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.


Third Annual Autism Conference; Jacksonville, FL; 2009

Event Details

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Poster Session #1
Opening Reception, Poster Session I, Exhibitors, Author Signing, Bookstore
Friday, February 6, 2009
6:00 PM–9:00 PM
Grand Ballroom
1. Addressing Explosive Behaviors and Non-cooperation in an Adolescent Male with Autism with Invega
Area: AUT; Domain: Service Delivery
BRUCE G. HAUSER (Heartspring)
Abstract: Many individuals on the autism spectrum who enter residential educational/treatment settings receive psychotropic medications. Often there is no clear history of when or why these medications were prescribed. Similarly, the receiving setting has no clear picture of what the individual is like [challenging behaviors, ability to benefit from educational programs] without the medication. This research presents the results of a careful reduction/discontinuation of Invega on the explosive and non-cooperative behaviors of a 14-year-old adolescent male. Data are presented on the frequency and intensity of these behaviors when receiving six mg [the dosage on arrival], three mg and no medication. When the behaviors increased to and were sustained at levels above baseline when not receiving Invega it was reintroduced at three mg. Behaviors then reduced to levels at or below baseline. The results demonstrate that Invega was significant in assisting in behavior reduction at half of the initial level prescribed.
2. Assessing a Competency Based Behavioral Parent Training Program
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
JOHN M. GUERCIO (Judevine Center for Autism), Melanie Mills (Judevine Center for Autism)
Abstract: The project will assess the effects of a three-week staff/parent autism training program. The program is comprised of a series of workshops, videotaped modeling, and feedback geared towards successful intervention with individuals with an autism spectrum disorder. Each module of the training is accompanied by a competency-based post-test. Each trainee had to score at or above a pre-set criterion score in order to move on to the next module. The teaching skills of each of three parent dyads will be assessed via a multiple baseline design across parents. A variety of dependent measures will be used to assess treatment efficacy for the parent training package described above. The measures that will be used will include the frequency of specific contingency statements, correct implementation of reinforcement protocols, and the frequency of inappropriate responding observed across 20-minute therapy sessions. Results showed that each family dyad demonstrated an increase in appropriate teaching and therapeutic scales as well as decreases in subjective measures of stress and anxiety.
3. Sibling Sessions: Training Siblings to Participate in Sessions at The Central California Autism Center
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
AMANDA N. ADAMS (California State University, Fresno), Kristen Lein (CSU, Fresno and BEST Consulting, Inc.), Jessica Akers (California State University, Fresno), Ashley Yaugher (California State University, Fresno)
Abstract: Children with autism benefit from programs that contain significant family involvement. Siblings of children with autism are not only present in the household, but may carry additional caretaking responsibilities for their sibling or may feel some neglect at the attention a sibling in a treatment program receives. Siblings are often willing and present peers, and can make excellent peer trainers. This allows the sibling an opportunity to take an active and important role in their brother's or sister's program, increases their understanding of the process, provides the child with autism a constant trained peer (or near peer) in their home environment providing multiple opportunities for generalization, and, thought not proven, may improve family dynamics. The Central California Autism Center at California State University, Fresno has implemented a sibling session program with these goals in mind. This presentation will include information on how the program was developed, how the siblings were trained, results from pre- and post-tests, and data from the training sessions and the ongoing sibling session design.
4. Verbal Behavior Analysis in the Context of a Comprehensive Behavioral Parent Training Program for a Child with Autism
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
KAREN GREINER (Judevine Center for Autism), John M. Guercio (Judevine Center for Autism), Melanie Mills (Judevine Center for Autism)
Abstract: This study assessed the effectiveness of behavioral teaching strategies on a three-year old child with autism within the context of a parent training program. During the three-week course, the individual participated in three 20-minute one-on-one intensive therapy sessions per day. The training process initially focused on developing the following skills: sitting in a chair for 20 minutes, establishing eye contact upon demand, and responding appropriately to the directive “Hands ready” (i.e. placing his hands on his side of the table). Upon mastery of these skills, the goals of increasing verbal behavior, answering ‘yes/no’ questions, and requesting items using the carrier phrase “I want” were introduced. Training specialists conducted the preliminary sessions but gradually turned over the training to the individual’s parent. Throughout all training sessions the most effective teaching strategies were contingency statements, errorless learning strategies, and verbal teaching strategies. Reinforcement assessments were also frequently performed to determine highly preferred items that would serve as motivational tools. Data collected at the end of the program indicates substantial increases in the individual’s verbal repertoire, verbal requests and appropriate responses to ‘yes/no’ questions as compared to the baseline scores obtained prior to the training sessions.
5. Behavior Imaging as a Treatment Modality for Autism Spectrum Disorders
Area: AUT; Domain: Service Delivery
GREGORY ABOWD (Georgia Institute of Technology), Ronald Oberleitner (Caring Technologies, Inc.), Matthew S. Goodwin (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), Uwe Reischl (Boise State University)
Abstract: Digital imaging and Telehealth technologies offer significant opportunities to enhance and support the education and healthcare of persons with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). One such technology – behavior imaging (BI) - has proven to be of exceptional value in this domain. BI gives users the ability to capture brief video clips of behaviors and their antecedents to help determine which events may have triggered particular responses, as well as the consequences of a particular behavior. Capturing, viewing, annotating, and sharing behavior images over the Internet with local and remote professionals enables caregivers and autism professionals to better understand individuals with ASD and provide the highest quality of care. This poster will report the outcomes of a forum held by a variety of professionals who serve individuals with ASD and their families, including academia, the US armed forces, and industry. The forum analyzed specific challenges faced by education and health care providers and assessed how BI and other Telehealth technologies may help remediate some of the problems and enhance service outcomes. Particular attention will be given to the application of BI to the educational and health settings.
6. ABAI Practice Board Mission and Initiatives
Area: AUT; Domain: Service Delivery
MICHAEL WEINBERG (Orlando Behavior Health Services, LLC), Michael F. Dorsey (The Vinfen Corporation and Gordon College)
Abstract: This poster will present attendees with current information from the newly created ABAI Practice Board regarding the function, mission and initiatives of the board as well as future directions. The Practice Board held its initial meeting in August, 2008 to establish its proposed initiatives and areas of focus to support the needs and concerns of ABAI members who are behavioral practitioners. The Practice Board devised and distributed a survey to members in an effort to determine interests and concerns of members to help shape efforts and initiatives of the Practice Board. Issues of professional credentialing and governmental/legislative activities, retaining a strong scientific linkage to practice, ethical standards, best practice standards, and providing additional supports such as liability insurance to members in practice are among the areas to be addressed by the Practice Board.
