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 #429
CE Offered: BACB
Catchen' 'em Early: Does it Really Matter?
Monday, May 29, 2017
10:00 AM–11:50 AM
Convention Center Mile High Ballroom 4C/D
Area: AUT; Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: Ivy M. Chong Crane Crane (Florida Institute of Technology & The Scott Center for Autism Treatment)
Discussant: Rebecca P. F. MacDonald (New England Center for Children)
CE Instructor: Rebecca P. F. MacDonald, Ph.D.

Early screening and detection tools have allowed children as young as 12-18 months to receive an ASD diagnosis and thus begin treatment at or before their second birthday. It is well established that Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention (EIBI) programs can produce large gains in language, cognitive and social behavior resulting in remediation of the core deficits in children with autism. The purpose of this symposium is to present research and program models for early identification and treatment of ASD. In the first paper, Graupner and Sallow report progress data from infant siblings who began ABA treatment before 8 months. They discuss early symptomatology and patterns of learning for these infants. In the second paper, Chong and colleagues describe the Parent Observation of Early Markers Scale as a tool for early screening and they propose a model for selecting initial targets and training parents to deliver treatment. In the third paper, Brennan will describe services to infants with a diagnosis of ASD in Albania using case examples and illustrative video clips. Finally, MacDonald and Parry-Cruwys will describe differences in patterns of learning seen in children who begin treatment at 1 and 2 years old.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Symptom Onset and Intervention for Infant Siblings of Children Diagnosed With Autism
TAMLYNN DIANNE GRAUPNER (Wisconsin Early Autism Project), Glen O. Sallows (Wisconsin Early Autism Project)
Abstract: Twenty percent of infant siblings of children with Autism are diagnosed by age three (Ozonoff et al., 2011). Symptoms are present before 2 years (Landa et al., 2012; Jones and Klin, 2013), and intervention prior to the appearance of the full syndrome may result in fewer diagnoses (Rogers et al., 2008). Several studies found improvement in at-risk children under 2 years old (MacDonald et al., 2014; Rogers et al., 2010, 2014). Sixty four infant siblings and 11 typically developing infants participated. Initial age ranged from 1 day to 7.5 months (mean 2.5 mos.). Thirteen showed symptoms of autism: fleeting attention and engagement, reactivity, flat affect, staring off, low response to physical play, and fear of novelty. Intervention included ESDM and ABA strategies, provided 15 to 40 hrs/wk with 1:1 staffing. Parents received direct coaching. Weekly data included AOSI, Bayley-III, Mullen, PLS-5, Vineland-II (IOA > 90%). Only symptomatic infants showed loss of skills, beginning at .5 to 5 months (mean 2.6 mos). Progress was somewhat uneven, with periods of rapid learning, plateaus, and resumption of gains. Infants initially showing symptoms no longer do so.
Ameliorating Warning Signs of ASD in Infants and Toddlers
IVY M. CHONG CRANE CRANE (Florida Institute of Technology & The Scott Center for Autism Treatment), Keira washington (Florida Institute of Technology), emily crochet (Florida Institute of Technology), courtney hannula (Florida Institute of Technology), Corina Jimenez-Gomez (The Scott Center for Autism Treatment, Florida Institute of Technology)
Abstract: According to the CDC, the average age of diagnosis of ASD typically occurs at the age of 4. However, emerging research indicates that Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention (EIBI) produces the best outcomes for children starting treatment prior to their second birthday. Additionally, many individuals may not have access to EIBI due to obstacles such as high cost, lack of trained professionals to deliver services, or lack of diagnosis due to young age. Some researchers have sought to minimize these obstacles by training caregivers to provide ABA-based treatments at home. This paper proposes the use of the Parent Observation of Early Markers Scale (POEMS; Ward & Feldman, 2001) to identify at risk infants and subsequent skills for caregivers to practice with their infant at home. By screening and monitoring the behavioral development of infants at risk for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) we aim to ameliorate behavioral deficits and provide toddlers with earlier access to intervention. A model for selecting and teaching skills will also be discussed.
A Treatment Model for Providing EIBI in Albania
LYNN C. BRENNAN (Independent Behavioral Consultant), Jamie Hughes-Lika (Summit Autism Services)
Abstract: This presentation will give an overview of an early intensive behavioral intervention (EIBI) program for a toddler diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in Albania. The treatment team for this child was initially trained to deliver ABA therapy as part of an international, year-long training program funded by the Vodafone Foundation and sponsored by the Albanian Children’s Foundation from 2010-2011. One of the goals of this grant was to prepare staff psychologists and special educators to pursue graduate level education in behavior analysis with the ultimate, long-term goal of becoming board certified in behavior analysis. Two of the psychologists who participated in this training program, went on to complete the courses at the Florida Institute of Technology (FIT) distance learning program in applied behavior analysis required to apply for board certification in behavior analysis and have worked on this case under the supervision of two BCBA’s from the United States. This presentation will include pre- and post-treatment VP-MAPP assessment data, a program summary, graphic skill acquisition data and some illustrative video clips.

Outcomes and Patterns of Learning for Toddlers With ASD

DIANA PARRY-CRUWYS (New England Center for Children), Rebecca P. F. MacDonald (New England Center for Children)

Early identification and treatment of children with ASD can impact outcomes for toddlers. The Early Skills Assessment Tool (ESAT) measures core symptomology of ASD, including imitation, language, joint attention, play, and stereotypic behavior (MacDonald et al., 2014). Data from their initial study revealed that greatest gains were seen in the children who entered treatment prior to their second birthday. In addition, these children were more likely to be performing at the level of their typical peers in joint attention and play after a year of intervention. The purpose of the current paper is to present the most recent data using the ESAT for children entering EIBI before age 3. Since the 2014 publication we have added data from an additional 31 children totaling; 23 1-year olds and 63 2-year olds again showing differential outcomes with the younger children again characterized by greater improvements on cognitive and joint attention measures than children who began treatment after their second birthday. IOA was collected in 75% of samples and averaged 98% (range, 90- 100%). These findings are discussed as they relate to the importance of early identification and treatment for children with an ASD diagnosis.




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