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.


36th Annual Convention; San Antonio, TX; 2010

Event Details

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Symposium #138
CE Offered: BACB
Applied Behavior Analysis and Children With Autism from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Backgrounds
Sunday, May 30, 2010
9:00 AM–10:20 AM
207AB (CC)
Area: AUT/DDA; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
Chair: Mark F. O'Reilly (University of Texas at Austin)
Discussant: Jennifer J. McComas (University of Minnesota)
CE Instructor: Sara Bicard, Ph.D.
Abstract: Applied behavior analysis is an internationally accepted intervention strategy used to teach and support children with autism and their families. This technology and its theoretical background emanates predominately from and Anglo/American culture. Little research has been conducted with regard to the translation, acceptability,utiility with cultures that may differ from Anglo/American. In this symposium we will present three papers that examine cultural influences with regard to applied behavior analysis. In the first paper Elin Jones will examine the application of ABA technology with Welsh families and schools. In the second paper Yaniz Padilla will examine the efficacy of functional communication training when implemented in Spanish versus English for children from Spanish speaking homes. Finally, Andrew Gardner will examine the efficacy of stimulus equivalence training in Spanish versus English with children from diverse cultural backgrounds. This collection of papers will attempt to highlight the generalizability of ABA technology but also the need to adapt such technology when working with individuals from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.
Evaluating Child Behavior When Type of Language Is Manipulated During Functional Communication Training
YANIZ C. PADILLA DALMAU (University of Iowa), David P. Wacker (University of Iowa), Jay W. Harding (University of Iowa), Wendy K. Berg (University of Iowa), Kelly M. Schieltz (University of Iowa), John F. Lee (University of Iowa)
Abstract: We evaluated destructive behavior, manding, and task completion for participants exposed to Spanish and English in the home environment during functional communication training (FCT). Participants were 2 young children with developmental disabilities who displayed destructive behavior maintained by social contingencies and whose families spoke Spanish and English in the home setting. All procedures were conducted in the participants’ homes by their mothers with coaching from the first author. Baseline and FCT conditions were conducted in Spanish and English within a combination reversal and multielement (language) design. During FCT, a concurrent-operants arrangement was used to evaluate participant preference for the type of language parents used during the reinforcement period. Participants were able to mand for reinforcement in Spanish or English by using microswitch output devices. Interrater agreement was assessed during 30% of sessions and averaged over 90%. Results suggested that FCT was effective in reducing destructive behavior, increasing manding, and increasing task completion for these 2 participants across Spanish and English treatment conditions. Preference for a type of language did not emerge for either participant during FCT. Results will be discussed in terms of the merits of systematically evaluating language variables when working with culturally and linguistically diverse families and children.
Teaching Spanish and English Equivalence Relations to Children With Diverse Language Repertoires
Andrew Gardner (Northern Arizona University), JESSICA EMILY SCHWARTZ (Northern Arizona University), Elizabeth Ashley Popescue (Northern Arizona University), Caitlan Allen (Northern Arizona University), Azuncena Bravo (Northern Arizona University)
Abstract: Stimulus equivalence procedures often utilize a match-to-sample (MTS) procedure to train relations between a sample stimulus and two or more alternative comparison stimuli. Children are often required to learn a second language in school which can be difficult, depending on their previous language repertoire. Joyce et al. (1993) taught English and Spanish words to two children with traumatic brain injuries using pictures, bilingual verbal cues, and bilingual written words. However, very few other studies have attempted to teach stimulus classes in a second language within a stimulus equivalence framework. The present study used MTS to teach relations between English and Spanish language stimuli to 2 typically developing children and one child diagnosed with Asperger’s disorder. Each child had a diverse language background (i.e. monolingual English, monolingual Spanish, bilingual Spanish/English). Care providers reported difficulties at school due to a monolingual (Spanish or English) home and attending a bilingual school setting. Procedures across stimulus classes were conducted by therapists in the school setting for two children. The third child learned stimulus classes across care providers (mother and teacher) and across settings (home and school). Baseline emergent relations were initially probed. MTS training for reflexive and symmetrical relations between Spanish written words and pictures, as well as between pictures and English written words, was then conducted. Tests for emergent relations (transitivity) were then probed post MTS training. The results of this initial study demonstrated that these children could successfully identify (transitivity) written words across languages, settings and care providers. Results are discussed in terms of second language learning using stimulus equivalence methodology, accounting for previous language history.
Delivering an ABA Curriculum Within Mainstream and Special Schools in a Welsh Context
ELIN WALKER JONES (University of Wales), Maggie Hoerger (University of Wales), Yvonne Moseley (University of Wales)
Abstract: We will discuss the implications of delivering an ABA curriculum within a Welsh context. In North Wales, many of our children are from Welsh-speaking families, and so, ABA needs to be delivered through the medium of Welsh. Discussion points addressed include ABA interventions through the medium of a language other than English and within a cultural context that is not Anglo-American. There are issues raised by the mechanics of translation and interpretation, how ABA fits conceptually in a different language, how Skinner’s original ideas about developing a scientific terminology to describe behaviour can be applied to a different cultural and linguistic tradition, and cultural variation in reinforcement practices. We will present outcome data for Welsh-speaking children from both mainstream and special schools, demonstrating the validity of ABA as an effective intervention across a diverse range of cultures and languages. We look forward to contributing to an international forum discussing how behaviour analysts are resolving diversity issues internationally.



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