Conference Agenda

Intractable Head-Directed Self-Injurious Behavior: A Functional Reconsideration 

When head-directed self-injurious behavior occurs under most or all conditions without any reliable antecedents, behavior analysts often describe the behavior as being automatically reinforced (Vollmer, 1994).


Contemporary approaches attempt to differentiate sub-types of automatic reinforcement with the aim to improve treatment outcomes (Hagopian, Rooker, & Zarcone, 2015), but automatically reinforced HD-SIB remains among the most treatment-resistant types of problem behavior confronting behavior analytic practitioners. Despite the general utility of the concept of automatic reinforcement (Skinner, 1953, 1957, 1968, 1969; Vaughn & Michael, 1982), an argument for abandoning the concept when assessing and treating HD-SIB will be presented. An alternative framework will be described that relies on the assumption of multiple control by socially mediated reinforcers and additional consideration as to whether the HD-SIB is tic-like, avoidant-type, or both. Several case studies will provide support for the utility of this alternative framework. 


Learning Objectives:

  • The attendee will be able to describe the reasons why the concept of automatic reinforcement should probably be abandoned when assessing and treating HD-SIB.

  • The attendee will be able to find an alternative set of assumptions for assessing HD-SIB that allows for effective skill-based treatment. 


1.5 CEU Session


October 31st, 2024


3:00 PM - 4:30 PM


Grand East

Session Speakers

Dr. Gregory Hanley

Dr. Gregory Hanley, Ph.D., BCBA-D, LABA

Owner/Founder/CEO FTF Behavioral Consulting