism and moderate mental retardation. Over the course of the past six months there has been a severe increase in aggression and an overall decline in functioning. This individual has undergone multiple medication changes and has seemed psychotropic resistant with the exception of past neuroleptic usage. Different aspects of Behavior Analysis has been tried, but with limited success. This participatory presentation will allow participants the opportunity to openly discuss this case, possible future interventions, and to discuss both the successes and failures of past Behavioral Analysis treatment.

3:00-3:20 pm Room 320
Using the PDC and Performance Matrix to Improve Employee Perfromance in a Non-Profit Organization. Season M. Almason, Heather M. McGee, & Jessica L. Fouch (Western Michigan University)

This study employed a BAB design to evaluate the effects of an intervention package on employee performance in a non-profit organization. Four behaviors were targeted for a total of 30 employees, 20 of whom were high school students. The intervention package evaluated in this study included goal setting, individual written feedback, group graphic feedback, and reinforcement (raffle for individual prizes and a group pizza party). The Performance Diagnostic Checklist (PDC) was used to determine the components of the intervention package and the Performance Matrix was used to provide a quantitative measure of employee behavior as well as individual written feedback. The study occurred over a period of approximately 6 weeks and the intervention was applied and evaluated across 7 sites. In all cases the target behaviors occurred more often during the intervention phases than during the baseline phase. Pilot data showed that employees were engaging in the target behaviors about 50% of the time (i.e., they would have earned 50% of the possible points on the Performance Matrix). The overall percentage of points earned in the first intervention phase was 89.9%. It decreased to 67.7% in baseline and then increased to 79.2% when the intervention was reinstated.

3:00-3:20 pm Room 330
An Analysis of Organizational Behavior Management Research in Terms of the Three-Contingency Model of Performance Management. Nicholas L Weatherly & Richard W. Malott (Western Michigan University)

The three-contingency model of performance management (Malott, 1993, 1999) was used to analyze organizational interventions in the Journal of Organizational Behavior Management (JOBM) from the years 1990 through 2005 [Volume 11(1) - Volume 25(4)]. Given the importance of rule-governance in the analogue contingencies seen in most performance-management interventions, we only included studies that targeted the performance of normal-functioning verbal adults. And we excluded studies that solely evaluated training programs, program evaluation studies, and studies that took place in simulated settings. Each intervention component from the articles that met the criteria for inclusion was identified and analyzed. All forty-eight studies that met the criteria for inclusion in the current paper involved indirect-acting contingencies (outcomes are too delayed to reinforce the causal response), though only twenty-four of the forty-eight articles described the performance-management contingencies. Of these twenty-four articles, seventeen articles incorrectly described the performance-management contingencies, describing them as if they were the simple sort of direct-acting reinforcement contingencies used with non-verbal animals in the Skinner box, even though the delay between the behavior and the reinforcer always seemed too great to directly reinforce that behavior. In addition to generally reviewing the performance-management contingencies described in all forty-eight articles, we also conducted detailed analyses of the contingencies described in three representative articles. We conclude by discussing the importance of conceptual precision in describing behavioral contingencies.

3:30-4:30 pm Room 320
Special Showing: PBS Frontline--Prisoners of Silence

Friday March 14, 2008

8:00-9:00 am Reception Area (2nd Floor)
(Open all day)
Note: Continental breakfast will be available in the Ballroom during registration. Free for convention registrants.

Special Invited Event

9:00-9:50 am Ballroom B

Court, Litigation, and the Expert Psychological Witness: Implications and Lessons For Psychologists, Treatment Professionals, and Academics on the Stand

Judge Deborah Tyner

Chair: James T. Todd (Eastern Michigan University)

Special Event Abstract

The ongoing facilitated communication case in Oakland County reminds us that any treatment professional might be needed on the witness stand for a variety of reasons. The professional might be an expert, or even a plantiff or defendant. Few academic programs offer any training at all in what goes on the courtroom. Few people who do not have extensive experience in the legal profession will understand the peculiar and seemingly counterintuitive procedures and decisions that can arise from ordinary court operation. What might seen like a straightforward and obvious course of action in a treatment setting or academic environment can become exceedingly complex when court rules and traditions are applied. Because some court procedures and concepts can derive from common law traditions dating back hundreds of years, modern scientific concepts, which everyone might ordinarily agree are highly important to the matter at hand, can be entirely irrelevant from a legal standpoint.Things an academic sees as obvious can quickly become obscure in the courtroom. Standard terms get new and unfamiliar meanings. In the current case in Oakland, for instance, we find "facilitated communication," what has many characteristics of a treatment, and has been rejected by almost every other court as valid, defined for these court purposes as a type of interpretation or translation--and thus protected from a general scientific evaluation of effectiveness or utility.

Psychologists, speech pathologists, social workers, and even front-line staff, especially those who work in schools and treatment centers, can find themselves testifying about their clients, their treatments, or even their own conduct. Often they are just called upon to give some ordinary background information. Sometimes, however, they can find themselves testifying under adversarial circumstances, occasionally with legal exposure themselves. Some might be asked to serve as experts, with special responsibilities for specific forms of information. Judge Tyner will provide some background on court matters, with recent cases as guidance, to help the treatment professional understand the court experience in its many forms. The presentation will be followed by a moderated Q and A period.

Brief Biography

Judge Deborah Tyner was elected to the Oakland County Circuit Court in 1990. She served as a Judge from 1991-2006. She is presently in private practice with an emphasis on facilitating cases. Judge Tyner is a member of the State Bar of Michigan, Oakland County Bar Association, Women Lawyers Association, and a Fellow of the Michigan State Bar Foundation and the Oakland County Adams Pratt Foundation.

Judge Tyner serves on the Advisory Board of Directors of Kadima. She is a Jewish Women’s Foundation Trustee and recently elected to serve on the Board of Directors for Jewish Family Service. She also serves on the Community Advisory Board of Circle of Life, a psychiatric hospital. She is a former Trustee of the Michigan Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Judge Tyner is the recipient of various awards, by way of example: the Greater Grace Temple “Award of Gratitude”, the Oakland County Service Award, the State of Israel Bonds Attorney Division “Eleanor Roosevelt Humanities Award”, the Jewish War Veterans “Brotherhood Award” and the B’nai B’rith Barristers Award.

Judge Tyner graduated with a BA with High Distinction from the University of Michigan 1977 with a major in History and a secondary teaching certificate. She graduated Cum Laude from Wayne State University Law School.

10:00-10:50 am Room 300
Autism, Biology, and Behavior Analysis. Paul Thomas Andronis (Northern Michigan University)
1.0 BACB Type 2 CEUs

Most discussions of autism, in nearly all areas of behavioral science, begin with something like the following statement: "Of course, autism is a biological disorder" The "course" is a logical one, the remainder is vacuous. All behavior is, of course, biological. The hidden agenda here is not so hidden, nor is it really part of the formal agenda of behavior analysis. The ellipse at the end of the statement above lops off another equally familiar (and perhaps more important) part of the quote: "Although, to date, no clear biological cause had been identified." This paper will examine the role biology might play in understanding autism--particularly in its development, its symptomatology, and its eventual conquest--and will present brief review of the major biological hypotheses on the origins of autism, their implications, and what evidence might exist to support or refute these hypotheses. The discussion will include an explicit consideration of the role behavior analysis can play in the search for a biological explanation of autism, and implications for treatment and prevention.

