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 #367
Defining Evidence-Based Practice for Students with Severe Disabilities
Monday, May 25, 2009
9:00 AM–10:20 AM
North 122 BC
Area: EDC/DDA; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
Chair: Diane Browder (University of North Carolina, Charlotte)
Discussant: Robert H. Horner (University of Oregon)
Abstract: Determining evidence-based practice requires identifying a practice, locating research on the practice, evaluating the quality of each study, and making a determination of whether the subset of studies that meet these quality guidelines support the practice. Although groups like the IES’ What Works Clearinghouse have begun to evaluate practices, research on students with severe developmental disabilities may be overlooked in these endeavors. One challenge is that nearly all intervention studies with students with severe disabilities use single subject designs. In 2005, a group led by Robert Horner defined quality indicators for single subject research. This symposium will be based on three published reviews of evidence-based practice that applied the Horner et al. (2005) criteria. The papers will include discussions of how a practice can be derived from the research, how to evaluate a defined practice, and how variations in definitions of the criteria can change the overall outcome. Recommendations will be given for future research and practice
Deriving Evidence-Based Practices in Reading and Mathematics for Students with Significant Cognitive Disabilities
FRED SPOONER (UNC Charlotte), Diane Browder (University of North Carolina, Charlotte), Pamela Mims (University of North Carolina-Charlotte), Lynn Ahlgrim-Delzell (UNC Charlotte)
Abstract: Using the Horner et al. (2005) quality indicator criteria for identifying evidence-based practices for single subject design research, we evaluated and synthesized published studies in the special education literature to derive practices that should be implemented to teach reading and mathematics to students with significant cognitive disabilities. In both cases, standards suggested by the respective learned groups were (i.e., National Reading Panel and National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) used to evaluate the content of what was taught, and electronic and print resources were searched (reading, 1975-2003; mathematics, 1975-2005). Eighty-eight reading studies were identified, fifty-six of which met all four of the Horner et al. criteria to teach sight words and symbols related to literacy using systematic prompting techniques in a repeated (massed) trial format. In mathematics, 54 studies applied a single subject designs and 19 met all criteria which fell into two of the NCTM (2000) standards of Numbers and Operations and Measurement. Money (e.g., matching coins, counting and identification of coins and bills), purchasing, and computational skills were the most common mathematics skills and the most common instructional strategy was systematic instruction. The analyses (e.g., Horner et al. criteria, meta-analysis) to derive evidence-based practice are described
Reviewing the Evidence Base for Using Time Delay to Teach Picture and Word Recognition to Students with Severe Developmental Disabilities
DIANE BROWDER (University of North Carolina, Charlotte), Lynn Ahlgrim-Delzell (UNC Charlotte), Fred Spooner (UNC Charlotte), Joshua Baker (UNC Charlotte), Pamela Mims (University of North Carolina-Charlotte)
Abstract: A review of the literature was conducted for articles published between 1975 and 2007 on the application of time delay as an instructional procedure to teach word and picture recognition to students with severe developmental disabilities in an effort to evaluate time delay as an evidence-based practice. A total of 30 experiments were analyzed using quality indicators for single-subject design research. In general, the results supported that time delay was an evidence-based practice for teaching picture and sight word recognition supported by standards for evidence-based practice proposed by Horner et al. (2005). One of the lessons learned in conducting the review was that the practice of time delay had to be operationally defined using principles of applied behavior analysis. Although developed to be an intervention to transfer stimulus control with near errorless learning, even those studies that met the criteria for time delay and also had all quality indicators did not report how the components of time delay were applied
Meta-Analysis of Single Subject Research: A Comparison of Methods as Applied to Instructional Interventions for Students with Significant Cognitive Disabilities
LYNN AHLGRIM-DELZELL (UNC Charlotte), Claudia Flowers (UNC Charlotte), Diane Browder (University of North Carolina, Charlotte)
Abstract: This study, currently being conducted, is applying up to five proposed meta-analytic methods for single-subject research to the existing extensive literature database of single-subject studies gathered for the two previously described papers. The research questions for this study are: (a) Do the techniques produce similar results? (b) How do the results of these techniques compare to traditional visual analysis of data? and (c) Which technique(s) produce results that are more easily interpretable to consumers of such research? A recent review of the literature on meta-analytic methods for single-subject research designs found 13 different proposed meta-analytic techniques. The techniques range from simple, nonparametric calculations of percent of non-overlapping data points (PND, Scruggs, Mastropieri, & Castro, 1987) to more complicated approaches such as interrupted time series (Crosby, 1993), trend effect size (Center, Skiba, & Casey, 1985-1986), and a regression-based model (Allison & Gorman, 1993). Few studies compare these different techniques (e.g., Brossart, Parker, Olson, Mahadeva, 2006; Busse, Kratochwill, & Elliott, 1995; Campbell, 2004). Additional research is needed to provide the field with information about the methods in order to make informed judgments regarding which method to employ



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