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 #422
CE Offered: BACB
Researchers, Educators, and Practitioners: Training Professionals to Support Students with Autism.
Monday, May 25, 2009
1:30 PM–2:50 PM
North 124 A
Area: AUT/EDC; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
Chair: Jennifer B. Symon (California State University, Los Angeles)
Discussant: Jennifer B. Symon (California State University, Los Angeles)
CE Instructor: Jennifer Copeland, M.S.
Abstract: Many educators and professionals who support students with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) do not receive adequate or specialized training in autism. California State University, Los Angeles (CSULA) offers specialized training programs in autism, including a university certificate and masters degree in special education with an emphasis in autism. The training programs promote multidisciplinary collaboration between special educators and related personnel to effectively support students with ASD. The preservice training program will be described followed by outcome data from a five-year Office of Special Education federally funded grant project. Then, three research studies will be presented that targeted improvements in social interactions with peers and on-task classroom behaviors. Antecedent strategies, including offering choices and providing visual supports, were used in each of the three research presentations. Results indicated improvements in these social skills and behaviors. This symposium demonstrates the value of providing clinical and research training to educators and other team members who can design, implement, and evaluate evidence-based practices.
Teaching initiations and generalizing skills: Reaching levels comparable to typical peers
ELIKA SHAHRESTANI (CSULA), Jennifer B. Symon (California State University, Los Angeles), Randy V. Campbell (California State University, Los Angeles)
Abstract: Children with autism have difficulty in the area of social interaction. Specifically, individuals with autism have difficulty reading social cues and understanding the perspective of others (Attwood, 2000). These deficits not only impede the individual’s development but also may lead to social withdrawal and rejection from peers (Delano & Snell, 2006). Much of the research in the area of social skills has focused on intervention strategies to promote initiating and responding to peers in an effort to increase socially appropriate behaviors. Of all the social skill strategies described in the literature, the efficacy of social stories has been least consistent. In the present study, social story interventions were used in combination with reinforcement to teach social initiations in children with autism. Three children with autism participated in a multiple baseline across participants research design. Results indicated that none of the participants’ initiations increased following Intervention A, social stories alone; however, once reinforcement was added to the social story (Intervention B), all three participants engaged in significantly more initiations as compared to baseline. Peer comparison data were collected to determine the levels appropriate for peers. Results indicated that participants not only reached levels comparable to peers, but also generalized their skills to the school setting.
Using Antecedent Strategies to Improve Behaviors for Children with Autism
YUN-YI TSAI (CSULA), Randy V. Campbell (California State University, Los Angeles), Jennifer B. Symon (California State University, Los Angeles)
Abstract: Antecedent interventions have been implemented to improve classroom behaviors for children with disabilities, including Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). This study evaluated the effects of using picture activity schedules with and without choice making components on task engagement behaviors of three children with autism in a special education day care center. An alternating treatment design (Barlow & Hersen, 1984) was used to compare the effectiveness of two different interventions (using activity schedules only and using activity schedules with choice-making opportunities). A preference assessment based on the response-restriction (RR) analysis (Hanley, Iwata, Lindberg, & Conners, 2003) was conducted to determine the differential preference levels of activity choices for each participant before the data collection. Momentary time sampling procedure was used to record all participants’ on-task and off-task behaviors during three independent activities. Observation took place during 15-minute sessions twice per observation day. In addition, a frequency recording method was used to record the number of the adult’s prompts necessary to maintain participants’ task engagement. The results show the participants demonstrated significant decreases in off-task behavior with choice making opportunities. In addition, the number of the adult prompts decreased when choice making opportunities were provided.
Generalizing the Effects of Choice as an Antecedent Strategy to Children in a General Education Classroom
SEBOUH J. SERABIAN (CSULA-school, Behavioral Building Blocks-work), Michele D. Wallace (California State University, Los Angeles), Jennifer B. Symon (California State University, Los Angeles)
Abstract: Providing opportunities to make choices has received increasing support as an antecedent intervention to improve the performance of students with disabilities. Additional research is this area is needed to determine under what circumstances the application of choice making as a curricular intervention is appropriate and produces meaningful outcomes. The present study extended this line of research and investigated whether providing choice opportunities to three children in a general education classroom would impact their performance during independent academic tasks (journal and spelling). In addition to examining the effects of choice on disruptive and on-task and behaviors, this study also examined the effects of choice on task completion and on latency to respond. An ABAB reversal design showed that the choice making conditions increased on-task behaviors, increased task completion, decreased latency to respond and decreased disruptive behaviors. The results of this study not only extends the literature on choice making as a beneficial component of behavioral support, but also broaden the generality of interventions using choice to populations beyond those with developmental disabilities.



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