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.


First Annual Autism Conference; Boston, MA; 2007

Event Details

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Poster Session #11
Poster Session #2
Saturday, February 3, 2007
8:00 PM–11:30 PM
Back Bay BCD
1. The Use of Video Modeling to Teach Staff to Conduct Discrete Trial Instruction
Area: AUT; Domain: Service Delivery
CYNTHIA N. CATANIA (Melmark New England), Daniel Almeida (Melmark New England)
Abstract: Developing effective and efficient training methods to teach human service and educational staff to conduct discrete trial instruction is of critical importance to the field of applied behavior analysis. In this study, three new direct service staff participated in a training program incorporating a video model of correct skill performance, but no feedback was provided on their performance. Staff’s percentage of accuracy of discrete trial competencies was assessed during baseline and training conditions using a multiple probe across participants design. Results showed an immediate and substantial increase in accuracy to 95-100% following training. Interobserver agreement on the dependent variable was collected during 100% of the sessions and averaged 98%.
2. Treatment of Chronic Food Refusal in a Young Boy with PDD/NOS
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
KRISTIN J. COLBERT (Melmark New England), John Demanche (Melmark New England), Frank L. Bird (Melmark New England)
Abstract: Eating disorders in children and adolescents represent potentially life threatening, debilitating conditions that impede physical, emotional, and behavioral growth and development. Escape extinction, which includes the non-removal of the spoon, and physical guidance have been demonstrated to establish and maintain food acceptance. Both these interventions involve preventing escape from the feeding situation until the presented food has been accepted (Ahearn, et al., 1996). In this study, an escape extinction procedure was implemented with an eight-year-old boy diagnosed with PDD/NOS, with food type selectivity and refusal. Initial results show the student’s percentage of acceptance between the alternating conditions of baseline, non-removal of spoon, and physical guidance. Further results indicate the student’s percentage of accepted bites versus expelled bites for introduction of novel foods. Lastly, the data indicate an increase in the rate of bites accepted during the independent condition and a decrease in the rate of bites accepted during the physical condition when presented with novel foods. IOA was conducted within 100% of conditions and averaged 100%. Results are indicated graphically.
7. Increasing Compliance and Decreasing Bursting in a Child with Autism by Providing Choices between Positive and Negative Reinforcement.
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
KELLY J. BOUXSEIN (Munroe-Meyer Institute, University of Nebraska Medical Center), Wayne W. Fisher (Munroe-Meyer Institute, University of Nebraska Medical Center)
Abstract: Young children on the autism spectrum often display noncompliance, tantrums, and other problem behavior when instructional requests are presented or when they are asked to surrender an unusual object (e.g., piece of dirt) they are holding at the start of an instructional session. We initially trained a mother of a child with autism spectrum disorder to treat both of these problems with extinction (i.e., removing the object and systematically prompting the child while ignoring problem behavior), which resulted in low levels of compliance and bursts of problem behavior that interfered with treatment integrity. We then presented the child with a choice of surrendering the preferred object or completing the instructional tasks while retaining the object, which increased compliance without bursts of problem behavior.
8. Treating Excessively Slow Responding of a Young Man with Asperger Syndrome Using Differential Reinforcement of Short-Response Latencies.
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
JEFFREY H. TIGER (Munroe-Meyer Institute, University of Nebraska Medical Center), Kelly J. Bouxsein (Munroe-Meyer Institute, University of Nebraska Medical Center), Wayne W. Fisher (University of Nebraska Medical Center, Munroe-Meyer Institute)
Abstract: Fjellstedt and Sulzer-Azaroff (1973) used a differential reinforcement (DR) of short latencies contingency to decrease a child’s latency to comply with instructions. We replicated this DR-short contingency with a young man diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome across two tasks (question answering and math problem solving). We added a DR contingency to teach the participant to discriminate between math problems that could be answered rapidly and those that required more time for accurate performance.
9. Using a Self-Monitored Habit-Reversal Program to Decrease the Skin Picking of a Young Man with Asperger Syndrome.
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
WAYNE W. FISHER (University of Nebraska Medical Center, Munroe-Meyer Institute), Kelly J. Bouxsein (Munroe-Meyer Institute, University of Nebraska Medical Center), Jeffrey H. Tiger (Munroe-Meyer Institute, University of Nebraska Medical Center)
Abstract: Habit-reversal programs, involving awareness and competing-response training, have been used to decrease a variety of repetitive behaviors across clinical populations (Miltenberger, Fuqua, & Woods, 1998). In the current study, we implemented a habit-reversal program to decrease the skin picking of a young man with Asperger Syndrome. Following awareness and competing-response training, a five-minute differential reinforcement (DRO) procedure was arranged in which tickets that were later redeemable for preferred activities were delivered contingent upon the absence of skin picking. A self-management program was then implemented in which the participant self-monitored his skin picking and self-delivered tickets. Finally, the DRO interval was progressively extended to 15 minutes with high levels of treatment integrity.
10. Procedural Integrity Effects on Acquisition.
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
JULIE S. WEISS (New England Center for Children), Myrna E. Libby (New England Center for Children), Katie Perry (New England Center for Children), Nellie Farrell (New England Center for Children)
Abstract: This presentation compared variations of procedural integrity and its effect on task acquisition within chains. Two participants diagnosed with autism each learned to put together two eight-step arbitrary Lego figures in a forward chaining sequence with most-to-least prompting. Procedural integrity for prompting was varied across conditions. An alternating treatments design was used to compare the effects of two conditions, 100% procedural integrity and 70% procedural integrity. After acquisition, generalization probes were implemented with novel teachers and in a different environment. Both participants achieved independence in building the figures in the high procedural integrity condition. One participant did not achieve acquisition in the 70% procedural integrity condition whereas the other participant learned the chain in fewer sessions in this condition. Both participants generalized performance across teachers and environments for both figures. All sessions were videotaped. IOA was collected during 40% of sessions and averaged over 90%.
11. An Analysis of Variables that Influence Preference and Reinforcer Assessment Outcomes.
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
RICHARD B. GRAFF (New England Center for Children), Jill A. Larsen (New England Center for Children), Michelle A. Leonard (New England Center for Children ), Erin Kelly (New England Center for Children)
Abstract: Two studies were conducted to examine variables that influence preference/reinforcer assessment outcomes. In Study 1, stimulus preference assessments (SPA) were conducted with two adolescents with autism. In the first SPA, only highly preferred items were included. Distinct preference assessments were generated, and subsequent reinforcer assessments (ABAB design, single operant procedures) indicated that high and low preference stimuli were associated with similar response rates. Another SPA was then conducted, using the least-preferred stimulus from the original SPA, plus seven new stimuli. The items ranked as least preferred on the first SPA were now ranked as most preferred. During a second reinforcer assessment (RA), top-ranked items on the second SPA were associated with high response rates, while the items ranked last did not function as reinforcers. Study 2 examined how the results of RAs were influenced by task difficulty. High and low preference stimuli were identified using paired-stimulus assessments. Reinforcer assessments (ABAB design) using easy tasks indicated that both high and low preference stimuli functioned as reinforcers, but when hard tasks were used, low preference items did not function as reinforcers. In both studies, interobserver agreement data were collected in over 50% of preference and reinforcer assessment sessions; mean IOA exceeded 95%.
12. Functional Analysis and Treatment of Aggression Maintained by an Idiosyncratic Form of Attention.
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
SACHA T. PENCE (New England Center for Children), Eileen M. Roscoe (New England Center for Children), Arianne Kindle (New England Center for Children)
Abstract: Extensions of functional analysis methodology may be helpful when variable and/or low levels of the problem behavior are observed during an initial functional analysis. In the current study, a 13-year-old girl, diagnosed with autism, participated. During an initial functional analysis of her aggressive behavior, the target response was not observed. Based upon staff reports that her behavior was maintained by a certain form of attention, a modified attention condition was included. Prior to the start of a modified attention session, the therapist conversed with the participant on a preferred topic for 30 s, after which the conversation was discontinued. During modified attention sessions, the participant gained access to the conversation topic for 30 s contingent upon instances of aggression. Results of the extended functional analysis indicated that the participant’s problem was maintained by social positive reinforcement in the form of access to preferred conversation topics. Based on these results, a treatment involving functional communication training was used and found effective in decreasing problem behavior. Interobserver agreement data were collected during at least 33% of sessions and averaged over 90%
13. A Curriculum for Establishing Play Repertoires in Children with Autism Using Video Modeling.
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
REBECCA P. F. MACDONALD (New England Center for Children), Sally N. Roberts (New England Center for Children), Theresa Cerrone (New England Center for Children), Shelly Cota (New England Center for Children)
Abstract: Play is an important part of a typical child’s development and contributes to the acquisition of language and social interaction skills. Children with autism often do not develop play skills. Video modeling has been demonstrated to be an effective procedure for teaching a variety of skills and is now an integral part of the NECC preschool social skills and play curriculum. The purpose of this poster is to present a curriculum sequence we have used to teach pretend play skills to children with autism. The sequence begins with simple toy construction and progresses to socio-dramatic play with peers. Specific instructional procedures based on our own research using video modeling will be outlined to teach these play skills. We will discuss the advantages of this teaching procedure and the technical issues encountered when implementing the procedures. Video modeling is an easy and effective strategy for teachers and parents to use to teach play skills. The poster will describe how the curriculum sequence, toys, and video clips used during training can be accessed through our Web site.
14. Improving the Conversation Skills of Two Children with Autism.
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
OONA HANAWALT (New York Center for Autism Charter School), Pamela J. White (New York Center for Autism Charter School), Carolyn S. Ryan (New York Center for Autism Charter School), Julia R. Fisher (New York Center for Autism Charter School), Jamie Pagliaro (New York Center for Autism Charter School)
Abstract: Two of the main characteristics of autism spectrum disorders are impairments in social interactions and impairments in communication and language. This study evaluated a priming and reinforcement strategy for improving the conversation skills (i.e., asking and responding to questions, and reciprocal comments) of two children with autism aged five and six years old. Sessions were conducted in the kitchen area of a public school program for children with autism at lunchtime. Each session was preceded by a priming session during which the teacher provided practice opportunities, verbal and written prompts, verbal feedback and a token economy system for both students to earn a special activity. After the priming session, the students were provided a five-minute opportunity to converse with one another in the absence of teacher mediation. Frequency of occurrence data were then recorded on the total number of target responses. A multiple baseline design across the two target responses was used to evaluate the procedure. Results indicated that the priming sessions were an effective procedure for increasing interactions; a more pronounced effect was observed with question asking and responding. Generalization methods and limitations are also discussed.
