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.


32nd Annual Convention; Atlanta, GA; 2006

Event Details

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Symposium #64a
CE Offered: BACB
TeachTown: A Comprehensive Computer-Assisted ABA Treatment Program for Children with Autism
Saturday, May 27, 2006
3:00 PM–4:20 PM
Regency VII
Area: AUT; Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: Christina Whalen (TeachTown)
Discussant: Ilene S. Schwartz (University of Washington)
CE Instructor: Christina Whalen, Ph.D.

The TeachTown program is based on best-practices from ABA, education, and developmental psychology. The software includes a comprehensive curriculum for children with autism and teaches receptive language, social understanding, self-help, attention, memory, auditory processing, and early academic skills. The software also includes a complete data tracking system which provides the adult with information about the childs progress including prompts, errors, correct responses, etc. In addition, the software includes an innovative communication system where adults can send messages or write session notes. Multiple facilitators can access the program from various locations so that the child can play anywhere without losing any data. The software program also includes a large library of non-computer supplementary activities (based on PRT and other naturalistic programs) which can be printed out and used by any adult (i.e. does not require a trained therapist). A demonstration of the software along with results from 3 research studies will be presented. The potential for using TeachTown and other computer-assisted programs will be discussed.

Facilitating Language and Social Behaviors Using the TeachTown Program.
CHRISTINA WHALEN (TeachTown), Lars H. Liden (TeachTown), Brooke Ingersoll (Lewis & Clark College), Eric Dallaire (TeachTown), Sven Liden (TeachTown)
Abstract: Children with autism spectrum disorders often respond well to treatment programs that incorporate visual learning including pictures and videos. Recently, researchers have begun to study the effects of using computers to teach children with autism and have demonstrated some effectiveness. One of the biggest criticisms of using computers with this population is that it may impede two of the most critical learning areas for children with autism – language and social interaction. In a recent study, language and social behaviors of 4 children with autism and 4 children with other developmental disorders were measured in play and computer sessions with their parents. For the children with autism, inappropriate language and social behaviors decreased and appropriate language and social behaviors increased while on the computer compared to play sessions with the parent. A demonstration of the software will be presented along with research data.
Comparing Teacher-Implemented Discrete Trials to Teach Town: Rate of Acquisition and Generalization.
NANCY ROSENBERG (University of Washington), Bonnie J. McBride (University of Washington), Ilene S. Schwartz (University of Washington)
Abstract: Four young children with ASD participated in this intervention. The purpose of this intervention was to compare the rate of acquisition and generalization of receptive vocabulary items taught using teacher-implemented discrete trials and a computer-generated discrete-trial program (i.e., Teach Town). The primary research questions were: (a) which intervention resulted in children learning the vocabulary items more quickly, (b) which intervention resulted in more generalization, and (c) during which intervention did children display more positive affect and behavior. A parallel treatment design was used to answer these questions. Results will be discussed in terms of trials to acquisition and percent of generalized responding. Social validity data will also be presented.
Incorporating TeachTown into a Comprehensive Behavior Analytic Program for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders.
ELIZABETH J. WYMAN (ASTAR Center), Susan K. Malmquist (ASTAR Center)
Abstract: Empirical evidence supports the need for 25-40 hours per week of intensive behavioral intervention, for children with autism, most effectively begun at the age of diagnosis. Families often struggle with locating direct service providers to supply these hours, wait lists with ABA providers, and funding these services. Providing this intense number of behavioral therapy hours is a challenge. The utilization of a computer software program to provide discrete trials or to supplement an existing therapy program is one option for families. However there are some pre-requisite skills that must be in place before the computer software can be used as an effective teaching tool (e.g. the ability to remain seated in a chair, isolated pointing, visual scanning, attending). We examined and compared the skills required to utilize the TeachTown software effectively with children who demonstrated the basic prerequisite skills and those who demonstrated few or none. An analysis of these skills as well as the children’s skill acquisition and generalization rates were also considered and analyzed.



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