Date of Award

Spring 5-13-2017

Capstone Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Master in Applied Behavior Analysis and Clinical Science

Committee Member(s)

Sarah Slocum Freeman

Abstract

Pica is an eating disorder involving the ingestion of non-food items. In the current study, a functional analysis (FA) screening was conducted to confirm the pica of two subjects diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) was maintained by automatic reinforcement. Subsequently, three behavior-analytic treatments (i.e., verbal reprimand, noncontingent reinforcement [NCR], and functional communication training [FCT]) were systematically evaluated in an unstructured play environment using a multi-element design. Findings showed all three treatments decreased pica compared to pre-treatment levels; however, FCT was observed to consistently reduce the rate of pica for both subjects to near-zero levels. Results of this study support the assertion that behavior-analytic treatments for pica might be effective when applied during unstructured play for some subjects.

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