10:00-11:20 am Room 301
Symposium: Topics in Multisystemic Therapy
Chair:  Lisa M. Manthey (Wayne State University)

Multisystemic Therapy (MST) is an intensive home-based behavioral therapy originally developed for the treatment of antisocial youth.  It has been expanded to deal with issue of medical compliance and other problems.  This symposium will illustrate some of the applications of multisystemic therapy in a behavioral medicine context.

Multisystemic Therapy in a Pediatric Psychology Context. Lisa M. Manthey, Andrea D. Motley, & Deborah A. Ellis (Wayne State University)

Multisystemic Therapy (MST) is an intensive home-based behavioral therapy originally developed for the treatment of antisocial youth. The focus on resolving non-compliant behaviors at a systems level is applicable to non-adherence to medical regimens. MST has recently been adapted to treat adolescents with poorly controlled chronic medical conditions and has shown promising results. In this presentation, the underlying theories, guiding principles, models of service delivery, and applications of MST will be discussed.

Integrating Motivational Interviewing Techniques into Multisystemic Therapy: Treating Non-Adherent Health Behaviors in Chronically Ill Adolescents.  Michelle McGarrity (Wayne State University School of Medicine)

Integrating Motivational Interviewing Techniques into Multisystemic Therapy: Treating Non-Adherent Health Behaviors in Chronically Ill Adolescents   Motivational Interviewing (MI) is a directive, client centered counseling style designed to explore and resolve ambivalence while eliciting behavior change. Multisystemic Therapy (MST) treats anti-social behaviors in youth by utilizing an intensive, cognitive-behavioral focused, in home, family centered approach to therapy. The MST approach is clinically integrative and incorporates many evidence based methods including behavioral and cognitive-behavioral techniques. This presentation illustrates how Motivational Interviewing can help to address barriers to behavior change and enhance MST treatment of non-adherent, chronically ill adolescents. The principals, components, interaction techniques, applications and spirit of Motivational Interviewing in an MST context will be discussed.

A Case Study of the Effect of Multisystemic Therapy on HIV Medication Adherence. Andrea D. Motley, Lisa M. Manthey, Deborah A. Ellis (Wayne State University)

HIV viral loads in a 13 year old female were successfully reduced from 100,000 to an undetectable level over a 3 month period using Multisystemic Therapy (MST).  Intensive home-based behavioral treatment targeted health care behaviors at family and community levels.  The interventions included skills development in parental monitoring, communication, assertiveness, and management of medication adherence.  Maintenance of treatment gains is unknown at this time as the case is still open.  The importance of addressing health care behaviors across multiple systems is emphasized as an important component of treatment success.

10:00-10:20 am Room 320
School Social Workers + Special Education Teachers = Collaborative Engagement: Does This Equation Exist In Michigan? Mark Giesler (Saginaw Valley State University) & John Palladino (Eastern Michigan University)

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEIA) (2004) mandated that schools collaborate with families for the identification, implementation, and evaluation of integrated services for students with disabilities. The Act's prior authorizations and revisions (1997 & 1999) identified school social workers (SSWs) as qualified individuals for the provision of such services. As such, SSWs are called to inter-collaboration with families that accounts for families' emotional support, techniques to engage family-to-family support, and awareness of cultural diversity within the service delivery domain. This multiple case study explored collaborative barriers related to these goals identified by eight Michigan school social workers assigned to special education populations. Implications for the academy, research, and practice will constitute this presentation.

10:00-11:20 am Room 320
Symposium: Simulation-Based Training to Improve Health Care Team Skills and Reduce Medical Errors 1.5 BACB Type 2 CEUs
Chair: Wayne Fuqua

Behavior Analytic Principles in the Design and Application of Simulation-based Assessment and Training. Amy Gross & Wayne Fuqua (Western Michigan University) 
Behavior analysis researchers have used a range of simulations including those with low fidelity to those with very high fidelity.  In this context, “fidelity” refers to the correspondence between the critical stimulus features of the “real world” situation in which a target behavior occurs and the corresponding features of the simulation. Examples at the lower end of the fidelity continuum include, actor-based role plays used to assess and train social skills, to polymer breast models that approximate the density of human breast tissue and the size and location of embedded lumps used to train breast self-exam skills. Simulations have long been used in behavior analysis research to a) assess behavior, b) to train behavior and c) to identify causal variables for a problem behavior. We then discussed the application of behavior analysis principles to the design of high fidelity simulations for research, assessment and training purposes.   We suggest that the design of high fidelity simulations can be guided by consideration of contextual, physiological and historical variables that have been identified by learning theory and behavior analysis researchers as important determinants of behavior. We identified and gave examples of a range of variables that should be considered in designing high fidelity simulations including:  the stimulus events that define a response opportunity, more distal setting events, historical events, emotional and physiological variables, distracting events that control competing behavior, and the naturalistic and programmed consequences (e. g., reinforcers and punishers) for behavior being sampled in the simulation.  We also discussed the range of response dimensions that might be considered in efforts to obtain an accurate assessment of a behavior, including response topography, magnitude, frequency, latency, sequence and duration. We then reviewed factors that influence generalization and maintenance for simulation based training.  Finally, we discussed strategies to assess social validity, or consumer satisfaction with simulation based assessment and training.
Training and Assessing Team Skills: A Review and Synopsis of the Empirical Literature. Krystyna Orizondo-Korotko, Amy Gullickson, Shannon Loewy & Wayne Fuqua (Western Michigan University) 
This presentation identified a range of team skills and discussed strategies for the assessment and training of skills that are related to health care safety issues.   There are different ways that teams are formed, and in order to determine which team skills are necessary, it is first essential to identify the various models of team organization and functioning. Among the variables that merit consideration are whether teams are intact and stable or fluid, whether teams are organized around a flat vs. hierarchical structure, and finally the extent to which team members have common skills or unique, not overlapping skill sets.  Observation of team performance in health care settings reveals that most hospital based health care teams have a fluid structure (the membership of the team varies across time), with some hierarchical elements (one or more designated or implicit leaders) and specialized skill sets for each team member. Knowing the most common team structure in health care, we were then able to determine what skill sets (called domains) were most relevant to effective team performance. An important prerequisite to implementing any team skill training intervention is developing an adequate assessment procedure, collecting baseline performance data and identifying the team skills that characterize exemplary team performance (and presumably improve the health care outcomes produced by a given team).   We then described the manner in which a matrix of team skills was developed, refined and validated for this particular project.  Finally, we previewed the three different methods of training team skills that will be tested in this project: (1) information based, including role clarification, (2) demonstration based, and (3) practice and feedback based. Different tools will also be used during training: classroom instruction, the use of simulations, and the post-simulation debrief.
In Situ Simulation:  Assessing and Training Clinical Operations in Health Care Settings. Wayne Fuqua, William Hamman, Jeff Beaubien, Amy Gullickson, Rick Lammers, William Rutherford, & Beth Seiler (Western Michigan University) 
Errors in the delivery of health care services are estimated to account for 90,000 deaths per year in the United States.  Many of these deaths are traceable to failures in team coordination and communication among health care workers.  Other high risk industries, such as aviation, have greatly reduced error rates through comprehensive simulation based skill assessment and training programs.  We suggest that many of the simulation based training and quality control strategies developed in aviation can be extrapolated to health care, if, and only if, a number of modifications are made to reflect unique aspects of health care (non-standardized work environments, rotating team composition, poorly delineated roles and chains of command, absence of systematic training in key skills).  We describe the preliminary stages of the development of a simulation-based assessment and training system for heath care workers, known as “In-situ simulation.”  The features of this model include the development of scenarios composed of a number of event sets designed to challenge critical health care skills (e.g., problem solving, team coordination, error detection and correction).  Simulations are orchestrated in the health care setting in an effort to increase the fidelity of the surrounding environment and to sample the real-world interface between health care workers and support services (e.g., lab and blood services). We describe the development and validation of a taxonomy of health care skills that can be used to evaluate the performance of health care teams.  We also describe a facilitated debriefing strategy that is used to promote self evaluation of critical communication, problem solving and error detection skills by health care workers who have completed an in-situ simulation.  