7. An Investigation Into the Effect Correct Knowledge of Autism and Coping Strategies Have on a Child’s Relationship with Their Sibling Who has Autism Spectrum Disorder
Area: AUT; Domain: Theory
EMMA CATHERINE DALY (Trinity College Dublin), Kevin Tierney ( Trinity College Dublin)
Abstract: An investigation was carried out into coping strategies measured by Kidcope (Rodrigue, Geffken, and Streisand, 2000) and Knowledge of Autism (Ross & Cuskelly) as dynamic variables affecting the relationship between a child and their sibling with Autism. The participants (n=21; male= 8, mean age = 8.75 years, female = 14, mean age = 9.5 years) were divided into a junior group which included four- to eight-year-olds inclusive and a senior group combining of nine- to thirteen-year-olds inclusively. Relationships were measured by both the parent and sibling utilizing the Sibling Inventory of Behavior (Hetherington, Henderson, & Reiss, 1999) and the Satisfaction with Sibling (Ross & Cuskelly, 2006). Correlation studies found a significant relationship between the child’s level of satisfaction with their relationship with their sibling with autism and their correct Knowledge of Autism. Most notably no correlation was found between parents and sibling’s reports of quality of relationship.
8. Evaluating the Relationship Between Food Sensitivities and Problem Behavior
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
WILLIAM A. FLOOD (May Institute, Inc.), John Mortensen (May Institute, Inc.), Cathie Lynn (May Institute, Inc.)
Abstract: One popular treatment of problem behavior for children with autism (or, sometimes for the disorder itself) is the gluten-free / casein-free (GF/CF) diet. Often, as with many non-validated treatments, much of the GF/CF research relies heavily upon reports from people such as, parents, teachers, or physicians. In an effort to evaluate the GF/CF diet scientifically, Elder et al. (2006) conducted a randomized, double blind comparison of 15 children. Half of the children were given a GF/CF diet and the other half were given a placebo diet that resembled the GF/CF diet. They found no differences in problem behaviors or behavioral characteristics of autism, as measured by rating scales. One of the most interesting findings of the Elder et al. (2006) study is that several parents of the children who were placed into the placebo group (as well as a teacher and respite worker) stated that their children improved. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of certain foods upon an Autistic adult’s problem behavior. An allergist declared that the individual, Steve, had food allergies; blood work revealed no allergies. Following the results of the blood work, the allergist modified Steve’s diagnosis to food “intolerances.” Steve’s guardian and the allergist claimed six specific foods were highly correlated with Steve’s problem behavior. Both claimed these foods caused gas and stomach distress, which “caused” Steve’s self injurious behavior and aggression. Direct Observation (i.e., ABC assessment) data collection strongly suggested socially mediated reinforcement (positive reinforcement: access to food) maintained Steve’s problem behavior. Treatment team agreed that an “elimination diet” was the best way to objectively determine the effects of the six foods upon Steve’s behavior.
9. Examining the Acquisition and Generalization of the Picture Exchange Communication System by Children with Autism
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
MAUD SELASIE DOGOE (Texas Tech University), Robin H. Locke (Texas Tech University), Devender Banda (Texas Tech University)
Abstract: The Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) has been found to be effective for teaching functional communication skills to persons with developmental disabilities, especially autism. However, there is not much information on generalization of PECS in the current literature. There is therefore a dearth of knowledge in this area. In this study, three children with autism were taught to use PECS for requesting desired items, and the use of the acquired PECS behaviors was evaluated across three generalization conditions: persons, settings, and items. Of particular interest was whether the participants would generalize PECS use across stimulus classes (items that were different in form and function from those used in training). The results indicated that while all three participants successfully acquired PECS and generalized PECS behaviors across settings and persons, only two participants could generalize across stimulus classes. The third participant was not successful at generalizing PECS across stimulus classes. The results, implications for practice, and research have been discussed.
10. Investigating the Role of Illusory Control on the Choice-Making of Students with Autism and Related Disorders
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
SARAH M. DUNKEL-JACKSON (Southern Illinois University), Mark R. Dixon (Southern Illinois University)
Abstract: Past illusory control research has shown that participants prefer to choose their own reinforcers despite the larger reinforcer magnitudes of other options. The present study examined further the role of illusory control on the choice making of “impulsive” participants with autism and related disorders. All participants were presented with an initial assessment to determine their preference for a small, immediate reinforcer over a large, delayed reinforcer. Once this preference for impulsive choice-making was identified, experimenters used a self-control training procedure with a progressive delay to increase participants’ preference for large, delayed reinforcer options. Finally, participants were given a choice among a small, immediate reinforcer and two delayed reinforcers with the magnitudes determined by either the participant’s roll or the experimenter’s roll of a fixed die. Results and implications will be discussed regarding the role of reinforcer magnitude and illusory control.
11. Project PMTV: Effectiveness of Joint TV Viewing on the Language Skills of Children with Developmental Disabilities
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
SEKHAR PINDIPROLU (The University of Toledo)
Abstract: Daily joint routines such as story book reading and television viewing can serve as contexts for parents to expose their children to new vocabulary, language usage, and other pre-literacy skills. However, there is very limited literature on the effectiveness of joint TV viewing on the language skills of children with disabilities. In this presentation, preliminary data from a randonmized control trial study that employed television as a medium to facilitate language skills of children with developmental disabilities will be examined. Parents of children with developmental disabilities were taught language facilitation strategies and were asked to implement the strategies during joint TV viewing routines. Using a group research design, the effectiveness of parent’s implementation of the strategies and the effectiveness of the strategies on the child’s language skills was examined. Further, social validity measures were administered with the parents. The preliminary results of the effectiveness of the intervention and parents’ acceptability of the procedures will be discussed.
