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 #171
CE Offered: PSY/BACB
Programming to Teach Advanced Language Skills to Children With ASD
Sunday, May 30, 2010
10:30 AM–11:50 AM
207AB (CC)
Area: AUT/VRB; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
Chair: Amber L. Valentino (The Marcus Autism Center)
Discussant: Einar T. Ingvarsson (University of North Texas)
CE Instructor: Dermot Barnes-Holmes, Ph.D.
Abstract: This symposium presents three papers on programming to teach advanced language skills to children with ASD. The first paper presents procedures to increase initiations of social interaction through mands for attention. The second paper presents a procedure to reduce echolalia that has prevented acquisition of intraverbal behavior. The last paper is an evaluation of the use of the Direct Instruction Language for Learning curriculum with children with ASD.
Teaching Individuals Diagnosed With Autism and Other Pervasive Developmental Disorders to Recruit Social Interaction
M. ALICE SHILLINGSBURG (Marcus Autism Center), Amber L. Valentino (The Marcus Autism Center), Briana R. Lopez (The Marcus Autism Center)
Abstract: One of the core deficits of children with autism is impairment in social interaction. More specifically, many children with autism lack spontaneous seeking to share achievements through pointing out objects, showing, or bringing completed activities to peers, adults, and caregivers (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Ed. Revised, APA, 2003). Functionally, requests that involve the recruitment of social attention are typically mands because they occur under the control of an establishing operation (EO) and result in reinforcement that is specific to the EO (Michael, 1988). For children with autism, the difficulty in developing mands for attention without specific teaching may be because the attention does not function as a form of reinforcement. The current study examined the use of specific teaching procedures to increase mands for attention in two children with autism. Each participant was taught to vocally request attention from others following completion of a task during discrete trial training. Additionally, probes were taken during more natural activities outside of the teaching session. Results showed that prompting and reinforcement increased independent mands for social attention in all participants during discrete trial sessions and naturalistic activities.
Using the Cues-Pause-Point Procedure to Reduce Echolalia and Improve Acquisition and Maintenance of Intraverbal Responding
AMBER L. VALENTINO (The Marcus Autism Center), M. Alice Shillingsburg (Marcus Autism Center)
Abstract: Echolalia is common in children diagnosed with autism and may interfere with the development of functional language. Research has focused on the use of differential reinforcement, prompts and prompt fading to replace echolalia with specific responses (Carr et al., 1975) or generalized responses such as “I don’t know” (Schreibman & Carr, 1978). However, for some children these operant procedures are ineffective resulting in persistent echoing. Difficulties in transferring stimulus control from the verbal prompt to the verbal stimulus may arise due to persistent echolalia of the verbal prompt. This can be particularly problematic when teaching intraverbal behavior. For example, when teaching a response to the question “what do you sit on?” after a vocal prompt, (e.g., “chair”), some children may consistently echo the question and vocal prompt (e.g., “what do you sit on, chair”). The cues-pause-point procedure (McMorrow and Foxx, 1986; McMorrow et al, 1987) has been effective in decreasing echolalia and increasing specific correct responses in adults with mental retardation. The current investigation replicated the cues-pause-point procedure with a child with autism to increase correct intraverbal responses. Results indicated that echolalia decreased and correct responding increased for all targets. Results generalized to untrained stimuli and maintained during follow up.
Effectiveness of Direct Instruction Programming With Children Diagnosed With ASD
CRYSTAL N. BOWEN (Marcus Autism Center), M. Alice Shillingsburg (Marcus Autism Center), Jana Sarno (Marcus Autism Center), Manuela Woodruff (Marcus Autism Center)
Abstract: Although some children diagnosed with ASD develop functional communication, difficulties with complex language and social communication may persist. Evaluating techniques that foster the development of complex social communication skills is an essential line of research in the efforts to provide effective intervention to the growing number of children with ASD. Direct Instruction (DI) is an empirically supported curriculum designed to teach these complex language skills to children and has been used successfully with children from impoverished backgrounds and those with learning disabilities. Recently, professionals have started to investigate the effects of DI on language and social interactions of children with developmental delays (Benner et al., 2002; Waldron-Soler, 2002) and most recently with developmental disabilities. The purpose of the present study is to evaluate the effectiveness of Direct Instruction with children diagnosed with ASD. Twenty-four children with a diagnosis of ASD participated. Each participant was semi-randomly assigned to one of three groups. All three groups received treatment, which was implemented across the three groups sequentially. Treatment methods employed were those of standard Direct Instruction, specifically the Language for Learning curriculum. Pre- and post-test measures were obtained with all participants to assess for treatment effects.



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