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.


10th Annual Autism Conference; New Orleans, LA; 2016

Event Details

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Invited Symposium #3
CE Offered: PSY/BACB
Expanding Access to ABA Services via the Latest Telehealth Technologies
Tuesday, January 19, 2016
8:30 AM–10:20 AM
The Celestin Ballroom
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Wayne W. Fisher (Munroe-Meyer Institute, University of Nebraska Medical Center)
Discussant: Cathleen C. Piazza (Munroe-Meyer Institute, University of Nebraska Medical Center)
CE Instructor: Wayne W. Fisher, Ph.D.

Recent advances in telecommunication technologies make it possible to conduct a variety of healthcare services remotely (e.g., behavior analytic intervention services), thereby bridging the gap between consumers in isolated locations and qualified providers. A growing body of empirical research suggests that many behavior analytic training and treatment procedures can be highly effective when delivered remotely via the latest telehealth technologies. In this symposium, we will bring together a cadre of the field’s leading experts on the remote delivery of ABA interventions using telehealth. Each presenter will describe one or more empirical investigations on the use of telehealth methods to expand access to ABA services. The discussant will review the highlights of each study, identify the general themes and important implications that cut across studies, and provide directions for future investigation.


Preliminary Results of a Randomized Clinical Trial of a Web-Based Program for Training Parents With a Child With an Autism Spectrum Disorder to Implement Early Intensive Behavior Intervention

KEVIN C. LUCZYNSKI (Munroe-Meyer Institute, University of Nebraska Medical Center), Wayne W. Fisher (Munroe-Meyer Institute, University of Nebraska Medical Center), Mychal Machado (Munroe-Meyer Institute, University of Nebraska Medical Center), Aaron D. Lesser (Munroe-Meyer Institute, University of Nebraska Medical Center), Stephanie A. Hood (Briar Cliff University), Andrew Blowers (Munroe-Meyer Institute, University of Nebraska Medical Center), Maegan Pisman (Munroe-Meyer Institute, University of Nebraska Medical Center), Megan E. Vosters (Munroe-Meyer Institute, University of Nebraska Medical Center)

Estimates indicate that autism affects about 1 in 68 American children. Research has shown that Early Intensive Behavioral Interventions (EIBI) is effective when implemented by appropriately trained and supervised technicians. In additional to services provided by technicians, parents often contribute to their child's EIBI programming by extending teaching opportunities throughout the day. However, few empirically supported programs are available for training parents that include performance-based measures. We are conducting a randomized clinical trial to evaluate a 20-hour, web-based, e-learning program for training parents in EIBI protocols. The two primary dependent variables are the Behavioral Implementation Skills for Play Activities (BISPA) and the Behavioral Implementation Skills for Work Activities (BISWA). To date, 10 participants have completed pre-test and post-test assessments on these measures, three in the treatment group and seven in the control group. Mean component skills implemented correctly on the pre-test and post-test for the treatment and control groups for the BISPA were 4.0%, 6.1%, 89%, and 0%, respectively. For the BISWA, the results were 23.6%, 16.9%, 100%, and 27.3%, respectively. The results provide strong preliminary support for the efficacy of our web-based program, which can be delivered to parents anywhere in the world that has broadband internet access.

"Dr. Kevin Luczynski is an Assistant Professor at the University of Nebraska Medical Center and the Director for the recently initiated Virtual Care Program at the Munroe Meyer Institute. From 2004 to 2006, Dr. Luczynski worked as a Clinical Specialist at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine's Kennedy Krieger Institute where the intensity of the clinical services improved his understanding of within-subject methodology, environmental determinants of behavior, and the value of working within a community of clinical experts. During this period, he also earned a Master's degree in Applied Behavior Analysis from the University of Maryland at Baltimore County. Dr. Luczynski earned his Ph.D. in Behavior Analysis at Western New England University under the supervision of Dr. Gregory P. Hanley in 2011 and completed a pre-doctoral fellowship at the Munroe-Meyer Institute under the mentorship of Dr. Wayne Fisher in the same year. Currently, he specializes in leveraging web-based technologies to provide parent training, early intervention services, and assessment and treatment of sleep disturbances to families who live in areas where there are few or no professionals trained in applied behavior analysis. This direction for expanding services in applied behavior analysis is supported, in part, by a grant from the Department of Defense because access to high-quality services is especially important to military families with a child with autism who tend to serve in remote areas. In 2013, Dr. Luczynski and colleagues partnered with Autism Action Partnership to leverage web-based technologies to provide teacher training and assist in designing and monitoring skill-acquisition and behavior-management programs to schools throughout Nebraska. Kevin's area of service delivery had led to several new lines of research: (a) comparing the accuracy, reliability, and efficiently of different measurement systems for scoring child-parent interactions in their home over extended observation periods, (b) determining the accuracy and reliability of infrared-capable cameras with motion-detection software for measuring children's nighttime sleep disturbances and comparing the additive and interactional effects of behavioral and pharmacological treatments for improving children's sleep, and (c) evaluating the extent that parent-training procedures promote generalization and maintenance of parents ability to teach functional-communication and delay-tolerance skills at home and identify potential barriers to sustained treatment implementation.