12. Psychophysiological Functional Analysis with Autistic Children Presenting Problem Behaviors
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
MELISSA GAUCHER (Universite du Quebec a Montreal), Michel Rolland (Hôpital Rivière-des-Prairies), Jonathan Danis (Hôpital Rivière-des-Prairies), André Masse (Hôpital Rivière-des-Prairies)
Abstract: Absence or lack of communication skills, often present in children with developmental disabilities, makes it difficult to identify causal explanations to the emerging and maintaining of disruptive behaviors. Functional analysis has contributed to the identification of the variables that influence the occurrence of problem behaviors (Hanley, Iwata, McCord; 2003). However, it gives very few cues in the assessment of comorbidity as a contributing factor of disruptive behaviors observed in our patients. Psychophysiological functional analysis, which combines functional analysis and heart rate measurement, provides very helpful informations on the internal state of our patients, particularly on the non verbal ones. Heart rate measurement helps to understand the nature and gives a more complete point of view of the behaviors observed in brief functional analysis (e.g., social anxiety, specific phobias, physical problems) conducted with autistic children presenting problematic patterns of behavior. Results and conclusions of psychophysiological functional analyses will be presented and discussed.
13. The Effects of a Multi-Sensory Approach on the Acquisition of Vocal Behavior
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
TERESA A. GRIMES (Whole Child Consulting LLC), Kathryn Miller Kunkel (Consultant)
Abstract: Many individuals with autism have difficulty with the flexible production of vocalizations. The field of behavior analysis has produced a number of procedures to evoke vocal behavior, including but not limited to the "mand" frame and "stimuls-stimulus" pairing procedures. This poster will examine the effects of a procedure that pairs the vocal prompt for vocalizations with a visual representation of the sounds, (phoneme cards). The teacher produces the vocal prompt while presenting a card with a colored phoneme representing the sound to the student. Vocal approximations are encouraged and the student is reinforced for successive approximations to the target vocal. Trials to criterion data will be taken comparing the more traditional echoic only prompt procedure with the echoic/tact (vocal prompt and visual phoneme card) procedure. The procedure will include two students, who will each be taught two sounds in the traditional echoic method and two sounds with the echo/visual combination. The procedure is an adaptation of The Association Method used at the University of Mississippi Dubard School.
14. Treatment of High Frequency Aggression Using an Environmental Change Procedure with a Person Diagnosed with PDD
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
SEAN M. CORIATY (Lakeview NeuroRehabilitation Center), Amber L. Ayer (Lakeview NeuroRehabilitation Center), James Taylor (Lakeview NeuroRehabilitation Center)
Abstract: Dirk is a 16-year-old male with a diagnosis of Pervasive Developmental Disorder. He was admitted to a residential treatment facility in August 2008 for treatment of aggressive behavior. Data from his previous placement indicated Dirk was mechanically restrained 1.3 times per day and secluded for safety 1.2 times per day, on average, over a six-month period. Due to safety concerns, Dirk’s educational programming occurred in a makeshift classroom located in the kitchen area of a hospital for 0 to 2.5 hours daily, depending on compliance. Upon admittance to Lakeview, Dirk was physically restrained on average 1.1 times per day over a 1.5 month period. An environmental change treatment procedure contingent on aggressive behavior was implemented on the 50th day. This procedure resulted in an average decrease in physical restraints of 50% over a 1.5 month period. Dirk now attends a regular special education classroom six hours daily. This presentation will detail the environmental change treatment in light of the existing literature on treatment of aggression exhibited by people with autism spectrum diagnoses.
15. Assessment of Memory of Persons with Autism via the Delayed Recognition Span Test
Area: AUT; Domain: Basic Research
WILLIAM J. MCILVANE (University of Massachusetts Medical School)
Abstract: To assess memorial processes in persons with limited language, we are employing the delayed recognition span test. In past research, we have found the DRS to have many attractive features for behavioral research. (1) It has proven easy to teach via verbal instruction to individuals with the requisite language skills. (2) It can be administered in only a few minutes, and multiple scores can be obtained within a session to increase the sample of behavior. (3) It has exceptional stability characteristics. The purpose of this poster presentation is two-fold: (1) we will summarize results of an ongoing study that has collected extensive data on the recognition span test from a substantial cohort of persons with autism spectrum disorders, including long-term monitoring studies that permit assessment of day-to-day variability in memory function; and (2) we will present data on a new method for establishing recognition span performances in individuals who lack the requisite verbal skills to benefit from verbal instruction. Our poster will present (a) an analysis of the stimulus control requirements of the task, (b) a description of novel methodology that matches those requirements, and (c) within-individual comparisons of the outcomes of several different teaching approaches.
16. Applied Behavior Analysis with Children in Their Natural Environment: Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities
Area: AUT; Domain: Service Delivery
DENNIS CROWLEY (Macon County Mental Health Board & Millikin University), Kristen Deeanne Braun (Macon County Mental Health Board), Amy Shymansky (Washington Park District)
Abstract: This pilot project examined the efficacy and cost efficiency of a short-term (i.e., eight to ten weeks) applied behavior analysis (ABA) program implemented in the natural environment. The target population was children with clinical diagnoses of autism spectrum disorders, other developmental disabilities, or co-morbid conditions. A county-based community mental health board funded and designed services, initially utilizing a consultative triad (Tharp & Wetzel, 1969). The model was further developed across three summers. The model includes an applied behavioral analyst, who assessed each participant’s needs, developed an individualized plan to target skill deficits plus trained and supervised paraprofessionals. Families directly employed the paraprofessionals (i.e., college students, teacher’s aides) using grant funds provided to the family by the community mental health board. Families received training and participated in the development of service plans and team meetings, during which progress was evaluated. Services were delivered in the home or day care environments. Thirty participants were served across three summers. Preliminary outcome data were collected for each participant relative to the individual’s targeted objectives and program. The data indicate that this model was both clinically and cost-effective. All children showed gains across the eight to ten weeks and families reported high satisfaction.
17. Daytime Toilet Training of Children with ASD: Implementing and Monitoring Systematically Guarantees Success!
Area: AUT; Domain: Service Delivery
BURCU ULKE KURKCUOGLU (Anadolu University), Gonul Kircaali-Iftar (Anadolu University), Ozlem Cetin (Anadolu University), Emre Unlu (Anadolu University)
Abstract: The intensive daytime toilet training program of Lovaas (2003) which is based on the intensive toilet training protocol originally developed and researched by Azrin and Foxx (1971, 1974) was adapted to be used with children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) at Anadolu University, Turkey. The adapted program consisted of pre-training, intensive training, and post-training activities. Also, various forms were developed and utilized to record the performances of children before and during toilet training. Afterwards, a pilot implementation was conducted with two preschool children with ASD. The intensive training was conducted for two days during weekends at each child’s own home by two educators interchangeably. Both children were able to acquire daytime toileting skills through this program and became diaper-free in a short time. The intervention team believes that this success was mainly due to implementing the program systematically and monitoring the children’s performances closely. The purpose of the proposed poster presentation is to share the procedures and outcomes of this pilot study.
