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.


45th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2019

Event Details

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Symposium #505
Addressing the Needs of Children With Autism Across Social, Academic, and Behavioral Domains
Monday, May 27, 2019
3:00 PM–3:50 PM
Hyatt Regency West, Ballroom Level, Regency Ballroom D
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Catharine Lory (Purdue University)

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a complex disorder and the needs of this population are multi-faceted. This symposium aims to explore the use of behavior analytic treatments to address the social, academic, and behavioral needs of children with ASD. The first paper describes the results of a multiple-baseline design study that evaluated the effects of multiple exemplar training on responses to disguised mands and body language. The second paper describes the effects of adapted eBooks within a shared reading intervention on reading comprehension and task engagement of elementary aged students who were not fluent with decoding. The third paper examined the impact of a treatment package consisting of visual activity schedule and choice on the challenging behavior of young children when presented with less preferred task demands. Together, these papers utilized behavior analytic interventions to contribute to the evidence base that serves the dynamic and critical needs of children with ASD.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): challenging behavior, communication, reading

Teaching Children With Autism How to Respond to Disguised Mands and Body Language

PATRICIO ERHARD (Texas State University), Russell Lang (Texas State University-San Marcos), Katy Davenport (Texas State University-San Marcos)

Children with autism experience considerable difficulty responding to nonliteral language when compared to their typically developing peers. There is emerging research showing that children with autism can benefit from multiple exemplar training to identify and respond to nonliteral communication, such as disguised mands. However, there is little research that examines the use of body language (such as gestures, emblems, paralinguistic cues) as modes of conveying nonliteral requests. A multiple baseline research design across participants was implemented to examine whether multiple exemplar training is an effective way to teach children with autism how to respond to both disguised mands and body language. Results suggest that role-play and multiple exemplar training improved responding to disguised mands and body language. Social validity questionnaires were also administered. Social validity data indicated that the intervention was well-received by the participant’s parents and that improvements were meaningful. Ultimately, this study replicates and extends previous research (Najdowski et al., 2018). Directions for future research are offered.


Effects of Adapted Science eBooks Within Shared Reading on Comprehension and Task Engagement of Struggling Readers With Autism Spectrum Disorder

SO YEON KIM (Purdue University), Mandy J. Rispoli (Purdue University), Catharine Lory (Purdue University), Emily Gregori (Purdue University), Marie David (Purdue University)

The purpose of this study is to examine the effects of adapted science eBooks within shared reading on reading comprehension and task engagement of students with ASD who have limited decoding skills. A grade-level science book is selected for each participant and converted to an eBook consisting of various features (e.g., pictures, highlighted keywords, text-to-speech). During shared reading, the participants is taught intensive comprehension strategies: (a) Before reading, the interventionist pre-teaches a key vocabulary with definition, examples, and non-examples; (b) During reading, the participant is guided to focus on the main idea of each paragraph; and (d) After reading, the participant is guided to summarize the content using picture cards. A single-case multiple probe design is used to determine a functional relation between variables. This study was piloted with fluent readers with ASD. Results of the pilot study indicated that all three participants with ASD increased reading comprehension and task engagement after shared reading and the improvement was maintained overtime. This ongoing study is expected to extend the outcomes of the pilot study to struggling readers with ASD. Inter-observer agreement, treatment fidelity, and social validity data will be obtained, and implications for practice and future research will be discussed.


Treatment of Escape-Maintained Challenging Behavior in Children With Autism Through Visual Schedule and Choice

CATHARINE LORY (Purdue University), Mandy J. Rispoli (Purdue University), Emily Gregori (Purdue University), So Yeon Kim (Purdue University), Marie David (Purdue University)

Children with autism tend to engage in challenging behavior more than other children, especially during transitions between activities, and in response to less preferred task demands. It has been established in existing literature that visual schedules are effective for maximizing on-task behaviors and reducing challenging behavior in individuals with autism. However, some research groups have shown that challenging behavior may not be effectively reduced when a less preferred task is presented on the visual schedule, which may serve as a stimulus for escape-maintained challenging behavior. This study was developed to target these non-responders. We identified less preferred tasks through multiple-stimulus preference assessments and implemented a treatment package consisting of visual schedule and within-activity choice. A reversal with embedded alternating treatment design was utilized to (a) examine the effects of the treatment package on the reduction escape-maintained challenging behavior during less preferred tasks and (b) compare the effects between the treatment package and the visual schedule without choice treatment. Preliminary results of two young children with autism suggest (a) the treatment package was effective in reducing challenging behavior during less preferred tasks and (b) the treatment package had more consistent effects than the visual schedule only treatment on the reduction of challenging behavior.




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