Treatment of Pediatric Feeding Problems: Comparison of Follow-Up Outcomes in Clinic Versus via Telehealth

KATHRYN M. PETERSON (University of Nebraska Medical Center), Cathleen C. Piazza (Munroe-Meyer Institute, University of Nebraska Medical Center), Valerie M. Volkert (University of Nebraska Medical Center), Jason R. Zeleny (University of Nebraska Medical Center)

Many children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have feeding difficulties, such as food selectivity (i.e., consumption of a limited variety of foods by type or texture). Inadequate dietary intake is associated with learning and behavior problems. If left untreated, children with ASD and feeding difficulties also may suffer from weight loss or malnutrition. Currently, treatments for pediatric feeding disorders based on ABA research have the most empirical support (Volkert & Piazza, 2012). However, there are a limited number of clinics and professionals in the country that specialize in the behavioral treatment of pediatric feeding disorders. Telehealth methods allow a professional in one location to provide services to a patient in another location. Research has not yet evaluated the effectiveness of using telehealth methods to treat pediatric feeding disorders using behavioral techniques. In the current study, we compared the outcomes (e.g., levels of acceptance, mouth clean [product measure of swallowing], inappropriate mealtime behavior) of children discharged from an intensive day treatment program who were followed up in the clinic versus via telehealth. The children's parents implemented treatment with both methods. Results suggest that clinically relevant outcomes can be achieved regardless of the location of outpatient follow-up.

Kathryn Peterson, Ph.D., BCBA-D, is an assistant professor at the University of Nebraska Medical Center’s Munroe-Meyer Institute. Dr. Peterson earned her Master’s degree in applied behavior analysis from Pennsylvania State University in 2008 and spent several years working as a behavior consultant specializing in the assessment and treatment of severe problem behavior in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). During that time, Dr. Peterson also served as the editorial assistant for Behavioral Interventions. Dr. Peterson then earned her doctoral degree in applied behavior analysis from the University of Nebraska Medical Center’s (UNMC) Munroe-Meyer Institute under the mentorship of Drs. Valerie Volkert and Cathleen Piazza. Dr. Peterson currently serves as a research faculty member and case manager within the Pediatric Feeding Disorders Program at UNMC, where she conducts research on the assessment and treatment of pediatric feeding disorders. She has published in the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis and has secured grant awards through UNMC’s Pediatrics and Diversity funds to conduct research on effective treatments for food selectivity in children with ASD. Dr. Peterson recently served as the President of the Heartland Association for Behavior Analysis.

Training Community Mental Health Providers to Conduct Quality Functional Behavior Assessments Using Teleconsultation Strategies: Outcomes and Issues

STEPHANIE M. PETERSON (Western Michigan University), Denice Rios (Western Michigan University), Rebecca Renee Wiskirchen (Western Michigan University), Yannick Schenk (Western Michigan University), Marissa Allen (Western Michigan University)

This presentation will describe an ongoing project, in which we are attempting to train community mental health workers in Michigan to conduct quality functional behavior assessments, including functional analyses, using web-based technologies for teleconsultation. The procedures we are using will be discussed, and outcome data for selected children as well as summary data for trainees will be presented. Issues, problems, and positive developments from the project will also be discussed.

Stephanie M. Peterson, Ph.D., BCBA-D, is a professor of psychology at Western Michigan University. She also serves as the director of the Graduate Training Program in Behavior Analysis there. Recently, the state of Michigan enacted insurance billing laws requiring insurance companies to pay for autism treatment. In addition, at the time of this writing, Medicaid changes are in the process of being enacted. As a result, Dr. Peterson has had the opportunity to work though certification and licensure issues with state and local agency personnel. Dr. Peterson has taught in a number of university programs that offer behavior analytic training, and specifically coursework geared toward the BCBA credential, as well as teacher-certification programs. In her current position, Dr. Peterson directs graduate training in behavior analysis in a program that offers the coursework and practicum experiences for the BCBA credential.

Treating Severe Behavior Problems via Telehealth

DAVID P. WACKER (The University of Iowa), Alyssa N. Suess (The University of Iowa)

This presentation will provide a summary of how we have used telehealth to implement functional analyses and functional communication training to assess and treat the severe behavior problems of young children with autism. The participants were 30 children with diagnosed autism spectrum disorders who ranged in age from 21–84 months. All assessment and treatment sessions were conducted by parents in their homes with remote coaching provided by behavior analysts located at a tertiary level hospital. The functional analyses were conducted within multi-element designs and social functions were identified for all children. Functional communication training (FCT) was then implemented by the parents and matched to the identified functions of problem behavior. FCT was most often conducted during 1-hour weekly sessions, with individual cases conducted within a reversal design, and the overall group analysis conducted within a randomized clinical trial (3 month delay for second group). The average reduction in problem behavior was 97% (range=77–100%). Interobserver agreement was conducted on approximately 30% of sessions and averaged over 90%.A description of the telehealth and behavioral procedures conducted in the projectwill be presented withvideotaped case examples.

Dr. David Wacker is a professor in the Departments of Pediatrics and Special Education at the University of Iowa, where he has directed one of the country's leading clinical research programs in developmental disabilities for more than 20 years. He and his students have conducted important research on a number of topics, but he is most well-known for his pioneering work in behavior disorders. His brief functional analysis, an experimental approach to assessment in outpatient clinics, has revolutionized outpatient research by replacing the clinical interview as the basis of treatment with an empirical model whose utility has been established in dozens of studies. Most recently, he has extended the impact of the brief functional analysis beyond his clinic's boundaries through the creative use of real-time video conferencing. He is a past editor of the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, a Fellow of the American Psychological Association (APA), a Fellow of ABAI, and a recipient of distinguished research awards from both APA and the Arc of the United States.



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