18. Initiation of an Intensive Behavioral Intervention Program (OCIDEP) for Children with ASD in Turkey
Area: AUT; Domain: Service Delivery
ONUR KURT (Anadolu University), Gonul Kircaali-Iftar (Anadolu University), Yesim Gulec Aslan (UDAMER (Center for Applied Behavior Analysis)), Burcu Ulke Kurkcuoglu (Anadolu University)
Abstract: Based on Lovaas (2003) and inspired by WEAP (Wisconsin Early Autism Project), an intensive behavioral intervention program for children with ASD called OCIDEP (Behavioral Education Program for Children with Autism) was initiated at the Research Institute for the Handicapped, Anadolu University, Turkey in 2006. Each child in the OCIDEP program is served by two paraprofessional or professional educators, one consultant with PhD in special education with specialization in ABA, and one program coordinator who is a professor in special education with specialization in ABA. The purpose of the proposed poster presentation is to provide information regarding the first-year program features and outcomes of four children. Two of these children have been receiving home-based services and two of them have been receiving center-based services. Each child’s program is tailored according to their individual needs and family expectations. As planned to be shared with the conference participants during the poster presentation, OCIDEP seems to be a very promising service delivery option for children with ASD in Turkey.
19. Treatment of Severe Feeding Problems; Outcome Measures of an Outpatient, Behavioral-Based Feeding Clinic
Area: AUT; Domain: Service Delivery
JENNIFER E. DAWSON (Southeastern Pennsylvania Autism Resource Center), Sarah Wood (Southeastern Pennsylvania Autism Resource Center), Cherie Ann Fishbaugh (Southeastern Pennsylvania Autism Resource Center), Corinne M. Murphy (West Chester University), Phillip K. Duncan (West Chester University)
Abstract: One factor that limits the acquisition and maintenance of appropriate feeding behaviors by individuals who exhibit severe feeding problems is inadequate generalization to home settings. Treatment in a structured, clinical setting is the norm for treating severe feeding problems. However treatment can only be viewed as successful when the individual is able to perform the new feeding skills in settings alternate to the teaching environment. Individuals with autism show deficits in generalization of learned skills to novel settings differing from the teaching environment. This deficit is pronounced when the location and people involved in the feeding treatment change. Outcome data are presented for eight children with autism with severe food selectivity who completed an outpatient feeding program. This program consists of one/two intensive weeks of once daily sessions at the clinic. At the conclusion of the intensive training, caregivers are trained and treatment is moved to the home. Weekly appointments continue until therapists fade to a consultative basis. Results indicate that all children made significant gains and that gains were generalized and maintained at home. Follow up data will be provided. Results suggest that an outpatient approach to treating severe feeding problems in individuals with autism is a viable option.
20. Training Parents of Young Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder to Increase the Frequency of Eye Contact During Play Interactions
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
HEATHER O'BRIEN (Mailman Segal Institute), Liliana Dietsch-Vazquez (Nova), Tara M. Sheehan (Mailman Segal Institute), Melissa DeVincentis (Nova Southeastern University), Hernan Dennis Ruf (Nova Southeastern University)
Abstract: This poster will outline a parent training procedure based on pivotal response training designed to teach parents to evoke and reinforce eye contact behavior when interacting in play activities with their young child with autism spectrum disorder. Data on both parent and child behavior will be presented and the effectiveness of utilizing parents to increase the frequency of eye contact with their child with autism spectrum disorder will be discussed. This parent training procedure was designed to generate opportunities to promote the development of social referencing. Following the eye contact training, a social referencing probe was conducted to determine if referencing skills were emerging. Social referencing is the ability to use other people’s emotional reactions as a critical reference point for subsequent behavioral responses. Social referencing is a pivotal skill for social interaction. Children identified as having autism spectrum disorder often do not learn to use social referencing to manage uncertainty.
21. Functional Analysis of Social Communicative Behavior in Young Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
STACI E. CARR (Virginia Commonwealth University), Maureen Conroy (Virginia Commonwealth University), Abigail Vo (Virginia Commonwealth University)
Abstract: Functional analyses are an effective tool in evaluating the environmental contributors to aberrant behavior (Carr et al., 1999; Iwata et al., 1982/1994), yet have not been extensively applied to other forms of behavior. The display of social communicative behavior is considered a pivotal skill for young children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) (Koegel et al., 1999). Treatments have been prescribed (e.g., social stories, peer coaching activities) to remediate social skill deficits; yet, many of these treatments suffer from a lack of empirical evidence substantiating sustained positive effects (Rogers, 2000; McConnell, 2002). An empirical procedure, functional analysis, is proposed to analyze the functions of social communicative behavior in young children with ASD. Participants are young children aged two to ten years who have been diagnosed with ASD and have previously demonstrated impaired social communicative skills. Procedures include an alternating treatments design analyzing the potential functions of social communicative behavior (e.g., attention, tangible, escape) in comparison to control conditions. Preliminary data collected demonstrates the potential utility of this procedure for identifying one or more functions of various forms of social communication. Function-based treatments will be presented, demonstrating the efficacy of this assessment procedure for improving the rate of social communicative behavior for young children with social skills deficits.
22. The Application of a Whole Interval DRO Procedure to Reduce Challenging Behaviors among Children with Autism
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
LEAH C. GONGOLA (Youngstown State University), Rosie Daddario (Kent State University), Lyle E. Barton (Kent State University)
Abstract: Previous research has suggested that Differential Reinforcement of Other behaviors (DRO) is an effective reinforcement-based procedure used to decrease undesirable behavior among individuals with disabilities. DRO procedures clearly fit the recent trend of Positive Behavioral Supports by offering an evidence-based intervention with potential for functional implementation in field settings. Reinforcement-based procedures are generally best practice and should be considered prior to punishment-based interventions (OSEP Center on Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports et al., 2000). This poster will discuss two DRO studies and the implications for feasibility among practitioners. For participant one, a whole interval DRO procedure was applied to decrease aggression and crotch grabbing behaviors. For participant two, a slight variation of a whole interval DRO treatment package with an embedded token economy was used to decrease screaming behavior. The first study explored a time series design, in which interval length was set based on the preceding session. For the second study, interval length was averaged on a weekly basis, offering a more user-friendly approach. This poster will highlight findings from the two studies which suggest that whole interval DRO procedures hold potential to efficiently decrease undesirable behaviors among children with autism.
