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 #75
Intensive Behavioral Intervention with Young Children with Autism or PDD NOS: Outcomes, Obstacles, and Opportunities
Friday, November 30, 2001
10:00 AM–10:50 AM
Little Theatre Hall
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
Chair: Jane S. Howard (California State University, Stanislaus)
Abstract: This symposium describes outcomes of intensive behavior intervention with young children diagnosed with Autism or PDD NOS from three sites in the United States and Great Britain. Treatment effects on standardized measures of cognitive problem solving, language development, and adaptive functioning are discussed, along with other measures such as educational placement. The value and difficulties associated with various measures of treatment effectiveness are discussed. Certain child, parent, and treatment characteristics that may influence treatment impact, are identified. Directions for future research, along with the challenges of conducting this type of research, are outlined.
Outcomes of an Intensive Behavioral Program for Preschoolers with Autism or PDD-NOS
GINA GREEN (New England Center for Children), Jennifer Andersen (New England Center for Children), Kathleen M. Clark (New England Center for Children), Amy S. Geckeler (New England Center for Children), William L. Holcomb (New England Center for Children), Rebecca P. F. MacDonald (New England Center for Children), Renee C. Mansfield (New England Center for Children)
Abstract: Several studies have shown that intensive, comprehensive intervention using applied behavior analysis methods can produce substantial improvements for many young children with autism. We describe a program model derived from that research, and summarize outcomes for 35 preschoolers with autism or PDD-NOS. On entry to the program, their mean chronological age was 44 months. All had substantial cognitive, communication, social, and self-help skill deficits. After 2-3 years of intensive behavioral intervention, one child was enrolled full-time in a regular classroom with no special services or supports; 4 were enrolled part-time in regular classrooms and part-time in special education classrooms; 5 were enrolled part-time in regular classrooms and part-time in intensive ABA programming; 2 were in public school special education classrooms full time; and 23 continued to participate in intensive ABA programming full-time. Post-treatment standardized test scores indicated that 9 children had mental age equivalents that were within 6 months of their chronological ages in one or more skill domains. Child characteristics and treatment variables that may be related to differential treatment outcomes are discussed.
Preliminary Outcomes of Intervention with Young Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Comparison of Home-based IBI and Public School Treatment Programs
JANE S. HOWARD (California State University, Stanislaus), Howard G. Cohen (Valley Mountain Regional Center), Coleen Sparkman (Therapeutic Pathways)
Abstract: There are a limited number of peer-reviewed reports of intensive behavior intervention with young children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Less than half of these studies have included a control or comparison group. We describe data from 26 children who were diagnosed and began treatment before 48 months of age. Seventeen of these children received intensive intervention based on applied behavior analysis in an in-home program (IBI). The other 9 children were enrolled in generic or specialized public school special education classrooms formed the Comparison Group. Children receiving home-based intensive ABA programs were diagnosed earlier and with more severe behavioral deficits and excesses than children in the Comparison Group. However, at baseline the two groups did not differ significantly on standardized measures of cognitive, language, and adaptive functioning. ANOVAs performed on data from testing 1 year after the start of treatment showed that children in the IBI Group demonstrated significantly greater gains on measures of receptive and expressive language and motor development. Similar gains were found on measures of cognitive abilities and adaptive functioning. Limitations on the conclusions based on the length of intervention, small N and potential differences in characteristics of the two groups are noted. The potential value of non-traditional ABA research tools such as group designs, scores on standardized measures, inferential statistics, etc., to augment other efforts to assess treatment impact are discussed along with the need to develop other behavioral measures.
Toward Increasing the Validity of Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention Research
NEIL T. MARTIN (Tizard Centre, University of Kent), Oliver C. Mudford (Keele University), Peter Bibby (Autism & Developmental Disorders Education Research)
Abstract: We conducted a group study on the effects of early intensive behavioral intervention (EIBI) with 66 children. Results will be reviewed, and further data presented that illustrate some of the difficulties in conducting internally and externally valid group research on EIBI. Specifically, this presentation highlights the range within variables concerning children (e.g., diagnosis, age, initial IQ), their families(e.g., socio-economic status, participation in their children’s treatment), and their treatment (e.g., details of behavioral program, varieties of school placement, and supplementary interventions). Problems in identifying an appropriate comparison group are also discsussed. Recommendations for future research on EIBI are developed that encourage more frequent use of single-case experimental designs.



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