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.


34th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2008

Event Details

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Symposium #252
CE Offered: BACB
Increasing Skills Essential to Social and Vocational Success for Adolescents with Autism
Sunday, May 25, 2008
3:00 PM–4:20 PM
Stevens 4
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Peter F. Gerhardt (Organization for Autism Research)
Discussant: Peter F. Gerhardt (Organization for Autism Research)
CE Instructor: Lori E. Bechner, M.A.

As individuals with autism approach adulthood, it becomes increasingly important to focus on skills that will promote social and vocational success. Bathroom and mealtime skills are essential to minimize stigmatization in community and vocational settings. Cooperative activity schedules promote working collaboratively on vocational tasks and allow for decreased instructor supervision.

Teaching Teamwork: Using Activity Schedule to Teach Adolescents with Autism to Work Cooperatively.
ERIN B. RICHARD (Alpine Learning Group), Barbara Hoffmann (Alpine Learning Group), Hannah Hoch (Alpine Learning Group), Bridget A. Taylor (Alpine Learning Group)
Abstract: As learners with autism approach adulthood, an important goal of their programming is for them to work with less supervision. One means of reaching that aim is to teach learners to complete tasks in pairs or groups so that one staff person can supervise many learners simultaneously. The purpose of this study was to investigate the use of prompting and reinforcement to teach three pairs of adolescents to attend to a shared activity schedule and cooperatively complete vocational tasks (e.g., cleaning a kitchen). This study was conducted in a small private school for children with autism. A multiple baseline design was used across three pairs of learners. During the initial baseline, each pair was told to complete a vocational task without an activity schedule present. In the subsequent baseline, the pairs were provided with activity schedules detailing the steps of a vocational task and told to complete the job. During intervention, learners were prompted to complete designated steps of the task and provided reinforcement for independent and accurate responding. Results indicated that after intervention, there was an increase in cooperative responding (i.e., completing the task together by each learner referencing the schedule and performing the next component step). Interobserver agreement data were collected during 30% of the sessions and averaged over 90%. Results are discussed in terms of future research for increasing learners’ ability to work collaboratively in pairs or groups.
Reducing Rapid Food Consumption in an Adolescent with Autism.
Abstract: Individuals with autism may consume meals rapidly, which can be socially stigmatizing. Anglesea et Al. (2006) effectively utilized a time-based vibrating pager to increase latency to consume meals in teenagers with autism. The purpose of the current study was to extend this work. A reversal design (ABAB) was used to assess the effects of the implementation of an audio device (“Mini-me”) to increase the inter-response time (IRT) between bites during mealtime for a 14-year-old male with autism who attends a center-based ABA program. The audio device was then systematically faded. At baseline, the mean IRT between bites was 12.8 seconds, and the mean number of bites per minute was 5.19. When the audio device was introduced, mean IRT increased to 38.5 seconds, and mean bites per minute decreased to 1.68. Mean percent of independent use of the audio device was 97.4%, and mean percent of independent waiting between bites was 86.5%. When the conditions were replicated, results were similar. During the fading procedure, mean IRT and number of bites per minute remained at target levels (mean IRT = 37.6 seconds, mean bites per minute = 1.75). Mean percent of independent use of the audio device and waiting between bites were also maintained at criterion level, and mean percent of counting between bites was 92.2%. Implementation of the audio counter with fading procedure was successful in reducing rapid food consumption for this participant. Future steps include generalization to the home setting, maintenance, and long-term follow-up.
Teaching Public Restroom Skills to Individuals with Autism.
LORI E. BECHNER (EPIC), Peter F. Gerhardt (Organization for Autism Research)
Abstract: As individuals with autism enter adolescence, several social subtleties involved with public restroom use become increasingly important. The purpose of the current study was to examine the use of behavioral strategies to teach public restroom skills: selecting the correct restroom door (male vs. female), minimizing exposure while standing at a urinal, and looking straight ahead while standing at a urinal. Three adolescent males with autism participated in this study. A multiple baseline across target components was used for each participant; a multiple baseline across participants was used to measure total acquisition across participants. Interobserver data were collected for 30% of sessions, and were higher than 90%.



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