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 #240
CE Offered: BACB
Teaching Social Skills to Children with Autism with Empirically Validated Procedures
Sunday, May 29, 2005
3:00 PM–4:20 PM
Continental A (1st floor)
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Marjorie Charlop-Christy (Claremont McKenna College)
Discussant: Chris A. LaBelle (University of Florida)
CE Instructor: Marjorie Charlop-Christy, Ph.D.

This symposium addresses social skills training procedures for children with autism. Empirically validated training procedures for a wide range of social behaviors from specific behaviors such as joint attention to more abstract social behaviors such as social perspective-taking will be presented. Implications for design and implementation of social skills training packages and future directions of research will be discussed.

The Generalization and Maintenance of Affective Perspective-Taking Skills of Children with Autism
DEBRA BERRY MALMBERG (Claremont Graduate University), Marjorie Charlop-Christy (Claremont McKenna College)
Abstract: The generalization and maintenance of skills is an important concern for treatment providers. This study focused on the generalization and maintenance of affective perspective-taking skills on a long-term basis. An Affective Perspective-Taking (APT) task was designed to teach children to take the perspective of another person in an emotional situation. This training package used multiple exemplar training in a match-to-sample format. The APT training was an effective protocol for teaching these skills to children with autism (IOA = 100%; Procedural integrity = 99%). Children generalized skills to additional people and across settings. Skills maintained at high frequencies at post-treatment follow-up. These results have implications for the design of social skills intervention packages to promote generalization and maintenance of these important social behaviors.
Increasing Coordinated Joint Attention in Children with Autism Using Naturalistic Teaching Strategies (NaTS)
KATHERINE K. BYRD (Claremont Graduate University), H. Michael Carpenter (Claremont Graduate University), Marjorie H. Charlop-Christy (Claremont McKenna College)
Abstract: Children with autism display social/communication difficulties in the form of deficits in joint attentional skills. In this study, a multiple baseline design across participants was used to examine the acquisition of coordinated joint attention skills in three children with autism using Naturalistic Teaching Strategies (NaTS). In addition, the study examined the relationship between nonverbal social/communication development and speech. It was hypothesized that children would show an increase in coordinated joint attention and speech after treatment and that this effect would generalize across persons, settings, and stimuli. Coordinated joint attention was defined as a child looking at a person, shifting gaze at a desired item, and then returning gaze to the person within 10 seconds of the presentation of the stimulus. The average interobserver agreement across the target behavior for each child was between 85% and 89%. Results indicated that all three children met learning criterion for the acquisition of coordinated joint attention and showed generalization. Ancillary data demonstrated that after treatment all children showed increases in speech and verbalizations as compared with baseline levels. Ancillary gains were also associated with a shift from supported joint attention behavior to more complex coordinated joint attention behavior for all children.
The Effects of Naturalistic Teaching Strategies (NaTS) on Acquisition of Gestures and Subsequent Increases in Speech in Children with Autism
KARI BERQUIST (Claremont Graduate University), H. Michael Carpenter (Claremont Graduate University), Marjorie H. Charlop-Christy (Claremont McKenna College)
Abstract: This study examined the acquisition of gestures and its effect upon later subsequent speech development in three children with autism. Children were taught instrumental gesturing (pointing and tapping) to request desired items, thus promoting overt functional communication. Naturalistic Teaching Strategies (NaTS) were used to increase children’s motivation for learning, maintaining and generalizing gestures. It was hypothesized that children with autism would show increases in the use of gestures after treatment was implemented and a subsequent increase in speech development after the nonverbal behavior was taught. A multiple baseline design across participants was used. Interobserver agreement was between 81% and 91% for each child. Results demonstrated that all three children met criterion for the target behavior; however, generalization and maintenance varied with each child. In addition, ancillary gains in spontaneous speech were observed in two of the three children.



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