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 #490
CE Offered: BACB
Measuring Behavioral Development and Intervention in Autism Spectrum Disorder
Monday, May 29, 2017
4:00 PM–4:50 PM
Convention Center Mile High Ballroom 3C
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Michael Lamport Commons (Harvard Medical School)
Discussant: Saranya Ramakrishnan (Harvard School of Public Health)
CE Instructor: Michael Lamport Commons, Ph.D.

The symposium is on measuring behavioral development and intervention at proper place for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder . It focuses on the need of developmentally based behavioral instruments to assess the progress of autism. This allows for individualization in all cases to increase intervention effectiveness. The presentations in this symposium will discuss: a) a developmentally based behavioral instrument for early detection of autism and effective intervention; b) empirical study of autism developmental task instrument in predicting developmental difficulty of task items; c) a need for placing the person in the right place in a behavioral development sequence, to see if sequenced interventions are actually moving the child forward.

Instruction Level: Intermediate

A Developmentally Based Behavioral Instrument to Assess Development and Progression of Autism

NICHOLAS HEWLETT KEEN COMMONS-MILLER (Tufts University), Michael Lamport Commons (Harvard Medical School), Dristi Adhikari (Dare Association)

A new developmentally based behavioral instrument Autism Developmental Task Sequence has been developed. With the use of the instrument, the aim is to see the longitudinal and cross-sectional data on developmental progress in individual performance in a number of domains associated with autism spectrum disorder. All the questions in the instrument are task based. The answers to questions are asked ratings from a scale of 1(never) to6 (always). The items in the instrument are developed using the Model of Hierarchical Complexity to determine their developmental difficulty. The domains and subdomains are also based on the Model of Hierarchical Complexity. The instrument breaks these domains down to get an understanding/analysis of these impairments and their developmental progress. Each items are pre scored for their Order of Hierarchical Complexity (OHC) (Commons & Miller, 1998; Commons & Pekker, 2008). In each domain, the instrument’s items form a task sequence. The sequence is formed by determining the order of hierarchical complexity of the items and then putting them from easy to hard in order. A task actions is one order of hierarchical complexity more difficult than the task actions it is defined in terms of and sequences the actions in a non-arbitrary way.

Findings from Measuring Developmental Outcomes in Autism Spectrum Disorder
DRISTI ADHIKARI (Dare Association ), Jeffery Baran (Northeastern University), Michael Lamport Commons (Harvard Medical School)
Abstract: orty-two children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder were given a developmentally based behavioral instrument, Autism Developmental Task Sequence. The instrument was found to be a very good predictor of how developmentally difficult the task items were. The correlation between Order of Hierarchical Complexity (OHC) of the items and Rasch score was extremely strong, r(43) = .892, p = .000.The mean stage of performance was, M = 4.26, S.D. = 2.36. The age range and mean stage of performance of the sample did not line up with the age and stage distribution of normal population (Piaget, 1983). Through the use of the instrument, we were able to show the development sequence cross sectionally. This information is useful for knowing where to intervene and also to measure effectiveness of intervention over reasonable period of time.



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