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 #107
CE Offered: BACB
Using the iPad® as a Speech-Generating Device: Beyond the Basic Verbal Operants
Saturday, May 27, 2017
5:00 PM–5:50 PM
Convention Center Mile High Ballroom 4C/D
Area: AUT/VRB; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Elizabeth R. Lorah (University of Arkansas)
CE Instructor: Elizabeth R. Lorah, Ph.D.
Abstract: The development of powerful, portable, and readily available handheld technology has changed our use of Augmentative and Alternative Communication systems for individuals with autism (Lorah, Parnell, Whitby, & Hantula, 2014). The use of the iPad® and application Proloqu2Go™ as a speech-generating device (SGD) for individuals with autism continues to receive attention within the literature. Additionally, there is a growing use of such devices in clinical practice, including Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention (EIBI) for preschool aged children with autism. While we have seen a growing number of studies evaluating the use of such SGD in terms of the acquisition of the basic verbal operants (i.e., mand), there are comparatively few studies examining the effects of such training in terms of collateral behaviors and those behaviors necessary for independent use of the devices. This symposium will present data from three studies that looked beyond the acquisition of basic verbal operants in device training for preschool aged children with autism, receiving EIBI in a University based clinical setting. The first study will evaluate device navigation, including unlocking the device and navigating to the Proloqu2Go™ application, an important skill for functionally independent device use. The second study will explore the effects of the use of an iPad® based SGD on the increase of “pro-social” behaviors (i.e., eye contact, social initiation, etc.) and decrease in problem behavior. Lastly, data regarding the acquisition of autoclitics or manding with a carrier phrase will be presented. Implications for clinical practice and suggestions for future research endeavors will also be discussed.
Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): Autism, iPad, Speech-generating device, Verbal Behavior

Acquisition of Device Navigation Using the iPad as a Speech-Generating Device

JASMINE WELCH-BEARDSLEY (University of Arkansas), Elizabeth R. Lorah (University of Arkansas)

Recent research suggests that many non-vocal children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) diagnosis may benefit from the use of an augmentative or alternative communication (AAC) device (Lorah, Parnell, Schaefer Whitby, & Hantula, 2014). Augmentative communication refers to the alternative way of communicating being the primary method of communication while augmented is used as a supplement (Lorah, Parnell, Schaefer Whitby, & Hantula, 2014). Recently, there has been a growing interest in using the iPad as a speech speech-generating device (SGD) as a form of AAC. When using a handheld device as a SGD, it is important that the user is able to navigate the device to ensure independent use. The purpose of the research was to evaluate the use of task analysis and a five-second-time delay with full physical prompts on the acquisition of device navigation. In a multiple baseline across participants design, three preschool aged children with a diagnosis of ASD were taught to open the iPad, locate and open the application Proloquo2go. Using a task analysis, this behavior chain was broken into three steps: pressing the home button; swiping right on the screen; and in opening the application. In baseline, none of the participants were able to independently follow the steps at 80% independence. During training, a preferred item (determined by a preference assessment before research began) was presented to the participant but kept out of reach. A five-second-time delay, with full physical prompts was used for instructional purposes. All three participants acquired the ability to navigate their device independently as a result of this training. Following acquisition, generalization was assessed through having the participants complete the steps to unlock the iPad and open the app in a different environment.

The Effects of Verbal Behavior Training on Social Communicative Behaviors
ISIS TRAUTMAN (University of Arkansas), Elizabeth R. Lorah (University of Arkansas)
Abstract: Social Communicative Behaviors (SCB) are key component to social interaction. Acquisition of social language and social skills offers individuals the opportunity to benefit from being part of a social community. The acquisition of SCB is described as the consequence of teaching and prompting procedures (Taylor & Hoch 2008) and manding is often the first skill to be taught to children with SCB disorders (Bijou & Baer, 1965), such as autism. The present study, used a reversal design to explore the use of iPad® based Speech Generating Devices (SGD) for mand training, with three non-vocal preschoolers diagnosed with autism and its effects on SCB. Two 10-minute conditions were alternated, during condition one the SGD was available to the participants, during condition two the device was not available. Presence and absence of SCB and problem behaviors was recorded during both conditions. Additionally, the training and progress of the participants during mand training was documented. Preliminary data indicates an increment of instances of SCB during condition one and an increase of problem behaviors during condition two for both participants.

The Acquisition of Carrier Phrases Using the iPad® as a Speech-Generating Device

ASHLEY PARNELL (University of Arkansas), Elizabeth R. Lorah (University of Arkansas)

The use of the iPad and application Proloqu2Go has provided practitioners with access to high capability speech-generating devices (SGD) that are readily available and comparatively less expensive. In response, we have seen a growing body of research, with promising results, demonstrating that the iPad and application Proloqu2Go can effectively be used as an Augmentative and Alternative Communication system for young children with autism, in terms of the acquisition of a mand repertoire. That said, we have seen relatively less research looking beyond the basic mand repertoire to other operants such as the tact or intraverbal. Comparatively, we have seen even less research on the acquisition of the autoclitic. This study evaluated the use of an iPad based SGD and a five-second time delay with full physical prompts, for the acquisition of manding with an autoclitic (i.e., carrier phrase), in three preschool aged children with autism. Using a multiple-baseline design across participants, children were exposed to training during a snack-time routine, within a university based clinical preschool setting. All three participants acquired the ability to mand using the carrier phrase I want, within the snack-time setting. Following acquisition of the carrier phrase during snack time, generalization of the skill was accessed across other classroom routines and environments. Results indicate that the use of such a device for full-sentence manding is achievable. Additionally, the results provide further support for the use of time-delay and prompting for the acquisition of verbal behavior in preschool aged children with autism. Collectively, these results provide further support for the use of handheld computing devices as SGD.




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