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 #441
CE Offered: PSY
Teaching Social Behavior to Children With Autism
Monday, May 31, 2010
2:30 PM–3:50 PM
201 (CC)
Area: AUT/EAB; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
Chair: Adel C. Najdowski (Center for Autism and Related Disorders, Inc.)
CE Instructor: Oliver Wendt, Ph.D.
Abstract: Responding to others’ subtle social cues (e.g., gestures and facial expressions) and gaining the attention of others are both fundamental repertoires for everyday social interactions. This symposium presents four papers demonstrating the acquisition of skills related to this topic. The first paper presents the results of a study on teaching children with autism to infer what others want, based on their nonverbal behavior. The second paper is a demonstration of teaching children with autism to raise their hand appropriately during group instruction. The third paper is an evaluation of using video modeling to teach children with autism to respond to subtle facial expressions. The symposium concludes with an evaluation of the effects of scripts and varied teacher responding on novel bids for joint attention in children with autism.
Teaching Children With Autism to Infer Others’ Desires
ADEL C. NAJDOWSKI (Center for Autism and Related Disorders, Inc.), Emily L. Barnoy (Center for Autism and Related Disorders, Inc.), Jonathan J. Tarbox (Center for Autism and Related Disorders, Inc.)
Abstract: Perspective taking refers to the ability to: (a) acknowledge that others’ mental states differ from one’s own, (b) infer others’ mental states such as what they are thinking and feeling, and (c) explain and predict their corresponding behavior (Frith, 1989). Deficits in perspective-taking include the inability to infer others’ desires, intentions, emotional states, beliefs, opinions, and what others know or think. It also includes the inability to read social cues such as facial expressions or body language in a given situation (Baron-Cohen et al., 1985; Baron-Cohen, 2001; Frith, 1989). Nevertheless, the ability to engage in perspective-taking is crucial for successful social interaction in our culture. Demonstrated in a multiple baseline across participants design, this study taught two children with autism to infer others’ desires, based on their nonverbal overt behavior, using multiple exemplar training. Interobserver agreement was collected on 40% of sessions and ranged between 90% - 100%. Generalization to novel stimuli and settings was also observed.
Teaching Children With Autism When to Raise Their Hand During Group Instruction
Shaireen M. Charania (Kinark Child and Family Services), LINDA A. LEBLANC (Auburn University), James E. Carr (Auburn University), Narmatha Sabanathan (Central East Autism Program), Inas A. Ktaech (Kinark Child and Family Services), Kristen Gunby (Central East Autism Program)
Abstract: Early intensive behavioral intervention (EIBI) typically focuses on teaching children with autism a wide range of basic learning skills, pre-academic skills, social skills and academic skills to prepare them for subsequent educational activities. Often children with autism have difficulty exhibiting skills learned in prior one-to-one instructional settings when they have to perform in a group setting. The study focuses on teaching three children with autism the conditional discriminations required to respond appropriately during group instructional settings such as “circle time.” Children were taught to raise their hand or keep both hands down in correspondence with their status on three progressively more difficult tasks (i.e., having a requested item,knowing a recent secret, knowing an answer) using modeling, prompting and reinforcement. All three children acquired hand-raising skills during group instruction. Initial hands-down responding was accurate but became more variable as the hand-up response was acquired with eventual mastery of both responses. The implications for practice in EIBI settings are discussed.
Teaching Children With Autism to Respond to Facial Expressions Using Video Modeling
JUDAH AXE (Simmons College), Christine Evans (Simmons College)
Abstract: Young children with autism often exhibit delays in responding to facial expressions and few studies have examined teaching subtle facial expressions to this population. Three participants with autism (age 5) in a suburban early childhood school were taught to respond to facial expressions using video modeling. Eight facial expressions were targeted: approval, bored, calming, disapproval, disgusted, impatient, pain, and pleased. Probes consisted of showing an adult performing these facial expressions in a video and generalization probes across adults and settings were conducted. Training was showing a video of an adult modeling a response to each facial expression. The effects of the training were evaluated in a multiple probe across behaviors design. Two participants correctly responded to all facial expressions across people and settings after viewing the video models one or two times. Experimental control was achieved with the other participant though he required more training sessions and was less consistent with responding. Future researchers should teach teachers to implement video modeling and evaluate ways to teach and test responding to facial expressions under naturalistic conditions.
Using Scripts and Varied Teacher Responses to Promote Novel Bids for Joint Attention in Young Children With Autism
JOY S. POLLARD (Utah State University), Alison M. Betz (Munroe-Meyer Institute, University of Nebraska Medical Center), Thomas S. Higbee (Utah State University)
Abstract: Children with autism often exhibit deficits in social interaction and communication skills. Joint attention, the ability to coordinate attention between objects or events and a social partner, has also been identified as a deficit in children with autism. Scripts and script-fading procedures have been used to teach children with autism to initiate bids for joint attention and have been successful in demonstrating generalization to novel settings, stimuli, and social recipients of interaction. Additionally, past researchers have anecdotally suggested that children may include past adult responses into their initial bids for joint attention. This, however, has not been systematically investigated. The purpose of this study is to extend the current literature by systematically investigating the effects of scripts and varied adult responses pertaining to the feature, function, or class (FFC) of the stimuli on novel statements during bids for joint attention. Additionally, generalization to peers and a natural setting were assessed. Results thus far are consistent with previous findings, that children with autism are able to learn to initiate bids for joint attention using script and script-fading procedures. Furthermore, participants have demonstrated some novel statements that have incorporated past adult statements pertaining to the FFC into the bids for joint attention. Results generalized to a novel setting, stimuli, and same-age peer, as well as maintained at the one-month follow-up.



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