10:30-11:50 am Room 330
Evaluating Complex Behavioral Processes with Clinically Relevant Populations.
Chair: Laura L. Grow (Western Michigan University)
1.5 BACB Type 2 CEUs

Empirical studies from the Autism and Developmental Disabilities, Clinical Behavior Research, and Behavioral Medicine laboratories at Western Michigan University.

Mands for Information Generalize Across Establishing Operations. Sarah A. Lechago, James E. Carr, Laura L. Grow, Jessa R. Love, & Season M. Almason (Western Michigan University)

This study sought to extend the developing literature on teaching mands for information by systematically assessing whether they generalize across different establishing operations (EOs). Three children with autism were taught to perform multiple behavior chains, three of which included a common response topography (e.g., "Where is the spoon?") used for different purposes. An interrupted-behavior-chain procedure was used to contrive the EO for each mand. After a mand for information was taught under one EO, the remaining chains were interrupted to determine whether the mand had generalized across EOs. For all three participants, mands for information generalized across EOs. For one participants, a new mand for information topography emerged after training. The results are analyzed according to Skinner's analysis of verbal behavior.

Formation of Equivalence Classes by Older Adults. Brian J. Feeney, Linda A. Leblanc, & Tracy Lepper (Western Michigan University)

Equivalence classes consist of arbitrary stimuli that come to share functional and symbolic relations partially through contingencies and partially as a product of emergent processes. Three studies have begun to document the differences between older and younger adults in the formation of equivalence classes. The purpose of this study is to clarify methodological factors that may account for or contribute to the differences reported in the literature. Forty adults ages 60 and older were exposed to two matching-to-sample training procedures and subsequent testing using a personal computer with a touch screen and a 0-s delay. Half of the participants experienced a many to one (MTO) training procedure followed by a one to many (OTM) procedure and the other half experienced the reverse order. Differences in trials to criterion, errors during training, emergent relations were minimal between the two conditions, replicating the effects of Saunders et al findings with 0-s delay. The majority of elders demonstrated the expected emergent relations with clear differences in training performance patterns for those who subsequently performed well on tests and those who performed more poorly.

Attention to Positive and Negative Stimuli and Formation of Equivalence Classes in Depressed and Non-Depressed Individuals. Sheryl Lozowski-Sullivan & R. Wayne Fuqua (Western Michigan University)

One behavioral theory of depression focuses on the role of thought and language as contributing factors to the development and maintenance of depressive symptomatology. More specifically, equivalence class formation is a hypothesized mechanism in which depressed individuals develop a pervasively negative view of self, their world and their future. In an effort to test this hypothesized mechanism, the current study examined the formation of stimulus equivalence class formation for stimuli involving positively valenced (e.g., "worthy"), negatively valenced (e.g., "deficient") and neutrally valenced (e.g., "angled") verbal stimuli. The goal was to assess differences between depressed and non-depressed groups in the development of positively, neutrally and negatively valanced stimulus classes. Participants were screened for depressive symptoms with the Beck Depression Inventory-II, and 28 individuals with high scores (i.e., depressed) and 27 individuals with low scores (i.e., asymptomatic) participated in a matching to sample task involving the three contrasting stimulus classes. All participants formed equivalence classes with all categories of stimuli equally well and transitive and symmetrical relations emerged for the majority of participants. This suggests that stimulus equivalence class formation with negative stimuli is not a primary mechanism by which depressive symptoms are developed or maintained. When the emergent relations were evident, depressed individuals were more likely to include the stimulus "myself" in the neutral class than the positive class while asymptomatic individuals were more likely to include "myself" in the positive class. A subset of participant's reports indicated that the neutral class was selected because it includes both positive and negative aspects. The current results further previous findings suggesting symptomatic individuals hold a non-positive pre-experimental learning history for "myself" by demonstrating a preference for the neutrally valenced equivalence class when offered positive, negative and neutral options for "myself."

11:00-11:50 am Room 300
Teaching Social Behavior to Children with Autism: Analysis, Assessment, and Intervention. Mark L. Sundberg (Sundberg and Associates, Concord, CA)
1.0 BACB Type 2 CEUs

This presentation will suggest that human social behavior involves a complex interaction between people that involves at least three separate but interacting behavioral repertoires: 1) verbal repertoires (mands, tacts, intraverbals, etc.), nonverbal repertoires (proximity, touching, hygiene, etc.), and listener repertoires (eye contact, mediating reinforcement, functioning as a discriminative stimulus, etc.). Many people have difficulty engaging in social interaction with others due to the multiple variables involved. Children with autism seem to have an especially difficult time acquiring appropriate social behavior. An analysis of why it is difficult for children on the autism spectrum will be provided, along with an assessment system (The VB-MAPP), and suggestions for intervention along with video examples.

11:30-11:50 am Room 301
Autism Intervention Research in Your Own Backyard. Julie McCormick & Jennifer Tjernagel (University of Michigan Autism & Communication Disorders Center)

This presentation will provide an overview of an intensive, early intervention study that that will be conducted through the University of Michigan Autism and Communication Disorders Center (UMACC). Researchers at the UMACC, the University of California-Davis and the University of Washington have been awarded a $15.3 million grant to determine the impact of intervening with toddlers age 2 and younger as part of the NIH Autism Centers of Excellence Networks. The five-year study is a multi-site, randomized trial funded by the National Institutes of Health to determine if such efforts can reduce the language impairments and social deficits associated with the developmental disorder. Researchers also hope to determine the behavioral factors that help predict whether a child will respond well to this early treatment. The intervention to be tested, the Early Start Denver Model, fuses developmental and relationship-based intervention techniques with applied behavior analysis teaching strategies. This presentation will also describe other research being conducted at UMACC, including a second early intervention project and a large genetics study. The Early Social Interaction Project is a University of Michigan/Florida State University collaboration that is comparing the effectiveness of two parent-implemented interventions in building social communication skills in toddlers with Autism Spectrum Disorders. The Simons Simplex Collection, coordinated out of the University of Michigan, is collecting information from families at 13 universities across the nation, and will establish a vast repository of genetic and phenotypic data for use by researchers around the world. It focuses on families with just one child with autism, called simplex families, which will provide insight into the most common and unexplained form of autism. The wide variety of research projects being conducted at University of Michigan provides an opportunity to examine the risk factors, diagnosis, treatment and prognosis for those with diagnosed with ASD.

