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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Paper Session #435
Improving Communication Skills in Individuals with Autism
Monday, May 26, 2014
4:00 PM–4:50 PM
W183a (McCormick Place Convention Center)
Area: AUT
Chair: Christian Atlas Martin (Atlas Supports, LLC)

Functional Communication Training: Teaching Multiple Functionally Equivalent Responses to Three Children With Autism and Severe Language Delays

Domain: Applied Research
CHRISTIAN ATLAS MARTIN (Atlas Supports, LLC), Erik Drasgow (University of South Carolina), Laura C. Chezan (Old Dominion University)

Our purpose in this study was twofold. First, we evaluated the effectiveness of functional communication training (FCT) to replace undesirable communication forms (e.g., leading) with two acceptable alternative responses for three young children with autism and severe language delays. Second, we examined responding after the acquisition of the two new alternative request forms under two conditions: immediate and delayed reinforcement. We used a reversal design (i.e., ABACADA) for each participant to assess the effectiveness of FCT for teaching a new form and to examine responding during both immediate reinforcement and delayed reinforcement. Results indicated that FCT was effective in replacing undesirable communication forms with two alternative responses for all participants. Our data suggest that two of the participants emitted the alternate responses under both immediate reinforcement and delayed reinforcement but the responses did not occur in a predictable sequential order and thus did not provide supporting evidence for a response-class hierarchy. We also documented resurgence to undesirable communication forms under delayed reinforcement. The study has relevance for practitioners because of the delayed reinforcement situations present in natural environment and for researchers because of the empirical evidence of unstable response classes and resurgence during differential reinforcement interventions.


Investigation of Accuracy and Efficacy of Primary Caregivers? Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) Implementation to Individuals With Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)

Domain: Service Delivery
EE REA HONG (Texas A&M University), Jennifer Ganz (Texas A&M University), Whitney Gilliland (Texas A&M University), Jennifer Ninci (Texas A&M University)

Many researchers have investigated the effectiveness of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) systems on improving communication skills of individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and communication complex needs (CCN); however, few studies included adults with ASD. Also, there is a lack of investigation on primary caregivers? implemented interventions with high treatment fidelity although primary caregiver-implemented interventions have been used effectively with individuals with ASD and their families. This study investigated the accuracy of primary caregivers? implementation of a tablet-computer based AAC system while they were providing instruction to an adult with ASD. Also, independent use of AAC system of the participant was examined. We implemented a multiple probe design across three instructional coaching steps to examine the accuracy of the caregivers? AAC implementation. One adult with autism and CCN and his four primary caregivers participated in this study, twice a week for seven weeks. Both visual and statistical analyses were utilized. Results indicated, with instructions, that all of the caregivers were able to implement the procedures of the AAC mode with the participant accurately, as demonstrated via visual inspection and statistical analysis. Nevertheless, there was little improvement in the participant?s independent use of the AAC mode. Limitations and suggestions for future researchers are discussed.




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