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 #40
Functional Literacy for Adults with Developmental Disabilities
Thursday, November 29, 2001
2:00 PM–2:50 PM
Hall of the Ceiling
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
Chair: Casey Hudson (University of Kansas)
Abstract: The definition of "literacy" keeps shifting, but without doubt some basic literacy is one of the most important keys to wider forms of communication. Communication offers access to resources. Limited access to resources typically limits the lives of individuals with developmental disabilities. Individuals with developmental disabilities typically experience difficulties with writing, or do not write at all, due to a pervasive lack of opportunities in their learning histories. Technologies of instruction and of computers offer investigation of a combined technology for teaching self-managed, generative skills for acquiring and for improving writing to individuals with unusual histories of learning. This symposium explores conditions under which access to relevant electronic and instructional technologies will improve skills by adults with developmental disabilities and produce opportunities for self-expression and for exchange with communities typically limited for them. The presenters aimed at teaching task-analytic self-management of basic literacy skills for transferring skills from initial formal settings to increasingly independent functioning in naturalistic settings. The three speakers present teaching increasingly independent functioning through 1) improving generalized basic syntax of self-modeled spoken sentence units, 2) learning dialing telephone numbers prompted by self-constructed written cues, and 3) extending generalized shopping skills with self-constructed written words guiding independent shopping.
Individualized Task-Analysis for Improving Computer Processed Writing Skills
CASEY HUDSON (University of Kansas), Irene Grote (University of Kansas)
Abstract: Computers as writing tools can contribute to the quality of life of adults with developmental disabilities. Such claims about this recently emerged tool are mainly anecdotal due to its even more recent application to populations with developmental disabilities. Improvement in quality of life remains to be underscored by scientific applications. Quantitative analysis of bringing writing repertoires in step with otherwise adult repertoires, require specific task-analysis for instruction different from traditional teaching of young, normally developing writers. Our participant was a self-referred adult with severe developmental disabilities for whom keyboarding is a highly preferred activity. He was verbal but had minimal composition skills. Measured by his writing baseline, we tailored a task-analysis to teach him self-instructed editing. Writing skills (e.g. period placement) during baseline was less than 9% on randomly selected probes, while comprehension was 87%. After instructing him to say each complete idea (what the experimenter judged to be a close approximation to a sentence) before beginning to type, his appropriate period placement increased to 80% (reliability approximated 100%). Generalization to other components of a sentence (e.g. capitalization) appears promising. In our individualized task-analyses, self-instruction is a crucial technique combined with computers as writing tools for producing generalized
Identifying and Teaching Skills Leading to Self-Instructed Telephone Skills
MARIE TIEGHI-BENET (University of Kansas), Irene Grote (University of Kansas)
Abstract: Self-managed daily activities are important to the quality of life of individuals with developmental disabilities. Our participant was a self-referred adult man with severe developmental disabilities, displaying no reading or writing skills and limited verbal articulation skills, who expressed a high preference for learning independent telephone skills. The goal of this study was to teach this Participant how to telephone based on his self-contracted list of telephone numbers of his friends. Under baseline conditions, our participant did not qualify for independent dialing. We combined an equivalence and self-instruction paradigm to establish generalized calling. Receptive identification of numbers improved from chance to near perfect levels after teaching number-number matching. His copying of numbers matched the models in his telephone book almost perfectly. Reliability approximates 95%. His progress promises that he may be learning generalized number skills, which can be extended to other activities of daily living. Further teaching of matching formats and their testing for symmetry and for transitivity are in progress.
Extending Generalized Shopping Skills for an Adult with DD
JULIE A. WALDOCH (University of Kansas), Irene Grote (University of Kansas)
Abstract: Independent functioning in the form of self-managed daily activities is an important aspect of the quality of life of individuals with developmental disabilities. Our participant was a self-referred adult woman with mild developmental disabilities, who expressed high preference for learning independent shopping with her own written list of items. We taught this Participant with severely limited reading and writing skills, but with high verbal skills, how to shop based on her self-constructed list. We used a combination of equivalence and self-instruction paradigms procedure for teaching self-instructed shopping with 14 items. The 14 words functioned as instructional stimuli for generalized self-instructed shopping. In addition to the impressive generalization shown at this level of self-instructed shopping, we taught our Participant to construct her own shopping list with the same set of words using a novel set of pictures and/or words -- selected from her preferred items. This resulted in 95% reliable, near-perfect performance. This skill generalized to many items needed in her household with similarly reliable results. This accomplishment fulfilled her desire to become-and to be respected-as an effective shopper by her staff and her roommates, the goal of self-referral was fulfilled. What a quality-of-life dream came true!



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