11:30-11:50 am Room 320
Learned Helplessness Vs. Acceptance: Applying Emergent Learning Priciples To Complex Clinical Cases. Laszlo Erdodi (Eastern Michigan University)

As theories evolve, basic concepts take on new meanings and are applied to areas that were not covered by the initial definitions. Through this process significant shifts may occur that can result in paradoxes that seem distrurbing inconsistencies or productive inventions depending on how they are perceived and used. The relationship between learned helplessness and acceptance is explored within the dynamic interaction of behavioral theory with clinical practice.


Noon - 12:50 pm--Lunch (on your own)

1:00-1:50 am Room 320
Psychological Behaviorism as Science Itself in the History of Western Civilization. Dennis J. Delprato (Eastern Michigan University) 1.0 BACB Type 2 CEUs

Covers the relationships between the development of psychological behaviorism and parallels in the history of Western Civilization.

1:00-2:20 pm Room 301
Issues in Developmental Disability and Aging
Chair: Candice M. Jostad (Western Michigan University)
1.5 BACB Type 2 CEUs

Literature review and experimental data from the Autism and Developmental Disabilities and Clinical Behavior Research Laboratories at Western Michigan University.

Noncontingent Reinforcement as Treatment for Problem Behavior: A Quantitative Review. Jamie M. Severtson, James E. Carr, & Tracy L. Lepper (Western Michigan University)

Noncontingent reinforcement (NCR) is a function-based treatment for problem behavior that has produced robust effects across a variety of response topographies, reinforcement functions, and populations. Several narrative literature reviews have adequately described the NCR treatment literature. The purpose of this presentation is to quantitatively analyze and classify the empirical support for NCR using the criteria developed by The Task Force on the Promotion and Dissemination of Psychological Procedures (1995). Of the 59 studies identified for analysis, 24 met the criteria to be included in treatment classification. Based on the Task Force guidelines, fixed-time reinforcer delivery (plus extinction and schedule thinning) was classified as well established, while fixed-time reinforcer delivery (plus extinction) and variable-time reinforcer delivery (plus extinction) were deemed probably efficacious.

Effects of the Eden Model on Engagement and Affect of Elders with Dementia. Allison A. Jay, Linda A. LeBlanc, R. Mark Mathews (University of Sydney), & Jonathan C. Baker (Western Michigan University)

The Eden Model of care has become a widely adopted approach to designing special care units for elders with dementia, in spite of relatively little empirical support for the specific effects of the model. The model involves incorporation of homelike environments, pets, and specialized staff training into the structural and organizational design of long-term care settings. Data are obtained from three years of direct observation behavior mapping that focuses on resident engagement and affect, and staff-resident interactions in an Eden model special care unit. Engagement and affect are examined in relation to proximity and use of Eden model features.

Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Lifespan Perspective. Andrew R. Riley, Linda A. LeBlanc, & Tina R. Goldsmith (Western Michigan University)

As more individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) enter into adolescence and adulthood the importance of considering lifespan issues for these individuals has increased. Practices such as transition planning during secondary education, supports for independent community living and employment and higher education supports have become common. The 2007 proposed Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) Autism standards also reflect the importance of lifespan issues by focusing approximately half of the standards on the degree to which relevant transition and long term life planning is conducted for individual consumers. This presentation seeks to highlight the importance of the lifespan approach to ASDs and to provide a review of problems and supports provided at critical times in the lifespan. An introduction to lifespan developmental theories is followed by a review of outcomes evidence and exploration of commonly encountered concerns and successes in key developmental periods. As early childhood has been the subject of many comprehensive reviews and texts this presentation will focus on critical developmental periods that have been examined less frequently: adolescence, young adulthood and adulthood.

1:00-2:20 pm Room 330
Understanding and Treating Childhood Problems: Evaluating School-Based Interventions For Anger And Reading and Characterizing the Experiences of Parents of Children With an Autism Spectrum Diagnosis.
Chair: Scott T. Gaynor (Western Michigan University)
1.5 BACB Type 2 CEUs

A significant proportion of children struggling with educational and emotional problems do not receive developmentally appropriate and empirically tested interventions. This is especially true for children who come from families with limited financial means or who live in high poverty communities where needed services may not be readily available, affordable, or accessible. The first two talks in this symposium describe attempts to target these youth and evaluate the efficacy of the interventions provided to them at their school. In the first talk, Cotter, Dillon, and Gaynor will describe the results of a small randomized clinical trial comparing a group cognitive-behavioral intervention (The Anger Coping Program) to a commercially available group activity set for reducing angry/aggressive behavior in elementary school students. In the second talk, Arvans, Steinert-Otto, and Gaynor will present data on the efficacy of a fluency-based reading intervention, compared to a wait-list control condition, for elementary school students struggling with reading. Childhood problems influence and are influenced by the context in which they occur. This may be especially true when a child engages in the behavior patterns typical of autism, which pose a multitude of extra challenges for parents. The final talk in the symposium presents data on the impact of parenting a child with an autism diagnosis has on the marital relationship between the child's parents. The analyses focus on the relationships between child symptom severity, parent stress level, marital satisfaction, and marital status.

School-Based Treatment of Anger: A Comparison of the Anger Coping Program and the Anger Solutions Collection. David D. Cotter, Courtney M. Dillon, & Scott T. Gaynor (Western Michigan University)

 This study examined two approaches to school-based anger management, using a randomized between-groups design. One intervention, the Anger Coping Program (ACP; Larson & Lochman, 2002), is a group-based cognitive-behavioral treatment that has some empirical support, having been found to outperform waitlist and minimal control conditions in several studies. The comparison condition involves provision of a collection of commercially marketed games/activities -- the Anger Solutions Collection (ASC). The ASC condition included a board game, card game, and a workbook of activities. Both interventions were provided to groups of 4-8 same gender students using two therapists per group. Session length was 45 minutes and sessions were held twice weekly for 9 weeks. Currently 2 groups of boys (1 receiving ACP and 1 ASC) have completed treatment. Two groups comprised of girls will complete treatment by the end of January 08. Primary dependent measures include child self-reported anger, parent and teacher ratings of behavior, and changes in the number and type of office referrals for poor conduct taken from the school's computerized database. When complete, this data will constitute a rigorous evaluation of ACP, assessing whether it appears to outperform another active intervention that includes the same amount of contact with participants and is also focused on anger.

