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 #443
Recent Research in Skill Acquisition Programs to Teach Social and Safety Skills to Children With Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities
Monday, May 29, 2017
11:00 AM–11:50 AM
Convention Center Mile High Ballroom 1A/B
Area: DDA/AUT; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: M. Fernanda Welsh (The ABRITE Organization)
CE Instructor: M. Fernanda Welsh, M.S.

This symposium presents recent research related to teaching social and safety skills to individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities. The first paper presents data on teaching children with autism spectrum disorder to identify the sensory perspective of others, as in, what they can see, hear, taste, smell, and feel. The second paper presents data evaluating and identifying the dose of instruction necessary for the Preschool Life Skills program curriculum to be a successful and efficient teaching tool for children with developmental disabilities. The third paper evaluates the use of teaching children with autism spectrum disorder to use a safe word in the acquisition of stranger safety skills.

Instruction Level: Basic
Keyword(s): perspective taking, safety, social skills

Teaching Sensory Perspective to Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder

M. FERNANDA WELSH (The ABRITE Organization), Adel C. Najdowski (Pepperdine University), Danielle Strauss (The ABRITE Organization), Lindabeth Gallegos (The ABRITE Organization)

Children with autism spectrum disorder often have difficulty with inferring the private events of others, and in particular, they have been found to have difficulty with perspective taking (Baron-Cohen, Leslie, & Frith, 1985). This study is employing a nonconcurrent multiple baseline across participants design to investigate the use of a multiple exemplar-training package for teaching three children with autism to appropriately identify others sensory perspectives, that is detecting what others are experiencing through their five senses (i.e., touch, smell, taste, sight and hear). Data are currently being collected, and percentage correct responding to questions about what others can sense is being measured across sessions. Results thus far demonstrate that participants 1 and 2 responded at chance levels in baseline and participant 1 and 2 demonstrated an immediate increase in level and trend during training. Generalization to untrained stimuli and people is being programmed for and measured by saving exemplars and people used in baseline for retesting in posttraining and using multiple exemplar training during training. Participant 1 demonstrated generalization to untrained stimuli and people in posttraining.


Preschool Life Skills: A Systematic Replication With Children With Developmental Disabilities

MELINDA ROBISON (Child Study Center), Tracie B. Mann (Child Study Center), Einar T. Ingvarsson (University of North Texas)

The Preschool Life Skills (PLS) program was originally created to teach functional communication and social skills to typically developing children in an attempt to prevent the development of problem behavior. Children diagnosed with ASD and other developmental disabilities are also at risk for developing problem behaviors in daycare and school settings due to insufficient instruction and contingency management. Therefore, this population might benefit from PLS instruction. The current study aimed to evaluate and identify the dose of instruction necessary for PLS curriculum to be a successful and efficient teaching tool for children with developmental disabilities. We taught twelve preschool life skills to 9 participants across 4 instruction units. The units were instruction following, functional communication, tolerance of denial and delay, and friendship skills. Instruction was provided by means of a three-tiered instructional approach, which incorporated large group and class-wide instruction, followed by small group and individual instruction as necessary. Results indicated that intervention led to skill acquisition with all nine participants. The skills were also found to maintain four weeks after instruction ended.


It's Not Always a Stranger That's the Danger: A Safe-Word Intervention for Abduction Prevention in Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders

CHELSEE RODRIGUEZ (California State University, Fresno), Marianne L. Jackson (California State University, Fresno)

This study addresses the statistic that most children are abducted by known individuals, not strangers, and examines the effects of a training package that employs the use of a safe-word. A safe-word is a tactic used to decrease the likelihood that a child will leave with a person not appointed by their parents. The study is being conducted in a lab room and various community settings (i.e., shopping mall, grocery store, parks, etc.) with five participants, ages 4-9 years old, diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). A concurrent multiple baseline design across participants was used to measure participants responses to lures by way of a 5-point scoring system across conditions. Each participant was quasi-randomly exposed to a variety of different lures, each falling under one of the three different lure types: authoritative, assistance, and incentive. Intervention utilized a behavioral skills training to teach participants how to use the safe-word and to respond appropriately to a variety of known and unknown individuals who know and dont know the safe-word. Post-intervention probes suggest that this intervention was successful in teaching participants to respond differentially requests of adults who can provide the participant with the safe-word (trusted adults) compared to those who cannot provide the safe-word (familiar/unfamiliar adults). Follow-up probes will also be conducted to examine the maintenance of such an intervention.




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