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 #40
Evaluating the Efficiency and Efficacy of Instructional Procedures for Teaching Beginning Learner Skills
Saturday, May 24, 2014
2:00 PM–2:50 PM
W185a (McCormick Place Convention Center)
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Tamara L. Pawich (Scott Center for Autism Treatment at Florida Institute of Technology)

Children with and without autism spectrum disorders experience a wide range of teaching strategies during acquisition of prerequisite learner skills. However, specific instructional methods may be selected based on instructor preference, training, or other idiosyncratic factors rather than empirical support for such methods. Thus, comparisons of instructional strategies are warranted to ensure that skills are being taught in the most efficient and effective manner. This symposium includes three presentations related to empirical comparisons of similar variations of commonly used instructional procedures with children, namely (1) simple-conditional and conditional-only methods for teaching receptive identification of sight words, (2) error correction procedures with and without a positive reinforcement component for teaching early literacy skills, and (3) the number of targets presented within session of a particular object class on the acquisition and generalization of tacts. Further evaluations of type of instructional procedure on stimulus generalization and participant preference will also be discussed.

Keyword(s): conditional discriminations, error correction, instructional procedures, tact training

A Comparison of Two Instructional Strategies for Teaching Receptive Identification of Sight Words

REBECCA VAN DER HIJDE (University of British Columbia), Laura L. Grow (University of British Columbia)

The study compared the effectiveness and efficiency of the modified simple-conditional and conditional only methods for teaching receptive identification of sight words (i.e., an auditory-visual conditional discrimination). Myles, 5-year-old boy, diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder participated in three comparative evaluations for the study. For each evaluation, two training sets of three sight words were randomly assigned to either the modified simple-conditional or conditional only methods. After the mastery criterion was met for each training set, a maintenance and generalization probe was conducted at a 1-month follow-up. Results suggest that both procedures were effective and resulted in maintenance and some generalization of skills. The conditional only method was a slightly more efficient procedure in that fewer sessions were required to meet the mastery criterion. The results call into question the utility of establishing component simple discriminations prior to conditional discriminations in teaching receptive identification of sight words.


Comparative Evaluation of Error-Correction Strategies: With and Without Positive Reinforcement

GLORIA N. MAILLARD (University of North Texas), Karen A. Toussaint (University of North Texas)

We conducted a comparative analysis of two error-correction strategies on sight word acquisition with kindergarten and first grade students. Both strategies consisted of response repetition, but one strategy included only a negative reinforcement contingency and the other used both positive and negative reinforcement contingencies. We also evaluated preference for instructional procedures. The current results suggest sight word acquisition was equivalent under both instructional conditions, but participants preferred the procedure that included a positive reinforcement component.


Evaluating the Efficiency of Teaching Multiple Exemplars Concurrently versus Successively on Skill Acquisition and Generalization in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Nicole M. Rodriguez (Munroe-Meyer Institute, University of Nebraska Medical Center), Tamara L. Pawich (Scott Center for Autism Treatment at Florida Institute of Technology), NITASHA DICKES (Munroe-Meyer Institute, University of Nebraska Medical Center), Kari J. Adolf (Munroe-Meyer Institute, University of Nebraska Medical Center), Amber R. Paden (Munroe-Meyer Institute, University of Nebraska Medical Center)

Children diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) often require direct programming to acquire new skills as well as generalize those skills across non-trained stimuli. The current study replicated and extended the findings of Schroeder, Schuster, and Hemmeter (1998) by evaluating the efficacy and efficiency of teaching target object classes successively (one exemplar at a time) versus concurrently (multiple exemplars at a time) on skill acquisition and generalization across multiple exemplars during tact training. Participants were five children diagnosed with an ASD. We used an adapted alternating treatments design (Sindelar, Rosenberg, & Wilson, 1985) embedded within a concurrent multiple baseline across participants. Consistent with Schroeder et al.s results, all of our participants acquired the target tacts more quickly in the concurrent condition. By contrast, there was little difference in generalization for either condition for all of our participants. Inter-observer agreement was collected for at least 35% of sessions, and the total mean interobserver agreement was 97.3 (range, 91.7% to 100%) .




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