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.


35th Annual Convention; Phoenix, AZ; 2009

Event Details

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Symposium #557
CE Offered: PSY/BACB
Evidence-based Computer-Assisted Instructional Programs for Autism Spectrum Disorders
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
12:00 PM–1:20 PM
North 120 BC
Area: AUT/EDC; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
Chair: Shannon Cernich (Jigsaw Learning)
Discussant: Christina Whalen (Jigsaw Learning)
Abstract: Despite the large number of interventions for Autism Spectrum Disorders, there are few treatment approaches that focus on increasing the accessibility of intervention and that focus on increasing the quality of implementation. Without accessibility and proper implementation, even the best behavioral intervention will not be successful. Computer-assisted interventions may be able to address some of these issues, but most of these programs are not evidence-based and may not offer enough to result in outcomes that one might expect from another type of intervention. In this symposium, several interventions which take advantage of the accessibility and implementation benefits of computers, will be discussed along with research findings, future directions for computer-assisted interventions, making treatment more available to children, and making implementation more realistic for families and for over-burdened schools. Research studies include descriptive data collected automatically through computers, single-subject designs, case studies, and larger group designs. Studies were conducted remotely via the internet, in homes, and in schools across the U.S.
Enhancing Narrative Language Skills Using Timo Stories Computer Animated Tutor
MOLLY ROBSON (Jigsaw Learning), Christina Whalen (Jigsaw Learning), Shannon Cernich (Jigsaw Learning), Manya C. R. Vaupel (Jigsaw Learning)
Abstract: Narrative language skills are critical for communication and social skills. By the time a child is in kindergarten, it is expected that they will be able to use these skills to re-tell or even make up a story to tell to others. Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders often have a great deal of difficulty acquiring and using these skills. Timo Stories is a software program which utilizes ABA, scaffolded learning, and Narrative Based Language Intervention (NBLI) to teach narrative, language, reading, and listening skills to children. In this study, a multiple-baseline design was implemented to teach 3 children to use narrative and other language skills. All 3 children demonstrated progress and showed enjoyment using the software. Results from this study will be reported including generalization data. Teaching narrative skills is difficult for many parents and teachers. This study shows that having a computer program to help guide the child and adult teacher through this process may result in positive outcome.
Building Research and Intervention Programs Through A Computerized Lesson Creator
SHANNON CERNICH (Jigsaw Learning), Christina Whalen (Jigsaw Learning), Manya C. R. Vaupel (Jigsaw Learning)
Abstract: Many excellent programs are available for educating and treating children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. One of the types of programs that is gaining in popularity in home programs and schools is the use of computer-assisted instructional programs. Some of these programs are “edutainment” and are more for fun than for intervention, others are good intervention programs but may not allow for enough customization to meet the individual needs of each student. Timo’s Lesson Creator is a computer program that allows for complete customization including the ability to upload images that are personal to the child or that are very motivating for the child. This program also allows for building research studies quickly to test a variety of language or social skills to children or adults through an animated tutor (which can also be customized to say what you want it to say). In this presentation, this program will be demonstrated along with several examples of how single-subject or group designs can be built and tested quickly and effectively.
Efficacy of TeachTown Basics Intervention: A Research Overview
MANYA C. R. VAUPEL (Jigsaw Learning), Christina Whalen (Jigsaw Learning), Shannon Cernich (Jigsaw Learning)
Abstract: TeachTown Basics is an intervention program designed for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders, but with proven benefits for other language and cognitive disorders. The program includes content for developmental ages 2-7 years but is used with all ages depending on developmental appropriateness. Significant content areas such as language, cognitive, academic, and life skills are covered on the computer, along with the inclusion of other critical skills such as social interaction, play, imitation, joint attention, self-help skills, and motor skills in the off-computer activities. The program includes computer-assisted instruction, automatic data collection and reporting, session note storage and sharing, and naturalistic activities for enhancing generalization in the home, community, clinics, and schools. Several studies have been conducted including a published single-subject study with 4 children with ASD and 4 children with cognitive delays, a large-scale descriptive study with over 1,000 students using the program all over the U.S. and in other countries, and a clinical trial with over 50 children in a public school setting. Data from all of these studies will be reported as well as a discussion of the future directions of research with this intervention.



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