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.


35th Annual Convention; Phoenix, AZ; 2009

Event Details

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Symposium #538
CE Offered: BACB
Evidence-based Strategies to Address Deficient Repertoires in Young Children with Autism
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
10:30 AM–11:50 AM
North 120 BC
Area: AUT/DDA; Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: Len Levin (Coyne & Associates, Inc.)
CE Instructor: Michael Weinberg, Ph.D.
Abstract: ABA-based, early intervention services for children with autism, sometimes referred to as Early Intensive Behavior Intervention (EIBI), typically adhere to a scope and sequence of curriculum objectives to promote repertoires in the domains of attention/social pragmatics, functional communication, imitation, language comprehension, and play. These repertoires become the basis for the performance of progressively more sophisticated responses. Most young learners with autism require systematic implementation of teaching techniques that utilize prompting, prompt-fading, and differential reinforcement strategies to promote skill acquisition in these key areas. A percentage of learners, however, do not acquire skills in critical areas such as attending, imitation, and language comprehension even when systematic instruction as described above is used. This symposium will present data on the implementation of innovative techniques with young learners with autism, learners who were not acquiring initial target objectives in some of these critical behavioral domains prior to the implementation of these strategies.
Acquisition of Spontaneous Eye Contact During Teaching Interactions: The Implementation of Shaping Techniques without Prompts
Len Levin (Coyne & Associates, Inc.), KARA LEE (Coyne and Associates), Tiffany Bauer (Coyne and Associates), Jessica Ann Korneder (Coyne and Associates), Melissa L. Evans (Coyne and Associates)
Abstract: Attention to relevant stimuli, especially socially-mediated stimuli, is a common deficit associated Autism Spectrum Disorder. While discrete-trial teaching is designed to facilitate attention to relevant discriminative stimuli, the development of that attending repertoire in children with autism may not always occur. Systematically teaching the learner to establish eye contact with the instructor at critical intervals of the teaching interaction should facilitate optimal attention to discriminative stimuli and promote more efficient skill acquisition in the long-term. Prompting and prompt-fading techniques are often not implemented in a way that facilitates the development of spontaneous eye contact, the learner establishing eye contact with the instructor in the absence of vocal or gestural cues (e.g., Look at me). Consequently, the authors have utilized a shaping procedure without using prompts to promote an attending repertoire during discrete-trial teaching interactions. Data will be presented that demonstrates the efficacy of this technique across a variety of young learners with autism.
Establishing a Beginner Listener Repertoire via Non-Traditional Discrimination Techniques
MELISSA L. EVANS (Coyne and Associates), Shireen Kalantar (Coyne and Associates), Megan Lewis (Coyne and Associates), Len Levin (Coyne & Associates), Paul D. Coyne (Coyne & Associates)
Abstract: Deficits in the development of speech and language are ubiquitous in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention typically addresses prerequisites to language, such as imitation and visual discrimination (e.g., match-to-sample) before working directly on expressive language (e.g., echoics, mands, tacts) and language comprehension (e.g., conditional auditory-to-visual discriminations). For non-vocal learners (e.g., learners without a strong echoic repertoire), language comprehension objectives (e.g., identifying objects when presented with a vocal discriminative stimulus, performing a motor movement when presented with a vocal discriminative stimulus) are typically addressed before expressive language objectives. For some learners, however, acquisition of those initial language comprehension objectives is challenging. Some researchers and practitioners have suggested that the development of an auditory discrimination or auditory matching repertoire may require direct attention for such learners. The current authors will present data to support the efficacy of a technique that utilizes auditory sound discrimination tasks in combination with initial auditory-visual discrimination targets to induce language comprehension.
Facilitation of an Echoic Repertoire via Oral Motor Imitation
Christine Essex (Coyne and Associates), SALLY D MOORE (Coyne & Associates), Nicola Bogie (Coyne and Associates), Celia Newkirk (Coyne and Associates)
Abstract: Newly diagnosed children with autism enter treatment and education programs with a range of skill deficits. One of the most challenging deficits to address is the absence of an echoic repertoire. The procedure described in this presentation was developed by behavior analysts working in collaboration with a speech-language pathologist to instruct learners with limited oral-motor imitation and vocal imitation skills. Various oral-tactile stimulation techniques combined with instructional techniques based on the principles of behavior analysis were utilized to facilitate the imitation of oral-motor movements. Specific oral-motor targets were chosen based on their applicability to the production of early-developing phonemes. Once the specific oral-motor targets were mastered, phonemic targets were required in combination with the mastered oral-motor targets. Eventually, phoneme production was required in imitation independent of oral-motor targets, and without oral-tactile stimulation. In behavior analytic terms, this was the initial development of an echoic repertoire. The benefits of a strong collaboration between two disciplines, speech pathology and applied behavior analysis, will also be discussed.
Establishing a Beginner Listener Repertoire via Visual Match-to-Sample Discrimination Training
Len Levin (Coyne & Associates), Sally D Moore (Coyne & Associates), TIFFANY BAUER (Coyne and Associates)
Abstract: There is some evidence that it is easier for young children with autism to learn tasks that incorporate a visual discriminative stimulus (e.g., a match-to-sample task with identical items or pictures) than it is for them to learn language comprehension tasks that do not incorporate visual cues (e.g., pointing to a specific object in response to a vocal discriminative stimulus). Motivational issues, deficits in auditory discrimination skills, and the relative salience of the discriminative stimuli may all contribute to this phenomenon. Greer and Ross (2008) describe a procedure to induce language comprehension or specifically, a listener component of naming repertoire. The procedure incorporates the simultaneous presentation of a vocal sample (i.e., a tact) and visual sample as part of the discriminative stimulus in a visual, match-to-sample task. The current authors have adapted that procedure to promote acquisition of initial language comprehension targets (e.g., pointing to pictures of familiar people, colors, shapes). Data will be presented to support the efficacy of this approach with learners who were having difficulty acquiring initial language comprehension targets via traditional discrimination training.



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