23. An Application of Computer-Based Training on Emotion Discrimination in Children with Autism: A Comparison to Non Computer-Based Training
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
AMY SCHREMBS (Allegheny College), Rodney D. Clark (Allegheny College)
Abstract: The deficits in non-vocal verbal behavior seen in individuals diagnosed with autism are thought to have a considerable impact on their ability to socialize appropriately with others.The efficacy of the computer software program FaceSay™ in helping to teach discrimination between emotions correlated with facial expressions was evaluated in comparison to non-computer-based training on a multiple baseline schedule in low functioning children ages 7-11 (n=7), diagnosed with autism. The participants were assessed on their ability to correctly match emotion labels to pictures of emotional affect using the Ekman and Friesen (1976) series of photographs. The data indicate a general improvement in the participant's ability to discriminate emotional states based on facial expression, although in some participants the level of improvement was greater than others. The data also generally shows a greater improvement in the abilities of participants who completed more sessions of the computer-based training. Conclusiveness of the program's effects on ability to discriminate emotion in facial expression however is challenged by observed increases in recognition abilities following baseline sessions of instruction by some participants. Overall, the results suggest that protracted exposure to the FaceSay™ program will likely produce an increase in the ability of children with autism to discriminate emotion in facial expressions.
24. A Comparison of Self-Stimulatory Behavior Between Children with Autism and Their Typical Peers
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
PATRICIA BURKETT (Sussex Consortium), Vivian J. Bush (Sussex Consortium), Elizabeth Burkett (Sussex Consortium), Marissa Wanchik (Sussex Consortium)
Abstract: Children with autism typically demonstrate characteristics of automatically reinforcing behaviors across settings. However, when compared to typical peers, are their stereotypies more prevalent than the rate of typically developing peers in a regular education setting? This research project will compare two individuals on the autism spectrum, ages seven to nine, with a variety of typical peers in both academic and social settings. Both individuals with autism spend 100% of their day in the regular education classroom. Data was taken using whole interval time sampling, five-minute samples, and 15-second intervals. Data was collected in math, science, lunch, and recess environments over a two-year period of time. Observable stimulatory behaviors among the typical students include finger picking, foot tapping, pencil tapping, hair twirling, body rocking, and eye gazing. Findings indicate that typically developing peers (control group) engage in more automatically reinforcing behaviors during academic tasks than their autistic peers. However, during social settings (eg. recess, cafeteria), the students with autism engaged in significantly more stimulatory behaviors than their typically developing peers.
25. A Comprehensive Approach to Teaching Reading Comprehension to Children with Autism
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
VICTORIA A. GALLANT (Holliston Public Schools), Elise Cooke (Holliston Public Schools), Kristina Kern (Holliston Public Schools)
Abstract: Reading comprehension is a well documented deficit of children with autism spectrum disorder. Students with ASD are often able to learn to decode words and read via sight reading, however, they are unable to recall and comprehend what they have read. There is very little research documenting effective methods for improving reading comprehension in children with ASD. To attempt to deal with this issue, the authors created a comprehensive approach aimed at improving students' reading comprehension. The comprehensive approach created by the authors has proven to be effective in improving students’ reading comprehension. The program consists of the use of many behavior analytic technologies including positive reinforcement, errorless teaching, visual and verbal prompts, as well as systematic prompt fading. A combination of these technologies was used to teach skills essential to developing reading comprehension to three elementary-age students using a multiple baseline design. Skills including sequencing, vocal retelling, and answering questions related to the book were targeted in this program. Through the use of this approach each student has improved his/her reading level by a minimum of 5 points according to the Developmental Reading Assessment (DRA). The DRA was used as a baseline in October and then given again in January and June. This approach to teaching reading comprehension proved to be highly effective with elementary aged students with autism and can be taught in both a 1:1 and small group setting.
26. Acquiring and Generalizing Language Concepts Using Smart Board Interactive Technology with Students with Autism
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
JANET A. BUTZ (Collaborative Autism Resources & Education), Ceri Edwards (Schertz-Cibolo-U.C. I.S.D.), Cheryl Flores (Schertz-Cibolo-U.C. I.S.D.)
Abstract: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of using Smart Board interactive technology to promote generalization of language concepts taught to children with Autism. The subjects were four verbal elementary-aged students with autism enrolled in self- contained classrooms on two public school campuses. The hypothesis was students will acquire and generalize language concepts more efficiently when taught concepts via Smart Board technology. Prior to beginning the study, a curriculum-based assessment was given to each student to determine which language concepts would be targeted for instruction. During sessions 1-8, each pair of students was taught the same two concepts using Smart Board technology for a ten minute lesson. Sessions 9-10 involved generalization of the concepts in the classroom setting. Sessions 11-13 included conducting follow-up maintenance checks of mastered concepts across school settings to determine if concepts previously taught had been retained. A classroom teacher and a speech pathologist were trained to collect data on the acquisition and retention of language concepts. Data were collected during each session and later analyzed by an outside evaluator. Results will be shared to show whether the students were able to generalize language concepts taught using Smart Board technology.
27. Functional Analysis and Treatment of Vocalization Stereotype of a Child with High-Functioning Autism
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
LAN LIU-GITZ (Texas Tech University), Devender Banda (Texas Tech University), Stephanie L. Hart (Texas Tech University), Stephanie Sokolosky (Texas Tech University)
Abstract: Vocal stereotypy in children with autism occurs frequently in educational settings. Developing educationally oriented, teacher-friendly intervention strategies are in great need in these settings. We conducted a functional behavior analysis on a ten-year-old student who displayed vocal stereotypical behavior and had high-functioning autism. Results of functional analysis indicated that the behavior was maintained by multiple functions. Response interruption redirection (RIRD) was selected as the intervention method during the treatment. An A-B-A-B design was employed. RIRD combined both sensory extinction and differential reinforcement strategies into one procedure. When the child displayed vocal stereotype, a teacher delivered a series of (three to four) verbal questions that are 1) well within the child’s ability to answer, and 2) among the child’s favorite topics and interests. These questions led to verbal praise to the child. Following praising the child, the teacher resumed to normal classroom instructions. The results indicated that RIRD was very effective in reducing the child’s target behavior. The percentage of problem behavior occurrence decreased from an average of 41% during baseline to 10% during intervention. The application of RIRD in special education classroom setting and its benefits were discussed.
