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

Previous Page


Symposium #428
CE Offered: BACB
Momentary and Systems Measurement in Autism Treatment
Monday, May 29, 2017
10:00 AM–11:50 AM
Convention Center Mile High Ballroom 3B
Area: AUT/PRA; Domain: Translational
Chair: Christine Gibson (Easter Seals)
Discussant: Richard G. Smith (University of North Texas)
CE Instructor: Christine Gibson, Ph.D.

The Department of Behavior Analysis and Easter Seals North Texas have collaborated for almost ten years to provide high quality behavioral interventions to underserved children with autism and their families. The purpose of this symposium is to present an overview of the measurement practices of this intervention program at several different levels. The first presentation provides an overview of the treatment setting and current practices in data collection and analysis. These practices would be considered established and emerging procedures for measurement in autism treatment. The second presentation includes a methodological examination of moment-to-moment behaviors during therapeutic sessions. The third presentation involves a study of measurements to assess quality and progression during child and caregiver interactions. The final presentation includes a description of the development of a modified PLA-CHECK system for observation of groups of children and adults in the treatment centers. A senior researcher in behavior analysis, experienced in applied and translational research, discusses these data practices within the context of practice and research.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): affect, engagement, learn units, PLA-check

Finding Pathways: Measurements Guiding Effective and Compassionate Services for the Traditionally Underserved

(Applied Research)
CHRISTINE GIBSON (Easter Seals North Texas), Shahla Ala'i-Rosales (University of North Texas), Jesus Rosales-Ruiz (University of North Texas), Rachael E. White (Easter Seals North Texas), Aria Dean (Easter Seals North Texas), Naureen Surti (Easter Seals North Texas), Lacey Yates (Easter Seals North Texas), Crystal Finley (Easter Seals North Texas)

For almost ten years, Easter Seals North Texas Autism Treatment Program (ESNT-ATP) in partnership with the University of North Texas, has strived to find pathways to provide quality services to underserved families. In the State of Texas, funding options for ABA services are limited and fragmented. In 2008, ESNT-ATP was one recipient of a state grant to provide comprehensive, evidence-based services to underserved children and families; however, recent shifts in state funding for autism intervention have limited access to Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention (EIBI) for families living in poverty. This has lead ESNT-ATP to find new intervention pathways to effective interventions for traditionally underserved families. The determination of effectiveness lies in the efficiency, validity, and reliability of our measurement tools. An overview of each level of ESNT-ATP measurement is provided in this presentation: child progress, teacher performance, group engagement, and program outcomes. The measurement strategies are discussed in the context of providing effective and compassionate services under conditions of increasing resource restrictions.

A Sequential Analysis of Therapeutic Interactions During Behavioral Interventions
(Applied Research)
JADE WEIR (University of North Texas), Rachael E. White (Easter Seals North Texas), Shahla Ala'i-Rosales (University of North Texas), Jesus Rosales-Ruiz (University of North Texas)
Abstract: Shared happiness, responsiveness, and continuous learning are indicators of ideal interactions between children with autism and their teachers. Being able to make responsive in-the-moment decisions allows teachers to capitalize on teaching opportunities and model skills that prepare children for future learning. Continuous expansion of these foundational skills will lead to success across home, school, and community settings. The purpose of the current study is to conduct a second-by-second sequential analysis of early behavioral intervention sessions with for children ages two to five years. Measures included approach, synchronous engagement, and teaching episodes. Videotapes of child-teacher dyads from a focused service line were scored, as well as exemplary video clips from the Autism Navigator Video Glossary were used to develop the measurement tool. Phenomenological interviews were also conducted with experienced Board Certified Behavior Analysts based on their reactions to the video clips. Narratives from the interviews were compared with the sequential analysis to assess social significance of essential components thought to be part of a balanced, happy, and progressive therapeutic session.

Observation and Analysis of Quality Indicators During Caregiver Daily Living Activities

(Applied Research)
LINDSEY LINETTE LAMBERT (University of North Texas), Isabel L. Cunningham (University of North Texas), April Linden (University of North Texas), Shahla Ala'i-Rosales (University of North Texas), Jesus Rosales-Ruiz (University of North Texas), Rachael E. White (Easter Seals North Texas), Joseph H. Cihon (Autism Partnership Foundation; Endicott College), Nina Hunt (University of North Texas)

This presentation will provide an overview of measures used to quantify the quality of adult-child interactions within the daily living activities of meal and play times. Specifically, this presentation will describe measures used within two daily living programs that focus on improving the overall social relationships and adaptive skills of children with autism. Yummy Starts is a focused program for children between the ages of two and nine that addresses positive behaviors related to food and the social milieu of mealtimes. Sunny Starts is a parent training program that focuses on enhancing the quality of family relationships for children ages three to five through play activities. In both contexts, learn units, child success in targeted goal areas, and synchronous engagement were measured. This combination of measures allows assessment of both progress and indicators of relationship happiness. Such measures may help behavior analysts better analyze the quality of life and social relationships for children with autism and their families across home and community settings.

A Systemic Observation Protocol for Monitoring the Behavioral Health of an Intervention Program
(Applied Research)
APRIL LINDEN (University of North Texas), Aria Dean (Easter Seals North Texas), Isabel L. Cunningham (University of North Texas), Jade Weir (University of North Texas), Shahla Ala'i-Rosales (University of North Texas), Jesus Rosales-Ruiz (University of North Texas)
Abstract: High quality intervention programs strive to provide services that are purposeful and responsive to the children that they serve, while creating and capturing ample learning opportunities. To examine the progress of each of these goals, the current study developed a systemic level measurement protocol for monitoring the overall behavioral health, interactions, and quality of an intervention program for children with autism by analyzing affect, material interactions, social interactions, and learn units across time, people, and activities. This observation system was compared to social validity measures as well as the Autism Program Environment Rating Scale (APERS) in hopes of achieving maximum sampling accuracy and to guide social validity efforts. The product of these measures will help to inform program, classroom, and child goals within the behavioral system. By understanding the overall behavioral health of an intervention program, behavior analysts can create a sustainable environment for on-going progress.



Back to Top
Modifed by Eddie Soh