• THE EFFECTS OF THE DURATION OF FREE OPERANT PREFERENCE ASSESSMENTS IN YOUNG CHILDREN WITH AUTISM

      Tincani, Matt; Fisher, Amanda Guld; Axelrod, Saul; Hineline, Philip Neil; Hantula, Donald A. (Temple University. Libraries, 2018)
      In this study, 2-minute and 5-minute free operant preference assessments were conducted. Preference hierarchies and the order of item selection were both identified and compared. The preference assessments were administered in alternating order and the resulting differentially preferred items were utilized in subsequent reinforcer assessments to determine if the items selected were reinforcing. The reinforcer assessments were conducted using an initial baseline and an alternating treatment design. Social validity was assessed with both the families and the participants. Treatment fidelity and inter-observer agreement data were also collected. The 2-minute free operant preference assessment was shown to be effective at identifying effective reinforcers for two out of the three participants. The third participant did not respond consistently to the free operant preference assessment at any length and responded aversively to the presentation of the free operant preference assessment, one which is known for yielding few problem behaviors. For the two participants that responded to the preference assessment, items that were identified functioned effectively as reinforcers. There was also a strong correlation using the Spearman’s Rank-Order Correlation Coefficient between the preference hierarchies and the order of selection list. This study supports the usage of the shortened free operant preference assessment but requires expansion and repetition. The author discussed the limitations of the current study and directions for future research.