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.


10th International Conference; Stockholm, Sweden; 2019

Event Details

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Symposium #46
Increasing Functional Life Skills and Health-Related Behaviors in Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders
Sunday, September 29, 2019
4:00 PM–4:50 PM
Stockholm Waterfront Congress Centre, Level 6, A2
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Sharon A. Reeve (Caldwell University)

Children with autism spectrum disorders may exhibit deficits in adaptive behavior such as functional living skills and health-related behaviors. A strong repertoire of adaptive behaviors may be closely linked to positive long-term outcomes (Carothers & Taylor, 2004) and quality of life (Kuhlthau et al., 2010) for children with autism spectrum disorders. Despite the success that behavior analysts have had teaching adaptive skills to this population, there are still many areas in which evidence-based teaching strategies are lacking. This symposium will focus on strategies aimed at increasing adaptive behaviors in children with autism. The first presenter used a progressive treatment model to teach children with autism to tolerate having their fingernails cut. The second presenter used activity schedules to promote sustained engagement in physical activity with three children with autism. The third presenter used video modeling and multiple exemplars to teach teenagers with autism to use a debit card in the natural environment. Taken together, these studies add to the growing pool of evidence-based strategies available to practitioners working with children with autism spectrum disorders on health behaviors and functional living skills.

Instruction Level: Basic
Keyword(s): Adaptive behavior, Health behavior, Life skills

Teaching Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders to Tolerate Fingernail Cutting: A Progressive Treatment Model

MEGHAN DESHAIS (Caldwell University), Lisa Guerrero (Munroe-Meyer Institute), Brandon C. Perez (University of Florida), Timothy R. Vollmer (University of Florida)

Many individuals with developmental disabilities exhibit uncooperative behavior during hygiene routines with caregivers (e.g., Schumacher & Rapp, 2011). Uncooperative behavior may hinder or prevent caregivers from completing these routines and may put these individuals at risk for poor health outcomes. Although a limited number of studies have assessed the function of uncooperative behavior during hygiene routines, it is assumed that these behaviors are maintained by escape from and avoidance of these routines. Despite the well-documented effectiveness of escape extinction as a treatment for escape maintained problem behavior, the nature of many hygiene routines could render escape extinction a dangerous and risky treatment option. A number of treatment studies have successfully treated uncooperative behavior during hygiene routines without escape extinction. We sought to extend this line of research by addressing a number of the limitations of previous studies. More specifically, the purpose of the current study was to: (1) replicate and extend the procedures described by Shabani and Fisher (2006) to routine nail cutting, (2) present a progressive treatment model, (3) provide a comprehensive account of caregiver training, and (4) measure and report behavioral indicators of participant distress.

Using Pictorial Activity Schedules to Increase Physical Activity in Children With Autism
M. ALICE SHILLINGSBURG (May Institute), Brittany Lee Bartlett (Marcus Autism Center), Taylor Thompson (Marcus Autism Center), Kristen K Criado (Marcus Autism Center & Emory University)
Abstract: Children with autism are 40% more likely to be overweight and obese compared to their typically developed peers. Although evidenced-based interventions for weight management exist for other pediatric populations, these approaches may require adaptation for children with ASD. A key component of existing interventions is to increase time in physical activity. Individuals with developmental disabilities often require specific interventions to remain on task or complete activities with extended durations. Activity Schedules have been shown to be effective with this population in increasing time on task. The current study extended the use of Activity Schedules to promote sustained engagement in physical activities with 3 children diagnosed with autism using a multiple baseline across participants design. All three participants showed increases in total time spent engaged in physical activities following intervention; however, engagement reduced to baseline levels when the Activity Schedule was removed. Thus, Activity Schedules appear to be an appropriate method of increasing physical activity in children with autism but more research on fading out the schedules is needed.

Teaching Adolescents With Autism Spectrum Disorder a Generalized Repertoire of Using a Debit Card

EILEEN MARY MILATA (Caldwell University), Sharon A. Reeve (Caldwell University), Kenneth F. Reeve (Caldwell University), Chata A. Dickson (New England Center for Children)

Individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) demonstrate deficits in performing generalized responses that occur in natural environments and vary in stimulus conditions. Previous research has discussed the importance of teaching adaptive skills to adolescents with ASD that generalize to the natural environment to increase independence throughout adulthood. To address such deficits, Horner and colleagues (1982) recommended using general-case analysis strategies to identify the full range of stimulus variations and required responses; then creating multiple teaching exemplars that facilitate for generalization of the target skill. To date, general-case analysis and multiple exemplar training have not been used to teach individuals with ASD to use a chip debit card. Therefore, the purpose of the study was to contribute to the general-case analysis literature while addressing limitations of previous studies that did not implement generalization strategies to teach adolescents with ASD adaptive skills. A multiple-probe design was used to demonstrate skill acquisition across teaching and generalization probe exemplars for three adolescents with ASD. Pre- and posttest probes were conducted at stores in the natural environment to assess generalized responding. Results suggest that all participants acquired the target skill following video modeling and multiple exemplar training, and demonstrated maintenance during a four-week posttest probe.




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