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

Previous Page


Symposium #52
CE Offered: BACB
Enhancing Social Opportunities for Children With High-Functioning Autism
Saturday, May 29, 2010
2:30 PM–3:50 PM
206AB (CC)
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
Chair: Marjorie H. Charlop-Christy (Claremont McKenna College)
CE Instructor: Eileen Roscoe, Ph.D.
Abstract: Many high-functioning children with autism possess neurotypical cognitive and language abilities but lack the social skills necessary for successful interactions. This symposium begins by briefly reviewing the literature on teaching social skills to high-functioning children with autism and discussing the importance of designing social skills interventions that consider the specific needs and abilities of these children. Then three studies examining social skills interventions for high-functioning children with autism will be presented. The first study used video modeling to teach high-functioning children with autism reciprocal conversation through humorous exchanges. This allows for the mastery of more advanced social interactions such as expansion of conversational topic, ‘to and fro’ speech, and maintaining a verbal exchange. The second study utilized advances in technology to teach persistence in social initiations. This study also uses peers as teachers to promote generalization of skills. The final study taught adolescents with autism a method of conversation monitoring to increase question-asking during dyadic social interactions.
The Importance of Teaching Social Skills to High-Functioning Children With Autism: A Brief Review
CATHERINE ANNE MILTENBERGER (Claremont Graduate University), Marjorie H. Charlop-Christy (Claremont McKenna College)
Abstract: Many high-functioning children with autism are of normal intelligence and language abilities but fail to develop age-appropriate social skills. These deficient social skills have negative implications for their social, emotional, and academic development. The social deficiencies of high-functioning children with autism may be especially salient because of their inclusion with typically developing peers who are more aware of these deficits. Although there is an extensive body of literature addressing the effectiveness of social skills intervention programs for children with autism in general, much less research examines social skills interventions designed specifically for high-functioning children with autism. The current presentation draws upon recent literature to discuss the importance of identifying the specific needs of this segment of the autism population and of designing social skills intervention programs to address these needs in ways that build upon the children’s many strengths.
Teaching Children With Autism to Initiate Conversational Speech: Humor as a Means of Social Skills Attainment
SARA GERSHFELD COHEN (Claremont Graduate University), Marjorie H. Charlop-Christy (Claremont McKenna College)
Abstract: Common social skills interventions that focus on simple initiations and responses are well-researched and relatively easy to teach, but offer limited learning opportunities. Mastering more advanced social interactions such as expansion of conversational topic, establishing ‘to and fro’ speech, and maintaining a verbal exchange has the potential of expanding learning opportunities for children with autism (Charlop & Kelso, 2003). Little research is available on this subject. Joke-telling is a promising form of conversational dialogue that keeps the attention of a typical peer, is naturally reinforcing to both conversational partners, and increases the likeability of the person telling the joke. Humorous exchanges also enhance physical, cognitive, language and psychosocial skill attainment and promote experience-sharing relationships (Franzini, 2002; Robinson, 1991). This study investigated the effects of teaching child-initiated social skills in the form of joke-telling using video modeling on social behavior and appropriate speech for children with autism. Preliminary results indicate that the intervention successfully taught children to engage in joke-telling with peers. Further results will discuss generalization and ecologically valid social skill to children with autism.
Teaching Persistence in Social Initiations to High-Functioning Children With Autism: A Portable Video Modeling Technology
DENISE GROSBERG (Claremont Graduate University), Marjorie H. Charlop-Christy (Claremont McKenna College)
Abstract: Learning persistence in social initiations is an essential skill for healthy development in that it helps children gain confidence in their ability to make friends and engage in effective social interactions (Weiss & Harris, 2001). However, the number of social initiations children with autism engage in is typically very low (Odom et al, 1985). Social interventions that incorporate technology have had considerable success in motivating children with autism because they take advantage of the inherent visual strengths of these children, are motivating, and are socially acceptable among typical peers. Interventions that incorporate technology are also becoming progressively more popular because they are economical, portable, and require minimal instruction to operate. In the present study, a portable video modeling technology will be used to teach persistence in social initiations to children with autism. Two hypotheses were tested. First, it was hypothesized that children with autism would effectively learn persistence in social initiations to typical peers by using a portable video modeling technology. Second, persistence in social initiations was hypothesized to generalize and be maintained across people, settings, and skills. Findings discuss the practicality, social acceptability, and convenience of using portable video technology in a variety of academic and social settings.
Improving Reciprocal Question-Asking During Social Conversation in Children and Adolescents With Autism Spectrum Disorder
REBECCA DOGGETT (University of California, Santa Barbara), Robert L. Koegel (University of California, Santa Barbara), Lynn Kern Koegel (University of California, Santa Barbara)
Abstract: Children with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) typically have difficulty maintaining a reciprocal social conversation and exhibit a decreased rate of question-asking during these interactions. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of a conversation monitoring intervention on the naturalness of conversation and the generalization of question-asking in children with ASD. Participants had received previous question-asking interventions but had failed to generalize the gains consistently. In the current study, the participants kept a tally of both their questions and their partner’s questions, with the goal to ask approximately the same number of questions as their partner over the 10-minute conversation. Preliminary results suggest that conversation monitoring leads to generalization of question-asking and conversations being rated as more natural. The results are discussed in terms of implications for naturalistic social conversation interventions and future directions for improving reciprocal conversation in children with ASD.



Back to Top
Modifed by Eddie Soh