Improving Reading Fluency and Comprehension: A Comparison of Read Naturally to Education as Usual. Rebecca Arvans (Western Michigan University), Patricia Steinert-Otto (Portage Public Schools), & Scott T. Gaynor (Western Michigan University)

Difficulty learning how to read is not only an educational problem, but is also a risk factor for current and long-term behavior problems. This is especially troubling because reading difficulties are common, afflicting anywhere from 20-40% of elementary school students. Read Naturally is a fluency-based computer program designed to increase reading abilities and overall reading comprehension. The current study assesses the efficacy of daily 30-45 minute sessions of Read Naturally provided over a two-month period compared to an Education as Usual control condition. Twenty elementary students will receive Read Naturally while twenty matched peers will receive Education as Usual. Currently 28 children are enrolled at some point in the protocol. Weekly repeated measures and global pre-post standardized measures of reading are the main dependent variables. Teacher ratings of classroom behavior problems will also be gathered. The results will provide information about the efficacy of Read Naturally for increasing reading abilities in elementary students and whether improving reading skills results in a decrease in behavior problems at school.

The Impact of a Child with an Autism Spectrum Disorder on Marital Relationships in Intact and Divorced Couples. Sarah VerLee, Linda LeBlanc, & Galen J. Alessi (Western Michigan University)

Several studies provide support for the notion that parents of children with autism experience greater levels of stress than parents of typically developing children and children with other disabilities. In addition to increased stress levels, having a child with autism may also lead to negative impacts on marital adjustment, but only a few studies have examined this impact. Previous studies have sampled intact marital dyads resulting in a lack of information regarding the impact of a child with autism on divorced parents and the degree to which stress related to parenting a child with autism may have contributed to the decision to divorce. This study used a Internet-based questionnaire, completed by parents of a child with an autism spectrum diagnosis, to examine the effects of having a child with an autism spectrum disorder on marital relationships and the role of having a child with an autism disorder in parents' decisions to remain in their marriages or pursue divorce.

2:00-2:30 pm Room 320
B.F. Skinner and the Lone Scouts: An Early Article Rediscovered, and Some Corrections to the Historical Record.
James T. Todd (Eastern Michigan University)

B.F. Skinner was a member of a little-known branch of the Boy Scouts of America, the "Lone Scouts." Lone Scouts were boys who lived in areas where the population was too small to support a troop, or where leadership was lacking. The Lone Scouts provided boys with a variety of opportunities for civic and self-improvement activities, including the option to contribute items for publication in the "Lone Scout Journal." One of these items is reasonably well known, a poem called "That Pessimistic Fellow," reproduced by Skinner in the first volume of his autobiography. A search through the Lone Scout records at the "Lone Scout Memory Lodge" reveals a second published item by Skinner in the Lone Scout Journal, "On Putting Steel in Ink," which may be his second publication. Further investigation reveals that Skinner erred in dating the appearance of "That Pessimistic Fellow" several years before its actual publication due to misinterpreting a numerical annotation on the poem as his age when it was actually part of a point system used by the Lone Scouts to motivate and reinforce contributions to the Lone Scout Journal.

How to Get Into Graduate School 2:30-3:20 pm Room 301
Chair: Tamina A. Stuber (Western Michigan University)

Advice, guidance, and hints about getting into graduate school. Will cover GRE, letters of recommendation, statement of purpose, selecting a school, masters versus doctorate, Psy.D. versus Ph.D., how many schools to apply to, meeting dates and deadlines, interviewing, and many more topics. Will include question and answer period.

2:30-3:50 pm Room 330
BAAM Annual Job and Practicum Fair
Chairs: Heather M. Anson & Jennifer Delany Kowalkowski (Eastern Michigan University)

BAAM's annual Job and Practicum Fair will feature presentations by local and regional organizations and agencies that hire behavior analysts and sponsor practicum opportunities. Following the formal presentations, job seekers may meet with representatives of the agencies and organizations.

Poster Session and Social
Friday, March 14, 4:00 pm
Ballroom B

Advanced Autism Practicum. Abigail K. Ferree, Nicole J. Hoffmeister, Richard Malott (Western Michigan University)

The Advanced Autism Practicum is the last in a set of three practica with the goal of training undergraduate student technicians to administer Discrete-Trial Therapy to preschool-aged children with autism. Students who show exemplary skills after completing the Basic and Intermediate Autism Practica are considered for the Advanced Autism Practicum. Our practicum site is an Early Childhood Developmental Delay preschool classroom. In addition to gaining experience with this population, the Advanced Autism Practicum students write an original procedure to be implemented with the children they work with. These student technicians must detect specific skill deficits, write a procedure to address the problem, interpret the data, and write any recycle phases to make the procedure as effective as possible. The student technician is also in charge of writing sub-phases to aid in a procedure for which the child is having trouble meeting criteria for mastery of a certain phase. Additionally, the student technician gives feedback to Intermediate practicum students to assist in these students' development as technicians. Lastly, as a part of the Advanced Autism Practicum, student technicians are trained in the analysis of the children's self-injurious or problem behavior. This includes introductions to functional assessments and taking observational data.

Autism Pre-Practicum. Kelly M. Hanlon, Blake E. Grider, M. Scott Spears, & Richard W. Malott (Western Michigan University)

The Autism Pre-Practicum is a subsystem of the Behavior Analysis Training System (BATS) which is a system in Western Michigan University's Psychology Department. The purpose of the Autism Pre-Practicum is to develop a basic discrete-trial training repertoire in undergraduate and graduate students prior to their entrance into the Croyden Avenue School Practicum. Students in the Croyden Practicum work one-on-one with a child in a pre-primary impaired (PPI) classroom implementing discrete trials. All students within BATS must participate in the Croyden Practicum. Undergraduate psychology students at Western Michigan University may opt to take the Croyden Practicum to fulfill their practicum requirement. The Autism Pre-Practicum is a pre-requisite for the Croyden Avenue School Practicum. For graduate students, training occurs during their first summer in BATS. For undergraduate students, training typically occurs the semester before they enter the Croyden Practicum. The Pre-Practicum focuses on training in implementation of discrete trials but covers all rules and policies of the PPI classroom at Croyden and the roles and responsibilities of each student. Training includes lectures, articles, video instruction, video modeling, live modeling, and role play with feedback. Role play with feedback is the main emphasis of the training. Point contingencies are in place for attendance and participation, assignments, and visiting the PPI classroom during the Pre-Practicum. At the end of the semester students receive a grade that is worth one credit on their transcripts.

Behavior Analysis in Public Schools: Results of Preservice Special Educators and Behavior Intervention Plans. Karen J. Carney (Eastern Michigan University)

Classroom management strategies are vital in our public schools. EMU preservice special educators will results of informal functional behavior analyses and behavior intervention plans done to support students in SE Michigan.

Behavior Analysis Training System. Caitlin O'Boyle, Krista Gabriau, Tara Casady, Richard Malott (Western Michigan University)

The mission of the Behavior Analysis Training System is to facilitate the improvement of the quality, accuracy, and timeliness of the overall system. This is accomplished by improving performance within and across all subsystems. Improved performance will be obtained through increasing system accomplishments, minimizing the number of and responding in a timely manner to disconnects, and improving the quality and accuracy of system products.The BATS manager is responsible for overseeing the entire Behavior Analysis Training System Graduate Program in Applied Behavior Analysis at Western Michigan University. The BATS system places point contingencies on the graduate students in BATS through participation, lifetime memory quizzes, assignements, etc. The BATS manager is responsible for the ongoing Alumni database, recruitment poster, templates, etc.

