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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Paper Session #553
Optimizing Learning in Children with Autism
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
12:00 PM–1:20 PM
Area: AUT
Chair: Jenny E. Tuzikow (Devereux CARES)
Comparison of Prompt Strategies for Teaching Students with Autism.
Domain: Applied Research
Abstract: The literature on using prompts to teach children with special needs recommends a variety of prompting procedures to effectively teach specific skills. However, Riley (1995) states that the guidelines for using prompt hierarchies are frequently “poorly defined” and “lack adequate experimental support.” Furthermore, a great deal of controversy exists as to how intrusive certain prompts actually are to the student (Riley, 1995). This only contributes to the confusion that teachers experience when they attempt to select appropriate prompting strategies to teach their students. In addition, no clear evidence exists as to which prompts promote higher rates of learning acquisition thereby leading to greater independence of skill performance. As a result of this uncertainty, the current study attempts to examine the efficacy of utilizing physical and verbal prompting to teach independent greetings to four children with autism. The participants attended an Approved Private School for children with autism. They were identified because they did not meet their expected levels of performance on their IEP goal of initiating and responding to greetings. A multiple baseline design combined with a multiple treatment reversal design (ABACA) was utilized. The results of the study will be presented and implications will be discussed.
Are the Reinforcers Reinforcing? Analysis of Motivation Using a Computer-Assisted Learning Program for Autism.
Domain: Applied Research
SHANNON CERNICH (TeachTown), Christina Whalen (TeachTown)
Abstract: Twenty children with autism (ages 5-12 years) were videotaped using the TeachTown: Basics computer-assisted ABA program. Children were observed for 10-12 minutes using the software. All participants were assessed using standardized language and autism severity measures. Language, joint attention, motivation, attention, and social behaviors were measured during learning trials and during "reinforcer" games via videotaped scoring. No external reinforcers were provided while using the software program, but children were re-directed to the computer if they walked away until their session was finished. "Reinforcement" is discussed along with using secondary reinforcement and "learning to learn" to make activities that were previously not reinforcing become more reinforcing over time to maximize learning.
Using High Interest Visuals to Increase Learning Trends for Students with Autism.
Domain: Applied Research
ARLENE DWORKIN KAYE (CREC River Street Autism Program, Coltsville)
Abstract: Educating children with autism is often challenging and may require significant individualized support. Identification and ongoing assessment of reinforcers in both analogue and natural paradigms is a hallmark of behavioral science and is, without question, pivotal when designing programming for students with ASDs. To the dismay of interventionists, a variety of issues, including satiation and competing value of self-stimulatory behaviors, can interfere with efforts to maintain their arsenal of powerful reinforcers. There is also a body of research that suggests that antecedent stimuli can be associated with escape behaviors in demand contexts. Even when visual schedules are being used effectively, introduction of less preferred activities can occasion problem behaviors. This paper will illustrate ways in which materials can be amended to incorporate student-specific interests. Data presented will demonstrate positive learning trends noted when visuals were embedded with characters or topic backgrounds that were of particular interest to the target student. In some cases, tasks that occasioned problem behaviors not only became preferred, but ultimately became a student’s strongest reinforcer. Technical information and useful references that can be used to individualize materials will be provided. Specific examples of modifications will be included in the PowerPoint program accompanying the presentation.



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