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 #541
Creative & Collaborative Interventions for Teaching Social Skills & Language Development to Children with Autism
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
10:30 AM–11:50 AM
North 120 D
Area: AUT/VRB; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
Chair: Kim D. Lucker (Behavior Mgmt. Consultants)
CE Instructor: Gerald E. Harris, Ph.D.
Abstract: This symposium will include 4 presentations which describe unique and creative interventions for addressing core deficits related to autism spectrum disorders, specifically social and language skills deficits. Each of these papers will detail the specialized behavioral procedures used to address common deficits in children with autism and demonstrate the effectiveness of the procedures through graphic presentation of outcomes achieved, as well as other measures of program implementation. Video clips will be used to illustrate some of the intervention procedures used in the studies being presented.
The Saturday Social Club: An Innovative Approach to Teaching Social Skills to Children with Autism
HEATHER R. MUMMAW (BMC, Inc.), Kim D. Lucker (Behavior Mgmt. Consultants), Angela Bradberry (Behavior Mgmt. Consultants, Inc.), Jacqueline Amanda Hoskinson (Florida Institute of Technology)
Abstract: Observation of most classrooms will reveal numerous complex social interactions among peers. It is well known that children with autism often struggle with social skills in the school setting. Not only is it important to build peer relationships, research indicates social skills are important to future school success. Although social groups and therapy sessions addressing these skill deficits are shown to be effective there is debate about the necessary features of a social program. What is agreed upon is that an effective social program should facilitate acquisition of social skills as well as maintenance and generalization those skills. In this paper we will provide detailed information about an intensive social skills group designed to address the acquisition, maintenance, and generalization of social skills. Created and implemented by behavior analysts, this intensive social skills group is modified from and improved upon the original “Saturday Social Club.” Information will include social skill acquisition activities, free choice activities, organization of the session, preparation and integration of peer models, and parent involvement and training. Data on acquisition and generalization will also be presented.
A Social Skills Summer Camp for Adolescents with Asperger’s Syndrome and High Functioning Autism
ANGELA MANN (UF-Jacksonville CARD), Katrrina Ressa (UF-Jacksonville CARD), Anthony Rhodes (UF-Jacksonville CARD)
Abstract: This presentation will describe the results of a summer long pilot program for teaching social skills to adolescents diagnosed with Asperger’s Disorder and high-functioning autism in inclusive settings. The 6-week long camp took place in a clinical setting and was facilitated by the three staff members from the UF-Jacksonville Center for Autism and Related Disabilities. Eight students participated in the pilot study and ranged in age from 10 to 13 years of age. Sessions were held twice a week for 2 hours each session. Topics were organized into two sections: conversational skills and intrapersonal skills. The session consisted of a 30-minute review where students shared homework assignments with the group; a 20-minute instructional period where students would learn new skills; a 60-minute block of practice and video modeling; and a 10-minute overview of new homework. A baseline of skills was taken through self-report and parent on the Bellini (2007) Social Skills Profile and the Screen for Child Anxiety Related Emotional Disorder Scale –Revised. An observational measure of social skills was also taken via a structured interview based on the Autism Diagnostic Observation Scale interview from Module 3. Responses were coded and interrater agreement taken. Posttest data will be collected and skills will be probed at a later date for generalization and maintenance.
Increasing Social Interactions and Group Participation Skills with a Daily Circle Time Activity
ANGELA PERSICKE (CSU Fresno), Amanda N. Adams (California State University, Fresno)
Abstract: Children with autism do not develop social skills in the same way typically developing children do. Exposure and direct training in activities that include social skills may be a naturalistic method of improving these skills and has implication for good generalizability. Circle Time is and activity used in typical pre-school and kindergarten classrooms to develop children’s social skills and group attending skills. The objective of this study was to determine if Circle Time used in a center-based autism program might be influential in increasing peer-to-peer and peer-to-adult interactions for children with autism. Fifteen children from the Central California Autism Centered participated in a daily Circle Time activity. Data on free time interactions were recorded to determine if Circle Time had an effect on social interactions as measured by spontaneous eye contact, verbal/vocal initiations, non-verbal initiations, and reciprocations to a peer interaction. Results will be discussed with considerations for future programs.
A Collaborative Effort Between ABA and Speech Therapy Techniques to Bring About Vocal Language in a Child with Autism
KIM D. LUCKER (Behavior Mgmt. Consultants), Eugenia Kellenberger (Private Practice)
Abstract: ABA/Verbal Behavior (Partington & Sundberg, 1998) techniques have become increasingly accepted for use in developing vocal language abilities in children with autism and other developmental disabilities. Using Skinner’s analysis of Verbal Behavior (1957), these procedures address language acquisition from a functional, rather than a developmental model of learning. However, these methods fall short in addressing a specific disorder that is common to many individuals on the autism spectrum, and that is apraxia of speech. This oral motor planning deficit requires understanding and knowledge of training techniques primarily done by Speech & Language Pathologists. This situation allows for an opportunity for an interdisciplinary team of professionals to work collaboratively in developing essential language skills in these children. The following presentation will investigate the use of combining ABA teaching techniques with a specialized Speech/Language technique knows as the PROMPT method. This study was done with a 5-year old child with a completely defective vocal repertoire due to severe apraxia. At the start of this study he could say 6 words (5/6 were mands) with adequate articulation, but was communicating primarily via sign language, PECS and gestures. Tantrum behavior was observed almost daily across all settings with low frustration tolerance being a primary issue. Therapy sessions were conducted 4 times per week for 1 hour, using a trained ABA therapist and a Master’s level Speech Language therapist, working at separate times. Results from the combined teaching approach, carried out over a 6-month period, show that these procedures were effective in developing articulation of almost all appropriate speech sounds used in language production, allowing this child to be an effective vocal communicator. Video clips will be used to illustrate the techniques being discussed and the changes in language skills obtained by the participant.



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