15. A Systematic Manipulation of Verbal Preservative Behavior in the Public School Setting.
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
ANDREA WILLIAMS (Simmons College), Christine D. Almeida (Newton Public Schools), Courtney Fredericks (Simmons College)
Abstract: A five-condition functional analysis was conducted on a five-year-old boy with autism exhibiting verbal perseverations about doors. In each condition of the functional analysis, an adult entered and exited the room where the functional analysis was held on a variable time interval schedule of 30 seconds. The experiment was conducted in a substantially separate room in a public preschool consisting of the participant, a teacher, table and chairs, and an adult that entered and exited the room. The functional analysis clearly demonstrated that the verbal perseveration about doors was maintained by social attention.
16. A Systematic Manipulation of Consequent Procedures for Non-Compliant Behavior in a Public School Setting.
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
COURTNEY FREDERICKS (Simmons College), Christine D. Almeida (Newton Public Schools), Andrea Williams (Simmons College)
Abstract: An eight-condition functional analysis was conducted on a five-year-old boy diagnosed with autism to determine the best consequent procedure to use when he exhibited non-compliant behavior. Preliminary data collected before the functional analysis indicated that the participant seemed to exhibit more non-compliance with preferred staff than with non-preferred staff. The conditions of this functional analysis, conducted in a substantially separate classroom in a public school, included play, social attention verbal, social attention physical, and demand, both with preferred and non-preferred staff. Results showed that the subject’s non-compliance was maintained by verbal social attention and escape from both staff, but especially from highly preferred staff.
17. The Effects of Noncontingent Reinforcement on Self-Injurious Behavior Maintained by Automatic Reinforcement.
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
MATTHEW W. JOHNSON (Northeastern University)
Abstract: The therapeutic effects of noncontingent reinforcement (NCR) on self-injurious behavior maintained by automatic reinforcement were evaluated, partially replicating the research of Lindberg, Iwata, Roscoe, Worsdell and Hanley (2003). A single subject, a young woman diagnosed with autism and a long history of self-injurious hand mouthing, participated. A functional analysis (Iwata, Dorsey, Slifer, Bauman & Richman, 1982/1984) was completed. Arbitrary objects were assessed for preference, overall rate of object manipulation. NCR was introduced during brief sessions, alternating a preferred and non-preferred object. The rates of object manipulation and self-injury further demonstrated the preference for one object and the effects of NCR. The behavior was then exposed to extended sessions of NCR. Therapeutic effects were demonstrated with both brief and extended NCR. The results indicated that preference can be an important factor in the effectiveness of NCR, providing further evidence for the inclusion of preference assessments as a component of NCR. With positive results, NCR was then incorporated into a treatment plan for the subject across all settings.
18. Iconicity and Symbol Learning with the Picture Exchange Communication System.
Area: AUT; Domain: Basic Research
KATIE ANGERMEIER (Northeastern University), Ralf Schlosser (Northeastern University), James K. Luiselli (The May Institute), Caroline Harrington (The May Institute), Beth Cantelmo (Northeastern University)
Abstract: Research shows that the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) can be an effective strategy to teach children with autism to request desired objects. The PECS protocol is laid out in six phases and begins by identifying a child’s highly preferred items. Students are taught to request these items with graphic symbols, using specific physical prompting and reinforcement techniques during each phase. Literature on symbol learning suggests that symbols with a greater visual resemblance to their object referents (greater iconicity) are more easily learned by individuals with and without disabilities. The purpose of this study was to investigate the impact of iconicity on symbol learning during PECS training. An adapted alternating treatments design combined with a multiple baseline design across subjects was used to evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of symbol learning under two conditions: high iconicity and low iconicity. Four students with autism between the ages of six and nine years participated. Preliminary results show that students learned to request desired objects under both conditions. There was no difference in the effectiveness/efficiency of symbol learning during Phases I and II of PECS training. Results will be discussed in terms of their implications for practice as well as future research.
19. Treatment of Out-of-Seat Behavior with a Changing Criteria Experimental Design.
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
ALLISON STUBITS (The May Institute), Diana B. Baker (Northeastern University), Meredith L. Garrity (The May Institute)
Abstract: This study delineates a changing criterion experimental design intended to increase in-seat time for John, a five-year-old student diagnosed with pervasive development disorder. When John entered the May Center for Early Childhood Education, he exhibited a high frequency of out-of-seat behavior, as tracked by an all day frequency measurement. John’s high occurrence of out-of-seat behavior interfered with his skill acquisition programs and was disruptive to the overall educational environment in his classroom. Through observation, it was hypothesized that this behavior was maintained by the function of both escape from demand and access to tangibles. This changing criterion design offered naturalistic method for gradually increasing the amount of time that John sat at the table by offering non-contingent breaks following in-seat intervals. The intervention implemented was designed primarily to reduce out-of-seat behavior; however, it also provided an opportunity to introduce a functional means for John to communicate a break request (using the ASL “all done” sign). Results of this study suggest that this intervention was successful in reducing out-of-seat behavior.
20. Teaching Expressive Naming Through Video and Picture Methods.
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
CRYSTAL BROOKE ALLEN (Northeastern University)
Abstract: A five-year-old participant diagnosed with PDD-NOS displayed difficulty learning names of familiar friends and family, despite an extensive lexicon for his age. Given a pictorial method to learn peers at his previous preschool, he learned to expressively identify five of 16 peers by the close of the academic year (approximately nine months). The design of a simple and efficient means to teach the expressive identification of peers included video or pictorial methods that employed an additional factor, an item preferred by the participant or no item. Sixteen familiar friends and family were selected. Each person’s image was depicted in the training in one of the following four ways: picture only, picture while holding an item preferred by the participant, videotape only, or videotape while holding an item preferred by the participant. Naming of all 16 individuals was acquired within 24 sessions; however, the individuals depicted via videotape were learned much more rapidly.
21. Funding for Autism Research: A Comparative Analysis of Educational and Genetic/Biomedical Areas.
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
MARY KUBALA (Northwest Behavioral Associates), Stacey L. Shook (Northwest Behavioral Associates), Jane M. Shively (Northwest Behavioral Associates), Dana Salinger (Northwest Behavioral Associates), Melissa Liotti (Northwest Behavioral Associates)
Abstract: Since the Children’s Health Act of 2003, the National Institutes of Health have given millions of dollars in funding for autism research. In the past three years, portions of this funding have gone to genetic and medical research as well as educational and epidemiological areas. The current investigation is designed as a qualitative comparison of the percentage of recent funding across several areas of autism research. Data from this comparison are relevant in light of recent non-empirically validated efforts with children with autism.
22. Self-Control Training for Children with Autism Using the Choice Behavior Paradigm.
Area: AUT; Domain: Basic Research
MICHIKO SORAMA (Osaka City University), Mayumi Shimazaki (Hyogo University of Teacher Education )
Abstract: The present study investigated a procedure to teach self-control to children with autism using the choice behavior paradigm. Participants chose between an immediate, smaller reinforcer alternative (one reinforcer available immediately) and a delayed, larger reinforcer alternative (five reinforcers available after a number of matching-to-sample tasks) by touching a touch monitor. The images (e.g., participant’s favorite cartoon) were presented on the monitor as reinforcers. The procedure to teach self-control consisted of gradually increasing the number of tasks. Beginning with a single task, the number of tasks was increased by one when participants chose the larger reinforcer alternative for two trials successively. The number of tasks after 20 trials was defined as the indifference point for each participant. The reinforcer amount in the larger reinforcer alternative was five consistently under the fixed reinforcement condition, whereas the amount was increased by one associated with the increasing of number of tasks under the increased reinforcement condition. Participants chose the larger reinforcer alternative more with progress of a trial. The indifference points under the increased reinforcement condition were higher than the fixed reinforcement condition. The results suggest it is useful to teach self-control through this procedure, and it is important to increase reinforcers associated with performances.
23. The Use of Priming to Teach Language Skills.
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
VICTORIA A. GALLANT (Pathways Strategic Teaching Center)
Abstract: Individuals with autism characteristically have a delay in the acquisition of language skills that require specialized teaching. A twelve-year-old boy with autism was taught three complex language skills; labeling social interactions, answering how and why questions, and naming items in a complex category. These three skills were taught using a priming prompting technique. The rate of priming was then decreased in order to promote independent responding. Overall criterion was met in approximately eight sessions for each targeted language skill. A multiple baseline design was utilized and data suggests the priming procedure was effective in increasing language skills. Overall criterion was met in approximately eight sessions per language skill.
24. Reducing Challenging Behavior of Children with Autism Using a Differential Reinforcement of Other Behavior.
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
MACKENZIE J. MILNER (Pathways Strategic Teaching Center), Erin Cote (Pathways Strategic Teaching Center), Bridget J. Carl (Pathways Strategic Teaching Center), Victoria A. Gallant (Pathways Strategic Teaching Center), Rachel Cottrell (Pathways Strategic Teaching Center), Annie K. Barlow (Pathways Strategic Teaching Center), Andrea Chait (Kent County Arc)
Abstract: This study investigated the use of a differential reinforcement of other behavior (DRO) with token reinforcement to reduce the target behaviors of three children diagnosed with autism. Participants included one male and two female students, ages four to 10. The students attend a private special education school that provides comprehensive education and treatment based on the principles of applied behavior analysis. Preference assessments were conducted with each student to determine preferred items. Students were given the opportunity to select a preferred “special activity” at the beginning of each school day. A specified number of tokens were required to earn the activity at the end of the day. Tokens were earned for the absence of target behaviors. A visual board was used to represent the special activity and the number of tokens required. Target behaviors included aggression, self-injury behavior, bolting, hoarding, teasing, and property destruction. Additionally, one of the students earned tokens for following classroom rules (i.e., sharing and listening to the teacher). A multiple baseline design across subjects was used to assess the effectiveness of the DRO with token reinforcement in reducing targeted behaviors. Results and implications for practice are discussed.
25. The Effects of Picture and Visual Communication Training on Speech Development in Three Children with Autism.
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
Abstract: Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) may have significant difficulty acquiring and utilizing communication skills. The importance of functional communication is pivotal to the overall development of the child. The Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) was initially developed by Frost & Bondy (1992) for children with ASD who exhibited little or no functional communication skills. This study used a single subject design to evaluate the effects of training a modified sequence of the PECS to three children who have autism. All three children were classified as either non-verbal or verbal/echolalic. Dependent measures were: 1) spontaneous communication using picture icons, 2) use of multi-symbol combinations of picture icons, and 3) speech (verbal output either spontaneous or imitative). The data collected in this study indicate that three children with autism progressed from having no or extremely limited functional communication skills to using the picture icons to communicate effectively in their environment, across settings and caregivers, in an average of 10 months. Significant increases were recorded in the level of picture icons attained by all three children, in their picture icon vocabulary, and in the frequency of spontaneous and imitative speech or picture icon use over time.
