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Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC)
Autism Research Database
Office of Autism Research Coordination (OARC)
 
Project Element Element Description

Project Title

Project Title

An evaluation of two emergency procedures to treat severe escape behavior

Principal Investigator

Principal Investigator

Slocum, Sarah

Description

Description

Individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) often exhibit problematic behavior in the form of aggression, self-injury, and/or property destruction. A significant proportion of the time, such behavior is maintained by escape (i.e., negative reinforcement). For example, children might learn that instructional activities or self-care activities (e.g., having to take a bath) stop when they display aggression; they then learn to escape by engaging in aggression. Not only do these behaviors reduce the ability of individuals to learn new skills, they also put individuals at risk for serious harm to themselves or others and increase the likelihood of restraint or institutionalization. Behavior analysts must develop treatments that will reduce these behaviors quickly and substantially in emergency situations. The specific aim of this project is to compare two emergency procedures (instructional fading and differential positive reinforcement) to a “business-as-usual” treatment (differential negative reinforcement) to determine the more effective procedure for eliminating the behavior in the short term. With differential negative reinforcement (DNR), individuals are provided with a break if they comply with demands and are physically guided to work through demands when problematic behavior occurs. With instructional fading, no demands are placed on the individuals initially so they have no reason to engage in problematic behavior. After some time, the amount of work required is slowly and systematically increased. With differential positive reinforcement (DPR), a small edible item or other preferred item is provided in exchange for compliance with instructions. All three of these procedures have been shown to be effective at reducing problematic behavior maintained by escape to some extent. That being said, instructional fading and DPR have not been directly compared to DNR (i.e., the business-as-usual treatment) to evaluate whether those emergency procedures are best for reducing behavior immediately and to a greater extent in the short term. This project will compare a group of individuals who receive DNR to a group who receives these emergency procedures to treat escape behavior. This work will result in empirical evidence regarding what procedure(s) represent the best intervention(s) for individuals with ASD when faced with a crisis situation requiring immediate suppression of dangerous escape behavior.

Funder

Funder

Autism Speaks

Fiscal Year Funding

Fiscal Year Funding

29500

Current Award Period

Current Award Period

2014-2016

Strategic Plan Question

Strategic Plan Question

Question 4: Which Treatments And Interventions Will Help?

Strategic Plan Objective

Strategic Plan Objective

Yellow dot: Objective has some degree of funding, but less than the recommended amount. 4SH. Support at least two studies that focus on research on health promotion and prevention of secondary conditions in people with ASD by 2012. Secondary conditions of interest include weight issues and obesity, injury, and co-occurring psychiatric and medical conditions. IACC Recommended Budget: $5,000,000 over 3 years.

Project Link

Project Link

An evaluation of two emergency procedures to treat severe escape behavior (External web link)

Institution

Institution

University of Florida

State/Country

State/Country

Florida

Project Number

Project Number

9166

Federal or Private?

Federal or Private?

Private

Received ARRA Funding?

Received ARRA Funding?

No

History/Related Projects

History/Related Projects

An evaluation of two emergency procedures to treat severe escape behavior | 29500 | 2015 | 9166

 
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