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 #451
Application of Applied Behavior Analytic Strategies in Early Childhood Education Classroom Settings
Tuesday, May 31, 2016
10:00 AM–11:50 AM
Regency Ballroom C, Hyatt Regency, Gold West
Area: EDC/PRA; Domain: Translational
Chair: Dacia McCoy (University of Cincinnati)
Discussant: Ashley Shier (Nationwide Children's Hospital, Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders)
Abstract: Behavior analytic strategies have long been applied to the treatment of a wide range of academic and behavior concerns. With the passing of Individuals with Disabilities Education Act 1997/2004, behavior analytic assessment and intervention techniques have become a necessary component in the school environment. Additionally, with the continued emphasis on standardized tests and curriculums, as dictated by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, academic readiness and success is becoming a crucial component in early childhood settings. The presentations in this symposia address unique applications of behavior analytic principles to students in an early childhood setting. Interventions focusing on Autism and English Language Learner populations, as well as a child with selective mutism will be presented. Additionally, presentations will discuss interventions that address problem behavior, academic readiness, and pre-academic skills. Data from all presentations supports the effectiveness and feasibility of behavior analytic interventions in a classroom environment. Discussions will emphasize the feasibility of assessment and intervention techniques within this setting as well as explore the long term maintenance of intervention effects.
Keyword(s): Classroom Setting, Early Childhood, ELL, Selective Mutism

Using Trial-Based Functional Analysis to Design Effective Interventions for Students Diagnosed With Autism Spectrum Disorder

WALLACE LARKIN (University of Cincinnati), Renee Hawkins (University of Cincinnati)

Functional behavior assessments and function-based interventions represent effective methods for addressing the challenging behaviors of children. However, traditional functional analysis has limitations that impact feasibility in school and community settings. Trial-based functional analyses have been shown to address concerns relating to the length of time, level of expertise required, and the contrived nature of analogue functional analyses. The current study expanded on previous research by using trial-based functional analyses to determine the function of challenging behaviors within an educational setting for four early childhood education students with autism spectrum disorder. Results of the trial-based functional analyses were then used to create corresponding individualized function-based interventions for three of the four students assessed. For two students, the intervention was based on differential reinforcement of other behavior, and one students intervention was based on differential reinforcement of an alternative behavior. Each of these individualized function-based interventions resulted in both decreases in problem behaviors as well as increases in classroom engagement. The students teachers conducted all assessment and intervention procedures, and collected trial-by trial student data during assessment.


Using Differential Reinforcement to Increase the Communicative Behavior of a Kindergarten Student With Selective Mutism

HILARY B. DENUNE (Cincinnati Public Schools)

Researchers have only recently begun assessing the function of selectively mute behavior likely due to the fact that selective mutism (SM) is defined by the absence of verbal behavior, and because it has historically been attributed to unobservable, private events (i.e., anxiety). More recently, research has begun exploring the treatment of SM through the use of functional behavior assessments (FBA). In this study, an FBA was conducted in order to determine the function of a female kindergarteners selectively mute behavior. It was determined that the behavior was maintained through escape. A differential reinforcement procedure was designed to shape the students communicative behavior. Teacher collected frequency data and direct observation measures were used to evaluate the effect of the intervention on the students communicative behavior using a changing criterion design. Direct observation data were also used to evaluate the influence of intervention procedures on the students behavior, as well as to obtain peer comparison data, using an AB design. Results indicated that intervention procedures effectively increased the target students vocal behavior to rates similar to classroom peers. Discussion focuses on contributions to current research, implications for the practice of ABA in educational settings, and suggestions for further research.


Video Self-Modeling With English Language Learners in the Preschool Setting

DACIA MCCOY (University of Cincinnati), Renee Hawkins (University of Cincinnati), Julie Morrison (University of Cincinnati), Laura Nabors (University of Cincinnati)

English language learners (ELL) are at risk of academic failure when classroom expectations are not effectively communicated and they are unable to engage in classroom instruction. A delayed multiple baseline design across participants was utilized to investigate the effects of a video self-modeling (VSM) intervention on the classroom behavior of ELLs. This study was implemented in the preschool setting with ELLs exhibiting low levels of engagement and/or high levels of off-task behavior during group time. Prior to group time, the child viewed a brief self-modeling video of appropriate behavior. A parent of the child provided voice-over in the childs home language, clearly stating the classroom expectations described by the teacher. Through visual analysis, the results indicated an increase in engagement and decrease in off-task behaviors for all 4 children to levels comparable to English-fluent speaking and ELL peer comparisons in the classroom. These results were maintained during the brief follow-up phase. In addition, teacher and child social validity data suggested the intervention was viewed favorably by both the teachers and children. This study demonstrates promising evidence that VSM may be an effective antecedent intervention for ELL children in the preschool classroom setting.


Creating Stimulus Equivalence Using a Matching-to-Sample Intervention With a Preschool Student to Improve Preacademic Skills

JESSIE RICHARD (University of Cincinnati)

Historically preschool has been primarily focused on social behavior; however in recent years there has been an increased emphasis being placed on academics particularly due to increased academic standards within grades K-12. In this study, an intervention was created to examine the effects of a matching-to-sample intervention on the preacademic skills of a preschool student. This case was implemented in a preschool with a student who was well below the expected level associated with being able to identify shapes, colors, numbers, and the letters of his name. During free play, the classroom teacher implemented one of the matching-to-sample interventions with the preschool student per day. A different matching-to-sample intervention was completed each day of the week. Results indicated that the intervention was effective in increasing the number of correctly identified shapes, colors, numbers, and letters compared to baseline. Social validity data also suggests that the teacher viewed the intervention positively. This study demonstrates promising evidence that a matching-to-sample intervention for preschool students struggling with acquisition of preacademic skills may be an effective technique for teachers to utilize in the preschool classroom.




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