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 #380
CE Offered: BACB
Increasing the applications of the Picture Exchange Communication System: Staff and Peer Training Approaches
Monday, May 25, 2009
10:30 AM–11:50 AM
North 120 BC
Area: AUT/EDC; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
Chair: Jill A. Szalony (Rutgers - DDDC)
Discussant: Andrew S. Bondy (Pyramid Educational Consultants)
CE Instructor: Alicia MacAleese, Ph.D.
Abstract: The Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) is a communication system for non-vocal and pre-vocal individuals with autism that has been shown to be highly effective. A primary issue in PECS is ensuring that the listener community is adequately trained. Staff members need to be trained in the essential elements and components of PECS. Treatment integrity is a significant concern. Therefore, staff training is of utmost importance. In the first paper, a behavioral skills training program will be discussed, in which a Behavioral Skills Training package was used to teach core staff skills. Specifically, video, verbal and written directions, modeling, rehearsal, and feedback were used as strategies in training. The second paper addresses the concern that PECS training is often done in a group based format, and presents an individualized approach to assessing treatment integrity for the components of PECS. Another listener community essential to the success of PECS as a communication system is peers. The third paper examines a step-wise model for peer training in PECS, examining both the impact of training in the receipt of PECS communications and pairing with reinforcement in increasing social interactions between students with autism and their typically developing peers in a preschool setting.
The Effects of Behavioral Skills Training on the Implementation of the Picture Exchange Communication System
ROCIO ROSALES (Southern Illinois University), Karen Stone (Southern Illinois University), Ruth Anne Rehfeldt (Southern Illinois University)
Abstract: The effectiveness of a behavioral skills training (BST) package to teach the implementation of the first three phases of the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) was evaluated with three adults who had no history teaching any functional communication system. A multiple baseline across participants design was used to evaluate the effectiveness of the training package, which consisted of a video, written and verbal instructions, modeling, rehearsal, and feedback. Results showed significant improvements relative to baseline in a short amount of training time, and that skills generalized to a learner with a severe developmental disability. Skills were maintained at one month follow-up for one participant.
Effects of a training model on acquiring the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS)
GLENN M. SLOMAN (University of Florida), Cara L. Phillips (University of Florida), Tina Smith-Bonahue (University of Florida), Kimberly Sloman (University of Florida)
Abstract: Based on Skinner’s Verbal Behavior (1957), the picture exchange communication system (PECS) is designed to teach children with autism functional verbal behavior. Much research has demonstrated the effectiveness and efficiency of PECS in building verbal behavior. However, because PECS consultation services are typically presented in a group format and later discontinued (Howlin et al.; 2007), there may be decreases in treatment integrity resulting in loss of effectiveness and durability. Hence, more intensive approaches may be necessary to establish, generalize, and maintain PECS delivery skills for educators beyond those demonstrated in workshop or group consultation trainings. Therefore, the purpose of the study is to examine the effects of a feedback model developed by Marcus, Swanson, and Vollmer (2001) to teach paraprofessionals to implement PECS with a high degree of integrity using single subject design methodology. Data will be presented on continuously monitored performance of paraprofessionals and students, component analyses, as well as generalization and maintenance of PECs implementation. Implications for PECS training, and PECS protocol will be discussed related to the necessary and sufficient conditions establishing and maintaining PECS delivery with integrity.
The impact of training in PECS and of pairing peers with reinforcement in increasing interactions
JILL A. SZALONY (Rutgers - DDDC), Mary Jane Weiss (Rutgers University), Meredith Bamond (Rutgers University)
Abstract: One of the primary challenges in an integrated program is facilitating social interaction between typically developing peers and children with autism. It can be especially difficult to integrate children with autism who have communication challenges, as social overtures may not be responded to and initiations might not be understood. Students using the Picture Exchange Communication System to communicate have a functional system for social interactions. However, young peers may not understand the communication messages. They need to be taught how to respond to the social interactions used by these children with autism. In particular, they need to be trained to receive the PECS communication strips. The model used in this peer training description teaches these skills and adds a component of pairing to enhance peer reinforcing value. We will discuss the step-wise implementation of this PECS training and peer pairing procedure used with three typically developing students in an integrated preschool environment.



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