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 #227
Teaching Self-Advocacy Skills to Teens With Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities
Sunday, May 27, 2012
3:30 PM–4:50 PM
301 (TCC)
Area: AUT/DDA; Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: Michelle Lamancusa (Families for Effective Autism Treatment of Washington)
Discussant: Jesus Rosales-Ruiz (University of North Texas)

While behavior analysts working with individuals with autism and related disabilities often discuss developing skills in their clients repertoires across a wide range of areas such as self-help skills, communication skills, and adaptive living skills, the area of self-advocacy appears to receive less attention. Common sense, published works, and ethical guideposts all suggest the importance of ensuring that the clients behavior analysts work with develop the skills necessary to effectively advocate for themselves within and across the various contexts of their lives. This symposium will discuss what self-advocacy is and provide a framework for analyzing skills within that repertoire area. It will also discuss the current state of the literature as it relates to self-advocacy and present data-based case study examples of ways of successfully developing self-advocacy skills. In addition the audience will see a suggested hierarchy of self-advocacy skills that clinicians may use as a way of planning intervention in this very important repertoire area.

Keyword(s): adolescents, mand training, self-advocacy

Teaching Self-Advocacy Skills to Teens With Developmental Disabilities

MICHELLE LAMUNCUSA (Families for Effective Autism Treatment of Washington), Michael Fabrizio (Families for Effective Autism Treatment of Washington), Taylor Wingett (Families for Effective Autism Treatment of Washington)

Across disciplines published evidence suggests that behavior considered to be self-advocacy is highly valued by individuals within the developmentally disabled community and their advocates. Despite its apparent importance, little empirical research exists that provides a framework for defining and teaching self-advocacy skills. Behavior within the self-advocacy response class is usually described as it occurs (or should occur) within the repertoires of highly skilled individuals with developmental and/or physical disabilities in post-secondary education contexts and professional contexts. A behavior analytic perspective can provide a framework that aids in defining, measuring, and teaching self-advocacy skills. This paper will highlight and discuss what self-advocacy is, why it is so important, and how skills within such a repertoire may be developed. In addition, this paper will provide a component/composite analysis as well as potential scope and sequence charts to show the possible relations to various self-advocacy skills, moving from less developed to more fully developed skills necessary for a full and robust self-advocacy repertoire.


An Analysis of the Extant Literature Related to Self-Advocacy

MICHAEL FABRIZIO (Families for Effective Autism Treatment of Washington), Megan Thompson (Families for Effective Autism Treatment of Washington), Jesse Inman (Families for Effective Autism Treatment of Washington)

To help gain perspective on the state of self-advocacy development for individuals with autis, and other developmental disabilities, a literature review was conducted. This literature review compiled, compared, and organized information regarding the teaching of self-advocacy skills to children, adolescents, and adults with autism using methods derived from applied behavior analysis. Both inclusion and exclusion criteria were selected and the literature was ten reviewed. Data culled from studies meeting the inclusion criteria included: details of the independent variables, details related to the dependent variables, results obtained, as well as important demographic information about the participants in the studies. Data revealed that, in general, relatively little empirical research within behavior analysis has been conducted related to self-advocacy, with the exception of mand training with relatively young children on the autism spectrum. This paper will also present potential future directions that applied researchers may find fruitful in continuing to explore the development of fully formed self-advocacy repertoires.


Data-Based Case Studies in Developing Self-Advocacy Skills in Adolescents With Autism

ALISON J. MCMANUS (Families for Effective Autism Treatment of Washington), Michael Fabrizio (Families for Effective Autism Treatment of Washington), Erica Foss (Families for Effective Autism Treatment of Washington)

Beyond having a general (or even more specific) idea of what self-advocacy skills are and why they should be taught as well as the state of the current literature as it relates to those skills, practitioners also may find it helpful to see multiple examples of data collected from multiple real individuals learning self-advocacy skills in real life contexts. Using clinical intervention data collected across multiple participants participating in FEAT of Washingtons Transitions for Teens program and data collected across a wide range of self-advocacy skills, this presentation will provide audience members with a range of data-based examples showing how various self-advocacy skills were developed. Detailed information will be presented including controlled and variable features of the various independent variables used, what dimensions of human behavior were measured across examples and why, and changes made to the independent variables when analysis of client performance data showed that no or inadequate progress was being made.




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