Decreasing Pica Attempts by Manipulating the Environment to Support Prosocial Behavior
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It is well established in the literature that pica displayed by individuals with developmental disabilities is most likely to be maintained by automatic reinforcement. However, there is a need for additional research regarding interventions that emphasize skill acquisition by teaching individuals with automatically maintained pica, multiple alternative behaviors to reduce the occurrence of this behavior. For the current study, pica emitted by three participants with developmental disabilities was targeted for assessment and treatment. Results of a functional behavioral assessment, which included a functional analysis, showed each participant’s pica was maintained by automatic reinforcement. Treatment was individualized for each participant, but primarily focused on response interruption and redirection, as well as differentially reinforcing alternative behaviors such as discarding and vacuuming potential pica items. After thinning the schedule of reinforcement for each participant, treatment was generalized across settings and people. Overall, low rates of pica were maintained over time for all participants.
KeywordsPica Functional analysis Autism Skill acquisition
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