28. Increasing Playtime Initiations for Children Who have ASD Using Video Self Modeling
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
JORDAN P. BOUDREAU (Florida Institute of Technology), Mark T. Harvey (Florida Institute of Technology)
Abstract: Deficits in social relatedness are observed across the lifespan, and present some of the most debilitating barriers to successful integration of individuals diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Research in the area of video modeling has shown that this approach can be an effective strategy for the acquisition and generalization of appropriate social behavioral repertoires. The current study examined the effects of video self modeling (VSM) on social initiations for three children who have autism using a multiple baseline design. A VSM tape was developed showing the child initiating play activities with peers. Students viewed the VSM videos in their classroom prior to going to a playroom with a dyad of peers. Social initiations during “playtime” were measured and compared to baseline levels of initiations and levels exhibited by a typically developing peer within each student grouping. Use of VSM led to an increase in initiation for all participants with two out of three individuals increasing social initiations to levels above typically developing peers. Participant mean initiations were 16% of intervals during baseline and rose to 49% of intervals during intervention. VSM was shown to be an efficacious means for increasing initiations for play activities for children who have ASD.
29. Increasing Social Interactions and Group Participation Skills with a Daily Circle Time Activity
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
ANGELA M. PERSICKE (California State University, Fresno), Amanda N. Adams (California State University, Fresno)
Abstract: Children with autism do not develop social skills in the same way typically developing children do. Exposure and direct training in activities that include social skills may be a naturalistic method of improving these skills and have implication for good generalizability. Circle time is and activity used in typical pre-school and kindergarten classrooms to develop children’s social skills and group attending skills. The objective of this study was to determine if circle time used in a center-based autism program might be influential in increasing peer-to-peer and peer-to-adult interactions for children with autism. Fifteen children from the Central California Autism Centered participated in a daily circle time activity. Data on free time interactions were recorded to determine if circle time had an effect on social interactions as measured by spontaneous eye contact, verbal/vocal initiations, non-verbal initiations, and reciprocations to a peer interaction. Results will be discussed with considerations for future programs.
30. Increasing Social Skills through Direct Instruction and Peer Training in Children with Autism
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
DEVENDER BANDA (Texas Tech University), Stephanie L. Hart (Texas Tech University), Robin H. Locke (Texas Tech University), Lan Liu-Gitz (Texas Tech University), Stephanie Sokolosky (Texas Tech University), Maud Selasie Dogoe (Texas Tech University)
Abstract: Students with autism often display delays or deficits in social skills. A literature search revealed that few studies have been conducted in inclusion settings with high-functioning students diagnosed with autism. This study was conducted to increase peer-to-peer social skills using direct instruction and peer training in three elementary students with high-functioning autism in general education classrooms. The participants and several peers were trained to initiate and respond to each other during small group academic activities. The intervention consisted of a five minute training period where the facilitator modeled and the participants and peers practiced peer-to-peer initiations and responses. Data were collected in ten minute periods during small group academic activities where the facilitator prompted participants and peers to make initiations and responses. We used multiple-baseline design across participants to determine the effects of the intervention. Results showed increased initiations with no percentage of non-overlapping data points (PND) for all three participants, increased responses with no percentage of PND for two participants, and slightly increased responses in the third participant. Implications for practitioners and researchers are discussed.
31. Increasing Time On-Task with One Child with Autism through a Shaping Procedure
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
MARIE CHRISTINE LAMBERT (Sussex Consortium), Vivian J. Bush (Sussex Consortium), Marissa Wanchik (Sussex Consortium), Vanessa Rae Cooper (Sussex Consortium)
Abstract: Students with autism often require decreased task demands in order to gain compliance and decrease maladaptive behaviors. The focus of this single case study was on a second grade eight-year-old male student with autism. The student was in a separate special education classroom in an integrated setting, and was served in the regular classroom less then 40% of the day. When the study began, the student exhibited many interfering behaviors. The escape behaviors included tantrums, aggressions, touching, mouthing, and instigating to avoid unpreferred demands. Demands included tasks such as lining up, cleaning up, writing his name, and sitting during group activities. Initial rates showed verbal tantrums to be 2x/day, physical tantrums at 1.4x/day, touching at 9.3x/day, instigating at 4.3x/day, mouthing at 6x/day, and aggressions at 5x/day. Initially demands were decreased to a maximum of one minute, differential reinforcement schedules were thickened, and alternative responses were the focus of the teaching. Through shaping, tasks were increased from one minute to 30 minutes and differential reinforcement was thinned from a FI of 30 seconds to a VI of three minutes within one school year. Throughout this time, the targeted maladaptive behaviors decreased significantly.
32. Manage the Mand: The Lucky 7 Game
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
CYNTHIA P. REKORT (Behavior Change Consultants, Inc.), Kay D. Brynildson (Behavior Change Consultants, Inc.)
Abstract: In this presentation we will report on a motivational intervention for teaching replacement behaviors with children and adults with autism and other developmental disabilities in family homes, group homes, and school settings. The intervention, The Lucky 7 Game, is designed to provide practice in the skill areas of asking the question (i.e., manding), accepting “No,” waiting, and sharing. These are core socialization skills that many individuals with behavior challenges have not yet learned. These skills are replacement behaviors for many individuals whose challenging behaviors are a function of social positive reinforcement and social negative reinforcement. The Lucky 7 Game is based on principles and procedures in applied behavior analysis. Individuals who have learned to gain access to reinforcers through challenging behaviors, typically lack motivation to learn alternative replacement behaviors. The Lucky 7 Game incorporates motivating operations and behavioral momentum in order to teach the core alternative skills. The Lucky 7 Game also programs for positive change through the use of demand fading. Finally, programming for generalization to the natural environment is also emphasized. In our applied practice, several individuals have shown decreases in challenging behaviors as well as increases in replacement behaviors. The focus will be on one individual’s case study.
33. Teaching Money Skills to Persons with Autism Via Stimulus Control Methodology
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
JOANNE B. KLEDARAS (Praxis Inc.), William J. McIlvane (University of Massachusetts Medical School)
Abstract: This project is developing and evaluating state-of-the-art computer software for teaching coin equivalences and related skills to persons with autism, mental retardation, and other intellectual disabilities. It is translating decades of basic behavior analytic research for widespread use in the classroom and other educational environments. That research documented exceptional potential of stimulus equivalence and related stimulus control shaping techniques for teaching persons who would not ordinarily master money skills. The research dimension of the project is three-fold: first, it is defining and evaluating an enhanced version of the money skills program that replaces human decision-making with algorithmic specification of necessary teaching steps and sequences. Second, it is evaluating algorithms for proscriptive programming, especially in regard to trial-based programming and error-handling. Third, the project is evaluating the human interface that supports teachers in the effective use of the program. Via these three aspects, the project is also re-evaluating the promise of the early translational research on which the present program is based. One unexpected finding – the focus of data presentation in this poster – has been unusually rapid learning under pretest conditions, which may point to stimulus control variables that can be manipulated to improve learning outcomes.
