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 #50
CE Offered: BACB
The Science of Making and Maintaining Friendships: Teaching Children With Autism Needed Component Skills
Saturday, May 26, 2012
2:30 PM–3:50 PM
LL02 (TCC)
Area: AUT/EDC; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Anna Matchneva (I Step Ahead Services, Inc.)
Discussant: Grace Iarocci (Simon Fraser University)
CE Instructor: Anna Matchneva, M.Ed.

Children diagnosed with High Functioning Autism or Aspergers Syndrome present with social skills deficits that include: difficulty shifting their attention to a social stimulus, inadequate eye contact, difficulty understanding emotions of others, problems with the initiation of social interactions in play and conversation, difficulty interpreting social cues, difficulty making inferences, poor problem solving skills, struggles to take anothers perspective, and lack of empathy skills. Long term outcomes for individuals with High Functioning Autism and Aspergers Syndrome who continue to struggle socially indicate they struggle to develop and maintain friendships, rarely marry, and there is increased prevelance of psychiatric disorders. Therefore, early intervention is called for to teach these pragmatic language skills. We evaluated the effects of Natural Environment Teaching, Precision Teaching, and Role Playing on Social initiations, social inferencing, identifying and solving problems in social situations, and teamwork skills. Data collection involved daily data collection for all skills taught. Data-based decisions were made weekly, and teaching strategies were modified as needed. Curriculum Based Measurement was designed and implemented to measure effects of intervention, and maintenance and generalization probes took place with untrained tasks.

Keyword(s): Social Skills

Tell Me About Your Friend: Teaching Peer's Interests and Social Initiations in an Inclusive Preschool Setting

ANNA MATCHNEVA (I Step Ahead Services, Inc.), Jolenta P. Urbaniak- Pazura (I Step Ahead Services, Inc.)

Many children with autism fail to establish and maintain meaningful friendships with their peers. Identifying a common interest, initiating social interaction, responding to initiations of other peers, making compliments, and taking perspective of others are just some of the component skills for developing relationships with peers and are among many that children with autism struggle with. Talking about their friends is something that typical peers do readily and frequently but can be a challenging task for a child with autism. This study evaluated a program for teaching children to identify interests or other peers and to initiate social interaction based on their interests. The intervention was implemented with 3 preschool age children diagnosed with autism and their typically developing peers in context of an inclusive early education classroom. Creative activities and naturalistic behavior strategies were used to facilitate teaching opportunities. Data was collected during each teaching session and generalization probes took place in novel social contexts.


Programming for Pragmatics: Teaching a Boy With Autism to Understand Emotions, Make Inferences, and Problem Solve in Social Situations

ALEXIA STACK (Alexia Stack Behavioural Consulting), Magdalena A. Markiewicz (Alexia Stack Behavioural Consulting)

Children diagnosed with high functioning autism or asperger's syndrome often present with social skills deficits that include: difficulty shifting their attention to a social stimulus, inadequate eye contact, difficulty understanding emotions of others, difficulty interpreting social cues, difficulty making inferences, poor problem solving skills, and struggles to take another's perspective. These are commonly referred to as pragmatic language skills. Within the field of applied behaviour analysis, we have limited curricula that sufficiently program for these language skills. However, speech and language pathology offers our field some reliable assessment measures, and programming tools for pragmatic language skills. In this study, we used the "Social Language Test: Elementary" as an assessment tool for a boy diagnosed with high functioning autism as a norm-referenced measure of pragmatic language. With the baseline measurement, we completed component analysis, and developed an individualized curriculum to teach him how to: understand emotions and respond appropriately to peer's emotions, make inferences in social situations; and how to identify problem situations and generate socially appropriate solutions. Precision teaching, Natural Environment Teaching and Incidental Teaching were used to teach component skills. Curriculum-based measurement was used to measure generalization across settings and stimuli.


Teamwork: Teaching Children With ASD to Complete Team Projects in Social Group Setting

MARECEL CLETO (I Step Ahead Services, Inc.), Anna Matchneva (I Step Ahead Services, Inc.)

Teaching social skills to students with autism has received increased attention but little research focused on teaching students to work together as a team. Completing team projects is a common practice in elementary and secondary classrooms and therefore teaching teamwork skills is critical for successful inclusion. Teamwork is the ability to work together with others as a member of a group. Accepting assigned role, engaging in assigned task, accepting ideas of others, negotiating, and problem solving are just some of the key component skills necessary for effective team work that many students with high functioning autism and Aspergers syndrome struggle with. This study evaluated an effect of prompting, reinforcement, peer and adult feedback on teaching teamwork to school age children diagnosed with autism. Intervention was implemented in the context of a social group taking place once a week after school. Teaching activities were carefully designed to facilitate opportunities to respond. Data was collected during each teaching session and percentage of component skills demonstrated was calculated. Maintenance and generalization probes were conducted at one month follow up with untrained task.




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