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.


35th Annual Convention; Phoenix, AZ; 2009

Event Details

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Symposium #512
Family and School Related Factors for Children and Adolescents with Autism
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
9:00 AM–10:20 AM
North 126
Area: AUT/DDA; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
Chair: Ronald B. Leaf (Autism Partnership)
Abstract: Over the past forty years researchers and clinicians have focused on many factors that relate to children and adolescents with autism; ranging from improving teaching techniques to decreasing problem behaviors. Recently, both researchers and clinicians have started to focus on factors relating to the families of children and adolescents with autism and on factors relating to school and group instruction. This symposium will consist of four presentations that focus on school related and family related factors for children and adolescents with autism. The first presentation examined ways to teach typical siblings how to better interact with their brothers with autism and hopefully improve the overall quality of their relationships. The second presentation will concentrate on the role of families within applied behavior analysis intervention. The third presentation examined the effects of group instruction on observational learning. The final presentation will discus the outcomes of a middle school classroom utilizing behavioral principals for adolescents with autism.
Family and School Related Factors for Children and Adolescents with Autism
MISTY L OPPENHEIM (University of Kansas), Kelley Radin Gorman (University of Kansas), Jan B. Sheldon (University of Kansas), James A. Sherman (University of Kansas)
Abstract: Siblings are often the most important “peers” in children’s lives. Unfortunately, children with autism often do not play or interact a great deal with their typically developing siblings, largely because the children with autism do not have the necessary language and social skills to do so and because their siblings do not know how to facilitate play with their brother or sister. The purpose of this study was to teach three typically developing children (ages 4-6 years old) skills that were likely to increase the amount and quality of social play interactions with their brothers who had autism. Using a teaching interaction procedure, the typical children were taught how to provide clear instructions, to prompt, and to reinforce play related behaviors such as joining into a play activity, sharing preferred toys, and appropriate toy play. All three of the typically developing children were able to learn the targeted skills during role-plays with a teacher and, to a large part, displayed these skills when playing with their brothers with autism. In addition, for some children, learning these skills was associated with positive interactions and decreased negative interactions during free-play periods.
Quality ABA: Understanding the Role of the Family
RONALD B. LEAF (Autism Partnership), Jamison Dayharsh Leaf (Autism Partnership), Marlena Driscoll (Autism Partnership), Mischele Jesner (Autism Partnership)
Abstract: The vast majority of books and research articles about Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) deals primarily with the child. With the exception of the work by Sandra Harris and her colleagues, very little is written about the family. However, careful attention must be given to treating the whole family, because the whole family is profoundly affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder. And the family will have a big impact on treatment outcome. Clearly, if it were not for the family, the child with ASD would not have the opportunities for improvement. There would not be the support and nurturing necessary to endure the challenges. It is ultimately the family that makes it happen! Unless someone has had a child with ASD, it is impossible to understand the pressures that mothers and fathers feel. It starts with the struggle to obtain a correct diagnosis and then moves on to sorting out the hundreds of treatment options and having to deal with condescending professionals with unsupportive attitudes and conflicting advice. It is natural that parents are not only devastated and depressed, but also infuriated with the process. This presentation will focus on the role of the family in ABA intervention. Navigating the roles of a therapist, advocate and most importantly parent is a delicate and critical balance. In the final analysis successful intervention requires providing support and training not only the child but often to the entire family.
Group Instruction for Children with Autism and Observational Learning
JUSTIN B. LEAF (University of Kansas), Misty L Oppenheim (University of Kansas), Wesley H Dotson (University of Kansas), Valerie A Johnson (University of Kansas), Jan B. Sheldon (University of Kansas), James A. Sherman (University of Kansas)
Abstract: Group instruction may have several benefits for children with autism such as resembling a typical school environment, fostering social relationships, and providing an opportunity for observational learning. Though observational learning may be a benefit of group instruction for children with autism, there has been little empirical evidence showing that children with autism observationally learn new skills when taught in a group. This study analyzed the effects of group discrete trial teaching, using a no-no prompt procedure, for teaching five children with autism how to label different facial expressions (i.e., scared, excited, surprised, bored). All five children were able to label all emotions directly taught to them at 100% accuracy for three consecutive sessions and were able to label emotions through observational experience alone at rates substantially higher than baseline. Participants were also able to maintain correctly labeling emotions directly taught to them or that they observationally learned at least four weeks following intervention. In addition, all five participants were able to generalize their labeling from picture cards of children to picture cards of known adults. This presentation will discus the results and implications or this study and possible future research.
A Model ABA Classroom for Middle School Students With Autism: It’s Never Too Late
MITCHELL T. TAUBMAN (Autism Partnership), Ronald B. Leaf (Autism Partnership), Jennifer Styzens (Autism Partnership), Richard Schroeder (Autism Partnership), Andrew Edwards (Autism Partnership)
Abstract: The balance of research literature on ABA and educational programs for students with autism is skewed to preschool and elementary age. Further, the majority of the studies with secondary students are of a procedural level. This paper is concerned with an ABA classroom on a regular education middle school campus for students with autism who had struggled in other special education classrooms. Components of the model will be shared, including classroom set-up, balance of instructional elements, individualized curriculum, behavior programming, and integration into the campus community. Behavioral data on reduction of problem responding as well as pre and post school year information derived from standardized tests will also be offered.



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