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.


42nd Annual Convention; Downtown Chicago, IL; 2016

Event Details

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Symposium #386
CE Offered: BACB
Interventions for Toddlers and Preschoolers With Autism and Other Delays: A Focus on Food Selectivity, Pretend Play, and Generative Language
Tuesday, May 31, 2016
8:00 AM–8:50 AM
Columbus Hall IJ, Hyatt Regency, Gold East
Area: AUT/DEV; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Ilene S. Schwartz (University of Washington)
CE Instructor: Ilene S. Schwartz, Ph.D.

Early intervention for young children with autism spectrum disorder and other delays is essential. With the increased prevalence of autism and the ability to diagnose children at very young ages, interventions designed specifically for toddlers and preschoolers are requisite. Interventions, focused on food selectivity, play, and generative language, are vital skills to address in programming for this young population. Three interventions designed to target each of these areas will be presented. The first intervention increased food interactions in three toddlers through an antecedent treatment package. The second intervention increased pretend play skills in three preschoolers with autism through a system of least prompts. The third intervention increased receptive language skills by programming for generative language in young children with autism. With these three findings, implications for practice will be discussed with a focus on the developmental needs of toddlers and young preschoolers. Additionally, suggestions for future research will be presented.

Keyword(s): autism, food selectivity, generative language, play
The Effects of an Embedded Food Play Intervention on Food Selectivity in Infants and Toddlers
YEVGENIYA VEVERKA (University of Washington)
Abstract: Food selectivity is a common cause of concern in the preschool years. Persistence of food selectivity may put children at risk for inadequate caloric intake and nutritional deficiencies. Selectivity is also associated with conflict within a family and caregiver stress. Though food selectivity is typically reported to occur in the first 18 months of life, intervention usually begins much later once challenges become severe. The purpose of the current study was to consider the effects of an antecedent-based intervention package embedded into a classroom setting for infants and toddlers showing signs of food selectivity. A multiple baseline design across participants was used with three children in an infant and toddler classroom. The antecedent treatment package, called “food play,” consisted of pairing target foods with preferred foods and play activities and embedding the food play activities into the classroom free choice time. Probes were conducted during snack time to show interaction with target foods during baseline and intervention. Visual analysis of the data showed an increase in food interactions during the intervention phase in all three participants. A social validity survey indicated that classroom teachers were satisfied with the implementation of the intervention and the outcomes.

The Effects of the System of Least Prompts on Pretend Play Skills for Children With Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities

KATHERINE BATEMAN (University of Washington)

This study investigates the system of least prompts, an antecedent teaching based strategy, to increase the amount of pretend play of preschoolers with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in a classroom setting. Three preschool students diagnosed ASD and enrolled in an inclusive preschool program participated in this study. Data was collected looking at the percentage of intervals participants engaged in independent, appropriate types of play during unstructured play time (free choice) in the classroom. Intervention was implemented with 100% procedural fidelity through brief training sessions prior to free choice using the system of least prompts to increase appropriate play actions. Data collection continued in free choice and demonstrated that this intervention was successful for all three participants. Percent of non-overlapping data points for all three participants was 94%, showing a high level of overall effectiveness.


Programming for Generative Receptive Language in Young Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Matrix Training Approach

EMILY CURIEL (The Ohio State University/Summit Pointe), Diane M. Sainato (The Ohio State University)

This study investigated the use of a matrix training approach to program for the occurrence of generative receptive language in young children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and other language delays. Matrix training is a teaching procedure that can establish recombinative generalization, thus leading to generative language. A matrix of action/object instructions were designed for each of the four participants. They were systematically taught specific action/object instructions, as outlined in the matrix, and probes were conducted to determine if the other action/object instructions were occurring without any teaching. Although recombinative generalization was partial, approximately 3050% of the learned action/object instructions occurred through direct teaching while the other 5070% occurred without direct teaching. Matrix training provided a systematic teaching layout that programmed for the occurrence of generative language. This is a teaching strategy that can be used in early intervention programs and other settings to increase acquisition of teaching targets.




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