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 #156
Strategies for Increasing Children's Fluency and Engagement: PECS, Playgrounds, Functional Communication Training, and a Racetrack
Sunday, May 25, 2008
9:00 AM–10:20 AM
Stevens 3
Area: DDA/EDC; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Diane M. Sainato (The Ohio State University)
Abstract: Four papers will be presented. We will highlight the results of studies examining an alternative method of teaching PECS, the impact of systematic planning on children's behavior in outdoor play spaces, and the use of a multi-component intervention using functional communication training to impact challenging behavior. A fourth study will present the results of an investigation using a fluency based " racetrack" intervention on the labeling skills of preschool children with disabilities.
PECS and the Single Teacher: Examining the Effectiveness of Teaching PECS with One Adult.
NOA HANNAH (University of Washington), Ilene S. Schwartz (University of Washington)
Abstract: Six preschool children with ASD participated in this study. All six were beginning to receive instruction on the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS). In the initial states of instruction on PECS, the manual requires two adults to be present for instruction. One is the communicative partner and the other is the prompter. Two participants were selected randomly to receive the traditional PECS protocol training with two adults. For four students, one adult, who played the role of the communicative partner and prompter, provided all PECS training. In this study all training on the PECS protocol was conducted in integrated preschool classrooms. The number of trial to independent exchanges was assessed, as was the cost of implementing the teaching the first phase of the system. Inter-observer reliability was collected on at least 20% of the sessions high across all participants, with an overall average of 90%. All students learned to exchange independently and did not require more trials than students who received instruction with two adults. Results suggest the first phase of PECS can be taught to most students by one adult, although there may be some students who would benefit from a second adult.
Addressing the Communicative Needs of Young Children with Challenging Behavior with a Multi-Component Intervention.
CAROL ANN DAVIS (University of Washington), Annie McLaughlin (University of Washington)
Abstract: Young children who engage in challenging behavior are more than at risk for long term care and exclusion from the community. However, the reliance on consequence strategies remains. This study examined the use of a multi-component intervention (changing the antecedents, functional communication training, and consequence interventions) for young children whose challenging behavior served multiple functions. Three children, ages 3-5 with limited communication skills and challenging behavior participated in the study. Each intervention was carefully designed using multiple components matched to the hypothesis statements for each child. Effects were monitored using a multiple baseline design. During baseline children's problem behavior ranged from 40% of observed intervals to 80%. During intervention, rates of problem behavior ranged from 0% to 20% of observed intervals. Interobserver agreement was collected on 25% of all sessions and ranged from 85% to 100%. Implications for interventions consisting of components addressing antecedent and consequence strategies will be discussed.
Empirically-Validated Principles for Increasing Engagement in Young Children with Severe Disabilities on the Playground.
ANN N. GARFINKLE (University of Montana), Susan Harper-Whalen (Univeristy of Montana )
Abstract: Young children with disabilities often receive special education services in programs that have a play-based or activity-based philosophy. Children in these settings need to engage with materials before they can take advantage of some of the naturally occurring teaching/learning experiences. Unfortunately, many young children with severe disabilities have low levels of engagement. Few studies have examined children's engagement on the playground. This study is an examination of systematically planning for play materials in the playground in order to raise the engagement rates of young children with disabilities. We used an AB design across 12 teachers. The independent variable was a list of principles of planning for engagement on the playground. The dependent variable was young children's level of engagement on the playground and the fidelity with which the teachers used the strategies. Interrater reliability was collected on both the teacher's use of the principles and the children's level of engagement. It was collected in 30% of sessions and never dropped below 80%. Results indicated once teachers used the principles changes to the environment resulted in larger changes in the children's level of engagement on the playground.
Using Fluency Based "Racetracks" to Teach Picture Labeling to Preschoolers with Special Needs.
LAURA EVANS (Southwest City Schools), Judah B. Axe (The Ohio State University), Diane M. Sainato (The Ohio State University)
Abstract: Fluency-based "racetracks" were previously used to train sight word acquisition and fluency in elementary age students with disabilities (Rinaldi, Sells, & McLaughlin, 1997). The purpose of the current study was to use a fluency-based racetrack to teach fluent picture labeling to three preschoolers with disabilities in a classroom setting. Pictures were displayed on tracks and explicit instruction using modeling, positive, and corrective feedback, and 30-s timings were used to train picture labeling. Data from daily probes of labeling individual pictures prior to instruction were displayed in a multiple probe design across sets of pictures design. A functional relation was demonstrated. Across participants, the mean number of pictures labeled in 30-s was 1.67 (range 0-6) in baseline probes and 5.71 (range 0-17) in intervention probes. Generalization of performances across settings was demonstrated. Interobserver agreement (IOA) and procedural integrity were assessed for all participants in 20% of sessions across phases. Mean IOA was 87% (range 53-100%) in baseline probes and 83% (range 42-100%) in intervention probes. This study adds to the research on fluency-based interventions and teaching picture labeling to preschoolers with disabilities. Limitations, implications for practice, and areas for future research are discussed.



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