26. The Effect of Behavioral Treatment on the Acquisition of Appropriate Speech in Children with Autism.
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
SARAH KURIAKOSE (Pomona College), Marjorie H. Charlop (Claremont McKenna College), Michelle Seffrood (Claremont McKenna College ), Alefiyah Zulfiqar Pishori (Claremont McKenna College), Rohan Sabnis (Claremont Autism Center )
Abstract: This study supports previous findings that behavioral treatment, particularly as it is used at the Claremont Autism Center, is effective at increasing appropriate speech in children with autism (Calkin, 1989; Lovaas, 1977). Children are provided with two hours of behavior therapy weekly, which includes working on expressive and receptive language skills and social interaction using NLP, modeling, PECS, etc. Children in the study were assessed every six months throughout their treatment in videotaped interactive conditions with a parent, therapist, and stranger. In addition to overall increase in appropriate speech, results also show that speech occurs most frequently with a parent or caregiver prior to treatment, and with a therapist (and sometimes a parent) during treatment; appropriate speech occurs least frequently with a stranger prior to and during treatment. Limited post-treatment evaluations suggest that appropriate speech is maintained following treatment, and some generalization of speech occurs across conditions. The implications of these findings on treatment approaches, particularly in terms of generalization, as well as the need for further research are discussed.
27. PictureReader: Maintenance of Picture-Cued Task Performance.
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
AMANDA M. LOCKERBIE (Praxis, Inc.), Karen L. Mahon (Praxis, Inc.)
Abstract: This study examined the maintenance of picture reading skills taught previously. Four participants with autism utilized static photos to guide performance of a task learned one-and-a-half years earlier. The original training used a programmed, software-based curriculum, PictureReader, which provided instruction for “reading” ordered pictures representing steps of a task to support independent completion of a task. The program combined an instructional video modeling technique and constructed-response matching-to-sample, aimed to teach a picture-cued performance that enabled emergence of untrained performances with new tasks. The follow-up maintenance test described here involved the original trained task and nine tasks not directly taught but previously tested. Of the four participants, two passed the original PictureReader training and demonstrated 100% accuracy on all maintenance tests. The remaining two participants who failed the PictureReader training showed variable performance in the maintenance tests, with accuracy scores ranging from 0-100% by task. The results suggest that successful completion of the PictureReader training may facilitate acquisition and consistent maintenance of task-completion skills using colored photos. The participants who failed likely lacked the identity matching and/or sequencing skill requisite for the PictureReader program. Further research should examine effects of establishing these prerequisite skills or the inclusion of remedial training steps.
28. Analogue Functional Analysis of Stereotypic Behaviors Across School and Home Settings
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
SHELAGH K. CONWAY (Private Practice), Daniel Cohen-Almeida (Melmark New England), Kristin J. Colbert (Melmark New England), Brian C. Liu-Constant (Melmark New England)
Abstract: An analogue functional analysis was conducted on two stereotypic behaviors demonstrated by a nine-year-old boy with autism and MR. These behaviors were observed across five conditions both in his home and school settings. Results were consistent across settings, showing variability and a sensory function. Additionally, results suggested that physical attention (wiping and placing hands down) and social attention (“hands down”) function as punishers for these behaviors. Based on these results, a consistent and collaborative behavioral plan was implemented across settings. Early results indicate a decrease in stereotypic behaviors. Data will be recorded on inter-observer agreement and procedural integrity for greater than 33% of sessions.
29. Teaching Preschool Children with Autism to Respond Assertively to Threatening Social Situations.
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
ALEXANDRA HOLBERTON (Private Practice), Lori E. Bechner (EPIC School), Julia R. Fisher (Alpine Learning Group), Hannah Hoch (Alpine Learning Group)
Abstract: The purpose of the current study was to teach six preschool children with autism to respond assertively to threatening social situations. The intervention was a video modeling procedure with behavioral rehearsal, introduced in a multiple baseline design across participants. The children were taught to emit an assertive response when presented with situations from four target areas: 1) name calling, 2) stealing, 3) verbal threats of aggression, and 4) verbal requests to engage in inappropriate responses. An assertive response consisted of three steps, 1) an appropriate verbal response (e.g., “That’s not nice.”), 2) walking away, and 3) reporting the incident. Probes with confederate adults and peers were conducted to examine skill acquisition. The results demonstrated that during baseline there were few steps completed for an assertive response for all of the participants. With the implementation of the video modeling procedure with behavioral rehearsal, there was a systematic increase in the number of steps completed during both adult and naturalistic peer probes, across all participants. Interobserver agreement data were obtained for 33% of all sessions and was calculated to be 100% agreement. Results are discussed in terms of applications of this intervention for teaching self-protection skills to individuals with autism that will promote generalization.
30. Simple, Cheap Adaptive Equipment for Kids with Autism.
Area: AUT; Domain: Service Delivery
FREDERICK D. KEMP (Quixote Consulting, Inc.)
Abstract: Demonstrations of simple, cheap adaptive equipment designed for home and classroom use, based on behavioral principles and designed to: focus attention; provide semi-automatic reinforcers; provide multiple prompting modalities; and prevent common behavior problems.
31. Using the ADOS to Measure Improvement in Verbal Behavior for Children with Autism: Strategies for Direct Observation and Measurement.
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
KATE E. FISKE MASSEY (Rutgers University), Megan P. Martins (Rutgers University)
Abstract: Group studies documenting behavioral treatment outcome for children with autism typically utilize standardized assessments to measure changes in cognitive, adaptive, and language ability. Recent attention has been paid to assessing changes that are specific to the core features of autism using a variety of measures, including the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS). In addition, a recent shift in the focus of behavioral language programming to address verbal operants has become widespread. Strategies for systematically assessing the development of verbal behavior across groups of children are needed to evaluate the effectiveness of such interventions, in addition to single subject research methodology. The present study is part of a series of investigations exploring strategies for utilizing direct measurement to document changes in verbal behavior within a semi-structured assessment. Preliminary findings indicated that direct measurement of the frequency of verbal operants during annual ADOS administrations revealed significant improvement in participants’ verbal behavior while participating in intensive behavioral intervention. The current project explores whether such changes are captured utilizing an interval coding system to record the presence or absence of verbal operants throughout an ADOS session. Comparisons between frequency scoring and interval measurement will be contrasted to ADOS rating scores for each administration.
32. The Benefits of TagTeach and Animal Assisted Therapy for Children Living with Autism Spectrum Disorders.
Area: AUT; Domain: Service Delivery
KATE NICOLL (Soul Friends, Inc.), Cindy Trifone (Soul Friends, Inc.)
Abstract: A new program, Come Follow Me!, has shown great success in the integration of animal assisted interventions and TagTeach for children living with developmental struggles. Research has commented on the motivating factor of animals in treatment, as well as the ability of these interactions to assist with learning about appropriate touching and boundaries, improve communication and reduce isolation (Chandler, 2001). Come Follow Me! is a six-session program of social skills development and dog training for children living with social, emotional, and physical challenges. The incorporation of clicker training, TagTeach for human interactions has shown encouraging results in improving attention and eye contact. Emotional support may be enhanced by even brief interactions with animals (Collins & McNicholas, 1998). Interactions with animals have been thought to be able to increase focus of attention and to be agents of de-arousal (Kruger, et al., 2004). This poster will explore the impact of animal assisted interventions and TagTeach on attention and eye contact for children living with autism spectrum disorders.
33. First-Year Outcomes of the St. Amant ABA Program: Early Intensive Applied Behaviour Analysis Intervention for Children Diagnosed with Autism.
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
DANIELA FAZZIO (St.Amant), Angela Cornick (St. Amant)
Abstract: The St. Amant ABA Preschool Program is a publicly-funded preschool home-based applied behaviour analysis intervention program funded by the Provincial Government of Manitoba. It has been in operation since September 2002, with seventy children having completed their first year of the three-year program. Progress of the children participating in the Program is assessed using normative and standardized measures at intake and yearly thereafter. Skills are assessed in the areas of cognitive abilities, speech and language, adaptive skills, basic discrimination abilities, and autism severity, in addition to number and percentage of skills in the Assessment of Basic Language and Learning Skills (ABLLS). Outcomes have been analyzed for the group of seventy children and also by sub-grouping the participants when appropriate to obtain information on potential predictors to outcomes.
34. Eliminating Self-Injurious Behaviors of a 10-Year-Old Male with Autism.
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
MICHELE M. LAMARCHE (Step By Step Academy, Inc.)
Abstract: The subject of this study is a 10-year-old male with a diagnosis of autism. The goal of this study is to eliminate self-injurious behaviors through two specific procedures, Differential Reinforcement of Other Behaviors (DRO) and physically blocking. The target behavior to eliminate is pressing hands to the face that is causing significant tissue damage. The DRO will begin with a two-minute fixed whole interval. The subject is reinforced at the end of the interval if he has not engaged in the target behavior. At the beginning of the interval, the subject will be reminded of the rules (“Remember, no pressing”) and a timer is set. If he attempts to engage in the target behavior at anytime during the interval, the subject will be physically blocked while told, “No pressing.” He will not have access to reinforcement and the timer will be restarted. The reinforcement for a successful interval without emitting the target behavior consists of five seconds of pressing other parts of the body paired with verbal praise. The interval will gradually increase until it is able to be removed or integrated into a natural consequence. The subject will also acquire a replacement behavior of requesting for pressing through PECS.
35. Increasing Spontaneous Communication and Decreasing Automatically Reinforced Behaviors in a Child with Autism Who is Prompt-Dependent on Staff’s Proximity.
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
VIVIAN J. BUSH (Sussex Consortium), Susan Berry (Sussex Consortium), Elizabeth Burkett (Sussex Consortium), Marie Christine Lambert (Sussex Consortium)
Abstract: Brock is a six-year-old boy with autism. He is capable of communicating his wants and needs verbally in full sentences but uses the Picture Exchange Communication System to ensure he has social approach behaviors and to schedule his daily activities. Although, Brock is capable, he often waits for staff to approach and/or for them to touch him before initiating any communication. Brock also engages in numerous automatically reinforcing behaviors including: ear hitting, arm flapping, squealing, making sucking noises, body posturing, tongue twisting and grabbing his lip, and putting his hands in his pants. Brock demonstrates the ability to perform at a higher level than is typically observed. On occasion he initiates interactions and communicates spontaneously, but most often, does not demonstrate these skills. He also demonstrates the ability to control his automatically reinforced behaviors by not engaging in them for extended periods of time. The proposed plan is to use a changing-criterion design to increase the prompting distance between staff and Brock to increase his independence in initiating communication. Simultaneously, we will also use the changing-criterion design to teach Brock to request a specified place where he can engage in the stated maladaptive behaviors while consequating all other behaviors and then fade the place/time in which these behaviors are acceptable.
