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 #410
CE Offered: BACB
Expanding Support for Children with Autism through Specialized Training
Monday, May 26, 2008
1:30 PM–2:50 PM
Continental B
Area: AUT/EDC; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Jennifer B.G. Symon (California State University, Los Angeles)
CE Instructor: Jennifer B.G. Symon, Ph.D.

Individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) present with specific challenges in their social communication skills and behaviors. Many educational team members lack specialized training in autism while they have many students with ASD on their caseloads. This symposium will describe a federally funded, multidisciplinary training program for a variety of professionals working with children with ASD. Early childhood special education teachers, school counselors, school psychologists, agency ABA therapists, speech pathologists and other professionals have received training through this program. Outcome data from graduate research projects will also be presented demonstrating improved skills for children in educational settings.

Training Professionals to Support Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders.
JENNIFER B.G. SYMON (California State University, Los Angeles)
Abstract: This presentation will describe the grant funded program which provides specialized training to professionals who support students with ASD. The training model will be presented along with participant and evaluation data.
Improving Social Skills for Children with Autism through Applied Behavioral Analysis and Visual Support.
ELIKA SHAHRESTANI (California State University, Los Angeles), Jennifer B.G. Symon (California State University, Los Angeles)
Abstract: More research is needed to determine the effects of Social Stories as visual support for children with autism. The present study expanded on the work of Delano and Snell (2006) by utilizing an Individualized Social Story intervention to promote three target social skills in children with autism. These three target skills include: initiating comments, initiating requests, and making contingent responses (Thiemann & Goldstein, 2001; Delano & Snell, 2006). Young children with autism spectrum disorders participated in a multiple baseline across behaviors research design. The participants were taught to initiate and respond to their peers in structured play sessions through the use of Individualized Social Story interventions combined with techniques of applied behavior analysis. Results suggest that participants learned to independently make spontaneous initiations and responses to peers following intervention. Generalization of skills to novel stimuli are also presented.
Effects of Providing Choice between Assignments to Increase On-Task Behavior for Independent Work Assignments.
SEBOUH J. SERABIAN (Behavior Building Blocks), Jennifer B.G. Symon (California State University, Los Angeles), Michele D. Wallace (California State University, Los Angeles)
Abstract: Providing opportunities to make choices has received increasing support as an antecedent intervention to improve the performance of students with disabilities. Additional research in this area is needed to determine under what circumstances the application of choice making as a curricular intervention is appropriate and produces meaningful outcomes. The present study extended this line of research and investigated whether providing choice opportunities to three children in a general education classroom would impact their performance during teacher-assigned work activities. An ABAB reversal design was used to evaluate the effects of offering a choice between the order of independent work assignments on task completion, latency of responding, and disruptive behaviors made by the participants during two independent academic tasks (journal writing and spelling).
Functional Assessment and Self-Management to Reduce Disruptive Behavior in Educational Settings.
ANTHONY JENKINS (Long Beach Unified/California State University, Los Angeles), Jennifer B.G. Symon (California State University, Los Angeles)
Abstract: Many children with autism engage in challenging behaviors that interfere with effective educational instruction in classroom settings. Self-management strategies have been well documented to reduce disruptive behaviors in clinical settings and more research is needed to demonstrate the effects of this approach in school settings. A functional assessment was conducted to determine the function of the behavior for each participant and then a self-management program was designed to teach replacement behaviors to meet the student’s needs. Through a multiple baseline design, this study examined the effects of self-management to reduce the occurrence of disruptive target behaviors (e.g., aggression, non-compliance) of three students with autism. Results show that following the self-management intervention participants decreased intervals of disruptive behavior and increased desired replacement behaviors in classroom and school settings.



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