Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis InternationalĀ® (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.

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36th Annual Convention; San Antonio, TX; 2010

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Symposium #142
CE Offered: BACB
Evaluation of commonly used Nonbehavioral Interventions for Individuals With Autism
Sunday, May 30, 2010
9:00 AM–10:20 AM
204AB (CC)
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
Chair: Kimberly Sloman (Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey)
CE Instructor: Jonathan Tarbox, Ph.D.
Abstract: Individuals with autism are often exposed to a large number of interventions to decrease inappropriate behavior and increase social and communicative behavior in both the home and classroom environments. However, empirical support for some widely used interventions is lacking. This symposium will include three data-based presentations and a review paper on commonly used non-behavioral interventions. The first presentation, presented by Amy Hansford, will include a literature review of autism intervention articles published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. The second presentation, by Amanda Bosch, will include an evaluation of the effects of weighted vests on stereotypic behavior. The third presentation, by Kimberly Sloman, will include an assessment of the efficacy of social stories on increasing appropriate social behavior, in comparison to video modeling and direct instruction. Finally, the fourth presentation, by Alexandra Vlahogiannis, will include an evaluation of the impact of different environmental contexts (i.e., quiet rooms vs. noisy classrooms) on task completion and skill acquisition.
 
Review of Autism Intervention Articles Published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders From 1971 to 2009
AMY HANSFORD (Rutgers University), Yair Kramer (Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey), Robert LaRue (Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey), Kimberly Sloman (Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey), David A. Celiberti (Association for Science in Autism Treatment), Tristram Smith (University of Rochester Medical Center)
Abstract: The present study is a literature review investigating the prevalence and efficacy of interventions for autism published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. Articles that were prior reviews, descriptive (i.e., did not include a treatment), or were not specific to autism were excluded, resulting in a total of 148 articles. Based on treatment methodologies employed, the articles were divided into behavioral (n = 64.2%), non-behavioral/medical (n = 31.8%,) and non-behavioral (non-medical) (n = 7.4%). Studies classified as behavioral included Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), and Pivotal Response Training (PRT) among others. Non-behavioral (medical) included treatments with a biological basis, such as psychotropic medication or specialized diets. Non-behavioral/non-medical treatments were comprised of techniques not behaviorally- or biologically-based, such as horse therapy and facilitated communication. The analysis indicated that behavioral treatments tended to have the greatest efficacy, relative to non-behavioral/medical and non-behavioral/non-medical treatments. In addition, the data indicate that behavioral treatments were the only treatment type to successfully address the core symptoms of autism. Non-behavioral/medical treatments were primarily effective for associated features (e.g., problem behavior). Non-medical/non-behavioral treatments appear to be only effective for associated features, with less evidence overall.
 
An Evaluation of a Common Autism Treatment: The Weighted Vest
AMANDA BOSCH (University of Florida), Cara L. Phillips (University of Florida), Timothy R. Vollmer (University of Florida), Alison Nyman (University of Florida), Andrea Zawoyski (University of Florida), Danielle Broome (University of Florida)
Abstract: Some occupational therapists propose using weighted vests with students with an autism spectrum disorder as a technique to increase attention and sensory processing and to decrease stereotypic and disruptive behavior. However, very little empirical evidence exists to support the use of this technique. Despite the lack of empirical support, weighted vests are widely used in schools with individuals with autism and developmental disabilities. The present study evaluated the effectiveness of a weighted vest in decreasing stereotypic behavior maintained by automatic reinforcement. For two adolescent participants, results showed that weighted vests were ineffective at decreasing stereotypic and disruptive behavior; there was no difference between a baseline and a weighted vest condition. However, behavioral treatments were effective at decreasing stereotypic and disruptive behavior in comparison to baseline. Implications for reform in choosing treatments for autism are discussed.
 
Assessment of the Efficacy of Social Stories for Individuals With Autism
KIMBERLY SLOMAN (Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey), Mary Jane Weiss (Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey), Robert LaRue (Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey), Tina Rivera (Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey), Meredith Bamond (Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey), Suzannah J. Ferraioli (Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey)
Abstract: Social stories are a very commonly used procedure for learners on the autism spectrum, and are often applied to teach a wide variety of complex social behaviors and to reduce challenging behaviors. The data on the effectiveness of social stories are not robust, and do not currently support the extent of their clinical use. The purpose of the current study is to evaluate the effectiveness of social stories in learners with autism, to identify whether social stories make a unique contribution in the instruction of social skills in comparison to two other documented effective procedures: video modeling and direct instruction (using rule cards, prompting and reinforcement). First, baseline sessions were conducted to evaluate pretreatment levels of social skills. All participants were first exposed to social stories to teach the targeted skills. The implementation of social stories was staggered across skills to demonstrate experimental control. If social stories were not clinically effective, the participants were then either (in a counter-balanced fashion) taught with video modeling or with direct instruction. The results of the study indicated that social stories alone may not be effective at increasing social skills.
 
Distractibility and Children With Autism: Do Ambient Noise and Visual Distractors Reduce Performance?
ALEXANDRA MARIA VLAHOGIANNIS (Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey), Mary Jane Weiss (Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey), Kimberly Sloman (Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center, Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey), Robert LaRue (Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey), Jill A. Szalony (Douglass Developmental Disabilities Centers, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey)
Abstract: It is a common assumption that environmental ambient noise and distractibility impacts attention, engagement, and academic performance, especiallly for learners on the autism spectrum. It is commonly recommended that students be taught in environments with reduced ambient noise and with few visual distractions. Parents of children with autism often report that they can engage in tasks at home that are not demonstrated in the school environment. This is often attributed to the distractions present in the school setting. This paper is an attempt to examine the question of whether environmental variables differentially impact performance, and is a study in progress. Maintenance tasks will be practiced in 5 minute sessions, either in a quiet setting or in the classroom setting. Data will be presented on accuracy, number of trials completed, latency to respond, and levels of engagement and attention.
 

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