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.


42nd Annual Convention; Downtown Chicago, IL; 2016

Event Details

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Symposium #78
CE Offered: BACB
Advancing Social, Self-Advocacy, and Vocational Skills in Adolescents and Adults With Autism Spectrum Disorder
Sunday, May 29, 2016
2:00 PM–3:50 PM
Columbus Hall EF, Hyatt Regency, Gold East
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: April N. Kisamore (Caldwell University)
Discussant: Bridget A. Taylor (Alpine Learning Group)
CE Instructor: April N. Kisamore, Ph.D.

There is little behavior analytic research on teaching social, self-advocacy, and job-related skills to adolescents and young adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The current symposium includes four papers directed toward filling this gap in the literature. In the first paper, the authors piloted an assessment for evaluating job-related socials skills that are important for individuals with ASD to succeed in work environments. In the second paper, the authors evaluated the effects of behavioral skills training to increase the social play skills of adults with ASD who were teaching social play skills to children with ASD. In the third paper, the researchers evaluated the effects of a text prompt with a time delay on the self-advocacy of an adult with ASD. In the fourth paper, the authors examined the effects of teaching a problem-solving strategy to adolescents with ASD on solving common job-related problems.

Keyword(s): Adolescents/Adults, Job-related Skills, Self-advocacy, Social Skills
A Pilot Clinic-Based Assessment for Evaluating Job-Related Social Skills
BRIDGETTE WHITE (University of Houston-Clear Lake), Dorothea C. Lerman (University of Houston-Clear Lake), Courtney Laudont (University of Houston-Clear Lake), Carolyn Grob (University of Houston-Clear Lake)
Abstract: Many individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) have difficulties obtaining and maintaining employment, yet little research has been conducted on methods for evaluating and improving critical vocational skills. In this study, we developed and test-piloted a standardized assessment of job-related social skills for individuals with ASD by arranging conditions that simulated on-the-job experiences in a clinic setting. The experimenter contrived situations to assess a variety of work skills, including asking for help, asking for more materials, asking questions, notifying the supervisor when completed with a task, following written and vocal instructions, and responding to corrective feedback. A total of seven individuals, aged 16 to 27 years, have participated thus far. Results suggested that the assessment was useful for identifying specific social skills that could be targeted for intervention to increase success in the work environment. These findings add to the current literature by demonstrating an objective method for assessing a variety of job-related social skills under naturalistic conditions.

Teaching Social Play Skills to Adults and Children With Autism as an Approach to Building Rapport

MOLLY SHIREMAN (University of Houston-Clear Lake), Dorothea C. Lerman (University of Houston-Clear Lake), Conrad Hillman (University of Houston-Clear Lake)

Adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have deficits in social skills that may impede their success on the job. As part of a vocational training program, three adults, aged 21 to 27 years, with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and no intellectual disabilities were taught to increase the social play skills of children with autism. Behavioral skills training (BST) was effective in increasing social play skills of the adult. Additionally, social engagement of the children increased. Probes conducted throughout the study evaluated whether the play skills training impacted a measure of rapport between the adult and child. These rapport probes showed that play skills training increased levels of proximity, our measure of rapport, between the adults and children. These findings extend previous work on using BST to teach adults with ASD to implement behavioral procedures with children with autism and suggest that this type of training is potentially valuable for the future employment of individuals with ASD who desire a vocation as a behavioral technician.


Teaching an Adult With Autism Self-Advocacy Statements Using Time Delay

Danielle Schatz (Alpine Learning Group), Erin Richard White (Alpine Learning Group), JAIME DEQUINZIO (Alpine Learning Group)

Little research has explored procedures for teaching adults with autism to make self-advocacy statements. The present study used a multiple probe design across stimulus categories to evaluate the effects of using a text prompt and time delay procedure on the acquisition and generalization of self-advocacy responses. A twenty-five year old adult with autism participated in the study. The participant was presented with situations that required a self-advocacy response (e.g., he asks for a soda and the instructor gives him water instead). During baseline, if the participant responded correctly, the instructor corrected the situation, and if the participant errored, the instructor did not correct the situation. During intervention, a text prompt was used to prompt a self-advocacy response for each situation, and upon a correct response, the instructor corrected the situation and provided reinforcement on the participants motivational system. Results extend the literature by showing an effective procedure for teaching an adult with autism self-advocacy responses. The percentage of independent self-advocacy responses increased for the participant when the text prompt and time delay procedures were introduced across the three baselines. Results also showed generalized responding to novel examples and materials for each situation presented. Future research should investigate these procedures with additional participants as well as explore teaching more advanced self-advocacy responses to adults with autism.


Effects of a Problem-Solving Strategy on the Independent Completion of Vocational Tasks by Adolescents With Autism Spectrum Disorder

CINDY LORA (Caldwell University), April N. Kisamore (Caldwell University), Kenneth F. Reeve (Caldwell University), Dawn B. Townsend (Institute for Educational Achievement)

The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of teaching a problem-solving strategy on the independent completion of vocational tasks by four adolescents with autism spectrum disorder. The strategy was presented as a textual activity schedule in a binder and it was evaluated across three types of problem situations (missing items, broken items, mismatched items) and non-problem situations. Use of the problem-solving strategy in these situations was assessed with a multiple-probe-across-participants design. None of the participants were able to complete the vocational tasks when a problem (e.g., stapler missing when stapling packets) arose during baseline. Following introduction of the problem-solving strategy all four participants completed the tasks during problem scenarios and use of the problem-solving strategy generalized in the presence of vocational tasks not associated with teaching.




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