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.


40th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2014

Event Details

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Symposium #524
CE Offered: BACB
Variables Affecting Learning in Children with Autism: Further Analysis of Prompting and Reinforcement
Tuesday, May 27, 2014
1:00 PM–1:50 PM
W183b (McCormick Place Convention Center)
Area: AUT/DDA; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Mark P. Groskreutz (Evergreen Center)
Discussant: John Claude Ward-Horner (Beacon ABA Services)
CE Instructor: Mark P. Groskreutz, Ph.D.

Children with autism often present unique learning challenges. Given the emphasis on individualized assessment and instruction, and data based decision making, behavior analysts are especially well-suited to address learning issues. Likewise, the use of single subject designs permit behavior analysts to experimentally evaluate individualized interventions to demonstrate functional relations or compare different interventions. This symposium reviews two studies that were conducted in an applied setting that identify variables that affected learning. The first study compared the effectives of two prompting modalities (tact and echoic) to determine which was a more effective procedure for teaching intraverbal behavior to two children with autism. The second study evaluates the effects of choice versus no choice of potential reinforcers and the relative effects on students responding during educational activities. Implications of programming for students with autism, including antecedent manipulations and consequence-based strategies, will be discussed. Additionally, the utility of comparative analyses and the application single subject designs in applied settings will be reviewed.

Keyword(s): Autism, Choice, Echoic, Tact
A Comparison of Tact and Echoic Prompts to Teach Intraverbals for Children with Autism
ERIN CONANT (Evergreen Center), Fatima Diaz (Evergreen Center), Joseph M. Vedora (Evergreen Center), Mark P. Groskreutz (Evergreen Center)
Abstract: Children with autism typically require explicit instruction to learn intraverbal behavior. Several researchers have directly compared the use of visual prompts (text or pictures) to echoic prompts with mixed findings. Two recent studies compared the use of tact and echoic prompts used during intraverbal training with children with autism. Kodak, Fuchtman, and Paden’s (2012) findings suggested that echoic prompts were more effective than tact prompts for their participants. However, Ingvarsson and Hollobough’s (2011) study indicated that while both tact and echoic prompts were effective in establishing intraverbal responding, the three participants required fewer trials to criterion in the tact prompt condition. The current study compared the use of tact and echoic prompts used to teach two teenagers with autism intraverbal responses. The results indicated both procedures were effective. Implications of prompting procedures for children with autism and the role of individual learning histories in determining successful procedures are discussed

Further Analysis of Choice as a Reinforcer with Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders

WENDY WELLER (Evergreen Center), Mark P. Groskreutz (Evergreen Center), Joseph M. Vedora (Evergreen Center)

Researchers have examined whether choice is a reinforcer, i.e., evaluating whether choosing a consequence will result in a greater increase in behavior than the same consequences being delivered without being chosen. However, previous research has used methodology that may limit the identification of choice as a reinforcer (e.g., yoked schedules, choosing from identical items). The current study examines the effect of choice or no choice of potential reinforcers on performance of educational responses of three students with disabilities and avoids the challenges associated with using yoked schedules of reinforcement or choosing from identical options. Thus the current study provides additional refinements in the analysis of choice as a reinforcer by examining rates of responding when participants have the opportunity to choose an item or not, contingent on responding. Results will identify if there is a difference in responding to an educationally relevant task when choice is available or not and if participants demonstrate a preference for choice or no-choice conditions. The relevance of choice in clinical and educational context will be discussed. Recommendations for future research will also be presented.




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