Behavior Systems Analysis Project. Elizabeth Saur, Allison Greening, Nanette LaForest, Rachael Lowe, Richard Malott (Western Michigan University)

The Behavior Systems Analysis Project (BSAP) is an optional component course to PSY4600, Survey of Behavior Analytic Research, offered at Western Michigan University. The class uses the concepts being taught in PSY4600 and applies them to a real world setting. The mission statement of the system is, the production of students who are well trained in the application of behavior systems analytic skills and OBM skills to a variety of applied settings through the practical experience of working at a real organization. This mission is accomplished by assisting the students through their individual projects being conducted at local businesses. The system managers provide feedback, suggestions, and deadlines for each aspect of the project. The students will pinpoint an area of a business the manager would like to improve, collect baseline data on the pinpointed behavior, and implement an intervention. The system manages their performance through point contingencies which ultimately lead to their final grade. The contingencies are placed on collecting a sufficient amount of data each week, attending class, and turning in assignments. The assignments include, but are not limited to, analyzing the natural contingencies, diagramming the performance management contingency, filling out a goal specification form, and developing a cultural change model. Treatment integrity, interobserver agreement, and social validity measures are taken on each student's project to insure and measure the quality of the project.

Behavioral Academic and Career Counseling. Melissa Ainslie, Tamina Stuber, Austin Mifsud, Richard Malott (Western Michigan University)

The purpose of the Behavioral Academic and Career Counseling System is to provide quality counseling services to Western Michigan University undergraduate students so that they have the knowledge needed to achieve their academic and professional goals. In turn, society will benefit from the services that these students can provide.

Behavioral Research Supervisory System. Kelli Perry, Jessica Irish, Chelsea Cronican-Walker, Tiffany Smiecinski, Richard Malott (Western Michigan University)

The Behavior Analysis Training System (BATS) is a system within the Psychology Department at Western Michigan University. The Behavioral Research Supervisory System (BRSS) is a subsystem within BATS that oversees the completion of timely work on fourteen Research and Development projects through the use of performance management and point contingencies. Graduate and undergraduate students complete weekly system tasks, including project tasks, writing assignments and revisions, and attending weekly system meetings. At these meetings BRSS managers verify task completion, allocate points and feedback for each task, and collect data on task and hour completion. At the end of the semester, points are accumulated to calculate a grade for each student based on the total number of points available.

Comparison Of Operant Behavior In Individual and Schooled Fishes: Some Preliminary Data. Paul Thomas Andronis, Allison H. Hahn, & Todd Hillhouse (Northern Michigan University).

Fish are (neuroanatomically) relatively simple vertebrates. Recent advances in developmental neurobiology have poised zebrafish (Danio rerio) as the preeminent model organisms for the study of relations between neurological development and the emergence of adaptive behavior. This poster reports some preliminary data for comparing aggregate operant behavior by zebrafish in groups with simple operant behavior by individual goldfish (Crassus auratus). The study examines the common assumption that economic models of aggregate behavior and behavioral models of individual choice are somehow interchangeable.

Concurrent VI Performances: II. Extinction With and Without Interposed CRF. Paul Thomas Andronis & Jennifer Budreau (Northern Michigan University)

Introductory psychology textbooks continue to state that when behavior is maintained under intermittent schedules, it is more resistant to extinction than if maintained by continuous reinforcement. This is often accompanied by admonitions that, in applied settings, intermittently reinforced behavior may be highly resistant to extinction, may take longer to decelerate than continuously reinforced behavior, and may actually escalate and be inadvertently reinforced before extinction has had its targeted effects. Several laboratory investigations have examined the effects of extinction on intermittently reinforced behavior brought under control of CRF again before extinction is applied, but these studies have been inconclusive as to whether such behavior is less resistant to extinction than behavior simply maintained under intermittent reinforcement without restoration of CRF before the final EXT component. The present poster describes experiments in which pigeons were first trained to peck two white keys under control of one pair of concurrent intermittent reinforcement schedules (left key VI-30s: right key VI-60s), alternating with two red keys under control of the opposite pairing of schedules (left key VI-60s: right key VI-30s), yielding a MULT Conc (VI-30s:VI-60s)/Conc(VI-60s:VI-30s) schedule. The white- and red-key conditions, along with their respective concurrent schedules, alternated at ten minute intervals within each session. Next, the concurrent schedules on the white keys was changed to Conc (EXT:EXT), while the VI-60s component of the concurrent schedules on the red keys was placed on CRF [Conc(CRF:VI-30s)]. Finally, all four VI components, two under each condition, were placed under extinction. The numbers of responses made under extinction, rates of keypecking, celeration changes, and numbers of trials to extinction, were related to the number of response units reinforced prior to extinction. The investigators discuss some possible implications of these findings for the effective use of extinction in applied settings.

Decreasing Vocal Stereotypy of Preschoolers Diagnosed with Autism. Catherine Parrish, Ian Santus, Ivy M. Chong (Beaumont Hospitals - CARE program)

Functional assessment indicated that the vocal stereotypy of four preschoolers diagnosed with autism was undifferentiated (i.e., occurring at high rates consistently across sessions) suggesting that the stereotypy was multiply controlled and/or maintained by sensory reinforcement. Experimental functional analyses were conducted for two of the four students. Following the assessment phase, individualized treatment packages were implemented for each child, containing one or more of the following components: (1) Response interruption and redirection (RIRD), consisting of the tutor providing vocal instructions (i.e. social questions, tact behavior) contingent on the target behavior; (2) Differential reinforcement for the non-occurrence of the behavior (DRO), consisting of providing preferred toys or edibles for the absence of vocal stereotypy during the predetermined interval; and (3) Noncontingent matched stimulation (NMS), consisting of providing preferred toys and/or music. For each child, the treatment package was successful in significantly reducing levels of vocal stereotypy.

Generalized Concept Mastery: A Practitioner Approach to Research and Development. Woan Tian Chow & Richard W. Malott (Western Michigan University)

Generalized Manipulative Imitation: A Practitioner Model of Research and Development
Breanne K. Crooks & Richard W. Malott (Western Michigan University)

GRE Preparation Course. Karolina Paszek, Deanna Niemiec, Melissa Wittman, & Richard Malott (Western Michigan University)

Within the Behavioral Analysis Training System (BATS) at Western Michigan University there is a subsystem that focused application of Behavior Analysis in the undergraduate task of successfully taking the GRE and applying for graduate school. The course that is designed as a performance- monitoring class for undergraduates is called the GRE Preparation Course. The Graduate Record Exam (GRE) Preparation Course is designed to assist undergraduates study for the GRE and to help undergraduates prepare for materials and application for graduate school admission. These two objectives are achieved by using various concepts within the Principles of Behavior Analysis, with emphasis on developing and maintaining self-management skills. We monitor undergraduate student performance and supervise students in their graduate school application process with consistent and continual deadlines in place with the additional of specific point- based contingencies. Weekly meetings are conducting, along with verification and checking of assignment completion to validate an undergraduate's effort of achieving a desirable GRE score and completion of graduate school applications in a timely manner. Practice GRE scores are collected, entered into a database, and are used as a supplement in assuring the success of continuous performance management. After all assigned tasks are completed, students accomplish overall objectives of graduate school application process preparation and their point contingencies are calculated into a letter grade based on the total amount of point available at the end of the semester.

