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 #38
CE Offered: BACB
Teaching Children with Autism New Tricks: Complex Verbal Responses, Pretend Play, and Replacements for Repetitive Behavior
Saturday, May 24, 2014
2:00 PM–2:50 PM
W183c (McCormick Place Convention Center)
Area: AUT/PRA; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Nicole Luke (Surrey Place Centre)
CE Instructor: Nicole Luke, Ph.D.

Researchers and practitioners have been challenged to address three key areas of deficit identified with autism: language, play, and repetitive behavior. In this series of papers, each of these areas were investigated in unique ways, making a contribution to the applied research and aiding in our understanding of some of the features of autism. Each paper describes a particular tactic and its effects on the participants in the study, using a single case design research methodology. One paper taught divergent intraverbal responding through the use of convergent verbal prompts. One paper taught creative use of common objects for play through a combination of intraverbal responses and reinforcement for play actions. And, finally, one paper expanded the community of reinforcers through conditioning of new items and activities. These tactics contribute to the evidence-based practices available to teachers and staff who work with children with autism. And they reframe some applied research questions to engage the audience in a dialogue about how our assumptions might drive our research interests and findings.


Teaching Divergent Intraverbal Responding With Verbal Prompts Involving Convergent Multiple Control

WAN-CHI CHOU (National ChangHua University of Education), Gabrielle T. Lee (Teachers College, Columbia University), Hua Feng (National ChangHua University of Education)

The purpose of this study was to teach divergent intraverbal responding using verbal prompts involving convergent multiple control. The participant was a 7 year-old boy with autism. A multiple probe design across behaviors was employed. The behaviors involved categorical questions across 5 different colors (e.g., Name some things that are green). The verbal prompts used to teach divergent intraverbal responding consisted of verbal descriptions on feature, function, and class (FFC) of each target item. The objective was to increase the number of divergent intraverbal responses for each categorical question. The results showed that verbal prompts using convergent control with FFC were effective in increasing the number of divergent intraverbal responses to categorical questions. Generalization effects across people, settings, and spontaneous novel responses were also assessed.


Teaching Children with Autism Creative Use of Common Objects to Engage in Symbolic Pretend Play Activities

HUA FENG (National ChangHua University of Education), Sheng Xu (ChongQing Normal University), Gabrielle T. Lee (Teachers College, Columbia University), Wenchu Sun (National Changhua University of Education)

One of the major deficits for children with autism is a lack of creative symbolic pretend play skills. The purpose of this study is to investigate whether a verbal prompting procedure can increase the number of intraverbal responses on pretend uses of common objects. The goal was to teach children with autism creative ideas of using common objects for symbolic pretend play activities, thereby expanding their pretend play repertoires. The training procedure involved (1) presenting a target object, (2) having the child tact name and function of this object (e.g., a ring for stacking), (3) intraverbal responding on pretend uses of the object (Q: What can you pretend with this bowl? A: a hat, a bath-tub.), (4) the child engaging in pretend play actions with the object. In the pilot experiment, a 6-year-old boy with autism served as a participant. An ABAB design was originally planned to assess the effectiveness of the proposed teaching procedure with two sets of target objects. However, after the completion of training on the first set of three target objects, the child's ability for creative uses of common objects emerged and generalized to the second set of untaught objects, not allowing the return to baseline. Despite a positive training effectbeing achieved for this child, the experimental control was not demonstrated in an AB design. In experiment II, the procedure was replicated with a multiple probe across behaviors design for two preschool children with autism. Data showed that the procedure effectively increased the number of pretend uses for target objects for both children in Experiment II. During generalization probe sessions, both children were able to provide intraverbal responses of pretend uses for untaught objects and engage in play actions, suggesting the possibility to teach children with autism creative use of common objects to expand their pretend play repertoires.


Just Because it Makes "Sense" Doesn't Mean it's Real: Untangling a Sensory Based Rationale for Treating Self-Injurious Behavior.

GRANT GAUTREAUX (Nicholls State University), Katie Jenkins (Nicholls State University)

Implementation of various sensory integration interventions have been observed across many types of school settings. Variations of these procedures have encompassed sensory diets which are based on the premise that individuals with autism and related disorders have an underlying deficit in sensory processing. The assumption is that this deficit results in high rates of stereotypy or self-injurious behavior due to the individual attempting to regulate its sensory input. Thus the deficit is ameliorated by providing ample opportunities for sensory-based activities. There appears to be an inverse correlation between excessive stereotypy and self-injurious behaviors and the number ofknown reinforcers for the individual. For most individuals, having a limited number of reinforcers will likely have an adverse impact on the rate of learning new skills and has social implications. By using a multiple baseline design across three participants, we tested the effects of conditioning items and activities on the selection ofsensory based items as preferred activities by the participants and the impact on the number of episodes of self-injurious behavior. Results are discussed in terms of the amount of time individuals engaged with non-sensory based stimuli in a free play setting.




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