36. Decreasing Compulsive Behavioral Patterns in a Child with Autism.
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
VANESSA RAE COOPER (Sussex Consortium), Vivian J. Bush (Sussex Consortium), Edel J. Blake (Sussex Consortium), Heather A. Allen (Sussex Consortium)
Abstract: Terri is a 10-year-old girl with autism who engages in compulsive behavioral patterns. Terri is able to verbalize using single words but utilizes the Picture Exchange Communication System to communicate her wants and needs and to structure her daily schedule. Pictures are also necessary because her speech is unintelligible at times. Terri’s maladaptive behaviors include: retracing her steps, touching and retouching spots in her environment, and engaging in repetitive body movements. These body movements include repetitive spitting (sometimes with saliva other times without), repetitive attempts to aggress by moving her arm toward you over her shoulder as if to indicate “go away”, and jolting her face and head toward another person’s face repetitively. Although these behaviors are multi-functional, the one constant is her apparent desire to complete the movement before moving on to the next activity. These behaviors present a safety concern and also interfere with Terri’s learning. Therefore, the plan is to teach Terri how to complete error-free sequences by giving her an area to touch and then fading that area while having her restart the entire sequence of events whenever an error is present. The desired effect will be to have Terri complete activities without engaging in compulsive behaviors.
37. Connecting with Communication: Utilizing Communication Skills as an Alternative Response to Aggressive Behavior.
Area: AUT; Domain: Service Delivery
EDEL J. BLAKE (Sussex Consortium - Delaware Autism Program)
Abstract: Children with autism may engage in physically acting out behaviors in order to obtain some outcome. The function behind such behavior may be sensory, avoidance of something undesirable, an attempt to gain access to a desired item, or to receive attention from someone: “...most behavior problems are maintained by the same contingencies that account for the development of non-pathological behavior patterns.” (Iwata, Kahng, Wallace, & Lindberg, 2000). Rufus, a 13-year-old student who carries diagnoses of autism and visual impairment or blindness, engaged in high rates of aggressive behavior in the classroom: hitting, head-butting, or biting others. Rufus displayed this behavior when required to complete a classroom task he did not prefer. It was hypothesized that he communicated his preference as best he could through aggression due to his visual impairment and limited expressive language skills or repertoire. An individualized communication system was developed for Rufus that incorporated verbal and physical prompting and guidance from the classroom staff. This program included functional items that represented rewards and tasks that Rufus could hold in his hands and exchange with others. The results of Rufus’ program demonstrate a decrease in his aggressive behaviors with generalized outcomes to settings outside of school.
38. Are the Reinforcers Reinforcing? Observations of Children with Autism in Computer-Assisted ABA.
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
CHRISTINA WHALEN (TeachTown), Manya C. R. Vaupel (TeachTown), Lars H. Liden (TeachTown)
Abstract: Five children with autism (ages three to five years) were videotaped using the TeachTown: Basics computer-assisted ABA program. Children were observed for 20 sessions of 10-12 minutes each session. All participants were assessed using standardized language and behavioral measures at pre- and post-treatment. Language, joint attention, motivation, attention, and social behaviors were measured during learning trials and during “reinforcer” games. No external reinforcers were provided while using the software program, but children were redirected to the computer if they walked away until their session was finished. Children were also observed in naturalistic play situations or preferred learning activities with their parent or a professional blind to the purpose of the study in order to ascertain the child’s baseline behavior in “motivating” learning situations. Tapes were coded by research assistants blind to the purpose of the study. “Reinforcement” is discussed along with using secondary reinforcement and “learning to learn” to make activities that were previously not reinforcing become more reinforcing over time to maximize learning.
39. Examining the Prompting Hierarchy in Teaching How to Use the Computer Mouse: Peer Models, Video Models, Physical, and Verbal Prompting.
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
MANYA C. R. VAUPEL (TeachTown), Jeffrey Allen Trelka (Spectrum Solutions ), Christina Whalen (TeachTown)
Abstract: Four children with autism and two peer models participated in the study. The age range was four to eight years old. The children with autism were separated into two groups, with each group having access to a hierarchy of prompting strategies including a peer model, video models, physical prompts, and verbal prompts. The participants with the diagnosis of autism were assessed using standardized language and behavioral measures at pre- and post-treatment. Prompting strategies were investigated to determine what the controlling prompt might be while teaching each child with autism how to use the computer mouse. The prompting hierarchy intended to follow a plan that started with using least intrusive/most natural strategies to most intrusive/least natural strategies. Children had access to a peer model using the mouse independently and intentionally. If no change in behavior was exhibited, video models demonstrated the peer model using the mouse, while also breaking the independent mouse use into separate phases. If still no change in behavior, physical and verbal prompts were provided when it was determined that peer models and video models were not controlling the behavior. No external reinforcers were provided while engaging with the computer games and the mouse, but children were redirected to the computer if they walked away until their sessions were finished. Tapes were coded by research assistants blind to the purpose of the study. “Controlling prompts” is discussed along with the hierarchy of prompting strategies in terms of what is the most natural and least intrusive means of teaching skills to children with autism.
40. Behavior Frequency and Duration as Indicators for Long-Term Data Collection Procedure.
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
VALERIE A. EVANS (Temple University)
Abstract: Many students with autism have behavior goals that are continually tracked through their entire course of schooling. Decisions on procedure for behavioral data collection of Individualized Education Plan (IEP) goals have important implications for long-term behavior tracking. In addition to measuring behavior based on how the IEP goal is stated, goodness-of-fit needs to be established between the nature of the behavior and the data collection procedure. This poster presents a graph for data collection decision-making based on a continuum of duration by a continuum of frequency. The four-quadrant graph indicates recommendations for behavior falling on either extreme of both continuums. The quadrants are: high-frequency discrete, low-frequency discrete, high-frequency episodic, and low-frequency episodic. Rationale for selecting partial-interval, total frequency, antecedent-behavior-consequence, and scatter plot data collection procedures are discussed with reference to the chart quadrants. A good, long-term match between behavior magnitude (less intensity) and data collection procedure allows analysts a consistent measure with which to compare environmental variables that are slow to change, such as puberty processes and goal attainment. This graph has direct application for beginning analysts and special education teachers and serves as an important discussion catalyst for more sophisticated analysts.
41. Comparing Existing Assessment Methods for Children with Autism.
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
BETSY WURSTNER (Temple University), Kelly McElrath (Temple University & Bucks County Intermediate Unit 22)
Abstract: When making diagnoses and intervention choices for children with autism, it is important to understand the individual characteristics. A variety of measures and assessments are available in the field of behavior analysis to explore characteristics of children with autism; however, these tools may not all be measuring the same characteristics in social, language, and behavior domains. This poster will focus on comparing a variety of assessment methods for children with autism as part of a larger multi-site study with Temple University.
42. Teaching Nonverbal Social Communication Skills to Children with Asperger Syndrome.
Area: AUT; Domain: Service Delivery
XIUCHANG HUANG (Tennessee Technological University), John J. Wheeler (Tennessee Technological University)
Abstract: Comparing with classic autism, individuals with Asperger Syndrome (AS) are relatively underserved. Although no significant cognitive or language impairments are present, these individuals demonstrate social impairments at various levels, specially in nonverbal communication such as facial expressions, tones of voice, and sound patterns as well as gestures. However, few research studies have been done to address their special needs in these aspects. Since positive long-term outcomes for individuals with AS are closely related to social communication competence (Rubin, & Laurent, 2004), social skill training is essential for this population. The purpose of this single subject research study is to measure the effects of an intervention program on nonverbal communication skills in children with AS in terms of facial expression recognition and tones of voice differentiation. Three children with AS will participate in this study, which involves a multiple baseline design across participants. The social skill training will consist of training in two areas and will last for approximately eight weeks. Training during the first four weeks will target facial expression recognition, while the next four weeks will focus on differentiating tones of voice. The study will involve the use of a piece of instructional video software entitled “Mind Reading” DVD (Baron-Cohen, 2002). Intervention strategies involved throughout the training process include modeling, imitation, and positive reinforcement. Results will be demonstrated by using graphs to show the growth of the target students’ nonverbal communication ability.
43. The Effectiveness of Peer-Mediated Interventions to Improve Social Interactions of Young Children with Autism: A Meta-Analysis.
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
JIE ZHANG (Tennessee Technological University), John J. Wheeler (Tennessee Technological University)
Abstract: This meta-analysis uses single-subject studies to investigate the effectiveness of peer-mediated interventions to enhance social interactions between young children under nine years old diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders and their peers. The purpose of this study is to determine if the peer-mediated intervention is effective to improve social interactions of those young children with autism through different stages of intervention, follow-up, and generalization, and overall effect sizes as well. In addition, it also analyzes the effects of the interventions according to the variables that may affect the interventions. The variables include study year, age, gender, setting, diagnostic characteristics, type of intervention, interventionist characteristics, length of intervention, dependent variable, social validation, reliability level, treatment integrity, and the degree of collaboration between parents and families and professionals. Progress and challenges in the peer-mediated behavioral intervention of young children with autism are also discussed in this study.
44. A Comprehensive Intervention for Teaching Shopping Skills to Adolescents with Autism.
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
ALANA VOGL (The Bay School), Ethan S. Long (The Bay School), Hollee Schinzel (The Bay School)
Abstract: A number of studies have examined a variety of methodologies for teaching isolated shopping skills (Morse, et al., 1996). Fewer studies describe interventions that enable participants to successfully respond to novel situations or unexpected encounters that often occur while shopping. The following intervention taught the specific skills needed for community-based shopping. In addition, the intervention incorporated self-management, social awareness, and problem-solving strategies to further the participants’ ability to independently participate in community shopping activities. Three adolescent students with autism participated in the study. A multiple baseline across participants design was utilized to evaluate the intervention’s effectiveness. For each of the participants, training was conducted in one setting with concurrent generalization probes taken in additional community stores. Results demonstrated skill acquisition for all three students with generalization across settings.
45. The Use of a “Response Clock” Procedure to Reduce Disruptive Behavior.
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
AMBER I. MCLEARY (The Bay School), Ethan S. Long (The Bay School), Laura Newman (The Bay School)
Abstract: The use of response cost procedures to successfully reduce various problem behaviors has been well documented (Miltenberger, 2001). The following investigation employed a multiple baseline design to evaluate the effectiveness of a response cost procedure to decrease disruptive classroom behavior exhibited by two participants with autism. A visual aid in the form of a “response clock” was used to facilitate teacher implementation of the procedure. Results demonstrated notable reductions in problem behaviors with the use of the procedure. Social validity data indicated that teachers and caregivers found the use of the procedure highly acceptable and practical for classroom use.
46. An Evaluation of the Effects of Wearing a Diaper During Toilet Training for a Young Child Diagnosed with Autism.
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
MELODY NABIZADEH (Center for Autism and Related Disorders, Inc.), Jay Summers (Center for Autism and Related Disorders, Inc.), Rachel S. F. Tarbox (Center for Autism and Related Disorders, Inc.), Doreen Granpeesheh (Center for Autism and Related Disorders, Inc.)
