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.


First International Conference; Italy, 2001

Event Details

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Poster Session #2
#2 Poster Session - AUT/DDA
Wednesday, November 28, 2001
5:00 PM–6:30 PM
Truss Pavilion
1. A Modified Functional Analysis of Severe Aggression
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
HEIDI LANDABURU (University of Nevada, Reno), Cristin Harrison (University of Nevada, Reno), Jonathan J. Tarbox (University of Nevada, Reno), W. Larry Williams (University of Nevada, Reno), Katy Atcheson (University of Nevada, Reno)
Abstract: We attempted to run a standard functional analysis as described by Iwata, Dorsey, Slifer, Bauman, and Richman (1982/1994) with an adult woman with mental retardation who engaged in severe aggressive behavior. We were unable to obtain results due to the severity of the aggression. Two modifications were necessary in order to accommodate Nevada state law. These modifications also ensured the safety of the therapists and allowed the investigators to maintain experimental control. First, two to three therapists were used during all sessions. This modification was used as an attempt to keep the participant in the session room. Second, we used a pairwise design with alternating attention and extinction conditions. The results indicated that the aggressive behavior was maintained by attention.
2. Applied Behavior Analysis at Glenne Senter, Norway
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
BORGE STROMGREN (Glenne Senter, Norway), Luke Moynahan (Glenne Senter, Norway), Silje Haugland (Glenne Senter, Norway), Tone Kristensen (Glenne Senter, Norway)
Abstract: Glenne Senter is a part of the county-based habilitation services in Vestfold County, Norway. Primary client groups are persons with Autism, Asperger’s syndrome and Developmentally Disability with severe behavior problems. Applied Behavior Analysis Services are provided to clients, kindergarten, school and residential unit staff members and the client’s families. Main program areas are Early Intervention for Young Children with Autism and Enhanced Aggression Replacement Training for Children, Youth and Adults with Autism, Asperger’s Syndrome and Developmental Disability. Research projects and Behavior Analysis programs will be displayed and hand-outs distributed.
3. Autism: Parent Education for Families in Geographically Distant Areas.
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
JENNIFER B.G. SYMON (University of California, Santa Barbara), Robert L. Koegel (University of California, Santa Barbara), Lynn Kern Koegel (University of California, Santa Barbara)
Abstract: Many families who live geographically distant from a center that specializes in intervention for children with autism have not been able to receive specialized services for their children. This paper describes an evaluation of an intensive, week-long center- based parent education program that teaches parents procedures for improving social communication for children with autism. Data from five representative families are included in a multiple baseline design. Data were collected on parent implementation of target behaviors using specific behavioral teaching procedures. Baseline, intervention, and follow-up measures were obtained for both parent and child measures and reliability was collected for each measure. Data show improvements in the parents' use of the procedures and children's expressive language during and following a week-long parent education session. Additionally, improvements in parental affect rating were found following intervention. Furthermore, follow-up measures demonstrate that these positive changes generalized to the families' home communities and maintained over time. These findings suggest feasibility of a short-term intensive behavioral parent education program for families who live in areas that are geographically distant from intervention.
4. Behavior Treatment Programs, Readability, and Treatment Outcomes
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
ANGELA D. ADKINS (Western State Hospital), Nirbhay N. Singh (Virginia Commonwealth University), Donald Oswald (Virginia Commonwealth University)
Abstract: There is increasing awareness that outcomes of behavior treatment programs depend not only on good behavioral case formulation and the adequacy of the resulting treatment programs (e.g., function-derived interventions), but also on other factors (e.g., treatment fidelity, consistency of implementation. Recently, readability of behavior intervention programs has been reported to be another important factor that affects treatment outcome. We report two studies of the readability of behavior intervention programs. In Study 1, we assessed the readability of behavior intervention programs from three state facilities for people with developmental disabilities and found that the programs were low on critical readability variables. In Study 2, we assessed whether readability of behavior programs was associated with treatment outcomes for individuals with developmental disabilities. Overall we found that readability of behavior intervention programs has a significant impact on treatment outcomes.
