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 #44
Advancements in Teaching Play Skills to Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder
Saturday, May 27, 2017
11:00 AM–11:50 AM
Convention Center Mile High Ballroom 4E/F
Area: AUT/EDC; Domain: Translational
Chair: John D. Molteni (University of Saint Joseph)
Discussant: William H. Ahearn (New England Center for Children)
CE Instructor: John D. Molteni, Ph.D.

The development of play skills in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder is an ever present need in educational and treatment programs. In the first paper, the authors will present the use of matrix training to teach play skills to three preschool student with Autism Spectrum Disorder using same-age peer trainers. The results will be discussed in terms using matrix training as a generative instructional method for play and the potential benefit for using peers as trainers. The authors of the second paper evaluated a multi-component treatment package including blocking stereotypy, differential reinforcement, and backward chaining, to increase functional leisure engagement (FLE) in three school-aged children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. These results will be discussed in terms of their effect on increased FLE as well as decreases in stereotypy. Both procedures will be discussed in terms of their generalization to novel peers and toys respectively and the potential benefit as interventions to be utilized within school settings.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): functional play, leisure skills, matrix training, play skills

Increasing Sociodramatic Play Skills in Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder via Peer-Mediated Matrix Training

(Service Delivery)
ELIZABETH HATZENBUHLER (University of Saint Joseph), John D. Molteni (University of Saint Joseph), Judah B. Axe (Simmons College)

Matrix training is a generative instructional approach where stimulus pairings are taught with the goal of emergent responses occurring without direct instruction. The matrix in this study was comprised of four character-action pairs aligned on a vertical and horizontal axis respectively. The researcher trained peers without identified disabilities to provide instructions and feedback to three children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) for four character-action pairings. For all participants, untrained responses for the remaining character-action pairings emerged in 73% to 100% of opportunities. In addition, responses for all participants generalized to novel peers. For two of the three participants, responses also generalized to independent play. Results of this study suggest that matrix training mediated by a peer can be an effective and efficient method for teaching sociodramatic play skills.


Increasing Functional Leisure Engagement for Children With Autism Using Backward Chaining

(Service Delivery)
Chelsea Kremer (Marcus Autism Center), CLAIRE LEA (Marcus Autism Center), Robin K. Landa (Western New England University), Sarah Frampton (Marcus Autism Center), M. Alice Shillingsburg (Marcus Autism Center, Emory University School of Medicine)

Research with individuals with disabilities has demonstrated the utility of intervention approaches to address toy play, also referred to as functional leisure engagement (FLE). Examples include prompting FLE, blocking stereotypy, and differentially reinforcing appropriate FLE with social or automatic (i.e., access to stereotypy) reinforcers. Backward chaining has yet to be evaluated, but may be useful for establishing more complex FLE. The current study employed a treatment package consisting of these components with three school-aged children with autism in a therapeutic classroom. Effects were evaluated during pretest and posttest sessions, which consisted of free access to toys in a novel setting. The percentage of session with FLE and stereotypy (two participants only) was evaluated using a multiple probe design across participants. Results showed all participants demonstrated an increase in FLE and two participants showed decreased stereotypy. Feasibility for classroom implementation is discussed.




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