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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Invited Paper Session #19

Teaching Safety Skills to Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder

Saturday, May 25, 2019
10:00 AM–10:50 AM
Hyatt Regency East, Ballroom Level, Grand Ballroom EF
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
Instruction Level: Intermediate
CE Instructor: Elif Tekin-Iftar, Ph.D.
Chair: Nicole Heal (Margaret Murphy Center for Children)
ELIF TEKIN-IFTAR (Anadolu University)

Elif Tekin Iftar, Ph.D, is a professor in Special Education at Anadolu University in Turkey. Dr. Tekin-Iftar received her Ph.D. degree in 1999 from Anadolu University. During her doctorate studies she received a scholarship from Turkish Academy of Sciences and pursued part of her doctoral education at University of Kentucky. Dr. Tekin-Iftar received her full professorship in 2009. She served as a director of Research Institute for the Handicapped in Anadolu University between 2007-2014. Her current research and clinical interest include the behavioral treatment of children with autism spectrum disorder and developmental disabilities, single case experimental research methods, and professional development. Dr. Tekin-Iftar received Distinguished Young Scientist Award and Scholarship from Turkish Academy of Sciences in 2003. Dr. Tekin-Iftar has published over 25 international peer-reviewed journal articles, over 20 book chapters, coauthored a book, and served as editors in three books named as Single Case Research Methods in Educational and Behavioral Sciences, Applied Behavior Analysis, and Educating Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Her research has been published in Exceptional Children, Journal of Autism and Developmental Disabilities, Journal of Special Education, Research in Developmental Disabilities, and Autism. Dr. Tekin-Iftar currently serves on the editorial board for Exceptional Children. Dr. Tekin-Iftar teaches research methods in education, applied behavior analysis and single case experimental designs at graduate levels. She served as supervisors for many doctoral students in Turkey. She founded Association for Behavior Analysis Turkey (ABATurkey) Chapter as an affiliation of Association for the Behavior Analysis International and she serves as president of ABA Turkey. She founded a graduate program entitled as “Applied Behavior Analysis in Autism” which is the first and only program in its kind in Turkey. She received a postdoctoral scholarship from The Scientific and Research Council of Turkey and visited University of North Caroline in Charlotte for a year. She is the mother of two daughters.


“Safety skills” is an umbrella term consisting of a wide variety of skills. Research has shown that all children have the risk of being injured perhaps fatally because of the intentional and unintentional accidents. Children with autism spectrum disorder face two or three times the risk of injury or abuse compared with those of their same age peers. Ensuring children’s safety is, and should always be, a concern for parents, teachers, and society. However, it is well-documented that teaching safety skills to children with autism spectrum disorder is often neglected both clinically and experimentally. In a relatively new study, it is indicated that (a) although parents and teachers found safety skills instruction important and necessary, they use natural occurrences as teaching opportunities and prevention behaviors rather than providing systematic instruction and (b) neither parents nor teachers have enough knowledge and experience for teaching safety skills (Sirin & Tekin-Iftar, 2016). However, research has shown that when taught systematically, children with autism spectrum disorder could acquire safety skills and perform them over time and across persons and settings. During the presentation, Turkish parents and teachers’ opinions about teaching safety skills to children with autism spectrum disorder and a series of research studies investigating the effectiveness of prompting strategies, videomodelling, and Social Stories in teaching safety skills will be shared with the audience. Implications of these research studies will be discussed.

Target Audience:

Behavior analysts; Psychologists; Special education teachers; Graduate students.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) describe the opinions of parents and teachers about safety skills instruction; (2) identify instructional procedures for teaching safety skills to children with autism spectrum disorder; (3) describe the outcomes of research designed to teach safety skills to children with autism spectrum disorder; and (4) describe the implications of research designed to teach safety skills to children with autism spectrum disorder.



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