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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Paper Session #75
Restricted Interests, Eye Gaze, and Stress in Autism
Saturday, May 28, 2005
4:00 PM–5:20 PM
Continental C (1st floor)
Area: AUT
Chair: Grace Baron (Wheaton College)
Stress & Coping in Autism Spectrum Disorders
Domain: Applied Research
GRACE BARON (Wheaton College), Matthew S. Goodwin (The Groden Center), June Groden (The Groden Center), Gerald Groden (The Groden Center), Lewis P. Lipsitt (Brown University)
Abstract: The construct of stress has expanded, in a revolutionary way, our understanding of both typical and atypical human development. This panel presents a framework for the usefulness of the stress construct in understanding, assessing and treating autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Central to a stress analysis of ASD are the assumptions that persons with ASD may be more vulnerable to the effects of stress, that stress may exacerbate the characteristics of ASD, and that many of the behaviors typically labeled as autistic may be related to the experience of stress. The paper will briefly review prior research relating to stress in ASD and discuss recent developments in assessing stress in this population, including use of telemetric measures of cardiovascular arousal. The paper ends with a rationale and suggested strategies for teaching persons with ASD to cope with stress.
Teaching Autistic Children to Understand the Role that Eye Gaze Plays in Revealing Another’s Desired Goal
Domain: Applied Research
GARY D. UNSER (Behavioral Solutions, Inc.), Douglas S. Lee (Behavioral Solutions, Inc.), Melissa Peebles (Behavioral Solutions, Inc.)
Abstract: The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of eye-gaze training to teach children to correctly infer goal-directed behavior. As opposed to normally developing children Autistic children demonstrate difficulty inferring goal-directed behavior in other persons (Baron-Cohen, Campbell, Karmiloff-Smith, Grant, and Walker, 1995). For the study five children with autism were provided with intensive behavioral intervention in their home’s by trained therapists. Therapy utilized differential reinforcement to train children to correctly infer goal-directed behavior based on eye-gaze.This method of training may be useful in teaching children with ASD to make decisions and to act upon them based on appropriate social cues. The implications and results of therapy and subsequent child responses to eye-gaze training will be discussed as well as the ease of implementation.
Expanding the Interests and Activities of Young Children with Autism
Domain: Applied Research
TANYA BAYNHAM (University of North Texas), Shahla S. Ala'i-Rosales (University of North Texas), Jesus Rosales-Ruiz (University of North Texas)
Abstract: By definition, children with autism have a restricted range of activities and interests. In addition to addressing the social and communication deficits associated with autism, it is essential to systematically expand variety and number of activities and interests. Programming for this expansion is of primary importance for several reasons. Most importantly, expanding activities will result in a richer quality of life and more opportunities for learning and enjoyment. Also, each new skill and interest is a potential behavioral cusp whereby there are important “consequences for the organism beyond the change itself.” (Baer & Rosales-Ruiz, 1997) Finally, the arrangement and delivery of reinforcement is the most essential tool that behavior analysts have in teaching children in early intervention programs. It logically follows that the more varied the reinforcers, the more teaching opportunities available.This presentation will review the related research literature within the context of intervention goals to increase activities and interests in children with autism, as well as suggest future directions for research. We will also discuss, based on the literature and treatment goals, potential ways to measure, increase, and evaluate the number, range, and types of events that function as reinforcers for young children with autism.



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