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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Symposium #18
Applied Behavior Analysis and Creative Play in Children with Autism
Thursday, November 29, 2001
11:00 AM–11:50 AM
Little Theatre Hall
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
Chair: Robert Stromer (Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center)
Discussant: David C. Palmer (Smith College)
Abstract: .
Applied Behavior Analysis and the Teaching of Creative Play: The Road Less Traveled
MARK A. GREEN (Behavioral Education Assessment and Consultation, Inc.), Robert K. Ross (Behavioral Education Assessment and Consultation, Inc.)
Abstract: Children with autism and related disorders often exhibit profound skill and behavioral deficits. Appropriately, behavior analysis research with these children has focused on areas such as behavior reduction and the direct teaching of communication, academic, social, and self care skills. However, the present review of the literature shows that less attention has been focused on the teaching of play skills. Furthermore, in the literature and in practice, applications of instructional procedures to teach generative, novel, and variable responses in play are rare. This deficit, we suspect, supports the widespread view outside of the behavior analytic community that the methods may be appropriate and effective in the area of behavior reduction, but are not well suited for the teaching of play skills and activities that are perceived to require “creativity,” not “rote responding.” In contrast, our analysis of the literature highlights research suggesting that behavior analysis has much to offer in the area of creative play or variable responding, and provides the foundation for subsequent changes in the delivery of early intervention services by our agency.
Teaching Creative Play: Just A Different Emphasis
ELISABETH M. KINNEY (BEACON Services), Ann Filer (BEACON Services)
Abstract: We evaluated the play skills of 40 children with diagnoses of Pervasive Developmental Disorder or autism (aged 2 to 7 years) using the Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scale, BEACON Services Curriculum Checklist, and parent reports. The results revealed the presence of significant deficits in play at the beginning of services for nearly all children. We then reevaluated these children after receiving home-based behavior analytic services, including instruction in creative play. Creative play can be defined as the demonstration of novel responses, or the variation of responses, with the same toy. These data suggest that directly teaching play skills provides a number of benefits, including acquisition, generalization, and adult satisfaction with the results. So, the purpose of this talk is to (a) describe a curriculum for teaching creative play that is being used by BEACON Services, (b) overview the empirical literature that provides the rationale for the particular procedures being used, and (c) describe illustrative cases from an ongoing evaluation of our interventions to increase creative play in children with autism and related disorders.



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