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 #514
CE Offered: PSY/BACB
Pivotal Response Treatment: Applications for Training and Intervention
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
9:00 AM–10:20 AM
North 128
Area: AUT/DDA; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
Chair: Daniel Adam Openden (Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center (SARRC)
CE Instructor: Monika Suchowierska, Ph.D.
Abstract: In the last several years Pivotal Response Treatment (PRT) has gained momentum in its use as an evidence based treatment method.This symposium will present four studies using Pivotal Response Treatment. Each study will focus on a different aspect of PRT. Two studies focus on dissemination and teaching of PRT principles, while the other two studies consist of single subject design studies that investigate specific aspects of direct intervention using PRT.
Specialized Training Programs in Autism for Teachers and Related Professionals
JENNIFER B. SYMON (California State University)
Abstract: Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) present with specific challenges in their social communication skills and behaviors. Yet, many educational team members, including teachers, lack specialized training in autism. This presentation will describe a federally funded, multi-disciplinary training program for a variety of professionals working with and supporting children with ASD. Early childhood special education teachers, school counselors, school psychologists, agency ABA therapists, speech pathologists and other professionals have received training through this program. Outcome data from the project along with several graduate students’ research projects will be presented demonstrating improved skills for children with ASD.
Pivotal Response Training Group Therapy Model: Analysis of Parent and Child Outcomes
MENDY BOETTCHER MINJAREZ (Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry)
Abstract: Rates of autism have increased in the last ten years in the United States and some data suggest California is being hit particularly hard. With children being diagnosed as young as 18 months of age, the need for services is increasing. Research has demonstrated that interventions based on operant conditioning procedures, such as Pivotal Response Training (PRT), lead to improvements in the core symptoms of autism. This research supports that parents can become effective intervention agents. Historically, such interventions have been delivered individually; however, the increase in service demand makes this model relatively inefficient. As a result, researchers are beginning investigate group treatment models, which have little empirical support to date. The purpose of the present study was to demonstrate that parents can learn PRT procedures in a ten-week group therapy format and meet fidelity of implementation criteria for treatment termination typically used in individual therapy. An additional purpose was to demonstrate that when parents learn the PRT procedures their children make subsequent treatment gains. A multiple baseline design across subjects demonstrated that: 1) targeted skills not used by parents during baseline parent-child interactions are used by post-treatment; 2) children’s language skills improved during parent-child interactions from baseline to post-treatment. These findings are analyzed in light of the clinical need for more data driven, cost-effective, and efficient treatment models and the research need for more robust analysis of naturalistic behavioral treatment models.
When Behaviors Interfere: A Comprehensive Treatment Package To Increase Skill Acquisition In Pivotal Response Treatment
LAURA R. BUTLER (Behavioral Support Partnership)
Abstract: Pivotal response training (PRT) aims to provide opportunities for learning in the context of natural environments and consists of a comprehensive delivery model that uses both a developmental approach and applied behavior analysis. When working with children with Autism we sometimes see an increase in inappropriate behaviors at the start of treatment. This burst in inappropriate behaviors can lead to a major portion of therapy being focused on the reduction of such behaviors making effective treatment difficult. The following study incorporates a comprehensive treatment package to reduce the occurrence of inappropriate behaviors which in turn will show an increase in skill acquisition using Pivotal Response Treatment. Intervention consisted of two schedules of differential reinforcement (DRO and DRA), combined with video modeling and teaching calming techniques. It is expected that the treatment package will reduce inappropriate behaviors and increase skill acquisition in PRT. It is also hypothesized that with the reduction of behaviors, scores on developmental assessments will increase substantially over a 3 month period. Results will be discussed in terms of the need for comprehensive intervention across settings for children whose progress is limited as a result or their challenging behaviors.
Teaching Language to Very Young Children At Risk For ASD Using PRT: Comparing Responsivity To Verbal Prompting With Responsivity To Environmental Obstructions.
YVONNE BRUINSMA (Behavioral Support Partnership)
Abstract: Now that ASD symptoms are detected at earlier ages, early intervention services have begun to adjust teaching strategies to very young children. Relatively little specific research has been conducted that specifically takes into account the very young age of the children receiving early intervention services. The present study investigated a specific prompting method for three children at risk for ASD younger than 24 months of age. A treatment reversal design was utilized to investigate whether children were more responsive to environmental obstructions in comparison to direct verbal prompting where the object was withheld. Therapists used motivational PRT strategies and alternated between the two conditions during the experiment. During the environmental obstruction condition the therapist put the object out of reach, handed the child something they were unable to operate or open, and/or the therapist pretended to ignore the child. Data suggested that younger children were more likely to attempt verbal utterances if an environmental obstruction was used. These results will be discussed and further directions will be explored.



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