Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


35th Annual Convention; Phoenix, AZ; 2009

Event Details

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Symposium #509
CE Offered: PSY/BACB
In Proximity and Engaged, Now What? Taking the PLA-Check to the Next Level
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
9:00 AM–10:20 AM
North 124 B
Area: AUT/DDA; Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: Edward Hargroves III (DFW Center for Autism)
Discussant: Einar Ingvarsson (University of North Texas)
CE Instructor: Daniel J. Moran, Ph.D.
Abstract: As environmental arrangement becomes increasingly pivotal in evaluating treatment efficacy, systematic methods of assessing environments and client participation are needed. . Todd R. Risley and his students recognized this in the early 1970s and developed the Planned Activity Check, (PLA-Check, Doke and Risley, 1972). The measure requires little observer effort, evaluating and comparing entire activity periods or settings using group recording time-sampling procedures. Proportions of time a client is observed to be appropriately engaged or participating in the target activity are then evaluated. After developing a manual and testing the protocol in a variety of settings from infant day-care settings to geriatric homes, (Risley and Cataldo, 1973), Risley and colleagues encouraged others to utilize the system in behavior therapy practices. The PLA-Check has since been applied to numerous treatment settings and has been used as a staff performance feedback system. This symposium will evaluate proposed uses and modifications of the PLA-Check in treatment settings for children with autism. The modifications range from changes in the original group measure to alterations that make it feasible to evaluate individual client differences. Pros and cons of these formats as well as the benefits of further evaluating and disseminated the usage of the PLA-check are discussed.
Adapting the PLA-Check: From Group to Individual Analyses
LAUREN BOEHM (DFW Center for Autism), Kecia Adams-Wright (DFW Center for Autism), Julie Griffith (DFW Center for Autism), Jessie Whitesides (DFW Center for Autism), Edward Hargroves III (DFW Center for Autism), Rebecca Morgan (DFW Center for Autism), Carrie Greer (DFW Center for Autism), Rebecka Honardar (DFW Center for Autism)
Abstract: PLA-Check (Risley & Cataldo, 1973) data were collected at the Texas Star Academy, an inclusive preschool serving students with autism alongside typically developing peers, which is a replication of the renowned Walden Early Childhood Center at Emory University (McGee, Daly, & Jacobs, 1994). The PLA-Check has been used to provide an understanding of the propriety of learning environments and activities offered, and to show the differences in the engagement of the children with autism and their typical peers. The PLA-Check has been adapted to make it an effective tool for collecting similar information in private preschool settings. However, rather than evaluating an entire group of students together with their peers, individual engagement data were collected for a target student during selected community preschool activities. A normative sample was also gathered in order to set attainable objectives for each target child in the community preschool settings to arrange for optimal success in each activity. Data from both the group Walden replication setting and the individual community preschool settings are exhibited, compared, and discussed. Original PLA-Check designs and rationales for using and adapting the measure in similar settings also are examined.
A Circle of Friends: Comparing Individual Differences to a Small Normative Group
SHANA WIGGINS (DFW Center for Autism), Kristen Casteel (DFW Center for Autism), Thomas O’Mara (DFW Center for Autism), Kecia Adams-Wright (DFW Center for Autism), Rebecca Morgan (DFW Center for Autism)
Abstract: Risley and Cataldo’s (1973) PLA-Check was used to observe a 4 year old child with High Functioning Autism within his preschool setting in order to gauge proximity and engagement in various activities compared to his typically developing peers. Overtime, the participant achieved levels on the PLA-Check that were comparable to his typically developing peers, but it was evident that other social and communication skills within group settings were not as complex as those that were demonstrated by his peers. More specifically, the participant did not initiate with or respond to peers at similar rates. As a result, treatment programs were designed to target these specific deficits in 1:1, 1:2, and group settings. In order to capture the rate at which he engaged in language initiations and responses with his peers, the initial PLA-Check was modified to allow these behaviors to be measured. This modification still allowed for data to be collected on his peers who were present within the same activity, which served as a normative reference. The modified PLA-Check proved to be a valuable tool, providing guidance on when and where program updates were needed. Due to the successful adaptations to the original PLA-Check measure, the modified PLA-Check has since been beneficial in other children’s programming.
Coming Full Circle: Individuals’ Data and Group Data Revisited
JULIE GRIFFITH (DFW Center for Autism), Kecia Adams-Wright (DFW Center for Autism), Rebecca Morgan (DFW Center for Autism), Rachael Shrontz (DFW Center for Autism)
Abstract: Originally, the PLA-Check was used to measure target behaviors within a group across time or activities. Since the introduction of the PLA-Check adaptations have been made to make the measurement system more individualized to meet the needs of the observer. The current discussion reviews the use of an adapted version of the PLA-Check to observe behaviors of two children with autism, including proximity to peers, interaction with typically developing peers, and language emitted by those being observed, in addition to activity engagement. These additional measures were used to observe two children with autism in separate inclusive settings. Data for each individual were collected on two levels. On the first level, the individual’s behavior was measured with no additional comparison to other individuals. The second level of measurement compared group behavior of those engaged in the target behaviors to the total number of children within the group. Both levels of measurement provide a useful comparison.



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