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.


10th International Conference; Stockholm, Sweden; 2019

Event Details

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Paper Session #16
ABA Therapy for Down Syndrome and Developmental Delays
Sunday, September 29, 2019
10:30 AM–11:20 AM
Stockholm Waterfront Congress Centre, Level 6, A3/A4
Area: DDA
Instruction Level: Basic
Chair: Christian Sabey (Brigham Young University )

CANCELED: Conceptualizing ABA Therapy for Infants With Developmental Delays: Review of Literature and Needs in the Field

Domain: Service Delivery
E AMANDA DIGANGI (Arizona State University), Samuel DiGangi (Arizona State University)

With the growth of Applied Behavior Analysis therapy services for children with autism in the United States, many professionals recognize this type of “therapy” as useful and effective at improving skill development and behavior in this population. The use of ABA therapy beyond autism has received relatively little attention. Further, a number of disabilities and developmental delays are identifiable in infancy (or prior to birth) creating an opportunity for the application of our science to improvement of important skills for infants possible, though with limited empirical support. In this presentation, the authors will review the scant literature on the use of ABA technologies to improve skills for infants (under age 1) with and without developmental disabilities and will examine the needs of the field for more research in this area. Additionally, the authors will discuss a pilot study on the use of ABA therapy with infants with Down syndrome to improve developmental skills and behavioral cusps. We will specifically share issues such as: instructional control, RIRD, prompting, shaping, and preference assessment as well as share common obstacles and ways to overcome them.

Behavior Analysis Practice and the Down Syndrome Behavioral Phenotype
Domain: Applied Research
Blake Hansen (Brigham Young University), Kaylee Christensen (Brigham Young University), CHRISTIAN SABEY (Brigham Young University )
Abstract: Down syndrome is the most common chromosomal condition associated with intellectual disability. Although descriptive studies have shown that individuals with Down syndrome engage in fewer challenging behaviors than their peers with other intellectual and/or developmental disorders, there is still substantial need for behavior analytic service delivery in this population. This presentation will provide a brief overview of the Down syndrome behavioral phenotype and show three studies conducted within this population that address some of the challenges associated with Down syndrome. The first study was on skill acquisition for reading skills. Parents of 17 children with Down syndrome provided instruction on phonological awareness skills (e.g., blending and segmenting words, rhyming), letter-sound correspondences, and word reading. Parents were also trained on strategies for building compliance. The study indicated that children with Down syndrome can benefit from literacy instruction using direct instruction and natural environment procedures for building reading skills and compliance. The second study was a single case example of antecedent controls for increasing compliance (high probability requests, therapist, and contextual modifications) with physical activity in a child with Down syndrome. This study demonstrated that physical activity can increase given appropriate antecedent interventions. The final study is an updated meta-analysis of functional assessment and function-based treatments for individuals with Down syndrome. Applying standards for evidence-based practice, the meta analysis indicated that functional assessment-based treatments are effective for this population. Implications for service delivery in this population will be discussed.



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