Headbanging By Pigeons: Some Preliminary Data From a Systematic Replication. Paul Thomas Andronis & Jennifer Budreau (Northern Michigan University)

Headbanging is a disturbing behavior commonly associated with various forms of developmental disorders. It has been hypothesized as a type of aberrant self-stimulatory behavior maintained by automatic reinforcement, as a response that provides distraction from the psychological pain of intense autistic isolation, or as an outcome of other similar pathological processes. Alternatively, Layng, Andronis, and Goldiamond (1997) demonstrated that such behavior in pigeons could be viewed also as operant behavior, not very different from keypecking, lever-pressing, treadle-pressing, or other mundane behaviors typically regarded as "normal." The present study systematically replicates the initial findings, and extends them to include a different history of behavioral congtingencies.

Intermediate Autism Practicum. Katie Relph, Rebecca O'Gorman, Tialha Nover, Richard Malott (Western Michigan University)

A classroom at Croyden Avenue School provides an early behavioral training program for children with autism. This program entails intensive, one-on-one training, called discrete-trial training. In this classroom, the trainers who implement discrete-trial training are practicum students at Western Michigan University. The Intermediate Autism Practicum is a continuation of the Special Populations Practicum, designed to further WMU students' skills in working with children diagnosed with autism. This practicum helps the practicum students get experience using behavior analysis to teach children diagnosed with autism.

The mission of the Intermediate Practicum is to produce graduate students with experience in system management, course presentation, and supervision of graduate and undergraduate students over discrete-trial techniques for children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders. As well as undergraduate students with additional experience and supervision over discrete-trial implementation for children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders, who are trained and knowledgeable for admission into the advanced practicum level experience. I will be presenting a poster providing an overview of the Intermediate Autism Practicum including the inputs and outputs of this course, the roles and responsibilities of individuals involved as well as course data. The inputs and outputs are the variables that the practicum needs to function and also the results of training in the Intermediate Practicum. The roles and responsibilities highlight the basic requirements at each level of management. The internal feedback data include data from students in the course regarding their own satisfaction with the course content and skills acquired.

The Language Facilitation Training System. Rebecca Markovits, Jennifer Lonsdorf, Michelle Gagliano, Robbie J. Baldus, Richard W. Malott (Western Michigan University)

The mission of the LFT system is the production and maintenance of an environment including settings, personnel and materials, which support the continued facilitation and acquisition of language, including the use of signs, symbols and verbal behavior, in a preprimary classroom at the Croyden Avenue School.

Learning Efficiency of Two Strategies for Completing Fluency-Based Modules. Stephen Eversole (Behavior Development Solutions)

Over 1000 behavior analysts each year use the Conceptual Instruction Model fluency-based program to prepare for the BACB exam and to acquire CEUs. This Model requires learners to answer multiple-choice questions to a criterion of 100% within a brief time. They practice the modules repeatedly until this criterion is achieved. Users tend to adopt one of two strategies: (1) answer questions until they miss one, then start over; or (2) use all of the time allotted to answer questions, regardless of score. Data will be analyzed to determine which of the two strategies results in the least instructional time to criterion.

Preparatory Efficacy of the Behavior Analysis Training System. Tara E. Adams, Krista Gabriau (Western Michigan University), Alaina Clark (Quality Behavioral Outcomes), Caitlin O'Boyle, Richard Malott (Western MIchigan University)

The Association for Behavior Analysis (ABA) created ABA START as an on-line resource where members may search for job opportunities in their particular areas of interest. Employment opportunities for individuals with a master's degree in the autism or developmental disabilities field were tracked for one year by the Behavior Analysis Training System (BATS). BATS is Dr. Richard Malott's graduate program at Western Michigan University. Information obtained includes the most frequently posted job titles, states and countries of job postings, qualifications, and most sought after experience. After being obtained, this information was compared and contrasted with the training provided by the BATS graduate program. Results will be used to modify the BATS program to ensure the best possible training for its students. This could aid students in obtaining quality employment in the field of behavior analysis. Additionally, it serves as a limited source of knowledge pertaining to the direction of the field of autism and developmental disabilities, specifically in relation to employment for people possessing master's degrees.

Professional Psychology Practicum. Stephanie Bates, Allison Barrand, Clarissa Barnes, Heather Johnston, & Richard Malott (Western Michigan University)

Abstract: The Professional Psychology Practicum (PPP) is a subsystem of the Behavior Analysis Training System (BATS)at Western Michigan University. The goal of PPP is to provide training, experience, and supervision to Masters practicum students to prepare them to become Board Certified Behavior Analysts. Because BATS takes a systems approach to education, it is important to have continuous quality improvement of the organization as a whole and of each of the subsystems. For the PPP system, regular evaluations and surveys are conducted with the Masters students regarding issues of system practices, personnel performance, and areas for improvement.

Prompting: Least to Most vs. Most to Least A Practitioner Model of Research and Development.
Kristen Gaisford and Richard W. Malott (Western Michigan University)

Verbal Behavior - Special Interest Group (ABA affiliated). Season M. Almason (Western Michigan University), Sarah A. Lechago (Western Michigan University) & William Potter (California State University- Stanislaus)

The verbal behavior special interest group is an ABA affiliated organization. This SIG is dedicated to the study of language from a behavior analytic perspective. Members of the SIG are devoted to the advancement of verbal behavior research and treatment approaches. The SIG is in a critical and exciting period of growth and we are eager to recruit a variety of interested students and professionals into the SIG to contribute to its advancement.

The Vocal Behavior Sub-system of the Language Facilitation Training System. Jennifer M. Lonsdorf, Rebecca A. Markovits, Robbie J. Baldus, Michelle Gagliano, & Richard W. Malott (Western Michigan University)

The Language Facilitation Training System (LFTS) is part of Dr. Richard Malott's goal-directed Behavior Analysis Training System (BATS), at Western Michigan University. Furthermore, the Vocal Behavior (VB) Sub-system of LFTS is a part of the autism training system affiliated with the Early Childhood Developmental Delay (ECDD) classroom at Croyden Avenue School. Currently, the research and development project for the VB Sub-system focuses on training tutors to take data and increase language in the ECDD classroom.

The mission of the Vocal Behavior Sub-system of the Language Facilitation Training System involves the development of the new vocal behavior procedures and refinement of old vocal behavior procedures with the use of a speech pathologist and vocal shaping training, in order to maintain and support vocal outputs of children in a pre-primary classroom at a special education school in Southwest Michigan.