Abstract: Urinary incontinence has been shown to be a pervasive problem in children with autism. Incontinence can affect a child both socially and in terms of risk of infectious diseases transmitted through bodily waste (Berk & Friman, 1990). Surveys have reported that anywhere from 50 -70% of all children with autism have difficulties with toileting (Whitely, 2004; Horvath, Papadimitriou, Rabsztyn, Drachenberg, & Tildon, 1999). Recent research conducted with an adult with developmental disabilities demonstrated that wearing diapers may occasion urinary accidents (Tarbox, Williams & Friman, 2004). In the current investigation a reversal design was used to evaluate the effects of wearing a diaper during toilet training for a young child diagnosed with autism. Results suggest that wearing a diaper may increase the likelihood of urinary incontinence. Moreover, successful voids increased during the course of evaluation. Treatment, follow-up, reliability and integrity data will be presented.
47. Teaching Children with Autism Safety Skills.
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
JAY SUMMERS (The Center for Autism and Related Disorders, Inc.), Rachel S. F. Tarbox (The Center for Autism and Related Disorders, Inc.), Jonathan J. Tarbox (The Center for Autism and Related Disorders, Inc.), Arthur E. Wilke (The Center for Autism and Related Disorders, Inc.), Helen Yoo (The Center for Autism and Related Disorders, Inc.)
Abstract: Five percent of home accident fatalities involve children between birth and four years of age (National Safety Council, 2000). Explicit training of safety skills in children diagnosed with autism is of utmost importance due to the pervasive behavioral deficits commonly exhibited by these children. In an effort to add to the current research in household safety in young children with autism, we sought to discover a practical method to teach these vital skills. A multiple-baseline design across participants was implemented to evaluate the effects of using rules, prompts, and social praise to teach participants to respond appropriately to a doorbell as well as to the presence of dangerous household chemicals. Further, an assessment system that quantifies potential home safety hazards was implemented across several homes of children diagnosed with autism. Results of these analyses will be presented in addition to a review of the current behavioral literature on safety skills training.
48. Comparing Indirect, Descriptive, and Experimental Functional Assessments in Children with Autism.
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
JONATHAN J. TARBOX (Center for Autism and Related Disorders, Inc.), Adel C. Najdowski (Center for Autism and Related Disorders, Inc.), Arthur E. Wilke (Center for Autism and Related Disorders, Inc.), Rachel S. F. Tarbox (Center for Autism and Related Disorders, Inc.)
Abstract: Current standards of practice in psychological and educational services dictate the need for ascertaining the function of challenging behaviors before treating them and for behavioral interventions to be based on the function of behavior. At least three broad categories of functional assessments have been developed, including indirect, descriptive, and experimental procedures. Although experimental functional analyses are common in empirical research on behavioral intervention, indirect and descriptive functional assessment procedures may be more commonly used in clinical and educational practice. Little research has systematically compared indirect, descriptive, and experimental functional assessments, let alone with participants within the autism population. The current study compares indirect, descriptive, and experimental functional assessments across several children with autism, representing a range of ages and topographies of challenging behavior.
49. An Examination of Data Collection Methods in an Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention Program for Children with Autism.
Area: AUT; Domain: Service Delivery
ADEL C. NAJDOWSKI (Center for Autism and Related Disorders, Inc.), Jonathan J. Tarbox (Center for Autism and Related Disorders, Inc.), Megan D. Nollet (Center for Autism and Related Disorders, Inc.)
Abstract: Supervisors of Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention (EIBI) programs for children with autism rely on data collected during discrete trials instruction to guide clinical decisions pertaining to a child’s curriculum. Data collected during a number of trials are summarized by percentage correct, graphed, and then analyzed in order to determine if a child is learning a skill. Some agencies require therapists to collect at least 10 trials of data on a target, whereas other agencies only require therapists to collect data during the first trial in a sitting. As far as the current researchers are aware, the different methods of data collection have never been systematically compared in order to determine how many trials of data may be necessary to make an informed clinical decision about a child’s progress. This study compared patterns of responding for particular targets and graphed the percentage the targets were correct by analyzing the first trial, the first three trials, the first five trials, and 10 trials. Patterns of similarities and differences between the data collection methods were reported and the implications outlined.
50. Teaching Capsule Swallowing in Children Diagnosed with Autism Using Size Fading.
Area: AUT; Domain: Service Delivery
J. HELEN YOO (The Center for Autism & Related Disorders, Inc.), Jonathan J. Tarbox (The Center for Autism & Related Disorders, Inc.), Doreen Granpeesheh (The Center for Autism & Related Disorders, Inc.)
Abstract: Approximately 26% of typically-developing children have difficulty swallowing pills (Anderson, et al., 1995). While the exact number is unknown, anecdotal observations indicate that swallowing difficulty is more prevalent in children with autism and developmental disabilities, often leading to treatment noncompliance and secondary problems unrelated to autism consequently exacerbating the symptoms of autism. Some children may not have the prerequisite oral motor skills for pill swallowing, while others may have developed conditioned anxiety from unpleasant past experiences. We present several cases of children with autism who learned to swallow pills using a simple behavioral procedure. Our data indicate that size fading, without the use of any other treatment procedure, was effective and efficient in training children with autism to swallow pills.
51. Cardiovascular Arousal in Persons with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Area: AUT; Domain: Basic Research
MATTHEW S. GOODWIN (The Groden Center), June Groden (The Groden Center), Wayne F. Velicer (University of Rhode Island ), Lewis P. Lipsitt (Brown University), Grace Baron (Wheaton College & The Groden Center), Stefan G. Hofmann (Boston University ), Gerald Groden (The Groden Center)
Abstract: The current study telemetrically assessed heart rate (HR) as a measure of sympathetic arousal in five persons with ASD and five age- and sex-matched typically developing individuals while exposed to a wide sample of potentially stressful situations involving novel stimuli and social situations. All of the participants were found to tolerate the telemetric device and the dependent variable HR proved to have measurement characteristics that suggest sensitivity to the stress-induced experimental conditions. Given earlier theories of arousal modulation problems in persons with ASD, it was hypothesized that the group with ASD would show significant (p<.05) cardiovascular responses to a greater number of stressors than the typically developing control group. However, results revealed just the opposite. The group with ASD showed significant responses only 22% of the time compared to the typically developing group who showed significant responses 60% of the time. Also, on average, the participants with ASD had mean HR responses 20 bpm higher during baseline and nearly every potentially stressful situation compared to the typically developing group. Interpretation of these results and methodological considerations for future research that employ telemetric measures of HR as a direct measure of arousal in persons with ASD will be discussed.
52. Using Behavior Principles for Quality: Increasing Time-on-Task in 10 Classrooms Serving Autistic Children.
Area: AUT; Domain: Service Delivery
JENNA VISCOMI (The Hope School), Don R. Thomas (The Hope School), Joseph E. Nyre (The Hope School), Judy Bukowski (The Hope School ), Cliff Hathaway (The Hope School )
Abstract: As the number of staff providing special education services in public and private educational settings continues to grow, administrators, teachers, and clinicians struggle to identify meaningful and useful quality improvement programs. This poster presents methodology and results of a quality improvement protocol significantly improving quality of interaction and learning for youth with autism and other developmental disabilities. Structured observations were conducted and recorded in 10 classrooms in a residential school serving autistic youth and others with developmental disabilities. Variables recorded included: mode of instruction (group or individual instruction); rate of on-task behavior; and quality of staff interaction with youth (positive, neutral, or negative). In each classroom, structured observations were made of student and teacher interactions. For each period, 10 students were observed. Target behaviors were recorded at the end of 10 second intervals, and reported as the percent of intervals in which each target behavior was observed. During baseline, the aggregate levels of time-on-task were low, and the occurrence of “negative” verbal behavior was high. Time on task increased and negative behavior decreased each month. All 10 classrooms achieved improved time-on-task by the end of the school year. Individual classroom data show improvement in quality of interactions.
53. Assessing the Most Effective Use of Video Modeling within a Treatment Package for Adolescent Students with Autism.
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
JENNIFER L. WALK (The Institute for Effective Education), Mary Meehan Taylor (The Institute for Effective Education), Kenneth Traupmann (The Institute For Effective Education)
Abstract: Video modeling is a relatively recent behavioral phenomenon. Although often presented as a stand-alone strategy, a review of the literature demonstrates that video modeling interventions have typically included other components, such as prompting and feedback. This study attempted to determine the most effective use of video modeling within a treatment package. Participants were three adolescents with autism. Using a multiple-probe across subjects design, the effects of video modeling alone, video modeling plus checklist and video modeling plus checklist, and feedback were evaluated. The dependent variable was the successful completion of each of nine steps of a shirt folding procedure. For all participants, baseline ranged from 0-8% of steps completed; introduction of video alone resulted in an average increase of 11.3% of steps completed over baseline with a range of 0-23%; video plus checklist resulted in an average increase of 12% over baseline with a range of 0-25%. Following introduction of video plus checklist and feedback, participant 1 increased to 78% of steps completed, participant 2 completed 100% of steps, and participant 3 exited the study before it was complete. Reliability data were collected for 21% of sessions across all conditions and averaged 98.7% with a range of 89% to 100%.
54. The Effects of the Good Behavior Game on Compliant Behavior of Kindergarten Children with and without Disabilities.
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
EMILY BROOKE HALEY (The Ohio State University)
Abstract: Student deportment in classroom settings is an important topic of concern within the educational system (Sugai & Horner, 2005). Children with developmental disabilities or autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are more likely to emit inappropriate classroom behavior then their typical peers. Despite social skills deficits that children with developmental disabilities and ASD might have, they are increasingly being placed in general education classrooms. Inclusion can lead to difficulties in the classroom, ranging from academic and social deficiencies to behavioral excesses (Lovaas, 1987). Classroom disruptions by a student can affect all of the learners as the episodes can reduce the instructional time available to teachers and limit the opportunities for students to learn. A variety of behavioral procedures have been successfully employed to modify disruptive classroom behavior. These include token economies (Rodriguez, Montesinos, & Preciado, 2005), positive behavior supports (Sugai & Horner, 2005), effective behavior supports (Lewis & Sugai, 1999), and group contingencies (Barrish, Saunders, & Wolf, 1969). Such methods have been developed with the belief that curtailing disruptive behavior would make the classroom atmosphere more positive and improve the academic performances of the students (Warner, Miller, & Cohen, 1977). Technologies that have been implemented using positive reinforcement are token economies and group contingencies.
55. Teaching Reading to Vocal and Non-Vocal Children with Autism Using Headsprout Reading.
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
GWEN DWIGGINS (The Ohio State University), Ralph Gardner III (The Ohio State University), Pamela G. Osnes (Behavior Analysts, Inc.), Joel Vidovic (Behavior Analysts, Inc.), Adrena Harris (Behavior Analysts, Inc.)
