23 June 2021: Using quantitative models to improve treatments for destructive behavior in children with autism

Wayne Fisher
Rutgers University Center for Autism Research, Education, and Services (RU-CARES)
Robert Wood Johnson Medical School

The most important advancement in the treatment of destructive behavior has been the development of functional analysis (FA), which is used to prescribe effective treatments, such as functional communication training (FCT). With FCT, the consequence that historically reinforced destructive behavior is delivered contingent on an appropriate communication response and problem behavior is correlated with extinction. Although this approach can be highly effective, many pitfalls and practical challenges arise when this treatment is implemented by caregivers in natural community settings. In this presentation, I will present data and describe a line of research routed in behavioral momentum theory and the generalized matching law aimed at increasing the effectiveness, generality, and durability of FCT for individuals with ASD who display destructive behavior in typical community settings. Specifically, I focus on: (a) applications based on the matching law that can be used to prevent extinction bursts when treatment is initiated; (b) stimulus-control procedures that can be used to promote the rapid transfer of treatment effects to novel therapists, contexts, and caregivers without reemergence of destructive behavior; and (c) stimulus- and consequence-control procedures that can be used as “behavioral inoculation” to prevent resurgence of problem when caregivers do not implement treatment procedures with pristine procedural integrity.

View this recorded session here.