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.


31st Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2005

Event Details

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Symposium #42
Effective Intervention Practices for Students with Autism and Developmental Disabilities
Saturday, May 28, 2005
2:30 PM–3:50 PM
Stevens 4 (Lower Level)
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Diane M. Sainato (The Ohio State University)
Abstract: The search for effective intervention strategies is at the heart of much of our research in applied behavior analysis. This symposium offers four papers. Valk and Sainato will present their study evaluating an imitation training package designed to teach initial imitation skills to preschool children using constant time delay. In the second paper, Schwartz and Schilling present a study using single subject design to investigate the effects of therapy ball as an alternative seating device on the engagement and in-seat behavior of young children with autism . Garfinkle will present her findings on a study to develop a procedure for helping pre-service teachers to learn responsive interaction skills. Davis and Reichle will offer the results of a study examining the use of noncontingent reinforcement versus a high-probability sequence to increase the responses to requests of four students with severe disabilities. Each presenter will address future areas for research.
Teaching Imitation Skills to Preschool Children with Severe Disabilities Using Embedded Constant Time Delay in a Small Group Activity
JENNIE VALK (Central Ohio Regional Resource Center), Diane M. Sainato (The Ohio State University)
Abstract: Much of the research in the area of imitation has focused on observational learning. The purpose of this study was to evaluate an imitation training package designed to teach initial imitation skills using constant time delay in the context of preschool classroom activities. Three target children with disabilities between the ages of 52 and 57 months were paired with three same age typically developing peers. The dependent variables included the number of correct imitations, and the number of approximations of correct imitations of the adult model. The effects of the intervention were monitored using a single-subject multiple baseline design across target behaviors, replicated across children. Results of the study indicated children were able to imitate an adult’s model in the context of ongoing activities wile engaged with a typically developing peer. The mean number of correct responses for all three target subjects was 0 for the baseline condition while the mean number of correct responses across the 5 sec time delay imitation training condition ranged from 7.9 to 9.9; 4.8 to 7.0; and 1.8 to 5.5 respectively for the three target subjects. Accuracy measures are reported with a mean of 98% (ranging from 95-100%). Generalization sessions were conducted, and incorporated a larger group of children with the classroom teacher providing the model.
Using Single Subject Design to Evaluate Alternative Treatments: Therapy Balls as a Case Example
ILENE S. SCHWARTZ (University of Washington), Denise Schilling (State University of New York Medical Center)
Abstract: Autism seems to be a disability that attracts many interesting and alternative interventions. One of the challenges of these alternative treatments is that although there is rarely any empirical data supporting the effectiveness of these interventions, the interventions are extremely popular with families and interventionists. The use of single subject design, specifically the withdrawal design, can be extremely effective in collecting convincing and individualized data on the effectiveness of some of these interesting interventions. A single subject, withdrawal design was used to investigate the effects of therapy ball as an alternative seating device on engagement and in-seat behavior of young children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. In addition, social validity was assessed to evaluate the teachers’ opinion regarding the intervention. Results indicated substantial improvements in engagement and in-seat behavior when participants were seated on therapy balls. Participants’ mean level of engagement during the “ therapy ball” condition ranged from 75 to 97 percent versus their engagement in the condition using more traditional seating condition (e.g. a chair, carpet square or bench) in which their behavior ranged from 27 to 85 percent. Social validity findings indicated that the teachers preferred the therapy balls.
Teaching Pre-Service Teachers to Use Responsive Interactions with Young Children with Disabilities
ANN N. GARFINKLE (University of Montana)
Abstract: Many of the most well studied and efficacious intervention strategies that teach communication skills to young children with disabilities (i.e., pre-linguistic milieu teaching, enhanced milieu teaching, incidental teaching) have as a key component the interventionist’s ability to use responsive interactions. Responsive interactions are composed of at least 14 key behaviors and include such things as getting on the child’s level, expanding the child’s utterance, etc. Because of the importance of the responsive interaction skills in communication interventions, people who are being trained to work with young children with disabilities need to learn these skills. The purpose of this study was to develop a procedure for helping pre-service teachers to learn responsive interaction skills. The study employed an AB design over 24 participants. The baseline phase involved typical college instruction about responsive interactions and the intervention phases involved a self-corrective procedure that the pre-service teachers used to code and correct their responsive interactions. The data suggest that the self-correction procedure was effective--it increased the percentage of time that participants displayed correct use of the responsive interaction skills. However, the amount the percentage changed varied across participants. Further, some participants over corrected thus bringing into question their understanding of responsive interactions. Inter-rater reliability was conducted on 25% of the sample and agreements levels were consistently high.
Noncontingent Reinforcement Versus High-Probability Requests: Increasing Responding to Requests of Students with Severe Disabilities
CAROL ANN DAVIS (University of Washington), Joe Reichle (University of Minnesota)
Abstract: The use of high-probability requests has been empirically validated as a useful strategy for influencing a variety of behaviors for young children with severe disabilities. However, researchers are continually examining its utility within the classroom, some examining which components of high-probability requests are effective, others trying to identify less time consuming interventions with equal effectiveness. This study examined the use of noncontingent reinforcement versus high-probability sequence to increase the responses to requests of four students, ages 10-13, with severe disabilities. An alternating treatments design counterbalanced across participants was used to examine the differences between high-p sequences and noncontingent reinforcement. The results indicate that high probability requests produced higher percentages than noncontingent reinforcement (mean 93.68, range 81.7 – 100 and mean 76.83, range 84.4 – 97.7) for each child. Reliability for response to requests ranged from 93% for John to 98.5% for Matt. Procedural reliability for high-p requests ranged from 85% to 100% and for noncontingent reinforcement ranged from 80% to 100%.



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