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.


33rd Annual Convention; San Diego, CA; 2007

Event Details

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Symposium #161
CE Offered: BACB
Treatment Outcome for Children with Autism: A 15-Year Longitudinal Study
Sunday, May 27, 2007
9:00 AM–10:20 AM
Douglas A
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Marjorie H. Charlop (Claremont McKenna College)
CE Instructor: Marjorie H. Charlop, Ph.D.

To date, there are few studies that report the long-term effects of applied behavior analysis treatment with children with autism ( e.g. Lovaas, 1987; Mceachin et al., 1993; Harris & Handleman, 2000; Sallows & Groupner, 2005).These studies have focused on variables such as classroom placement, IQ scores from standardized tests, and other such measures to infer treatment efficacy. There is little information on behavioral variables of treatment outcome for children with autism. In addition, few studies have provided a longitudinal analysis of treatment efficacy with follow-up many years after treatment completion. The present study presents preliminary findings of longitudinal evaluation of treatment outcome of 10 children with autism over a span of 15 years. Data were collected on behavioral measures, four appropriate behaviors and four inappropriate behaviors, during six month intervals on the waiting list for treatment at the Claremont Autism Center, during treatment, and after treatment for up to 15 years post-treatment. Thus, a multiple baseline design across children was used to assess the efficacy of the behavioral treatment at the Center, and the children who started their treatment at under 6 years of age were followed well into their 20s. In this symposium, we will present the importance of longitudinal analysis with children with autism, our methodology and treatment efficacy variables, and findings from our initial 10 children analyzed in terms of concrete behavioral measures.

Longitudinal Treatment Outcome Analysis: Where’s the Data?
KARI BERQUIST (Claremont Graduate University), Marjorie H. Charlop (Claremont McKenna College), Sarah Kuriakose (Pomona College), Melanie Jira (Claremont Graduate University)
Abstract: From a perspective of treating children with autism, only one treatment approach has provided the field with hard data to show treatment efficacy; this is the approach of applied behavior analysis. While this is the case (e.g Lovaas, 1987; Mceachin et al., 1993; Harris & Handleman, 2000; Sallows & Groupner, 2005), it has only been recently that applied behavior analysis has proliferated the autism treatment world. There are few studies that have actually been done evaluating general treatment effectiveness of the ABA approach. If ABA is going to continue to propose its superiority in the treatment world due to empirical investigation, then we are going to need to provide the treatment world with more than a few major large scale studies providing our evidence. In this presentation, the importance of evaluation of treatment outcome is emphasized. As well, the ease of adding an infrastructure to treatment programs to provide such evaluation variables is provided.
A Cost Efficient Way to Do Longitudinal Treatment Outcome Evaluation.
GINA T. CHANG (Claremont Graduate University), Marjorie H. Charlop (Claremont McKenna College), Sarah Kuriakose (Pomona College), Melanie Jira (Claremont Graduate University)
Abstract: Over the course of 20 years, data have been collected in order to analyze treatment efficacy of a treatment program designed for children with autism and their families. The treatment facility provided direct one-on-one and small group behavioral services as well as incidental teaching procedures. Parent training was a part of the program. The treatment evaluation began while the families were on the waiting list for the program. The target child was video taped in various conditions with various family members and clinic personnel every sex months during the waiting list pretreatment time, during treatment, and after termination of treatment until the child was around 25 years old. Independent measures and dependent measures will be presented in this part of the symposium. Operational definitions of our measures will be explained. Reliability observer training will be discussed and reliability coefficients will be presented.
Some Longitudinal Treatment Outcomes: A Preliminary Report on the Progression of Speech and Play in Children with Autism over 15 Years.
SARAH KURIAKOSE (Pomona College), Marjorie H. Charlop (Claremont McKenna College), Melanie Jira (Claremont Graduate University)
Abstract: Ten children who participated in an ABA treatment program beginning at the age of 5 or 6 for approximately 3 years had follow-up data collected for up to 15 years post-treatment. During this time, the children were videotaped in several conditions every 6 months to determine the course their treatment had on their behaviors. During the no treatment waiting list, the children had low frequencies of both play and speech. During treatment, gains in both speech and play were made. Of interest, is the course of the treatment gains of speech and play. Initially, the majority of the 10 children made the most progress in play, with more subtle progress in speech. However, when speech was acquired, it began to take the place of play, and as the child aged, the child demonstrated higher frequencies of speech and lower frequencies of play. We believe this crossover of speech and play demonstrates an age appropriate phenomonon. The results are discussed in terms of covariation of behaviors over time.
Additional Longitudinal Treatment Outcomes: A Preliminary Look at the Occurrence of Four Appropriate and Four Inappropriate Behaviors of Ten Children with Autism over 15 Years.
DEBRA BERRY MALMBERG (Claremont Graduate University), Sarah Kuriakose (Pomona College), Marjorie H. Charlop (Claremont McKenna College), Melanie Jira (Claremont Graduate University)
Abstract: This symposium was designed to present the rationale, the method, and some early findings of our 20 program evaluation of our treatment program or children with autism and their families. We are presenting initial results obtained from scoring video tapes of the first 10 children who participated in treatment center. This specific presentation will present an overview of some early findings. Specifically, four appropriate and four inappropriate behaviors will be tracked for 10 children with autism before, during, and after their treatment. These results will be helpful for us to learn about the long term effects of treatment as well as some of the implications. Discussion of the limitations of the method used will also be provided.



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