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.


40th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2014

Event Details

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Symposium #181
CE Offered: BACB
Intervention and Comprehensive Program Practices for Very Young Children with ASD
Sunday, May 25, 2014
11:00 AM–11:50 AM
W185bc (McCormick Place Convention Center)
Area: AUT/EDC; Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: Carol Ann Davis (University of Washington)
CE Instructor: Ilene S. Schwartz, Ph.D.

This symposium will provide three papers focusing on service delivery and comprehensive programs for very young children identified with Autism Spectrum Disorder. First, Levy and Sainato will provide a conceptual overview of the literature on focused and comprehensive interventions used in the delivery of services to young children with ASD. Then, Schwartz and McBride will detail a comprehensive program for toddlers with ASD consisting of an integrated play group with typically developing peers, intensive 1 on 1 programming along with other behavioral interventions, and weekly home visits. Finally, Garfinkle, Emerson, and Gibbs will present an overview of the challenges facing the delivery of Montana's statewide program for young children with ASD. The use of innovations in distance-based technical assistance, providing access for the to professional development opportunities, the development of teaming and membership strategies to decrease turn-over and the creation of innovative business models to support the program will be presented.

Keyword(s): autism, intervention programs, young children
Interventions for Toddlers with Autism: A Review of Research
EMILY LEVY (The Ohio State University), Diane M. Sainato (The Ohio State University)
Abstract: It is well established that early intervention is the best option for children who show signs of delay or characteristics of autism. There have been some retrospective and prospective studies that have looked at the behavioral characteristics of toddlers that were later diagnosed with autism, and now there are effective, reliable screening tools that can diagnose around the age of 2 (Boyd, Odom, Humphreys, & Sam, 2010). With the increase in the amount of children being diagnosed with autism and the demand for services to begin as early as possible, there is a need for research in the area of infants and toddlers with autism. A recent review of the literature on infants and toddlers included 20 studies that were analyzed by intervention purposes (Schertz, Reichow, Tan, Vaiouli, & Yildirim, 2012). The authors suggest another dimension to analyze would be intervention approaches. This paper will analyze what is currently being provided to toddlers with autism, what the research suggests in terms of service delivery approaches, and what future research should consider, while keeping the trajectory of a child's development and family aspects central.
Project DATA for Toddlers: Blending Approaches to Meet the Needs of Toddlers with ASD
ILENE S. SCHWARTZ (University of Washington), Bonnie J. McBride (University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center)
Abstract: There are few well-documented comprehensive early intervention programs for very young children with autism. Project DATA consists of three essential components: an integrated playgroup, intensive 1 on 1 programming, and weekly home visits. Children enter the program between 16-30 months and receive intervention for 2 years. Our conceptual framework is founded on the premise that toddlers with ASD need opportunities to interact successfully with their typically developing peers from the beginning of the program. Naturalistic teaching strategies are embedded in the integrated playgroup to insure these successful interactions take place. The intensive programming uses discrete trial training and other behavioral strategies to address important skills for individual children. These components add up approximately 16 hours a week of intervention, compared to a control group receiving standard treatment in the community. In addition to daily behavioral intervention data, we also collect information on child communication skills, social skills, and cognitive skills using standardized assessments each quarter. We also use checklists to assess adaptive skills and measures of parent stress and satisfactions. Finally, we collect measures of parent-child interaction. A federally funded evaluation of this service delivery model is currently underway using a randomized clinical trial.
Service Delivery Challenges and Strategies for a Statewide Behavioral Program for Young Children with ASD
ANN N. GARFINKLE (University of Montana), Jackie Emerson (Developmental Disabilities Program), Karlyn Gibbs (The Child Development Center)
Abstract: : In 2009, Montana began a statewide, intensive, behavioral Medicaid program for young children with Autism Spectrum Disorders and their families. There were many service delivery challenges associated with the start-up of this project including but not limited to: the program covered a wide geographic region; an untrained and inexperienced workforce; high rates of workforce turn-over; and, service delivery models that did not support the new program requirements. These challenges threatened the quality of the program services and thus the outcomes for the children and families participating in the program. For example, in a recent survey it was shown that 90% of direct service providers (i.e., para-professionals) terminate employment in the program within the first year. This creates disruptions in children’s programing and creates additional costs for agencies providing services. It’s estimated that this turn-over rate costs the State more than $250,000 annually. This presentation will describe these challenges as well as solutions that have been employed to remediate these issues. Solutions include innovations in distance-based technical assistance, the workforce’s access to professional



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