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 #241
Toward Outcome-Level Analyses of Early Intensive Intervention Programs for Young Children with Autism
Sunday, May 29, 2005
3:00 PM–4:20 PM
Stevens 4 (Lower Level)
Area: AUT; Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: Rachel S. F. Tarbox (Center for Autism and Related Disorders)
Discussant: Glen O. Sallows (Wisconsin Early Autism Project)
Abstract: Early intensive behavioral treatment can result in dramatic gains for children with a diagnosis of PDD/autism. However, the greater the potential for positive outcomes, the greater the need for empirical evaluation of them. At the present time, large scale empirical evaluation of program effectiveness in behavioral intervention programs for children with autism remains a largely unachieved goal. This symposium presents guidelines on how to establish outcome-level program review in early intervention programs, the results of two attempts at doing so, and will conclude with a discussion.
The Need for Empirical Evaluation of Behavioral Intervention and the Difficulty of Establishing It
PATRICK M. GHEZZI (University of Nevada, Reno)
Abstract: As the number of behavioral intervention programs for young children with autism grows, the number of low quality programs touting the same title appears to grow at an equal or greater rate. This reality should serve as a reminder for behavior analysts that the need for empirical evaluation of our services is greater than ever. While hundreds of studies which document small, well controlled positive outcomes for children with autism exist, relatively few large scale outcome studies have been published. Although producing valid outcome data can be challenging, the already scientific orientation of behavior analytic clinical services has potential for improvement toward institutionalized empirical evaluation. This paper outlines guidelines for establishing organizational infrastructure which is aimed at maximizing the amount of meaningful data produced by early intervention organizations while minimizing the effort and resource required to do so.
Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention: Evaluation of a Direct Observation Assessment Protocol for Children with Autism and PDD
RENEE C. MANSFIELD (New England Center for Children), Rebecca P. F. MacDonald (New England Center for Children)
Abstract: Early intensive behavioral treatment can result in dramatic gains for children with a diagnosis of PDD/autism. The evaluation data used to document these changes often include measures such as IQ tests and Diagnostic Interviews (ADI – R, CARS), rather than direct measures of the target behavioral characteristics of autism. At the New England Center for Children, we have developed a comprehensive assessment protocol, which is used on a yearly basis to directly measure performance on early learning skills, levels of stereotypy, and levels of joint attention. A description of the protocol along with outcome data will be presented for children upon entry into the early learning program and at the completion of each year of intensive behavioral intervention. Interobserver agreement on all measures ranges between 85 -100%. Results indicate that all children improve in some measures across the year. Performance profiles will be presented for children within
A Preliminary Outcome Analysis of a Large-Scale Early Intervention Program for Children with Autism
RACHEL S. F. TARBOX (University of Nevada, Reno), Doreen Granpeesheh (University of Nevada, Reno), Jonathan J. Tarbox (University of Nevada, Reno), Marla Saltzman (Center for Autism and Related Disorders), Lisa Brownfield (Center for Autism and Related Disorders)
Abstract: The number of intensive ABA programs for young children with autism has greatly expanded in recent years. As these services rise in popularity, evaluating their effectiveness continues to be a priority. However, relatively few outcome-oriented studies have been published. A number of barriers impede the evaluation of clinical services at the outcome level. These barriers include problems associated with experimental design, measuring accuracy of data collection, and treatment integrity. The purpose of the current presentation is to describe our efforts toward program evaluation. In order to address problems associated with outcome analyses in a clinical setting, a scientist-practitioner model has been adopted and will be described. Preliminary outcome data will also be presented including pre/post early intervention measures and monthly cumulative treatment gains.



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