Abstract: Reading is a core skill necessary for success in most daily activities. The National Reading Panel (2000) outlined five essential components for effective reading: phonological awareness, alphabetic understanding, vocabulary development, reading comprehension, and fluency. Children with autism present unique challenges to reading instruction by presenting as both vocal and non-vocal learners. Reading interventions for non-vocal readers are sparse in the literature. One approach that has been used with this population is computer-assisted instruction (Heimann, Nelson, Tjus, & Gillberg, 1995). The current study looked at the effects of using the Headsprout internet-based reading program (Twyman, Layng, Stikeleather, & Hobbins, 2005) with five vocal and non-vocal children with autism. Participants ranged in age from six to 12 years and exhibited moderate levels of autistic behaviors. These included self-stimulation, echolalia, and stereotypy. They were administered the Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS) before, during, and post-intervention, and were evaluated for receptive identification of letter sounds, oral reading, and recall of facts. Data will be presented on assessments and daily scores from the Headsprout reading program. Strengths and limitations for children with autism will be discussed related to the use of the Headsprout program.
56. The Comparative Effects of Simple and Complex Instructional Language on the Acquisition and Generalization of Receptive Tasks by Children with Autism.
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
CORINNE M. MURPHY (The Ohio State University), William L. Heward (The Ohio State University), Jacqueline Wray Wynn (Children's Hospital Autism Center, Columbus, Ohio)
Abstract: Research is needed to identify effective and efficient instructional methods for teaching receptive language skills to children with autism. Six preschoolers diagnosed with autism participated in two experiments on the effects of simple or complex instructional language on the children’s acquisition and generalization of receptive language tasks. Each session in Experiment I consisted of 10 discrete discrimination training trials in which the teacher used either simplified instructional language (e.g., “pencil” for an object identification task) or complex language (e.g., “Remember, balls are fun to throw and play catch with. Can you find the one?”) for each trial. The dependent variable was the number of sessions required to master an item (at least 90% correct responses for two consecutive sessions). Results of Experiment I showed children who began the study with larger receptive language deficits learned receptive tasks in fewer sessions when their teachers used simple instructional language rather than complex language. For the children who entered the study with higher levels of receptive language skills, the use of simple or complex instructional language had little effect on the number of sessions necessary to master an item. In Experiment II, the teacher used simple language to present items that the child had mastered with complex language in Experiment 1, and vice versa. Results of Experiment II showed that children with lower receptive skills were more accurate when responding to simple language for items that had been taught with complex language in Experiment 1. Children with higher receptive language skills responded with equal accuracy to complex and simple instructions.
57. Eliminating Tics through Differential Reinforcement of Other Behavior.
Area: AUT; Domain: Service Delivery
TARA-LYNN BURBEE (The Evergreen Center), Amanda Lark (The Evergreen Center ), Thomas L. Zane (The Evergreen Center)
Abstract: Tic disorders are defined as involuntary, recurrent vocal or body movements that regularly occur. The etiology of tics is not yet proven, but there is a belief that they are neurologically based, with some influence of the external environment. The purpose of this study was to reduce tics through reinforcement procedures. A teenager with autism and other disabilities exhibited motor tics across school and home environments. Teachers implemented a Differential Reinforcement of Other Behavior (DRO) plan, initially starting with brief intervals and eventually using intervals of several minutes combined with self-monitoring. Tics were eliminated in both pull-out education classes as well as his classroom. Results are discussed in terms of the function of tics and related interventions.
58. Using Social Stories with a Student with Asperger’s Disorder.
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
ERIN PERRY (The University of Southern Mississippi), Heather Sterling-Turner (The University of Southern Mississippi), Daniel H. Tingstrom (The University of Southern Mississippi), Jennifer Abraham (The University of Southern Mississippi), Neelima Gutti (The University of Southern Mississippi)
Abstract: The purpose of this poster is to present data from a pilot study that investigated the effectiveness of a social story on increasing appropriate classroom behaviors and decreasing inappropriate behaviors. The participant was a six-year-old male diagnosed with Asperger’s Disorder who was referred for inappropriate vocalizations during classroom instruction. All data were collected in the school setting. An ABAB design was utilized to examine treatment effects. The data indicated that the social story intervention was successful in increasing appropriate behaviors and decreasing inappropriate behaviors exhibited by the participant during language arts instruction. Results from the study will be discussed along with limitations and implications for future research.
59. Mediating Television Viewing Experiences of Children with Autism: Preliminary Findings.
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
SEKHAR PINDIPROLU (The University of Toledo)
Abstract: Results from previous research suggest that exposure to novel vocabulary, turn taking, sequencing skills, and recall are pivotal skills for literacy activities in school (Comstock & Paik, 1991; Whitehurst, Arnold, et al., 1994; Whitehurst, Falco, et al., 1988). Joint routines such as story book reading and television viewing can serve as contexts for parents to expose their children to new vocabulary, language usage, and other pre-literacy skills. Lemish and Rice (1986) compared the categories of parent and child talk during television viewing with that of the parent-child interactions during joint book reading and concluded that television has the potential to serve as a facilitator of children’s language acquisition. McNeill and Flower (1999) found that mothers did not use story reading as an opportunity to engage their children with language delays in language interactions and concluded that parents need help to capitalize on such opportunities. In this presentation, preliminary data from a pilot study that employed television as a medium to facilitate language skills of two children with autism will be examined. Two parents of children with autism were taught language facilitation strategies and were asked to implement the strategies during joint TV viewing routines. This pilot study was conducted over a four-month period. Using single subject research design, the effectiveness of parent’s implementation of the strategies and the effectiveness of the strategies on the child’s language skills was examined. Further, social validity measures were administered with the parents. The preliminary results of the effectiveness of the intervention and parents’ acceptability of the procedures will be discussed.
60. The Effectiveness of Simultaneous Prompting Method on the Object Pairing Skill.
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
ADEM UNLU (Turkey Tohum Otizm Foundation)
Abstract: The purpose of the present study is to analyze the effectiveness of simultaneous prompting method on the object pairing skill in children with ASD. The design used in the study is multiple baseline design across behaviors with probe conditions which is one of the single-subject research design. The dependent variable of the study is defined as the subject pointing the matching object among four objects. The independent variable of the study is simultaneous prompting. The subjects are children between ages three and 10 with ASD characteristics in the Turkey Tohum Otizm Foundation. The prerequisite skills required in the subjects chosen for the study are: 1) a minimum five-minute attention span; 2) the ability to follow simple oral instructions; and 3) not having object matching skills. The study is carried out in Turkey Tohum Otizm Foundation’s one-to-one teaching class. There are two chairs, a table, and a plastic basket for objects in the class. The results are recorded during the entire session. Plastic fruits and vegetables, and different toys are prepared for teaching the object matching skill by simultaneous prompting. Food (chocolate, crackers, etc.) and noise producing objects (plastic bottle with beads in it, etc.) are used as reinforcers. Since this is an ongoing study, the results are tentative and will be discussed during the presentation.
61. Increasing the Rate of Appropriate Social Interactions through Cross-Age Peer Tutoring in the Educational Setting.
Area: AUT; Domain: Service Delivery
KELLIE S. BUTKIEWICZ (University of California, Riverside)
Abstract: The use of cross-age peer tutoring is well established as an efficacious intervention in the area of academic skill remediation in the educational setting. The present study implemented cross-age peer tutoring with eight autistic and normally developing children, in grades one to six, in a small-group social skills intervention setting facilitated by the school psychologist at a public elementary school in Southern California. Social skills included in the training were eye contact, conversational reciprocity, and appropriate verbalizations. The training took place twice per week, for 30 minutes each session, over six weeks. Outcome was evaluated through direct observation of appropriate social interactions using the BOSS Direct Observation System. Results indicate that across participants, an increase in the rate of appropriate social interactions was observed, as measured by rates of eye contact, conversational reciprocity, and appropriate verbalizations.
62. Grid and Guide in French for Direct Observation of Verbal Behavior for Children with PDD.
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
RIVARD MELINA (The University of Quebec at Montreal), Annie Paquet (The University of Quebec at Montreal), Katrine Schuessler (The University of Quebec at Montreal), Normand Giroux (The University of Quebec at Montreal), Jacques Forget (The University of Quebec at Montreal)
Abstract: The purpose of this study is to elaborate and validate grid and guide in French for direct observation of verbal behavior in young children with Pervasive Developmental Disorders (PDD). This grid, inspired by the work of Skinner (1957), will be used to describe the verbal behavior of children from two to five years of age with PDD, during structured intervention situations and unsupervised periods. The verbal observation grid will include the five elementary verbal functions describe in Verbal Behavior (Skinner, 1957) and an analysis of antecedent and consequence of immediate environment. This grid will be evaluated by five experts in autism and applied behavior analysis (ABA) and we will verify its conviviality and interobserver reliability by repetitive testing on videotape with children with PDD. This project is a part of a study and the objective is to evaluate the link between “social responsiveness” measured by the matching law, the development of verbal behavior, and the response to behavioral intervention program on the verbal and social behavior of these children.
63. Behaviors of Three Para-Educators Involved in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders’ Integration in Ordinary Class
Area: AUT; Domain: Service Delivery
ANNIE PAQUET (The University of Quebec at Montreal), Melina Rivard (The University of Quebec at Montreal), Katrine Schuessler (The University of Quebec at Montreal), Jacques Forget (The University of Quebec at Montreal), Normand Giroux (The University of Quebec at Montreal), Randolph Stephenson (The University of Quebec at Montreal)
Abstract: This study describes the behaviors of three para-educators whose mandate is to facilitate the integration of children with ASD into ordinary class settings. Ten meetings of one hour observation are carried out for each participant. A grid for direct observation is used. Five categories of behaviors are defined: support for social integration, management of behaviors, support for academic tasks, care and support for personal autonomy, and interpersonal communications. The grid also makes it possible to describe the degree of physical proximity between the teacher and the integrated child, the format of supervision (individual or group), the presence or the absence of teacher, and the frequency of planned interventions for the ASD children or those aimed at the non-ASD children. Descriptive analyses permit the description of behaviors in a quantitative way. Results indicate that the majority of behaviors from observed para-educators are made to support academic tasks. Few behaviors in the categories “management of behavior,” “care and support for personal autonomy,” and “support for social integration” are emitted.
