|On the Role of Behavioral Variability in Autism
|Saturday, May 29, 2010
|4:00 PM–4:50 PM
|Chair: Valerie R. Rogers (University of Nevada, Reno)
|Extinction-Induced Variability in Young Children With Autism
|Domain: Experimental Analysis
|VALERIE R. ROGERS (University of Nevada, Reno), Patrick M. Ghezzi (University of Nevada)
|Abstract: Response variability is an integral part of an organism’s interactions with its surrounding environment. Children with autism are often characterized as lacking variability in their responses. This decrement may be result of a limited amount of extinction-induced response variability. A procedure was developed to determine the extent with which children with autism demonstrate extinction-induced variability with respect to response location. Results suggest that the participants with autism demonstrated more extinction-induced variability with respect to response location than the participants of typical development. Conversely, the participants with autism demonstrated less extinction-induced variability with respect to non-location response topographies when compared to the participants of typical development. In addition, the data demonstrate differing patterns of responding between children with autism and children of typical development. The results are discussed in terms of the utility of variable response topographies and the need for directly reinforcing response variability in children with autism. Suggestions for future research are provided.
|Variability of Responding in Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder and Typically Developing Controls
|Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
|CLODAGH MARY MURRAY (National University of Ireland, Galway), Olive Healy (National University of Ireland, Galway), Geraldine Leader (National University of Ireland)
|Abstract: The ability to behave variably is important for problem-solving, creativity, exploration and applying skills in novel situations or environments. The repetitive behaviors associated with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) may be due to a lack of variability and flexibility in behavior.
The objective of the current study was to identify if there is a difference in variable responding between participants with ASD and typically developing controls. 10 children with ASD (6 male, 4 female), 10 control participants matched for sex and chronological age and 10 control participants matched for sex and age equivalence scores from the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test completed a computer-based test for variable responding. This test measured responses across two buttons with reinforcement being delivered non-contingently on an FR2 schedule. A U-value (uncertainty value) statistic was calculated for each participant and scores were compared across groups. The age-equivalent group was used to control for the influence of IQ on variability. A brief overview of variability as operant behavior will be presented along with the results from this study.