5. Children with Autism Increase Their Performance on False Belief Tasks through Discrete Trial Training
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
CHANTI LONG (California State University, Stanislaus)
Abstract: The ability to attribute thoughts, beliefs, and intentions to oneself and others is referred to as theory of mind. Individuals with autism demonstrate impairment in this domain, as indicated by traditional theory of mind assessments. Unexpected contents tasks and change of location tasks are standard tests used to assess false belief understanding in children. This study examined the effectiveness of a training program designed to increase false belief performance in three children with autism that had failed all unexpected contents pretests. A single subject design was used to assess the effects of a discrete trial training intervention for three participants. Probes for generalization were administered each session. Number of sessions ranged between 15 and 32, depending upon stability in the data. The results suggest that training on unexpected contents tasks, utilizing a systematic prompting and fading procedure, improved theory of mind performance on related tasks. Self and other unexpected contents posttests indicate 75% success for two participants and 100% accuracy for the other, despite implementation of only self training. However, this ability did not generalize to distant transfer tasks. These findings contribute to the growing body of literature which suggest that direct training of theory of mind may further treatment for children with autism.
6. Constructed-Response Matching-to-Sample and Equivalence Relations Applied to Phonological Problems
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
A. CELSO GOYOS (Federal University of Sao Carlos, Brazil), Ana Maria Rossi Silva (Federal University of Sao Carlos, Brazil), Paulo Roberto Santos Ferreira (Federal University of Sao Carlos, Brazil)
Abstract: One common problem educators face is when children systematically swap syllables, such as those containing in the Portuguese language the letter f for v, s for z, x for j, and k for g, p for b, and t for d. Outside the area of behavior analysis this is known as a problem in the formation of "phonological conscience". Usual treatment is not always effective or clear. The constructed-response matching-to-sample (CRMTS) task constitutes an interesting possibility to break words down in graphemes and phonemes in a systematic fashion, to derive emergent relations, and to provide a solid basis for treatment. Four 7-9 year-old children who changed letters participated in this study. A pretest checked for the relations between spoken word and pictures, spoken word- spoken word (echoic), and spoken word and printed word. They were taught CRMTS tasks involving spoken words and letters. All tasks were presented by computer, which also recorded the participants’ responses and saved in electronic files. Training was first introduced to only one set of two phonemic oppositions (f/v), and then all other oppositions were tested. Preliminary results showed that CRMTS is an effective tool to teach dictation, and that the training of one opposition may generalize to other oppositions.
7. Cost-Benefit Estimates for Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention for Young Children with Autism in Iceland
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
Z. GABRIELA SIGURDARDOTTIR (University of Iceland), Haukur F. Gylfason (University of Iceland), Marius Peersen (University of Iceland)
Abstract: Encouraged by the work of Jacobson, Mulick, and Green (1996), the authors wanted to investigate the financial costs and benefits of early and intensive behavioural intervention for young children with autism in Iceland. The study by Jacobson et al. showed a favourable outcome for this treatment estimating savings ranging from $285,000 at age 22 to $1,350,000 at age 45 if normal functioning is achieved in 30% to 40% of treated children. The present cost-benefit analysis is based on Lovaas (1987) successful treatment of autistic children and the follow up data presented by McEachin, Smith, and Lovaas (1993). Information about costs for treating autism have been collected from the State Diagnostic and Counselling Centre, the office of the Superintendent of Schools in Reykjavik and the Regional Office for the Affairs of the Disabled in Reykjavik. However, it was not possible to replicate Jacobson et al. study in Iceland. Problems inherited in collecting data are reported. Specifically, some of the expenses for children with autism are not discriminable from costs associated with other children that receive support from the Icelandic health care system. The project has experienced a number of other difficulties.
