Enhancing the Effectiveness of a Play Intervention by Abolishing the Reinforcing Value of Stereotypy: A Pilot Study


An alternating-treatments design compared one condition in which a child with autism was allowed to engage in stereotypy freely prior to the intervention (abolishing operation component) to a second condition without the free-access period. Levels of stereotypy and problem behavior were lower and levels of functional play were higher in the condition with the abolishing operation component. These data provide preliminary support for the use of abolishing operations in interventions to increase the play skills of children with autism.


Lang, R., O’Reilly, M., Sigafoos, J., Lancioni, G. E., Machalicek, W., Rispoli, M., & White, P. (2009). Enhancing the effectiveness of a play intervention by abolishing the reinforcing value of stereotypy: A pilot study. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 42, 889–894.