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 #421
How Do We Get There from Here: Empirically Supported Interventions for Children with Autism
Tuesday, May 31, 2005
9:00 AM–10:20 AM
Continental B (1st floor)
Area: AUT; Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: Nanette L. Perrin (Early Childhood Autism Program - CLO)
CE Instructor: Nanette L. Perrin, M.A.
Abstract: Children with autism and their families present a unique challenge to behavior analysts. It is an ongoing process to identify effective interventions for increasing adaptive behavior and reducing maladaptive behavior for the children. The process of disseminating that information to the caregivers and ensuring effective implementation is also an ongoing challenge. We will present four studies that investigate the effectiveness with which we were able to accomplish either the implementation or the dissemination. The first two presentations will investigate the implementation of empirically supported interventions and the effect on socially significant behaviors. The first will be a presentation on the use of stimulus fading on food selectivity and on receptive language skills. The next will investigate the impact of enthusiasm on the learning rate of the children as well as its social acceptance by the families.The second two presentations will investigate the effectiveness with which the interventions could be implemented by the child’s typical caregivers. First we will look at the application of a behavioral support plan and the level with which the families implemented the interventions as designated. Then we will review the implementation and effectiveness of a vocal shaping process by caregivers of young children.
The Effects of Enthusiasm on Responding During Skill Acquisition for Children with Autism
KIMBERLY A. CLAUSEN (University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire), Elizabeth Alden-Anderson (University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire), Angela M. Mueller (University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire), Kasey Stephenson (University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire), Kevin P. Klatt (University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire)
Abstract: The effect of enthusiasm on the acquisition of skills for children diagnosed with autism was investigated in two studies. Enthusiasm was manipulated according to voice volume, intonation (frequency of pitch to express meaning in language), and facial expression. In one condition (enthusiasm), the experimenter praised target responses using a voice volume that was elevated above conversational level, varied intonation, and a happy/smiling facial expression. In the other condition (non-enthusiasm), the experimenter praised responses using a normal conversational voice volume, intonation with limited variability, and a neutral/straight facial expression. The results from both studies indicate little differences in acquisition rates across the two conditions of enthusiasm. Social validity measures were obtained with parents to ascertain their preference for enthusiasm or non-enthusiasm. Without knowing the results from the first two studies, parents preferred high levels of enthusiasm.
Stimulus Fading to Improve Eating and Language Skills
SHANNON KAY (The May Institute)
Abstract: Stimulus fading procedures are effective in both shaping new behaviors and helping children to generalize skills to different environments or stimuli. This presentation will focus on stimulus fading procedures that allowed children with autism to develop and generalize skills. Stimulus fading procedures were used to teach a 7 year old girl with autism and a feeding disorder to expand her eating and drinking behavior. A changing-criterion design was used, and dependent measures included the number of food bites and ounces of liquid consumed. Stimulus fading procedures were used to expand the temperature range in which she would consume food as well as the texture of the food. Additionally, a stimulus fading procedure was used to reduce adipsia and subsequently to teach her to drink from a cup rather than a spoon. Results showed that the girl was able to move from eating only 12 ounces of temperature-controlled pureed food per day to eating age-appropriate portions of typical table food and drinking 24 ounces of juice per day. In a second study, a stimulus fading procedure was used to teach a 3 year old boy with autism to successfully make auditory discriminations in the presence of background noise. The boy had learned to identify three items receptively in a very quiet environment, but could not transfer this skill to the classroom because background noise interfered with his ability to make auditory discriminations. Using a changing-criterion design, the boy was required to identify labels in his typically quiet study area set up at the family home with systematically varied levels of computer generated background noise. This stimulus fading procedure resulted in the boy successfully identifying these items in the noisier classroom.
Parental Implementation of Function-Based Behavioral Support to Decrease Challenging Behaviors in Children with Autism
AMANDA TYRELL (Community Living Opportunities), Nanette L. Perrin (Community Living Opportunities), Katie L. Zerr (Community Living Opportunities), James A. Sherman (University of Kansas), Jan B. Sheldon (University of Kansas)
Abstract: This study examines the effects of the implementation of a behavior support plan on the occurrence of tantrums, non-compliance and aggression during community and home activities. This study was conducted with a 3-year-old boy and a 4-year-old girl who have been diagnosed with autism. Baseline data for child 1 included episodes of non-compliance in 17%-67% of intervals and tantrums in 8%-22% of intervals. Baseline data for child 2 indicated that tantrums occurred in 30-42%, non-compliance occurred in 15-38% of the intervals, and aggression occurred in 7-37% of the intervals.. The functional behavior assessments indicate that the behaviors were maintained by escape and attention. The behavior support plan included manipulation of consequences and antecedent interventions including transition warnings and follow through. Data was collected on the accuracy with which the parents implemented the steps of the behavior plan. Quality of Life surveys and Behavioral impact rating scales in regards to the behaviors were collected before implementation and after Reliability was collected on less than 10% of intervals, but interobserver agreement was 90%.
Teaching Caregivers to Shape Vocal Language
KATHRYNE BALCH (University of North Texas), Shahla S. Ala'i-Rosales (University of North Texas), Jesus Rosales-Ruiz (University of North Texas), Kate Laino (University of North Texas)
Abstract: A procedure for teaching caregivers (parents and grandparents) to shape vocal language was evaluated for its effects on correct shaping procedures and child vocal language progression. Caregivers were taught to teach their child to vocally request events in the environment. Procedures consisted of 20 min sessions, 2-3 days per week. Ten minute video taped samples were taken each session throughout the experiment. Following baseline, a handout and a brief description of the language program procedures were provided to the caregiver. The researcher and caregiver then reviewed the previous session’s video sample and the researcher gave descriptive, positive feedback to the caregiver on their performance. The taped segments were used to identify targets for behavior change. The caregiver and researcher discussed possible shaping goals and selected a training target. The caregiver and the researcher then practiced identified goals. Caregivers rates of opportunities arranged, correct models presented, responsive decisions with model, and responsive delivery of reinforcement, as well as the child’s rate of vocalizations, MLU, language diversity, and social validity were measured. Data suggest that the procedures were highly effective in teaching the desired instructional and shaping targets as well as producing subsequent increases in child vocal responding.



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