8. Discrete Trial Training Can Be Observed Directly to Determine Teaching Rates
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
JOHN D. CONE (United States International University)
Abstract: A direct observation coding system for assessing the quality of discrete trial training is described. Seven antecedent trainer responses, 6 student behaviors, and 7 trainer consequences are scored using an event record that captures each discrete training trial occurring during the observation session. Trials are defined as correct or incorrect depending on the presence of specific antecedent-behavior-consequent combinations. Scores include trials per minute and correct trials per minute. Data on the system's reliability are presented along with preliminary data showing its usefulness in describing the variability among discrete trial trainers. The system can serve as both a training vehicle and as a component of a quality monitoring process.
9. Establishing Social Orienting in Response to Naturally Occurring Events by Young Children with Autism
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
GAIL G. MCGEE (Emory University School of Medicine), Michael J. Morrier (Emory University School of Medicine)
Abstract: This study evaluated a procedure that establishes social orienting responses to naturally occurring social events. Specifically, teacher approaches were paired with the delivery of highly preferred sensory stimuli. A multiple-baseline design was implemented sequentially across five young children with autism. Three levels of social orienting were evaluated: a) facial orientation toward the teacher within 5-sec of teacher approach; b) facial orientation towards the teacher within 5-sec of a comment by the teacher on the child's play; and c) facial orientation within 5-sec of a teacher's control of access of the toy with which the child was playing, paired with a direct question about the child's toy. Side effects on children's overall levels of engagement were also examined to determine the intervention's effectiveness as an orientation procedure. Results indicated that all 5 children showed marked improvement in unprompted social orienting responses, as well as benefits in terms of overall engagement. Interobserver agreement, calculated as percentage of intervals of agreement divided by percentage of intervals scored for agreement plus disagreement, exceeded 80% for both occurrence and overall data. This new intervention provides an orientation for children who will subsequently receive incidental teaching intervention, with teacher approach established as a conditioned reinforcer and independent engagement stabilized at levels amenable to delivery of incidental teaching episodes.
10. Modifying the Standard Functional Analysis to Assess Low Rate Problem Behavior
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
W. LARRY WILLIAMS (University of Nevada, Reno), Jonathan J. Tarbox (University of Nevada, Reno), Michele D. Wallace (University of Nevada, Reno)
Abstract: Ample research has demonstrated that functional analysis methodology is an effective means of identifying the maintaining variables of problem behavior and readily facilitates the design of function-based treatments (Iwata, Dorsey, Slifer, Bauman, & Richman, 1982/1994). However, problem behavior that rarely occurs (i.e., one burst of behavior per day or week) can be difficult to assess in a standard functional analysis. Two adults with developmental disabilities who exhibited low rate, severe behavior problems participated in this study. Initial standard functional analyses (Iwata, et al., 1982/1994) of the participants' problem behaviors did not produce interpretable results because problem behavior did not occur often enough during the assessments. Subsequent modified "low rate" functional analyses successfully identified functions for the problem behavior of both participants. Contributions and limitations of the proposed "low rate" methodology are discussed.
11. Optimising Teaching Strategies in Autism: The Differential Outcome Effect and Equivalence
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
ASUN PUCHE (Ramon Llull University. Spain)
Abstract: To optimise the effectiveness of teaching strategies is an important clinical objective, due to the significant behavioral deficits that the majority of children with autism present. Findings from the experimental behavior analysis have to be tested with children with autism in an attempt to optimise teaching strategies. Examples include Equivalence Class formation and the Differential Outcome Effect. This study will present data from different single case designs that tested for those effects. The results will be discussed from the potential clinical significance, as well as from the theoretical contribution.
