Sacha T Pence

Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts, United States

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Publications (6)10.34 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Response redirection and response blocking reduce stereotypy maintained by automatic reinforcement. The current study evaluated the effects of redirection and response blocking on the stereotypic responding of three elementary-age children diagnosed with autism. During the treatment evaluation, redirection and response blocking were evaluated using an alternating treatment embedded in a reversal design. Both procedures resulted in comparably low levels of motor stereotypy. Following treatment evaluation, a concurrent chain was conducted to evaluate participant preference for redirection or response blocking. All three participants preferred redirection. Practitioners may wish to consider participant preference when developing and implementing treatments for stereotypy.
    Research in developmental disabilities 06/2012; 33(6):1691-700. · 4.41 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Preference assessments directly evaluate items that may serve as reinforcers, and their implementation is an important skill for individuals who work with children. This study examined the effectiveness of pyramidal training on teachers' implementation of preference assessments. During experiment 1, 3 special education teachers taught 6 trainees to conduct paired-choice, multiple-stimulus without replacement, and free-operant preference assessments. All trainees acquired skills necessary to implement preference assessments with 90% or greater accuracy during the training sessions and demonstrated generalization of skills to their classrooms or clinic. During experiment 2, 5 teachers who served as trainees in experiment 1 trained 18 preschool teachers. All preschool teachers met the mastery criterion following training. Training teachers to implement preference assessments may increase teachers' acceptance and use of behavior-analytic procedures in school settings.
    Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis 01/2012; 45(2):345-59. · 1.19 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: After an initial functional analysis of a participant's aggression showed unclear outcomes, we conducted preference and reinforcer assessments to identify preferred forms of attention that may maintain problem behavior. Next, we conducted an extended functional analysis that included a modified attention condition. Results showed that the participant's aggression was maintained by access to preferred conversational topics. A function-based intervention decreased aggression and increased an appropriate communicative response.
    Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis 01/2010; 43(4):723-7. · 1.19 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We evaluated the utility of an assessment for identifying tasks for the functional analysis demand condition with 4 individuals who had been diagnosed with autism. During the demand assessment, a therapist presented a variety of tasks, and observers measured problem behavior and compliance to identify demands associated with low levels of compliance or high levels of problem behavior (low-probability demands) and demands associated with high levels of compliance or low levels of problem behavior (high-probability demands). Results showed that clearer functional analysis outcomes were obtained for 3 of the 4 participants when low-probability rather than high-probability demands were used.
    Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis 01/2009; 42(4):819-25. · 1.19 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This study compared the outcomes of three descriptive analysis methods-the ABC method, the conditional probability method, and the conditional and background probability method-to each other and to the results obtained from functional analyses. Six individuals who had been diagnosed with developmental delays and exhibited problem behavior participated. Functional analyses indicated that participants' problem behavior was maintained by social positive reinforcement (n = 2), social negative reinforcement (n = 2), or automatic reinforcement (n = 2). Results showed that for all but 1 participant, descriptive analysis outcomes were similar across methods. In addition, for all but 1 participant, the descriptive analysis outcome differed substantially from the functional analysis outcome. This supports the general finding that descriptive analysis is a poor means of determining functional relations.
    Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis 01/2009; 42(2):425-46. · 1.19 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Research suggests that including leisure items in the attention condition of a functional analysis may produce engagement that masks sensitivity to attention. In this study, 4 individuals' initial functional analyses indicated that behavior was maintained by nonsocial variables (n = 3) or by attention (n = 1). A preference assessment was used to identify items for subsequent functional analyses. Four conditions were compared, attention with and without leisure items and control with and without leisure items. Following this, either high- or low-preference items were included in the attention condition. Problem behavior was more probable during the attention condition when no leisure items or low-preference items were included, and lower levels of problem behavior were observed during the attention condition when high-preference leisure items were included. These findings suggest how preferred items may hinder detection of behavioral function.
    Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis 02/2008; 41(3):351-64. · 1.19 Impact Factor