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 #379
Current Research on the Assessment of Basic Learning Abilities (ABLA)
Monday, May 29, 2006
3:00 PM–4:20 PM
Regency VI
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: W. Larry Williams (University of Nevada, Reno)
Discussant: Doreen Granpeesheh (Center for Autism and Related Disorders)
Abstract: This symposium will present current research concerning the Assessment of Basic Learning Abilities (ABLA). Three papers will address (A) Tactile discriminations as they relate to the discrimination hierarchy of the ABLA, (B) Discrimination Abilities and Within Modal Stimulus Equivalence, and (c) Extending the ABAL beyond level 6.
Establishing Basic Tactile conditional discriminations in persons above and below ABLA level 6: The role of visual information.
JEREMY A. BIESBROUCK (University of Nevada, Reno), W. Larry Williams (University of Nevada, Reno)
Abstract: The hierarchical nature of the motor, visual and auditory discrimination skills of the assessment of Basic Learning abilities ( ABLA) leads to questions concerning the relative location of tactile and gustatory discrimination skills with respect to visual and auditory skills. Although conceptually viable, the shaping of pure tactile discriminations is a challenging undertaking. This paper will present preliminary data on shaping of tactile discriminations in persons with ABLA skills above and below level 6. Additionally we will address the issue of the confounding of tactile discriminations by visual and auditory information.
Discrimination Abilities and Within Modal Stimulus Equivalence.
MARIANNE L. JACKSON (University of Nevada, Reno), W. Larry Williams (University of Nevada, Reno)
Abstract: Six participants, with varying levels of developmental disabilities, were assessed on a variety of discrimination abilities and basic language skills. Standard scores of IQ, language, social and adaptive behavior were also reported. All participants were exposed to a computerized stimulus equivalence training program, using only visual stimuli, and were trained on a variety of baseline conditional discriminations that would be necessary for the formation of four, three member stimulus equivalence classes. All participants were then tested on all derived equivalence relations and results are discussed in relation to their pre-existing discrimination abilities.
Extending the Assessment of Basic Learning Abilities beyond Level 6.
DONALD R. KARR (University of Nevada, Reno), W. Larry Williams (University of Nevada, Reno)
Abstract: The Assessment of Basic Learning Abilities (ABLA) has proved useful in assessing levels of ability to perform typical daily living types of tasks. Two shortcomings of the ABLA in its table-top format are the focus of this analysis. First, there is little research on the relative effectiveness of stimulus modalities in the presentation of choice alternatives (Martin, Yu, & Vause, 2004). Second, it has been reported that individuals who pass ABLA level 6 vary in behavioral capacity beyond that level and may range from just testable on typical assessment instruments to normal functioning (Richards, Williams & Follette 2000). We will present a computer program version of the ABLA and extend the assessment criteria above level 6. The program employs multiple combinations of visual and auditory stimulation and evaluates the viability and efficacy of equivalence classes as possible assessment vehicles. If reliable correlation to other testing modalities can be demonstrated, the computerized ABLA might provide a more economical and expedient form of establishing reasonable learning expectations.



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