Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 26, Issue 5, pp 527–546

Using obsessions as reinforcers with and without mild reductive procedures to decrease inappropriate behaviors of children with autism

  • Marjorie H. Charlop-Christy
  • Linda K. Haymes

DOI: 10.1007/BF02172274

Cite this article as:
Charlop-Christy, M.H. & Haymes, L.K. J Autism Dev Disord (1996) 26: 527. doi:10.1007/BF02172274


We assessed the effectiveness of using the obsessions of children with autism to reduce their inappropriate behaviors. Baseline consisted of a traditional differential reinforcement of other behaviors (DRO) in which food reinforcers were provided contingent upon a period of nonoccurrence of the inappropriate behaviors. Then, three treatment conditions were assessed using a multielement design. One condition provided objects of obsession as reinforcers for periods of nonoccurrence of the inappropriate behaviors. A second condition also provided the obsessions as reinforcers, but in conjunction with mild reductive procedures (verbal “no”, time-out). A final condition used the food reinforcers of baseline, but with mild reductive procedures. Results indicated that all three treatment conditions were more effective than the traditional food DRO of baseline. The most effective condition was the obsessions plus mild reductive procedures. Results are discussed in terms of recommendations for effective treatment planning.

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marjorie H. Charlop-Christy
    • 3
  • Linda K. Haymes
    • 1
  1. 1.Claremont Graduate SchoolUSA
  2. 2.Spectrum Center for Educational and Behavioral DevelopmentUSA
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyClaremont McKenna CollegeClaremont