Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


38th Annual Convention; Seattle, WA; 2012

Event Details

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Symposium #297
CE Offered: BACB
Enhancing Social Skills Development in Children With Autism
Monday, May 28, 2012
9:00 AM–10:20 AM
305 (TCC)
Area: AUT/DDA; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Marjorie H. Charlop (Claremont McKenna College)
Discussant: Debra Berry Malmberg (California State University, Northridge)
CE Instructor: Denise Grosberg, M.A.

Children with autism are typically characterized by their profound deficits in social behavior and social competence. Perhaps as a result, substantial effort has been devoted to designing and evaluating interventions to facilitate development of these competencies. This symposium examines how a variety of social skills interventions can be used to enhance social skills in children with autism across the spectrum. The first study utilized advances in technology to teach children with autism persistence in social initiations. The second study demonstrated that video modeling can decrease perseverative behavior in children with autism. The final study examined the effects of a social skill group that employed a combination of social skill activities with neurotypical peers, naturalistic teaching strategies, video modeling, scripts, and modified incidental teaching sessions. Findings of these studies will be discussed in terms of future directions of the research and contributions to the social skills literature.

Keyword(s): autism, social skills
Teaching Persistence in Social Initiations to Children with Autism: A Portable Video Modeling Intervention
DENISE GROSBERG (Claremont Graduate University), Marjorie H. Charlop (Claremont McKenna College)
Abstract: Social interventions that incorporate technology have had considerable success in motivating children with autism because they take advantage of the inherent visual strengths of these children, are motivating, and are socially acceptable among neurotypical peers. More recently, portable electronic devices have been become particularly popular intervention tools due to the fact that they are economical, portable, and require minimal instruction to operate. In the present study, a portable video modeling technology was used to teach persistence in social initiations to moderately impaired children with autism. Two hypotheses were tested. First, it was hypothesized that moderately impaired children with autism would effectively learn persistence in social initiations to typical peers by using a portable video modeling technology. Second, persistence in social initiations was hypothesized to generalize and be maintained across people, settings, and skills. Results indicated that moderately impaired children with autism could learn persistence in social initiations through the PVMI. Both children also continued to engage in the target behavior 1 month after the PVMI and generalized the target behavior to at least one untrained setting. Potential implications are discussed in terms of the future of portable video modeling interventions for children with autism of varying levels of disability.

Using Video Modeling to Decrease the Obsessive Behavior and Increase the Appropriate Play of Children with Autism

Sienna Whitham (University of California, Los Angeles), Marjorie H. Charlop (Claremont McKenna College), MATTHEW DUBIN (Claremont Graduate University)

Many children with autism exhibit preoccupations with particular items or topics. These obsessions can hinder their social development and limit their appropriate play. The present study used a multiple baseline design across children to examine the effectiveness of a video-modeling intervention designed to decrease the obsessive behavior with specific items for three children with autism. Obsessive behavior was defined as the repetitive selection of a specific item (i.e., touching or staring at the object of obsession) and then using it to make repetitive motions. During baseline, the children were presented with the object of their obsession and four non-obsessive, developmentally appropriate toys to play with for five-minute sessions. During intervention, the children watched a video of a model selecting and engaging in appropriate play with the non-obsessive toys, although the obsessive item was present in the video. Then, the children were again given the opportunity to play with the obsessive and non-obsessive toys. Results indicated that during baseline, all the children demonstrated high levels of obsessive behavior with a particular item. After video modeling, all children substantially decreased their obsessive activities and increased play with the appropriate toys. These findings support the efficacy of video modeling in decreasing the obsessive behaviors of children with autism.


Examining the Efficacy of a Social Skills Group Intervention

Abbey Hye (University of California, San Diego), Marjorie H. Charlop (Claremont McKenna College), BRENDA MIRANDA (Claremont Graduate University)

Social skills group interventions are commonly used to increase the social skills of children with autism. However little research has examined the efficacy of these interventions. The present study utilized a multiple baseline design across children to examine the effects of a social skills group intervention on the social skills of three high-functioning children with autism. Prior to participating in the social skills group intervention, the children with autism did not consistently demonstrate social behaviors during play sessions with other children. During social skills group intervention sessions, therapists facilitated social activities with groups of children with autism and neurotypical peers using naturalistic teaching strategies, video modeling, scripts, and modified incidental teaching. After participating in social skills group intervention sessions, the participating children demonstrated increased appropriate speech and cooperative play and spent less time engaging in solitary activity during play sessions. These findings indicate that group social skills interventions can be used to improve social skills with children with autism. Avenues for future research are discussed.




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