64. Profiles of Verbal Development in Children with Autism: Predicting Outcome.
Area: AUT; Domain: Basic Research
DEBRA ANNE RAUSCH-HARRIS (University of California, San Diego), Laura Schreibman (University of California, San Diego)
Abstract: The current study examines the development of Skinner’s verbal operants within the framework of a specific behavioral intervention for children with autism. Pivotal Response Training (PRT) is a naturalistic behavioral treatment based on the principles of applied behavior analysis. Preliminary analyses in our laboratory indicate that PRT is effective in increasing each unit of language (echoic, mand, tact, intraverbal, autoclitic), resulting in language that is functional for the child. Children participating in this study are between the ages of two and four, have a diagnosis of autism, have fewer than 10 functional words, and have not received PRT in the past. Children receive 10 hours of PRT per week over a period of 10 weeks. The current study aims to identify the specific child’s characteristics that impact the development of each of the verbal operants. More specifically, this study is looking at the relationship between the development of each verbal operant and the child’s behavioral profile. Such information will provide theoretical as well as practical value in further explaining language development, predicting success with specific treatment methodologies, and better individualizing treatment to match the child’s unique profile.
65. Modified Functional Communication Training in the Natural Environment with Children with Autism.
Area: AUT; Domain: Service Delivery
GREGORY R. MANCIL (University of Florida), Maureen Conroy (University of Florida)
Abstract: Functional communication training (FCT) provides an effective method to address communication and behavioral needs of children with autism (Carr & Durand, 1985; Wacker, et al., 2005). The majority of studies with children with autism, however, are conducted in clinical settings and typically do not address generalization to natural environments or expansion of communication mands (Mancil, 2006). Embedding FCT within naturally occurring routines of children with autism may decrease aberrant behavior and increase communication by providing more natural and relevant reinforcers. This presentation will report findings from a pilot investigation that implemented FCT with a young child with autism in his home setting. Data were collected on the rate of aberrant behavior and the latency to respond with a functional communication response following a mand. Interobserver agreement was obtained for an average of 40% of the sessions and averaged 96% (93-100%). The results indicated a clinically significant decrease in aberrant behavior coinciding with an increase in unprompted communication and a decrease in latency to respond. The findings will be discussed in relation to the simultaneous decrease in aberrant behavior, increase in communication, and decrease in latency to respond. Systematic techniques for implementing the modified FCT also will be provided.
66. Functional Analysis of Social Communicative Behavior for Young Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders.
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
JENNIFER A. SELLERS (University of Florida), Elizabeth L.W. McKenney (University of Florida), Maureen Conroy (University of Florida), Ann P. Daunic (University of Florida), Anibal Gutierrez Jr. (Nova Southeastern University), Melissa N. Hale (Nova Southeastern University)
Abstract: Young children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) often display deficits in appropriate social communicative behavior (e.g., requesting attention, requesting tangibles, and inappropriately refusing social situations) that often require formal intervention to produce sufficient gains (Gonzalez-Lopez, & Kamps, 1997; McGee, Feldman, & Morrier, 1997). Functional analysis (FA) methodology has demonstrated success in identifying functions of a variety of problem behaviors and the development of robust interventions (Asmus, et al., 2004; Iwata, et al., 1994). The purpose of this presentation will be to share the findings of an evaluation of the FA methodology to identify functions of appropriate social communicative behavior with four young children (ages two to five years) with ASD in their natural environments (e.g., school, home). The findings indicate functions of social communicative behavior were identified for three of the four participants. A tangible function was identified for three of the four participants and a secondary escape function was identified for one participant. The FA findings were inconclusive for the fourth participant. Results will be discussed in relation to topographies of behaviors reinforced and links to intervention. Interobserver agreement was obtained for at least 30% of sessions and averaged 80% or better.
67. Using Antecedents to Enhance Social Interactions in Children with Autism.
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
TAKETO NAKAO (University of Florida), Elizabeth L.W. McKenney (University of Florida), Glenn M. Sloman (University of Florida), Maureen Conroy (University of Florida)
Abstract: The purpose of the current study was to examine the effects of antecedent interventions on the social behaviors of a student with autism. A three-phase process was employed to identify potential antecedent interventions. In the first phase, descriptive observation was conducted to identify naturally occurring antecedent events relevant to social interaction. Following the descriptive assessment, a structural analysis was conducted to experimentally validate antecedent events identified through the descriptive observation process. Finally, the results of the structural analysis were used to generate a treatment plan. The results of the study indicated that small group activities, including computer programmed activities and games with rules (e.g., bingo) were more likely to increase social behaviors than a cognitive activity (e.g., paired reading). The results of this investigation may assist providers of school-based behavior analysis services, researchers, and teacher trainers to develop social interaction interventions for students with autism and to facilitate the successful inclusion of students with autism in inclusive environments.
68. A Protocol for Assessing Early Communication of Young Children with Autism.
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
JAMES W. HALLE (University of Illinois), Hedda Meadan (Illinois State University)
Abstract: Language is a uniquely human achievement. Many children with autism spectrum disorder and other developmental disabilities never develop language or, when they do, its development is delayed and departs from a typical trajectory. Because language is compromised, concerns about how these children communicate become fundamental. Assessing their communicative behavior is a challenge for early interventionists. The purpose of this presentation is to describe a structure protocol for assessing request, reject, and repair behavior of young children with autism spectrum disorders and other developmental disabilities. These three communicative functions are basic building blocks for social encounter and permit the “speaker” to influence others in desired ways. Notions of operant psychology, such as response class, functional equivalence, response competition, and response efficiency are evoked to provide a conceptual framework for the assessment and the data generated by it. Assessment probes are offered as a means of evaluating the impact over time of an intervention program focusing on these early communication targets. To illustrate how the structure protocol can be implemented and the type of findings resulting from the assessment, an actual case study will be presented.
69. General Education Teachers’ Experience Regarding Inclusive Education and the Inclusion of Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders.
Area: AUT; Domain: Service Delivery
SONJA R DEBOER (University of Kansas)
Abstract: Students with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) require unique individualized educational services in order to learn and function. A decision to include a student with ASD in a general education classroom requires careful planning training and support for general education teachers. Research has proven these to be crucial components that contribute greatly to the type of attitude of teachers toward inclusion and students with disabilities. However, there is a gap in the research that directly addresses the inclusion of students with ASD. The primary purpose of this study was to gather information from general education teachers regarding the training and support they had received during the process of including a student with ASD in their classroom. This study was implemented utilizing a questionnaire that focused on the sources of training and support teachers received and their perceptions regarding the training, support, and overall inclusion process. Descriptive statistics revealed that general education teachers receive a) most of their inclusive education training through professional development and b) more support than training for both inclusive education and ASD. The majority of teachers also value support more than training for both inclusive education and ASD and are more willing to include students with mild to moderate ASD than those with moderate to severe.
70. The Use of Structural Analysis to Identify Antecedent-Based Interventions across Applied Settings for Students with Autism.
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
JENA BRICKER (University of Missouri-Columbia), Janine Peck Stichter (University of Missouri-Columbia), Julie Olive (University of Missouri-Columbia)
Abstract: From the inception of behavior analysis, basic research in the field has always been concerned with the theoretical and empirical study of antecedent variables (Mostofsky, 1965; Skinner, 1938). However, the applied literature has tended historically to emphasize the role of consequences (Carr & Durand, 1985; Iwata, et al., 1982). Yet, research has long demonstrated clear effects of setting events such as teacher behavior, instructional practices, and environmental characteristics on prosocial and adaptive behaviors of students with disabilities (e.g., Kern, et al., 1994; Reynolds, 1992; Stichter, et al., in press). However, systemically assessing contextual variables within school settings by natural change agents continues to be an elusive process. This study investigated the use of practitioner-implemented structural analyses to determine setting events affecting the adaptive behavior of three elementary age students with autism within their typical classroom settings. Descriptive measures including direct observation and analogue probes were employed and contrasted. An ABA reversal design was used to compare intervention packages. Optimal intervention packages were assessed across a multiple baseline design across settings. Maintenance and social validity data were also obtained. Findings indicate that structural analyses can be implemented by a practitioner and can lead to the development of successful interventions within educational settings. Interobserver agreement was obtained of 87% for 35% of sessions.
71. Auditory Behavior of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders.
Area: AUT; Domain: Service Delivery
TRACY J. STEPHENS (University of South Dakota)
Abstract: Auditory behavior of 106 children and adolescents were measured during interdisciplinary team evaluations. Findings indicated that contrary to longstanding stereotypes, individuals with ASD were a heterogeneous group that responded well, if not better, to speech as to nonspeech stimuli. Although sometimes difficult to test with behavioral audiometry, they were rarely impossible to test. Parent interviews and behavioral audiometry are reliable evidence-based measures to evaluate and address the auditory behaviors of individuals on the autism spectrum.
72. Evaluating the Utility of a Longitudinal Comprehensive Behavior Support Plan: An Illustrative Case Example.
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
SHELLEY CLARKE (University of South Florida), Michelle A. Duda (University of South Florida)
Abstract: This study was designed to look at the continued use of an assessment-based intervention, across two school years for a girl with autism spectrum disorder and multiple medical disabilities. A descriptive comparison was conducted in order to examine the characteristics of the intervention and support plan over time. This comparison provided the opportunity to identify changes and similarities that might serve as possible factors related to maintenance durability. An experimental analysis was also conducted in order to evaluate the continued viability of the assessment-based intervention in a new context. Objective empirical measures were collected following the repeated implementation of the functional assessment process, as well as collecting measures reflecting quality of life issues. The intervention was evaluated across two years with multiple measurement strategies in order to obtain a relatively comprehensive portrayal of the impact of the behavior support efforts over time, for both participant and intervention agent. In addition to direct observations of participant behavior, social validation data were obtained across various phases of the support plan.
73. Environmental Influences on Challenging Behavior in Children with Autism.
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
BERENICE DE LA CRUZ (University of Texas at Austin), Katherine Wamhoff (University of Texas at Austin), Tonya Nichole Davis (University of Texas at Austin), Mark O'Reilly (University of Texas at Austin)
Abstract: Challenging behavior in a six-year-old boy with autism across a series of systematically controlled social contexts was examined. Some previous research with other disabilities has demonstrated that environmental factors can have a significant influence on symptom expression. While most researchers are currently interested in mapping global behavioral patterns associated with various syndromes, it also seems important to examine the potential impact of social/environmental influences on such behaviors. The purpose of the study was to examine whether several of these features vary in frequency and intensity as a function of changes in social/environmental context. In the present study, a highly variable pattern was found across all conditions of a functional analysis, but access to social attention appeared to be a primary reinforcement contingency in the presence of challenging behavior. The lack of clear differentiation in frequency of challenging behavior per condition led to the hypothesis that an unidentified variable was acting as an establishing operation. The establishing operation was identified, and adjusting social/environmental context prior to and/or in situations in which such behaviors was displayed led to decreases in challenging behavior.
74. Students with Autism Aged Three to 21 Years: A 10-Year Review of the Treatment of Challenging Behavior in School Settings.
