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.


40th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2014

Event Details

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Symposium #247
CE Offered: BACB
Behavioral Innovations: Social Skills across the Spectrum
Sunday, May 25, 2014
3:00 PM–4:50 PM
W183b (McCormick Place Convention Center)
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Marjorie H. Charlop (Claremont McKenna College)
Discussant: Debra Malmberg (California State University, Northridge)
CE Instructor: Benjamin R. Thomas, M.A.

Children with autism spectrum disorders demonstrate severe social impairment. Common deficiencies include a lack of social initiations, response to social initiations, conversational speech, and play. These deficits demonstrate the need for continued research designed to identify maximally effective interventions for the full range of social skills deficits. This symposium presents four studies that extend the literature on social skills interventions. The first study used a portable device to deliver video modeling treatment that targeted persistence in offering play bids to peers by children with autism. A multiple baseline design across four children was used. The second study used video modeling to simultaneously teach the social skills of giving compliments and responding to compliments to both members of three play dyads. The third study used a multiple baseline design across participants and responses to assess whether one child with autism could teach his two siblings how to skateboard correctly. The final study used a multiple baseline design across three children with autism to assess the effects of an after-school group social skills intervention on appropriate speech, cooperative play, social initiations, and isolation behaviors. Findings will be discussed in relation to the most recent literature and implications for future research.

Keyword(s): autism, social skills

Increasing Play Bids and Interactive Play in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Denise Grosberg (Claremont Graduate University), VICKI NGUYEN (Claremont Graduate University), Marjorie H. Charlop (Claremont McKenna College)

Children with autism lack the social skills necessary to make attempts at engaging with a play partner. We used a portable video modeling intervention (PVMI) to increase persistence in making play bids to a playmate. A multiple baseline design was used to assess treatment effects. Participants included four children with autism and four typically developing children who served as confederates. During baseline sessions, the child with autism was instructed to play outside with a friend. Three confederate peers were stationed in the outside play area and were available to play should the child with autism approach them. In the intervention phase, the child was shown video clips of adults approaching one, two, and three peers before the adults invitation to play was accepted. Results showed that the children demonstrated persistence in making play bids after the PVMI, and generalized and maintained increases across different peers and settings. Further, social validity data indicated that children were more sociable following intervention than during baseline. Findings from this study suggests the efficacy in using PVMI to increase play bids and subsequent play for children with autism.

Simultaneously Teaching Dyads of Children with Autism Verbal Social Interaction Using Portable Video Modeling
Brenda Miranda (Claremont Graduate University), CATELYN GUMAER (Claremont Graduate University), Marjorie H. Charlop (Claremont McKenna College)
Abstract: Individuals across the autism spectrum exhibit deficits in social reciprocity. Social reciprocity is defined as a shared exchange in which both interaction partners make appropriate and mutually enjoyable contributions. Compliments are one means of demonstrating social reciprocity. The current study used a multiple baseline design to assess the efficacy of a portable video modeling intervention in simultaneously teaching dyads of children with autism to give and receive compliments appropriately. Participants were 6 children with autism between the ages of 5 to 12 years old. Participants were assigned to dyads based on age, functioning, and activity. During sessions, each dyad was instructed to engage in a play activity (e.g., board games, coloring). In baseline sessions, the children seldom demonstrated compliments or responses to compliments. During intervention, the children in the dyad sat together to watch a video of two adults modeling appropriate compliments and responses during play activities on a portable video device, the Apple iPad. Results of the current study demonstrated the efficacy of using portable video modeling interventions to teach children with autism to give and respond to compliments. The discussion emphasizes the implications of administering portable video modeling interventions within children’s natural environments and to multiple children simultaneously.

How to Ride a Skateboard: The Child with Autism as a Teacher

BENJAMIN R. THOMAS (Claremont Graduate University), Michael Lafasakis (Hospital Clinic Home Center, Inc.), Silvana Z. Davila-Thomas (Brooklyn Behavior, Inc.)

Sibling-training models often involve a typically developing (TD) sibling acting as a therapist for a child with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). To date, few studies have examined the potential benefits for sibling relationships, related to family play and social skill development, when the child with ASD takes on the role of teaching his siblings. The purpose of this study, therefore, is to evaluate the effects of reversing the sibling-training roles: Teaching a child with ASD how to teach his siblings a recreational skill. We used behavioral skills training (BST), within a multiple-probe baseline design across responses, to teach a child with ASD how to ride a skateboard. Next, the child followed an activity schedule, containing BST components, to teach his siblings (one TD and one with Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified) how to skateboard correctly. Researchers used a multiple-baseline design across participants and responses to demonstrate the effects of sibling training. Following training by the child with ASD, both siblings skateboarding skills improved and family social interaction also increased, with large effect sizes (d=2.87 and d=1.51, respectively). Discussion of these findings will focus on implications for future research in sibling-related treatments.

An Evaluation of a Comprehensive Group Social Skills Program for Children with High Functioning Autism
Abbey Hye (Scripps College), GERIN GASKIN (Claremont Graduate University), Marjorie H. Charlop (Claremont McKenna College)
Abstract: Group interventions are believed to be advantageous to target important skills for children with autism such as social skill acquisition, however, there is little empirical research evaluating the efficacy of these interventions. This study is one of the first to evaluate the effects of a social skills group intervention for children with high functioning autism. The evaluation used a multiple baseline design and included three 5- to 9-year-old children with autism. During baseline, the participants seldom demonstrated appropriate speech, cooperative play, or social initiations, and they exhibited high occurrences of solitary activity. Weekly, group intervention sessions were two hours long and included children with autism and neurotypical peers. During these sessions, therapists used behaviorally based treatment strategies (e.g., peer mediated interactions, Naturalistic Teaching Strategies, video modeling, scripts, Modified Incidental Teaching Sessions) to facilitate positive peer interactions during structured and unstructured activities (e.g., outdoor play, conversations, pretend play dyads). With the implementation of the social skills program, cooperative play and appropriate speech increased rapidly and the participants displayed dramatic decreases in isolation behaviors but did not affect participant’s social initiations. Results indicate that social skills group interventions can promote the acquisition of social skills in children with autism.



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