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 #411
CE Offered: BACB
Pre-Session Pairing: Procedural Development and Experimental Evaluation of a Commonly Recommended Practice in Early Intervention
Tuesday, May 31, 2016
9:00 AM–9:50 AM
Columbus Hall GH, Hyatt Regency, Gold East
Area: AUT/VRB; Domain: Translational
Chair: Katie Nicholson (Florida Institute of Technology)
CE Instructor: Ashley Marie Lugo, Ph.D.
Abstract: Pre-session pairing (PSP) is a procedure designed to function as an antecedent intervention to decrease challenging behavior exhibited during structured teaching (e.g., discrete trial teaching). Pre-session pairing consists of multiple topographies of interactions between a therapist and client in an unstructured format (e.g., play). Literature on the verbal behavior approach to teaching language suggests the use of PSP at the onset of treatment and as a component of ongoing therapy. Procedures are described as a therapist delivering preferred tangible items and/or activities to a client prior to introducing demands (Barbera, 2007; Sundberg & Partington, 1998). However, such resources lack technological precision to promote reliable procedural implementation across clinical service providers. This symposium will first review pre-session pairing and rapport literature and operationally define behaviors that pre-session pairing encompasses. Following a review and introduction of pre-session pairing, methodology to train staff to implement pre-session pairing will be introduced and the final presentation will examine the effects of pre-session pairing on child behavior.
Keyword(s): Early Intervention, Pre-Session Pairing, VB Approach
What is Pre-Session Pairing? Developing a Procedure to Reflect Clinical Recommendations
ASHLEY MARIE LUGO (Saint Louis University)
Abstract: Pre-session pairing and rapport are referenced as important components to successful early intervention programming (Barbera, 2007; Smith, 2001; Sundberg & Partington, 1998). However, little research has been conducted examining pre-session pairing. Given the importance of quality rapport between service providers and clientele, efforts should be made to operationally define rapport and experimentally evaluate its effects. During this presentation, literature referencing pre-session pairing and rapport will be reviewed, the clinical rationale for PSP in early intervention will be presented, and a technological PSP procedure will be introduced.
A Comparison of Procedures to Train Staff to Implement Pre-Session Pairing
Katie Nicholson (Florida Institute of Technology), LAUREN STROKER (Florida Institute of Technology), Natalie Rose Mandel (Florida Institute of Technology), Regina Nastri (Florida Institute of Technology), Marilynn Vanessa Colato (Florida Institute of Technology)
Abstract: Popular curriculum guides on EIBI for children with autism often recommend that staff conduct “pairing” sessions prior to running skill acquisition programs. It is unclear whether the descriptions provided in these treatment manuals are sufficient to evoke the desired behaviors among staff. The purpose of the present study is to examine the effects of three training approaches in a sequential fashion: first, staff read a published description of the procedure. If that was not sufficient to evoke the desired behaviors, Behavioral Skills Training (instructions, modeling, practice and feedback) was delivered. If the accuracy criteria were still not achieved, the trainees were then asked to self-monitor their behavior. Experimenters collected data on staff performance on each step of a task analysis depicting the pairing procedure. In addition to treatment integrity data, inter-observer agreement data were collected. A combined reversal and non-concurrent multiple baseline across participants was used to evaluate the effects of training on accurate implementation of pairing procedures. Data collection are ongoing at the present time; however, pilot data with three participants indicate that Behavioral Skills Training is effective at achieving the desired level of accuracy on implementation of the pre-session pairing procedure. We anticipate that data collection for all components of the study will be completed by the end of December.
Effects of Pre-Session Pairing on Child Behavior and Preference for Alternative Therapeutic Conditions
Ashley Marie Lugo (Saint Louis University), JANELLE PECK (University of Nebraksa Medical Center), John Lamphere (Little Leaves Behavioral Services)
Abstract: Pre-session pairing is a procedure referenced by professional literature on the Verbal Behavior Approach to build rapport and increase compliance of children with autism (e.g., Barbera & Rasmussen, 2007; McGreevy, 2009; Sundberg & Partington, 2008). There is limited empirical evidence describing pre-session pairing in a technological manner and a scarcity of data demonstrating the effects of said pairing procedures on child behavior. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of pre-session pairing and alternative therapeutic conditions on compliance with instructions and negative vocalizations. Participants were exposed to three conditions using a multielement design: pre-session pairing prior to DTT, free play prior to DTT, or immediate onset of DTT. A concurrent chain arrangement was used to assess preference for therapeutic conditions. Treatment integrity and inter-observer agreement were calculated across both phases of the study. Responding across dependent variables indicated differentiation in the pre-session pairing condition. Subsequent allocation of responses in the concurrent chain arrangement showed differentiation of the pre-session pairing condition from the free-play and DTT conditions. Data from additional participants and implications for future research will be discussed. Data collection is expected to be complete by December 2015.



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