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
WENDY A. MACHALICEK (University of Texas at Austin), Mark O'Reilly (University of Texas at Austin), Natasha Beretvas (The University of Texas at Austin), Jeffrey S. Sigafoos (University of Tasmania), Giulio Lancioni (University of Bari)
Abstract: The present literature review evaluates 26 studies on the treatment of challenging behavior for students ages three to 21 years with autism spectrum disorders. A variety of strategies have been implemented to decrease challenging behavior in classrooms. These strategies include: antecedent manipulations; instructional modifications; functional communication training; self-management techniques; and reinforcement-based interventions. The studies are reviewed here for answers to the following questions: a) How effective were the interventions in decreasing the challenging behavior of students with autism in classrooms?; b) What is the possibility that teachers can successfully treat challenging behavior in the classroom?; c) How did interventions address the social consequences maintaining the challenging behavior?; and d) How did the studies measure the social validity of the interventions? A brief discussion of relevant research questions follows.
75. Using Stimulus-Stimulus Pairing and Direct Reinforcement to Teach Vocal Verbal Behavior to Young Children with Autism.
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
REGINA CARROLL (University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire)
Abstract: Many children diagnosed with autism do not learn to talk and, as a result, must communicate using sign language or pictures. In this study the effects of a stimulus-stimulus pairing procedure was used to increase vocalizations for two children diagnosed with autism. This procedure includes pairing a vocal sound with a preferred stimulus (e.g., toy) to condition automatic reinforcement. In addition, this study assessed the effects of direct reinforcement procedures to bring vocalizations under echoic control following the pairing procedure for one of the participants.
76. The Effects of Two Teaching Strategies on the Emergence of Novel Vocal Verbal Behavior.
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
KATHERINE M. MATTHEWS (Virginia Commonwealth University), Adam S. Warman (Virginia Commonwealth University), Jason Detzel (Virginia Commonwealth University), Jennifer Lax (Virginia Commonwealth University), Beth Braddock (Virginia Commonwealth University), Eli T. Newcomb (Virginia Commonwealth University)
Abstract: This study tested the effects of two teaching strategies on the emergence of novel vocal verbal behavior for students diagnosed with autism. The first teaching procedure consisted of a multiple exemplar instructional sequence in which students were taught to provide an extended tact for an experimental set of pictures and then tested on whether they emitted extended tacts when presented with a novel set of pictures. The second teaching procedure consisted of an instructional sequence targeting variability within an extinction condition. The results of both procedures were analyzed in terms of the number of novel tacts and extended tacts emitted during pre- and post-baseline conditions and the number of learn units to criterion required during the treatment conditions.
77. Community-Based Programming for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder - Yes, it is Possible!
Area: AUT; Domain: Service Delivery
CATHERINE ELIZABETH BURNS (Washington County Mental Health Services, Inc.), Edward J. Sbardellati (Washington County Mental Health Services, Inc.)
Abstract: This poster will highlight a community-based program for children and young adults diagnosed with autism offered in a rural New England state. In this program, direct and consultation services based upon principles of applied behavioral analysis are provided to children, their families, and school teams to promote optimal independence within children’s homes, schools, and vocational environments. The services are provided through mental health agency staff who work in schools, homes, and community settings in a collaborative model. The poster will review the following areas: the development and structure of a community-based program for children and young adults with a diagnosis of autism; applied behavioral analysis and its application in community-based programming; the ways in which such programming changes form as children develop (e.g., from toddlerhood to high school age); the varied level of supports offered by the collaborative (direct to consultation) and how this fits into the broader system of care in this rural state; methods for funding such activities; the critical role of collaboration in successful community-based programming for children and young adults with ASD; and the challenges of providing a high-quality, efficacious treatment in rural settings.
78. Accelerating the Learning Rate in Preschoolers with Autism Using a Parent-Training Model.
Area: AUT; Domain: Service Delivery
RUTH M. ANAN (William Beaumont Hospital), Lori J. Warner (William Beaumont Hospital), Jamie E. McGillivary (William Beaumont Hospital), Ivy M. Chong Crane (William Beaumont Hospital), Stefani Hines (William Beaumont Hospital)
Abstract: This study examines the efficacy of a short-term, but intensive, group parent-training program for 72 children with autism spectrum disorders. Early, intensive, behavior analytic treatment is not widely available, in part because its implementation by professionals makes it prohibitively costly. There is increasing evidence that children can benefit from parents acting as therapists. The family-focused approach examined in this study provided three hours of behavioral intervention teaching each weekday for twelve weeks. Parents were taught to implement behavior analytic techniques via didactic teaching, modeling, and systematic coaching. Children’s cognitive and adaptive functioning was assessed before and after this intervention program. Analyses revealed significant acceleration in children’s learning rates, resulting in average gains of eight standard score points on the Mullen Early Learning Composite and five standard score points on the Vineland Adaptive Behavior Composite. Fourteen and 11% of children moved from the “impaired” to “non-impaired” range on Mullen and Vineland composite scores, respectively. Results indicate that parents can learn how to implement behavior analytic interventions in a cost- and time-efficient manner, resulting in significant gains on the part of children.
79. An Intensive, Short-Term, Group Parent-Training Model for Preschoolers with Autism.
Area: AUT; Domain: Service Delivery
JAMIE E. MCGILLIVARY (William Beaumont Hospital), Lori J. Warner (William Beaumont Hospital), Ruth M. Anan (William Beaumont Hospital), Jennifer Lynn Seidel (William Beaumont Hospital)
Abstract: This poster outlines a 12-week, behaviorally-based intensive parent-training program for families of young children with autism. In this unique model, parents accompany their children to a small-group setting three hours a day for 12 weeks. A staggered enrollment model accommodates six children per session, allowing more skilled families to serve as role models for incoming families. Parents learn to implement discrete trial and incidental teaching via didactic training, modeling and role playing. Staff to parent ratios are faded from 1:1 to 1:2 over the course of the 12 weeks. Child-specific target responses are developed for communication, socialization, play, and self-help skills, and all skills are taught in a hierarchical fashion. Parents learn to identify teaching opportunities in the natural environment, promote generalization of skills, and deliver feedback on behavioral techniques to other individuals. A homework minimum of one hour nightly is required to promote transition of skills to the home. At the conclusion of the program, parents are transferred to a behavioral consultant for biweekly follow-up consultation. Outcome measures are the average percentage of skills gained on the ABLLS both at 12-week follow up and six months post-intervention.
80. Differences in the Acquisition of Symbol-Based Commenting when Taught Live or via Computer.
Area: AUT; Domain: Service Delivery
JONATHAN W. KIMBALL (Woodfords Family Services), Nicole Boivin (REACH School/Cumberland Child Development Services), Robert Stromer (George Brown College, Toronto)
Abstract: Participants were three boys with autism, ages three to five, from a behavioral preschool. All mastered Phases I to IV of the Picture Exchange Communication System; two had begun Phase V (responding to “What do you want?”) None commented spontaneously. This study was their introduction to commenting via the PECS system (Phase VI). We compared acquisition of symbol-based commenting when instructional stimuli, including the teacher, were presented live or via photos, icons, and videos on computer. Ten items, last in preference assessments, were chosen for each participant. Photographs of five were put into a live set, five into a computer set, presented as alternating treatments. In a trial, the live or video teacher presented a photograph, asking, “What do you see?” The child was to use icons to construct the phrase (live or on a touch-screen) “I see ___ .” The dependent measure was percent correct phrases. All children achieved 100% correct, two consecutive sessions, significantly quicker with live instruction, although they did succeed with generality probes involving three-dimensional objects from either set. Interobserver agreement (35% of sessions) averaged 96.6% for live and 100% for computer instruction. Treatment integrity (31.4% of sessions) averaged 96% for live and 99% for computer.
82. Outcomes of IBI in a Large Community-Based Program in Ontario.
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
ADRIENNE M. PERRY (York University), Janis M. Williams (Erinoak), Jennifer Dunn Geier (Preschool Autism Program - Eastern Ontario), Nancy Freeman (Surrey Place Centre), Susan Hughes (Pathways for Children and Youth), Louise LaRose (Thames Valley Children's Centre), Tom Managhan (Child Care Resources), Jo-Ann M. Reitzel (Hamilton-Niagara Regional Early Autism Initiative)
Abstract: Although IBI’s efficacy has been shown and replicated in small model programs, large scale demonstrations of the outcomes from community-based applications have been lacking and concern has been expressed as to whether effectiveness will be demonstrated under such less-than-ideal conditions. This poster presents pre-post psychological assessment data from 332 children aged two to seven who participated in the publicly-funded IBI program in Ontario, Canada. Results indicate that there were significant improvements in autism severity on the CARS, cognitive level (various tests), adaptive behavior (VABS), and rate of development. Although there were significant group changes on all these variables, there was considerable individual variability, with different results in different subgroups. Seven categories of outcome/progress were defined, ranging from “average functioning” to “worse.” Children who began IBI younger than four and received it for two years or longer scored better on all measures at exit. Predictors of outcome categories included initial developmental level (strongest predictor accounting for up to 50% variance), age at intake, and duration of IBI. Limitations of the study are acknowledged.
83. Using the ABLLS to Capture Changes in Developmental Trajectories of Children with Autism Enrolled in an IBI Program.
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
APRIL M. SULLIVAN (York University), Adrienne M. Perry (York University), Nancy Freeman (Surrey Place Centre), James M. Bebko (York University )
Abstract: There is an abundance of empirical support for Intensive Behavioural Intervention (IBI) for children with autism. However, intervention studies in autism typically employ a pre-post design to measure cognitive and adaptive skills with standardized measures before the onset of treatment and again at discharge. This type of design often assumes linearity in skill acquisition from intake to discharge, and it is limited to capturing only the broad domains of development covered by standardized measures. As a result, the developmental trajectory for children enrolled in these programs is still unclear. One way to clarify the nature of skill acquisition among these children is to use a measure that captures discrete skill development at multiple time points while enrolled in treatment. One such measure, The Assessment of Basic Language and Learning Skills (ABLLS; Partington & Sundberg, 1998), provides a wealth of information regarding the acquisition of discrete skills throughout the course of treatment. This study employs growth curve modeling to highlight changes in developmental trajectories for children with autism enrolled in IBI programming. ABLLS data will be presented for twenty preschool-age children with autism who have been enrolled in IBI programming for at least one year.
84. Infant Programs for Children with Autism in California.
Area: AUT; Domain: Service Delivery
NICOLE L. WICHERN-FRANK (Autism Comprehensive Educational Services), Marianne L. Bernaldo (Autism Comprehensive Educational Services), Jennifer Berghoudian (Autism Comprehensive Educational Services)
Abstract: This poster represents a single company’s work in educating infants diagnosed with autism over a span of nearly 10 years. It investigates the changes in service delivery over that span of time and highlights the outcomes of intensive intervention programs, focusing on several clients who were followed as they grew into young adults, and who are representative of the growth of intervention and its historical foundations.



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