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.


43rd Annual Convention; Denver, CO; 2017

Event Details

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Symposium #387
CE Offered: BACB
Making the Most of Natural Learning Opportunities for Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder
Monday, May 29, 2017
8:00 AM–9:50 AM
Convention Center Mile High Ballroom 3C
Area: AUT/DEV; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Jennifer Ninci (University of Hawaii at Manoa)
Discussant: Patricia Sheehey (University of Hawaii at Manoa)
CE Instructor: Jennifer Ninci, Ph.D.

Children with autism spectrum disorder characteristically have difficulties with generalizing acquired skills across contexts. Therefore, instructional practices often require explicit generalization programming strategies (e.g., incidental teaching, training natural behavior change agents, teaching multiple exemplars, programming common stimuli) to promote meaningful behavior change in children with autism. This symposium includes four data-based presentations and an overall discussion on creating natural learning opportunities for children with autism. Two of the presentations in this symposium, a single-case research study and a correlational study, primarily have implications for training parents and other natural change agents to use behavior analytic strategies. Data on parent and corresponding child outcomes are included. The other two presentations in this symposium, a single-case research study and a systematic review of the literature, primarily have implications for using naturalistic teaching and other generalization strategies alongside instructor-led teaching with massed discrete trials to promote learning. Data on skill acquisition and generalization are included. These presentations address teaching various skills to children including expressive language (e.g., tacting), receptive language (e.g., receptive identification), and adaptive skills (e.g., brushing teeth). This symposium will be useful for attendees with an interest in promoting early skill development and generalization for young learners with autism and other developmental disabilities.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): Acquisition, DTT, Naturalistic, Parent Training

Child Reciprocal Vocal Contingency and Concurrent Language-Related Characteristics in Young Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder

AMY HARBISON (Vanderbilt University), Paul J. Yoder (Vanderbilt University), Anne Warlaumont (University of California, Merced)

Child reciprocal vocal contingency (CRVC) refers to the childs participation in reciprocal vocal interactions, which might aid speech and language development in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Applied to CRVC, a positive operant contingency occurs when the probability of child vocalization after adult vocal responses is greater than the probability of child vocalizations after other antecedent events. In this study, we propose a novel measure of vocal reciprocity that provides an index for the contingency of child vocalizations on adult response to the immediately preceding child vocalization. We used automated vocal analysis and 3-event (child vocalization -> adult vocalization -> child vocalization) sequential analysis to measure CRVC from 2 naturalistic, daylong vocal samples from 21 low-verbal toddlers and preschoolers with ASD and nearby adults. These long vocal samples produced statistically significant (p < .001) average CRVC scores with a large effect size relative to zero (Cohens d = 2.8) that were stable across 2 days (ICC = .78), and concurrently correlated with consonant inventory in communication acts, even when chance sequencing of vocalizations was controlled (partial r = .59). Diverse consonant use in vocal communication is a vital part of a versatile expressive vocabulary. More research on CRVC is warranted.


Programming for Generalization of Parent-Implemented Behavioral Interventions for Children With Autism

Leslie Neely (The University of Texas at San Antonio), Felicia Castro-Villarreal (University of Texas at San Antonio), Stephanie Gerow (Baylor University), Wendy A. Machalicek (University of Oregon), DAIRA RODRIGUEZ (University of Texas at San Antonio)

The purpose of this study is to evaluate a clinic based training package on parent generalization of applied behavior analytic (ABA) interventions to their home. Three parents of children with autism were taught to implement an ABA intervention using behavioral skills training plus video-based performance feedback. A multiple-probe across participants design was used to evaluate the effects of the parent training on the parents� implementation fidelity, as measured by the percentage of accurately completed items within a procedural fidelity checklist. Distal effects on child completion of target adaptive skill independence was evaluated. Results demonstrated that all parents met the pre-set performance criterion of 90% implementation fidelity within five sessions. Parent fidelity maintained at levels above baseline during follow-up phase. Preliminary child data indicates increased independence in completion of the adaptive skill. These results suggest that parent training using behavior skills training plus video-based feedback may be an effective method of promoting adaptive skill development in natural settings for children with autism spectrum disorder.


Use of Preferred Targets in Early Receptive Identification Programs for Children With Autism

JENNIFER NINCI (University of Hawaii at Manoa), Mandy J. Rispoli (Purdue University), Stephanie Gerow (Baylor University), Emily Gregori (Purdue University)

Individuals with autism spectrum disorder characteristically demonstrate interest in a restricted range of activities and often fail to respond to alternative environmental stimuli. These characteristics act as a barrier to learning important life skills. Strategies that motivate learners with autism to engage in alternative activities warrant development and exploration. One such strategy is incorporating interests into the learning environment to establish motivation and promote participation. The purpose of this single-case research study was to evaluate the use of interests as receptive identification targets for children with autism in the context of an intervention with added components. Overall outcomes demonstrate added effects of the embedded interest condition that correspond to increases in various indicators of engagement and generalization for two participants, while a third participants data is inconclusive. The outcomes of this study have implications for sequencing educational objectives and adding naturalistic intervention components to promote skill acquisition and generalization in early language learning programs for children with autism.


Research-Based Approaches to Promoting Generalization When Using Discrete-Trial Training

MARY JO NOONAN (University of Hawaii)

Discrete-Trial Training (DTT) is an applied behavior analysis application for teaching new skills to young children with autism. It is one of the first behavioral and data-based approaches that has been described in the literature as highly successful for children with autism. A concern frequently cited in the literature on DTT, however, is that the isolated and repetitive structure of DTT results in skill acquisition without generalization. This presentation will describe the current research-base of DTT studies that have incorporated generalization strategies, including multiple exemplar training; introduce to natural maintaining contingencies; NET/incidental and milieu teaching; mediate generalization; program common stimuli; and general case instruction. We will also illustrate modifications to DTT interventions derived from the research literature. These illustrations will be supported by child data on skill acquisition and generalization. We will conclude with a discussion of challenges and recommendations for addressing generalization on a regular basis for children receiving DTT.




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