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 #178
CE Offered: BACB
Improving Instructional Practices for Children and Adults with Disabilities
Sunday, May 28, 2006
1:30 PM–2:50 PM
Centennial Ballroom III
Area: AUT; Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: Alan E. Harchik (The May Institute)
CE Instructor: Alan E. Harchik, Ph.D.

Many behavior analysts devote a considerable amount of time to teaching new skills to children and adults with developmental disabilities. The ongoing improvement of instructional procedures is likely to make teaching sessions more effective. In this symposium, papers are presented that address different aspects of instructional programming. In the first paper, the researchers compare the effectiveness of two different prompting procedures. In the second paper, the authors present a training process for special education undergraduate students to learn a range of instructional procedures that are often effective. The authors of the third paper utilized the ABLLS to guide curriculum for an adult with severe disabilities. The researchers then taught three of the identified skills and examined the results within an experimental design. Finally, in the fourth paper, the author describes a comprehensive approach to teach new skills while addressing a serious problem behavior.

Comparing Different Prompting Procedures on Teaching New Skills to Children with Autism.
JULIE A. ACKERLUND (University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire), Sarah Tillman (University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire), Britta L. Fiksdal (University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire), Nicole Zeug (University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire), Kevin P. Klatt (University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire)
Abstract: Various procedures have been used to teach new communication, social, and play skills to children with autism. One of the most common procedures used in both analog and natural settings is the use of a prompt delay procedure. This procedure requires the teacher to give the child an instruction, followed by a prompt to help the child respond correctly, and then the prompt is faded across trials until the child responds independently. More recently, a simultaneous prompt procedure also has been used to teach new skills to children and adults with developmental disabilities. This procedure requires the teacher to provide an immediate prompt on all teaching trials. This procedure presumably prevents the child from making errors because the prompt is immediate. Although both procedures have been used successfully to teach new skills to persons with developmental disabilities, little research has been conducted comparing the two procedures or evaluating the effectiveness of either with young children with autism. The purpose of the first phase of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of two types of constant prompt delay and the simultaneous prompt procedure in teaching new skills to young children diagnosed with autism. This phase showed the constant prompt delay procedures to be more effective than the simultaneous prompting procedure. The second phase of this study is to investigate the effectiveness of the two types of constant prompt delay procedures.
Introducing Teachers to the Continuum of Instructional Formats in ABA.
SHANE D. ISLEY (University of North Texas), Shahla S. Ala'i-Rosales (University of North Texas), Kathleen S. Laino (University of North Texas), Jessica Leslie Broome (University of North Texas)
Abstract: A continuum of empirically based instructional formats is used in behavioral autism interventions. In order for practitioners to provide quality, individualized treatment for individuals with autism an understanding of the variety of formats is useful. This presentation describes a pilot introductory course designed to teach special education students about the common components of quality instruction and about three of the instructional formats found within ABA interventions. Formats include discrete trial, naturalistic, and precision teaching. At the beginning of the course, each student completed a three task assessment that included: (1) describing the instructional components, empirical basis, and applications of each instructional format; (2) identifying examples of each format; and (3) performing teaching role plays in each format. Based on their performance during assessment, recommendations were made to each student regarding which instructional format to focus on for the duration of the course. Following assessment, group teaching and individual tutoring were provided. At the end of the semester students completed an exit assessment, which was identical to the initial assessment except that only the designated format required the performance role-play. Pre and post data will be presented along with a discussion of the considerations involved in course design and implementation.
Using the ABLLS to Guide Instruction for an Adult with Disabilities.
ALAN E. HARCHIK (The May Institute), Jessica Day (University of Massachusetts), Rachel Fox (The May Institute)
Abstract: Typically, when an individual with developmental disabilities ages out of the public school system and enters the adult-service system, the intensity of instruction decreases. For example, the number of skill-training objectives might drop from 40 per year to 10 per year. The frequency of instruction is also greatly reduced. In addition, many older adults never received any type of quality educational services. Consequently, adults continue to have numerous skill deficits. The purpose of this study was to use a popular assessment tool, the Assessment of Basic Language and Learning Skills (ABLLS, Partington & Sundberg) that was developed for children with language delays and is often used for children with autism and other developmental disabilities. We utilized the ABLLS to help provide guidance in choosing appropriate skills for an adult with developmental disabilities. After choosing three skills based upon the assessment, instructional procedures were implemented and the effects were assessed via a multiple baseline design. Results showed that typical instructional procedures (shaping, prompting, fading, reinforcement, practice) resulted in skill acquisition. Reliability was assessed in all conditions. The findings provide an example of a way to increase the skill training opportunities available to adults with developmental disabilities.
Reducing a Child’s Physical and Environmental Aggression at School and Home.
SHANNON KAY (The May Institute)
Abstract: Physical aggression to other people and to the environment is dangerous and can lead to placement in a more restrictive setting. In this study, these behaviors were exhibited by a five-year-old boy with autism in all settings: school, play, home, and with other children as well as adults. A comprehensive intervention, consisting of positive reinforcement, interruption and redirection, and restitution were implemented in a multiple baseline fashion across settings and across the two types of aggression. Procedures were implemented by paraprofessionals at school and by the boy’s parents at home. Measures of treatment fidelity were taken. Results showed that when the comprehensive intervention was implemented, aggressive behaviors decreased.



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