34. The Effects of Self-Management on the Job-Related Social Skills Assessment for an Adult with Autism
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
HUA FENG (National ChangHua University of Education), Hsiu Chi Lin (National ChangHua University of Education), Grace C.E. Chang (SEEK Education, Inc.)
Abstract: This study was to investigate the effectiveness of job-related social skills for an adult with autism in the workplace after receiving self-management training. The research design of this study was a multiple-probe design across behaviors. The independent variable was self-management training, while the dependent variable was the job-related social skill in the workplace. Before intervention, the subject underwent a functional behavior assessment and three target behaviors of the subject were identified. They were (a) to display good manner by saying “welcome” to the customers, (b) to take up his proper place without verbal prompt, and (c) to follow the task procedures. The result showed that self-management has positive effects on improving the job-related social skills for the adult with autism. In addition, the data also showed that with the increase of positive behaviors, some of his stereotyped behaviors also reduced after the intervention. The results also displayed favorable outcome of the generalized effects (generalization to different situations and different people). For social validity data, the job coach, the subject’s mother, and supervisor in the workplace were interviewed and reported highly positive responses to this training program at the conclusion of this study. Discussion and suggestions for the professional and researchers were also included.
35. The Effects of Video Modeling on Independent Play Skills
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
Abstract: The effects of video modeling on acquisition of play skills were examined with a five-year-old boy with autism. A multiple baseline design across play scenarios was used to assess whether imaginative play skills would increase after shown a video model. The play skills included a racecar, tea party, and bath time scenario, as they were items the child’s parents had wanted him to play with and present in his household. Prior to intervention, this child had very little or inappropriate independent play skills. Results indicated that the video modeling intervention led to an increase in scripted actions and verbal statements in all three scenarios. There was also an increase in spontaneous action and verbal statements in two out of three scenarios. There was no therapist intervention during the play sequences and no reinforcement or correction procedures were used. This case illustrates how efficient and effective video modeling can be in teaching play skills in a home-based setting.
36. Training Teachers to Individualize and Implement Task Analytic Instruction for Mathematical Instruction across Mathematical Standards
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
BARBARA A. AGNELLO BAGNELLO (University of North Carolina at Charlotte), Diane Browder (University of North Carolina at Charlotte), Pamela Mims (University of North Carolina at Charlotte)
Abstract: Project Mastery is grant work in process at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte funded by the Institute of Education Sciences. Project Mastery is implementing teacher training in evidenced-based practices of systematic instruction to create the opportunity for students with significant cognitive disabilities and autism to gain access to age-appropriate content in the general education curriculum areas of science, English-language arts, and math. This presentation will provide an overview of Project Mastery-Teacher Training: Math. The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics recognizes five national mathematic standards (NCTM, 1989, 2000). These five standards are algebra, data analysis, geometry, measurement, and numbers/operations. However, a comprehensive review of the literature indicates the primary focus of math instruction to be in the areas of numbers/operations and measurement for this student population (Browder, Spooner, Ahlgrim-Delzell, Harris, & Wakeman, 2008). Systematic instruction via task analytic instruction to teach basic equations in algebra provides a foundation to begin generalizing across all math strands for students (Browder, Jimenez, & Courtade, 2007; Browder, Trela, & Jimenz, 2006). The outcome of Project Mastery-Teacher Training: Math is to individualize and implement task analytic instruction to teach priority skills across all the math standards for this student population.
37. Treatment of Cuticle Picking and Biting with an Undifferentiated Functional Analysis in a Student with Autism and ADHD
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
STEPHANIE L. HART (Texas Tech University), Devender Banda (Texas Tech University), Lan Liu-Gitz (Texas Tech University), Stephanie Sokolosky (Texas Tech University)
Abstract: While on the surface a mild problem, hand-mouthing behaviors such as finger sucking, thumb sucking, hand mouthing, saliva-play, and nail biting often have serious impacts when continued past early childhood. Hand-mouthing behaviors may result in physical consequences, such as damage to the fingers, teeth, or nails; social consequences, such as negative peer evaluation due to a foul odor from saliva and the unappealing transfer of saliva from the hands to objects and persons; and interference with daily functioning, including speech, use of adaptive skills, motor dexterity, and academic instruction. A review of the literature revealed that researchers in few studies have developed function-based interventions for hand-mouthing behaviors. This study was conducted with a student diagnosed with autism and ADHD who displayed chronic cuticle picking and biting during academic instruction. A functional analysis was primarily undifferentiated but indicated that the cuticle picking and biting may have been maintained by automatic reinforcement. A withdrawal design was used to determine the effect of using hand lotion to reduce cuticle picking and biting. Results indicated that use of the lotion immediately before instructional sessions eliminated the behavior. Implications for treatment are discussed.
38. Use of Blue-Tooth Technology to Promote Independent Responding in the Community: The Reduction of the Stigma of Prompting
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
GLORIA M. SATRIALE (PAAL), Kaori G Nepo (PAAL), Louis M. Chance (Chester County Intermediate Unit)
Abstract: Community-based instruction is often complicated by the stigma associated with overt and conspicuous levels of prompting. The current research study investigated a method by which the stigma associated with such overt levels of prompting could be reduced through instruction/prompting delivered through the use of a remote cell phone and Bluetooth technology thereby reducing the proximity of staff and overt gestural prompting resulting in greater levels of independence and social inclusion. In the present study, verbal prompting was implemented by utilizing a Bluetooth and remote cell phone across multiple behaviors’ in a single environment. Rationale for the study included the following assumptions: community-based instruction is critical to successful integration as an adult; the need for evidence-based plus cost-effective methods of community-based instruction which result in greater independent function is indicated. Effective community based instruction is often complicated by the stigma associated with overt levels of prompting and with one-on-one support. Therefore, the need for less conspicuous methods of support/prompting is apparent.