Specifically, the VB Sub-system of LFTS focuses on shaping vocal responses in these children diagnosed with autism, training tutors to provide proficient discrete-trial therapy to shape these responses, and developing a measurement system in conjunction with support from the school's speech pathologist to help reach each child's goals. This system will be based on baseline data that are collected specific to the frequency and type of vocal outputs by each child. Therefore, this data driven approach will help to develop and revise procedures involving vocalization, as well as helping children meet their yearly goals reliably, particular to speech.

The Self-Management System. Melody Taylor, Andrea Rau, Megan Baumgartner, Abby Mercure, & Richard Malott (Western Michigan University)

Self-Management is an undergraduate psychology course and a subsystem within the Behavior Analysis Training System (BATS), a system within the Psychology Department at Western Michigan University. The goal of Self-Management is to help students gain sufficient self-management tools that can be applied to academic and non-academic tasks and generalized to their everyday lives. The course is a one credit class that meets for 1.25 hours once a week. Students earn points contingent on behaviors listed on their task verification forms (TVFs); these aid in eliminating procrastination by holding the students accountable with proof of task completion in their other courses. Students are responsible for completing a self-management project that focuses on either increasing or decreasing a behavior. Students share tactics, techniques, and procedures during class discussion that aid in the success of their projects. Student activities include completing performance contracts and TVFs, demonstrating proof of their accomplished tasks and presenting performance graphs during class.

The system manager and undergraduate research assistants enforce strong point contingencies to control task completion, time-management and goal-setting behaviors. In addition, they are responsible for conducting brief class discussions and verifying proof of task completion.

Teaching a Visually Impaired Preschooler Diagnosed with Autism to Wear Glasses. Ian Santus. Ivy Chong (Beaumont Hospitals - CARE program)

The American Foundation for the Blind estimates that 10 million people in the United States are visually impaired. Visual impairment is a term experts use to describe any kind of vision loss, whether it's someone who cannot see at all or someone who has partial vision loss. However, visual problems can often be easily corrected with eyeglasses or contact lenses. A prompting and differential reinforcement procedure was used to teach a preschooler diagnosed with autism to increase the duration in which he would wear his glasses. Initially, presentation of the glasses evoked a high rate of negative vocalizations and self-injurious behavior. During the training condition, prompting, response blocking and differential reinforcement were used to gradually increase the duration of glasses on from 0-s to 3-hours. Additional generalization trials showed that the duration of glasses on increased in the presence of novel stimuli, in novel settings (public school setting, home), and with novel instructors.


Thursday 10:30am - 5:00 pm Ballroom A
The Verbal Behavior Milestones Assessment and Placement Program: The VB-MAPP
Mark L. Sundberg, Ph.D., BCBA  6.0 BACB Type 2 CEUs

Description: This workshop will teach the participant how to administer the VB-MAPP, and how to use the results to develop a language and social skills intervention program for a child with autism. The VB-MAPP is an assessment tool that is based on Skinner’s analysis of verbal behavior, applied behavior analysis, typical developmental milestones, and field-test data from typically developing children, as well as children with autism. There are four components of the VB-MAPP. The first component is the VB-MAPP Skills Assessment. This part is designed to provide a representative sample of a child’s existing verbal and related skills (e.g., mand, tact, intraverbal, play and social skills). The assessment contains 165 milestones balanced across 3 developmental levels (0-18 months, 18-30 months, and 30-48 months) and 16 different skill areas. The second component of the assessment is the VB-MAPP Skills Task Analysis, which provides a further breakdown for 9 of the skills in order to provide a more detailed identification and tracking of the target skills. The third part is the VB-MAPP Barriers Assessment, which provides an assessment of 22 common language and learning barriers faced by children with autism. The final component is the VB-MAPP Placement System, which provides an interpretation of each milestone and suggestions for specific IEP goals and intervention strategies.


Participants will...

  • be able to describe the basic elements of a behavioral analysis of language
  • be able to describe how a behavioral analysis of language can benefit children with autism
  • be able to use the four components of the VB-MAPP to assess an individual child’s learning, language, and social skills
  • be able to use the VB-MAPP to identify appropriate IEP goals for children with language and social delays
  • be able to use the Placement Guide to set up an appropriate intervention program for an individual child that incorporates social, language and learning goals
    be able to implement an individualized language intervention strategies based on Skinner’s analysis of verbal behavior


Mark L. Sundberg, Ph.D., BCBA received his doctorate degree in Applied Behavior Analysis from Western Michigan University (1980), under the direction of Dr. Jack Michael. Dr. Sundberg is the co-author of the books The Assessment of Basic Language and Learning Skills: The ABLLS, Teaching Language to Children with Autism or Other Developmental Disabilities, and A Collection of Reprints on Verbal Behavior. He has published over 45 professional papers, including a recent book chapter titled “Verbal Behavior” in the new edition of Applied Behavior Analysis by Cooper, Heron, & Heward (2007). He is the founder and past editor of the journal The Analysis of Verbal Behavior, a twice past-president of The Northern California Association for Behavior Analysis, a past-chair of the Publication Board of ABA:International, and was a member the BACB committee that developed the BCBA and BCABA Task Lists. Dr. Sundberg has given over 450 national and international conference presentations and workshops, and taught 80 college courses on behavior analysis, verbal behavior, sign language, and child development. He is a licensed psychologist in private practice who consults to programs and classrooms that serve children with autism in the San Francisco Bay Area. Dr. Sundberg has received a number of awards, including the 2001 “Distinguished Psychology Department Alumnus Award” from Western Michigan University.

Friday 1:00 - 4:00 pm Room 300
Using the Language Matrix in Intensive Early Intervention with Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities: Developing Natural Social Language in Challenging Cases.  Eric V. Larsson, PhD, BCBA (Lovaas Institute Midwest) 3
.0 BACB Type 2 CEUs

Description: In intensive early intervention with young children with autism, a great number of language skills are often taught. This workshop will show how such skills can be developed in a coherent conceptual framework, enabling productive treatment planning, trouble-shooting, and program evaluation.

A four-dimensional matrix of social language skills will be used to design an overall generative process of language development. The matrix of skills is addressed across generalization modalities, syntax forms, conditional discriminations, and functional communicative relationships. After receptive and expressive skills are developed, the matrix naturally flows into auditory comprehension and creative language production skills. The organization of the language curriculum can be used to control the pacing of related social skills in a systematic manner. Complex social contingencies will be addressed to ensure that the child is not only acquiring social skills, but is using those skills functionally throughout the child's 24-hour and 7-day life.  Data obtained from children in intensive early intervention will be presented to demonstrate how the generative curriculum can improve the progress of children with severely challenging language disorders.

Objectives: At the end of the workshop, participants will be able to:

  • Describe information necessary to plan and program children's language curriculums into a coherent whole.
  • Describe how to develop generative language skills rather than rote language skills.
  • Describe conditions that promote the production and comprehension of generative language learning.
  • Describe programming across generalization modalities, syntax forms, conditional discriminations, and functional communication relationships.
  • Describe programs that promote creative language production and auditory comprehension through generative language learning.
  • Describe programming for genuinely functional social language skills.