12. Promoting Functional Language Acquisition on Visual Impairment Child (LOW VISION): Effects of Mother Training in Milieu Teaching Model
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
ANA CRISTINA BARROS DA CUNHA (Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro), Leila R De Paula Nunes (Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro)
Abstract: Children who are blind and visual impaired are at risk for developmental delays, especially in language skills. Language delays for visual impaired child could be due sensorial privation or failures on perception for relations between objects and events of the world. The purpose of the study was to investigate the effectiveness of training mother of language delayed visual impairment child as milieu interventionists. The mother, Marina, and her child, Mónica, participated as subject of this study. The mother is 28 years old and the child is 3 years old in the beginning of the study; they lived in a slum of Rio de Janeiro city. Mónica has a visual impairment (low vision) and she was assisted in a Rehabilitation Center for blind and visual impaired persons, where the study was conducted. She request objects or help through gestures and vocalize few sounds, e.g. "a, a". A experimental multiple-baseline design was implemented across mothers' behaviors. The study lasted 12 months, divided in 5 steps; Baseline, Training, Intervention, Generalization and follow-up. Consecutive sessions were conducted on the Rehabilitation Center and on the subject's home. During the Intervention, the mother was taught to use four milieu techniques procedures: Environmental Arrangement, Model, Mand-Model and Time delay. Conclusions drawn from the findings were that mother can be taught to correctly apply milieu teaching model during naturalistic interactions with their child, and further, that as a result of mother's teaching efforts, improvements may occur in a variety of child linguistic skills.
13. Teaching Reading to Persons with Severe Developmental Disabilities Using Pictorial and Echoic Prompts
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
FREDERICK G. FURNISS (The Hesley Group, Doncaster, U.K. )
Abstract: Pairing of picture prompts with printed words has been shown to impair acquisition of reading responses. This study investigated whether use of echoic prompts would avoid or reduce this difficulty. Four adults with severe developmental disabilities learned four pairs of words in successive teaching sessions, alternately using superimposition and fading of picture or echoic (audiotaped) prompts. The number of teaching trials required to begin a criterial run of 10 consecutive correct unprompted responses to a word and maintenance of reading responses on repeated tests were measured in a multiple baseline across word pair design. Mean inter-observer agreement on correctness of reading responses was 96% (range, 73% to 100%). Two participants generally achieved learning criterion with both prompt types but showed better maintenance of reading performance following teaching with pictures. The other two participants achieved criterion for one or two words only, in all cases with echoic prompts. Successful learning with both prompt types occurred by errorless progress through the whole learning sequence. Failure using pictures occurred by errorless progression in prompt fading but repeated failure to transfer control to words alone, whereas failure using echoic prompts involved errors throughout fading. Implications for design of prompt fading programmes are discussed.
14. Using the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) plus Functional Communication Training (FCT) to Decrease Problem Behaviors in Children with Autism
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
CHRIS A. LABELLE (Claremont Graduate University), Marjorie H. Charlop (Claremont McKenna College), Cathy Jones (Claremont Graduate University), Jennifer Snyder (Claremont Graduate University), Sabrina D. Daneshvar (Claremont Graduate University)
Abstract: Ancillary decreases in problem behaviors have been found following PECS training in children with autism (Kellet et. al, 1998). However, no studies have been conducted on the use of PECS to empirically decrease problem behaviors in children with autism. The goal of the current study was to first ascertain the maintaining functions of the problem behaviors for three young children with autism via an analogue functional analysis conducted within a multi-element design. The next phase of the study consisted of training PECS with each of the children. The third phase of the study consisted of functional communication training (FCT) to substitute the functions of the problem behaviors with appropriate alternative functions that can be provided by PECS, such as training the children how to use a break card, ask for attention, and ask to be played with. The average reliability score between three interrater observers is 89% for our preliminary data. Preliminary data suggest that rates of problem behaviors decreased for all three children during PECS training and decreased further during FCT training. Results validated the assumption that PECS leads to reduced rates of problem behaviors because PECS serves an appropriate communicative function that interferes with inappropriate means of communicating.



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