39. Use of Pivotal Response Training with Peers to Facilitate Play in Children with Autism: A Special Education Teacher's Experience
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
Abstract: For the purpose of this poster presentation, the author selected the pivotal response training procedure with peers to facilitate play behavior in children with autism. In this study the author evaluates the ability of peers to implement pivotal response training in children with autism. This study enhances communication among children with autism, while it minimizes the need for adult implementation and prompting. Fellow peers were taught the strategies using modeling, role playing and feedback. After they learn the strategies, they implement pivotal response training strategies with the children with autism in the author’s classroom. Picture prompts were provided to assist peers in recalling the strategies. Once they are recalled, the prompts were faded and procedures were implemented without providing any instruction. Through this model, peers learned to direct, respond, and reinforce children with autism to increase play and social activities. Peers and children with autism both benefit from this study. The goal of this presentation is to highlight the peer-mediated interventions to teach and facilitate play in children with autism. The participants that attend this poster session will understand the use and effectiveness of pivotal response training with peers to teach specific skill area for children with autism.
40. Using “Self-as-Model” Video Modeling to Teach Children with Autism Social Questions
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
BETH POTTER (Renaissance Learning Center), Toby J. Honsberger (Renaissance Learning Center)
Abstract: Being able to communicate personal information is an important safety skill for children with autism. Video modeling has been proven to be an effective means to teach children with autism a variety of skills. Participants of this study, children ages four to six with a primary diagnosis of autism, were video-recorded using a written script as a prompt to answer social questions about themselves. The video product was used as a video model for the individual participants during intervention sessions. A multiple baseline across questions was employed. Prior to intervention, baseline was collected on correctly answered questions as well as the latency to answering questions. Intervention consisted of the participant viewing a video two times consecutively of themselves answering a social question, followed by a teacher asking the question in person immediately following the video. Probes were conducted in the absence of the video on days where intervention was not applied. Additional data will be collected before conclusions can be made as to the effectiveness of this intervention.
41. Using a Tactile Prompting Procedure to Teach "Quiet" Behavior
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
SHEILA M. JODLOWSKI (Bronxville Schools), Kristin Rogener (Bronxville Schools)
Abstract: A seven year old boy with constant inappropriate vocalizations was systematically taught to have a "quiet mouth". This was first introduced as a physical prompt (finger to instructor's and student's mouth). This initial intervention had a range of 40% correct responding to 100% correct responding with a mean of 70% correct responding. A fading procedure was used to decrease dependency on the physical prompt. This intervention had a range of 50% correct responding to 90% correct responding with a mean of 71% correct responding. Prompting was further faded to a tactile prompt (vibrating pager). A pairing procedure was used to ensure that the student knew the vibration of the pager was the antecedent to have a "quiet mouth". This procedure then generalized to the mainstream environment and allowed the student to participate in group lessons where a quiet environment was a student expectation.
42. Utilizing PECS with Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders: Acquisition and Generalization
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
ASHLEY WHITTINGTON BARNISH (Illinois State University), Karla J. Doepke (Illinois State University)
Abstract: By definition, children with autism spectrum disorders have difficulties communicating with others. Individuals with autism exhibit abnormal development in the areas of communication and social interactions from the time of birth or soon after (National Research Council, 2001). Researchers study alternative and augmentative communication (AAC) systems to teach nonverbal children with autism to communicate with others. The most effective ways to teach and learn communication systems remain critical to children with autism, their families, and their teachers. Various strategies have been developed to help teach these children to communicate. One such strategy is the Picture Exchange Communication System, developed by Bondy and Frost (2002). The current study investigates the training, acquisition, and generalization of PECS. Three individuals with autism were taught to utilize PECS in school settings. Results were analyzed based on the speed of acquisition, generalization across school setting, and the impact on verbal language. Implications include learning more about the generalization of PECS and its usefulness in teaching children with autism to communicate.
43. A Demonstration of the Effectiveness of a Combined Discrete Trial and Precision Teaching Instructional Approach to Improve Reading Skills in Students with Autism
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
ADAM BONANNO (Eden II Programs), Jennifer Bentsen (Eden II Programs), Geoffrey D. DeBery (Eden II Programs)
Abstract: Students with autism typically have difficulties in the area of reading. Traditional remedial reading curricula and instructional methodologies may not be appropriate for students with autism because many students with autism lack component reading skills (e.g., letter sounds needed to decode words). In the current study, two students with autism learned to receptively and expressively identify letter sounds and sight words using a combined Discrete Trial Instruction (DTI) and Precision Teaching (PT) approach. DTI consisted of teaching skills to a mastery criterion of eighty percent. After students’ performance reached the mastery criterion using DTI, the skills were further practiced using PT. During PT sessions students engaged in brief timed practice sessions, and the teacher reinforced increases in rate of responding and provided error correction and prompting. Program mastery was determined based on rate of accurate responding (i.e., fluency). Initially the student, Eric, could read 14 words in 20 seconds in an expressive sight words program (See-Say Words). After five months of instruction Eric can read 50 words in one minute. Initially Brian could read 13 letter sounds in 20 seconds in the expressive letter sound program (See-Say Sounds). After three months of instruction Brian can read 67 letter sounds in 45 seconds. Additionally, pre and post test scores on the Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS) improvement in initial sound fluency, oral reading fluency, retell fluency, and phoneme segmentation fluency skills. Results will be discussed with respect to the role of fluency in building component reading skills and practical tips for integrating PT into a traditional DTI program will be provided.
44. The Fixed-Interval Behavior of Graduate Students in an Online Course on Autism
Area: AUT; Domain: Basic Research
THOMAS L. ZANE (Center for Applied Behavior Analysis at The Sage Colleges)
Abstract: Fixed-interval schedules of reinforcement produce a distinct pattern of responding, specifically low responding directly after the delivery of the reinforcement, with an increasingly higher rate of responding as the time approaches for the delivery of the next reinforcer. This scallop effect has been demonstrated with animals and with members of the United States Congress. The purpose of this descriptive study was to analyze student behavior in a graduate course on autism, to determine if the behavior of posting discussion topics on the internet displayed a fixed-interval scallop effect. Twenty graduate students participated in an online course on autism spectrum disorders. A weekly requirement was to post a minimum of four online “comments” on various course discussion boards. Students had a one-week period to post all four comments. Data were analyzed by week, using a frequency distribution of comments per day across each week period. Results showed that the student postings clearly conformed to a scallop effect as predicted by a fixed-interval schedule of reinforcement. To produce more consistent responding across the week, contingencies must be shifted to either a briefer FI schedule or implement a different schedule of reinforcement.



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