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.


46th Annual Convention; Washington DC; 2020

Event Details

Previous Page


Symposium #380
CE Offered: BACB
Practical Strategies for Assessment and Program Development for Adults With Autism and Intellectual or Developmental Disabilities
Sunday, May 24, 2020
6:00 PM–6:50 PM
Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Level 1, Salon G
Area: DDA/AUT; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Christopher Manente (Rutgers Center for Adult Autism Services, Rutgers University)
CE Instructor: Christopher Manente, Ph.D.

While the support needs of many individuals with Autism and/or Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities do not change with the expiration of their educational entitlement at age 21, the transition from the school-age educational system to the realm of adult services often involves a significant reduction in the availability of high-quality support services. There are many factors that contribute to the lack of availability of high-quality programs and services for adults with ASD/IDD. Some of these factors include a lack of funding, transportation, opportunities for community-based employment & recreation, training, provider agencies, and highly qualified staff. There continues to be a dire need for additional research focused on the identification and validation of effective strategies for encouraging desirable outcomes among adults with ASD/IDD despite the limited resources that are commonplace in the adult services field. The current symposium addresses this need by exploring practical strategies for functional assessment and the design and implementation of effective support services despite the general lack of resources that commonly exist within adult-focused service delivery agencies.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): Adults, Functional Assessment, Preference Assessment, Telehealth
Target Audience:

Practitioners and researchers interested in the identification, validation, and implementation of evidence-based practices for supporting adults with autism and/or IDD across settings and contexts.


Using Telehealth to Teach Valued Skills to Adults With Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

AZURE PELLEGRINO (University of Kansas), Florence D. DiGennaro Reed (University of Kansas)

Telehealth uses electronic information and telecommunication technologies to support long-distance clinical services. It has successfully been used by medical professionals to deliver services to patients and by clinical professionals to teach family and staff members to provide evidence-based practices. There is no research to date, however, evaluating the use of telehealth to teach individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). Thus, we evaluated the efficacy of a telehealth intervention using total task chaining with least-to-most prompting delivered via videoconference to two adults with IDD. Each participant selected three recreational, independent living, or vocational skills to learn. Both participants demonstrated low independent responding during baseline with enhanced written instructions present. During intervention, which included verbal and model prompting, both participants met the mastery criterion for each skill in fewer than 15 sessions. In addition, both participants performed all skills at the same mastery level in 2-week follow-ups. Finally, both participants expressed satisfaction with the goals, procedures, and effects of the intervention. We discuss the broader scope of the intervention to individuals with disabilities for whom face-to-face services may not be feasible.

Practical Functional Assessment and Skill-Based Treatment in an Adult Service Agency
KATE MARIE SADLER (University of Virginia), Einar T. Ingvarsson (Virginia Institute of Autism), Lauren Haskins (Virginia Institute of Autism), Jessica L. Doucette (Virginia Institute of Autism), Jake Frazier (Virginia Institute of Autism), William Therrien (University of Virginia)
Abstract: Surveys suggest that behavior analysts are unlikely to conduct functional analyses (Oliver, Pratt, & Normand, 2015). Practitioners may find traditional approaches to functional analysis time consuming and unsafe. The practical functional assessment (PFA) process is an efficient and relatively safe approach that results in effective treatment (Jessel, Ingvarsson, Metras, Kirk, & Whipple, 2018). Previous research on the PFA and associated skill-based treatment (SBT) has mostly been conducted with young children. The purpose of the current study was to evaluate this assessment and intervention process in in a day-support program for adults with autism and other developmental disabilities. Results with three adult participants suggest that the PFA allowed for efficient identification of synthesized contingencies maintaining severe problem behavior in the context of on-going activities. SBT consisted of functional communication training, tolerance training, and reinforcement thinning. Rates of problem behavior remained low as typical activities were re-introduced and the schedule of reinforcement thinned. These results provide preliminary evidence that the PFA and SBT can be implemented successfully in an adult services program under the supervision of experienced behavior analysts.

A Comparison of Preference Assessment Methods of Community-Based Activities for Adults With Autism Spectrum Disorder

COURTNEY BUTLER (Rutgers University), SungWoo Kahng (Rutgers University)

The purpose of this study is to compare pictorial preference assessments (PPA) to video-based preference (VPA) assessments to identify preferred activities. Additionally, we compared the effects of these assessments when activities were and were not presented. Participants were two adults with ASD who participated in a university-based employment support program. Multiple preference assessments were conducted in the following sequence: (a) VPA with 5-min access to the activity, (b) VPA with no access following a selection, (c) PPA with 5-min access to the activity, and (d) PPA with no access. Spearman rank order correlation coefficients were calculated to compare the results of VPA to that of the PPA. Preliminary results of the VPA with and without access to activities identified a Spearman correlation coefficient of 0.51 and 0.68, representing a strong positive correlation between each assessment type. These data support previous research indicating access to an activity following a selection may be unnecessary (Clark et al., 2015; Brodhead et al., 2017). This study will benefit individuals with ASD by identifying a viable method of reinforcer identification for community-based activities.




Back to Top
Modifed by Eddie Soh