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.


11th Annual Autism Conference; San Juan, Puerto Rico; 2017

Event Details

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Invited Paper Session #7
Effective Strategies for Promoting Complex Social Play in Children With Autism
Wednesday, February 1, 2017
1:30 PM–2:20 PM
Miramar Ballroom
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
Instruction Level: Basic
CE Instructor: Thomas S. Higbee, Ph.D.
Chair: Jessica Akers (University of Nebraska Medical Center)
THOMAS S. HIGBEE (Utah State University)
Dr. Thomas S. Higbee is a Professor of Special Education and Rehabilitation at Utah State University and Director of the Autism Support Services: Education, Research, and Training (ASSERT) program, an early intensive behavioral intervention program for children with autism that he founded in 2003. He is a doctoral-level Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA-D) and a Licensed Behavior Analyst in the state of Utah. His research focuses on the development of effective educational and behavioral interventions for children with autism spectrum disorders and related disabilities as well as the development of effective training strategies for teaching parents and professionals to implement effective interventions. He is a former associate editor for the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis and a current associate editor for the European Journal of Behavior Analysis and the International Journal of Behavior Analysis and Autism Spectrum Disorders. Dr. Higbee is committed to the dissemination of effective behavioral interventions and has helped to create intensive behavior analytic preschool and school programs for children with autism and related disorders in Brazil, Russia, Portugal, and throughout his home state of Utah. He is the past president of the Utah Association for Behavior Analysis (UtABA) and currently serves as a member of the Practice Board of the Association for Behavior Analysis International and the Psychologist Licensing Board of the state of Utah.
Abstract: Play serves an important function in the lives of young children. Through play, children learn about the world around them and come to understand the social rules and conventions that define the human experience. Many young children with autism spectrum disorders, however, do not develop the skills necessary to play appropriately with other children or even when alone. Over the past several years, behavioral researchers have developed support strategies to teach young children with autism to play using a visual cuing system called photographic activity schedules, in combination with social scripting and script fading. In the current presentation, strategies for using activity schedules and script fading to promote both independent and complex social play will be described and discussed. Recent research illustrating the effective use of activity schedules and script fading to promote complex social play between children with autism and their typically developing peers will also be presented and discussed.
Target Audience:

Certified behavior analysts, licensed psychologists, graduate students.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) discuss evidence-based strategies for promoting play in young children with autism; (2) discuss evidence-based strategies for promoting social skills in young children with autism; (3) use evidence-based strategies to teach play and social behavior to their children/clients.



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