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

Previous Page


Symposium #114
CE Offered: BACB
In Another's Shoes: Recent Research on Teaching Perspective Taking Skills to Children With Autism
Sunday, May 29, 2016
4:00 PM–4:50 PM
Columbus Hall GH, Hyatt Regency, Gold East
Area: AUT/VRB; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Adel C. Najdowski (ABRITE)
CE Instructor: Adel C. Najdowski, Ph.D.

Perspective-taking is a complex repertoire of behavior that is crucial to nearly all areas of human functioning that involve social interactions, be they at school, home, work, or play. Unfortunately, many children with autism have difficulties with perspective taking skills, even when they have age-appropriate verbal and intellectual functioning. This symposium brings together three presentations on teaching various aspects of perspective taking to children with autism. The first presentation, by Rocio, consists of a behavioral conceptual analysis of humor and how it might be taught to children with autism. The second presentation, by Dr. Adel Najdowski, consists of a study that taught children with autism to identify and respond to the preferences of peers during play. The third presentation, by Smita Mehta, consists of a study on a computerized program for teaching perspective taking skills.

Keyword(s): perspective taking, RFT, ToM

"I Know, I'm Funny, Right?" A Behavior Analytic Account of Humor and Implications for Individuals With Autism Spectrum Disorders

ROCIO NUNEZ (California State University, Fresno), Marianne L. Jackson (California State University, Fresno)

Understanding and using humor are critical components of many social interactions and have been shown to be deficit for many individuals with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. The vast majority of research on humor has come from developmental psychology and describes the various levels and stages of humor that are typically observed throughout childhood and adolescence. This paper will discuss a behavior analytic interpretation of humor, utilizing the stages and types of humor described in the developmental psychology literature, with a Relational Frame Theory approach to non-literal language. In addition, we will suggest some intervention strategies and implications that this may have to remedy these deficits in individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders.


Teaching Children With Autism to Identify and Respond Appropriately to the Preferences of Others During Play

ADEL C. NAJDOWSKI (ABRITE), Megan Michelle St. Clair (Center for Autism and Related Disorders; Florida Institute of Technology), Jonathan J. Tarbox (FirstSteps for Kids), Angela M. Persicke (Autism Research Group, Center for Autism and Related Disorders (CARD))

Deficiency in social interaction is characteristic of autism spectrum disorder (ASD; DSM-5, APA, 2013), and in particular, children with ASD have been found to have difficulty with perspective-taking, including detecting what others are thinking, feeling, or wanting (Baron-Cohen, Leslie, & Frith, 1985). This study employed a nonconcurrent multiple baseline across participants design to investigate the use of a multiple exemplar training package for teaching children with ASD to notice and respond appropriately to the preferences of others during play. The intervention was effective in teaching participants to: (a) identify what others like and dont like, (b) make offers to play with items that were demonstrated to be preferred by others, (c) and refrain from making offers to play with items that were demonstrated to be nonpreferred by others. Generalization to the preferences of untrained adults and peers was also observed.


Effect of Computer Assisted Instruction on the Theory of Mind of Children With High Functioning Autism

SMITA SHUKLA MEHTA (University of North Texas)

Children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) show significant deficits in social interaction and communication, emotion recognition, and perspective taking. These deficits are often exhibited as an inability to understand and process subtle social and emotional cues expressed through facial expression, voice intonation, and context cues (i.e., deficit in Theory of Mind). One intervention gaining increased attention for teaching Theory of Mind (ToM) to children with ASD is the use of computer assisted instruction (CAI). This study evaluated the effect of CAI on ToM skills of four children (5-12 years) with high functioning autism. A software program was developed using 22 line-drawn scenarios from the mind-reading curriculum by Howlin et al. (1999), where characters were portrayed without facial expressions. Using a single-subject multiple baseline design across participants, the CAI software was delivered to participants to teach them to identify emotions of characters based on situational cues alone. Results showed that all participants correctly identified emotions of characters during intervention. Additionally, learned behavior generalized to untrained social situations at home involving family members. The magnitude of effect was also large for all participants. Implications of the study will be discussed with regards to strategies for bridging the research-to-practice gap.




Back to Top
Modifed by Eddie Soh