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.


Fourth International Conference; Australia, 2007

Event Details

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Symposium #34
CE Offered: BACB
Promoting Listening and Speaking Skills in Learners with Autism and Related Disorders
Monday, August 13, 2007
3:30 PM–4:50 PM
L2 Room 5
Area: AUT/DDA; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
Chair: Gina Green (San Diego State University)
Discussant: Jay S. Birnbrauer (Murdoch University)
CE Instructor: Gina Green, Ph.D.

Although behavior analytic methods have proved effective for building a wide array of communication skills in young children with autism, there is a paucity of research on procedures for promoting certain skills in that domain. We describe three investigations of procedures for teaching skills ranging from discriminating simple auditory stimuli to producing syntactically correct utterances. Implications for designing and implementing communication training curricula for learners with autism and related disorders are discussed.

Research to Practice: Teaching Auditory Discriminations to Learners with Autism.
GINA GREEN (San Diego State University), Kristine L. Marino (Connecticut Center for Child Development)
Abstract: Many learners with autism have difficulty acquiring receptive language skills, such as matching spoken words to objects. Those seemingly simple performances involve auditory-visual conditional discriminations, which are composed of both simple successive discriminations among auditory stimuli and simple simultaneous discriminations among visual stimuli. Research suggests that learners who fail to acquire auditory-visual conditional discriminations often do not demonstrate the component simple discriminations, but can acquire conditional discriminations after the component skills have been trained. Most previous studies of methods for teaching simple discriminations to learners with developmental disabilities used visual stimuli. We investigated two sets of procedures for teaching simple auditory discriminations to learners with autism and mental retardation. The first experiment was conducted in a learning laboratory with touchscreen-equipped computers using specialized software. Results indicated that 6 of 9 learners readily acquired 4 simple auditory discriminations. For the second experiment, the laboratory procedures have been translated into a “tabletop” format that could be used in classrooms. Preliminary data on the effectiveness of the “tabletop” procedures are described, and the potential benefits of establishing flexible auditory discrimination skills in learners with autism are outlined.
Improving the Responsiveness of Children with Autism to Auditory Environmental Events.
JANE S. HOWARD (California State University, Stanislaus), Mette Madsen (The Kendall School)
Abstract: Children with autism are sometimes described as having deficits in attending to stimuli in their environments. This lack of responsiveness may jeopardize the children’s safety, limit their interactions with others, and preclude participation in a variety of learning opportunities. In this study, procedures designed to improve attending to auditory environmental events in preschool- and kindergarten-aged children with autism were evaluated with a multiple baseline design. Results indicated that responding to the trained stimuli increased with the intervention. Maintenance and generalization to untrained situations and stimuli were also demonstrated.
Use of a Pictorial Prompting System to Improve Language Complexity in Children with Autism.
COLEEN SPARKMAN (Therapeutic PATHWAYS), Jenny Fischer (The Kendall School), Jane S. Howard (California State University, Stanislaus), Allyson Moore (Therapeutic PATHWAYS)
Abstract: Behavior analytic research has identified effective methods for improving many language skills in young children with autism. Research on procedures for increasing mean length of utterance and syntactical complexity is limited, however. The Fokes Sentence Builder is a program designed for use by speech -language pathologists to teach sentence structure to children with language delays. Generative instructional methods, including modifications to The Fokes Sentence Builder, were developed to teach syntactical frames to 3 preschoolers with autism. Acquisition of the targeted response classes and generalization to novel stimuli were demonstrated.



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