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.


34th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2008

Event Details

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Symposium #71
Increasing Peer Social Interactions and Verbal Behavior Exhibited by Young Children with Autism
Saturday, May 24, 2008
3:30 PM–4:50 PM
Continental A
Area: AUT/DDA; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: David M. Richman (University of Illinois)
Abstract: The applications of operant processes and operations to the acquisition, maintenance, and generalization of verbal responses emitted by children with autism have greatly increased in the last 10 years. This symposium will focus on advances in communication training for children with autism. David Richman will present on the application of direct instruction for typically developing peers to discriminate and reinforce Picture Exchange Communication Training responses to increase peer interactions for a young child with autism. Jennifer Asmus will describe an analysis of procedures used to train elementary peers to serve as skill acquisition program instructors to increase social interaction and communication for students with autism spectrum disorders. Alonna Beth Marcus will present on a comparative analysis of self versus peer modeling for training textual responses in children with autism. Finally, Heather Finn will describe an experiment on the emergence of untrained mands and tacts, based on functional interdependence between these two classes of verbal operants, exhibited by young children with autism.
Teaching Peers to Discriminate and Reinforce Picture Exchange Communication System Responses.
DAVID M. RICHMAN (University of Illinois), Mary K. Linnenburger (University of Illinois and Champaign County, IL Public School District #4)
Abstract: The Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) is a form of augmentative communication used by some children with autism, and the majority of studies on teaching children to use PECS have been conducted with an adult as the communicative partner. However, children with autism often have difficulty initiating communicative interactions with their peers. In the current study, we assessed the effects of peer training to discriminate and reinforce independent PECS responses emitted by a 4-year-old boy with autism. Six peers were trained to independently accept PECS response and provide the requested play item in an early childhood pre-kindergarten classroom. Data were collected on independent PECS exchanges between the target child with autism and his typically developing peers, and the effects of the intervention were evaluated with a multiple baseline design across settings. Exact partial interval occurrence interobserver agreement data were collected across 20% of sessions and IOA was 100% for PECS responses. Results indicated that peer training effectively increased the number of PECS initiations used by the child with autism across all three settings.
Increasing Pro-Social Behaviors for Students with Autism in Inclusive Classrooms Using Peer-Mediated Interventions.
JENNIFER M. ASMUS (University of Wisconsin, Madison), Laura Mulford (University of Wisconsin, Madison), Sara Christianson (University of Wisconsin, Madison)
Abstract: Difficulty engaging in reciprocal social interactions is considered the central and defining behavioral feature of ASD. Social relatedness problems are most likely to manifest during interactions with same-aged peers. For children with ASD, accessing potential social-related benefits available within general education classrooms remains extremely difficult. Although sufficient opportunities for peer interaction are available in inclusive classrooms, research confirms that the extent to which children with ASD are accessing these opportunities remains infrequent and inconsistent. The present study demonstrated a systematic process to analyze the pro-social behaviors of children with ASD in general education elementary school classrooms. A case example will be presented highlighting the antecedent variables in the natural environment that promoted positive, peer-related interactions and how they were identified and incorporated into an individualized social skill intervention. Data was collected on target and peer pro-social initiations, responses, and sustained social interactions at baseline and treatment. Treatment utilizing a peer-mediated intervention demonstrated improvements in the target child’s pro-social behaviors. IOA was collected on at least 25% of sessions anagreement exceeded 85% across measures.
A Comparison of Peer Video Modeling versus Self Video Modeling to Teach Textual Responses in Children with Autism.
ALONNA MARCUS (Florida Institute of Technology), David A. Wilder (Florida Institute of Technology), Matthew Russell Osborne (Florida Institute of Technology)
Abstract: Peer video modeling was compared to self video modeling to teach three children with autism to respond appropriately to (i.e., identify or label) novel letters. A combination multiple baseline and multielement design was used to compare the two procedures. Results showed that all three participants met the mastery criterion in the self modeling condition, whereas only one of the participants met the mastery criterion in the peer modeling condition. In addition, the participant who met the mastery criterion in each condition reached the criterion more quickly in the self modeling condition. Results are discussed in terms of their implications for teaching children with autism new skills.
The Emergence of Untrained Mands and Tacts.
HEATHER E. FINN (The New England Center for Children), William H. Ahearn (The New England Center for Children), Caio F. Miguel (California State University, Sacramento)
Abstract: Several studies have demonstrated functional independence of mands and tacts, while others have demonstrated a transfer of control from one verbal operant to the other. The present study was a replication of Petursdottir, Carr, and Michael (2005), using participants 3- to 6-years-old diagnosed with autism. All were taught to put together two 4-piece construction task Two were taught to mand the different names of the pieces and two were taught to tact the names of the pieces. The effects of training were evaluated in a multiple probe design across verbal operants and tasks. Three of the four participants demonstrated an immediate transfer of control from one verbal operant to the other untrained verbal operant. One participant demonstrated an emergence of the untrained verbal operants after the mand for one of the pieces had been trained. When taught to mand the pieces of the second construction task, he demonstrated the emergence of tacts. These results were consistent with Petursdottir et al. in the demonstration of functional interdependence, however, the transfer was even more reliable even though the participants were developmentally delayed. IOA was collected on at least 46% of sessions and agreement was greater than 99%.



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