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 #525
Technological Advances in Interventions for Individuals With Autism
Tuesday, May 31, 2016
4:00 PM–4:50 PM
Randolph, Hyatt Regency, Bronze East
Area: AUT/AAB; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Anibal Gutierrez Jr. (Florida International University)

Substantial resources and attention are directed toward the field because of the success behavioral assessments and interventions have for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). As a result, the importance of continuing to refine our approaches and bringing cutting-edge technology to bear on the problems faced by behavior analysts is as great as ever. This symposium presents three such papers that address this goal. The first compares a widely used curriculum, the Verbal Behavior Milestones Assessment and Placement Program (VB-MAPP) and an empirically validated instructional sequence on rates of skill acquisition. The second examines individual variables that predict the success of video-modeling based interventions including social skills, imitative skills, and technological competency or literacy. The third evaluates a paired-choice procedure for examining parent preferences for in-person versus telehealth-based training modalities aimed at producing reductions in problem behavior. Findings for these studies have immediate implications for individuals with ASD, their families, and practitioners.

Keyword(s): curriculum, telehealth, video modeling

A Validated Sequence for Selecting Imitation Targets for Intervention

ANIBAL GUTIERREZ JR. (Florida International University), Elaine Espanola (Florida International University)

The aim of this study was to determine differences in effectiveness and rate of skill acquisition between a recently developed and empirically validated instructional sequence (MVIA) and a commonly used instructional sequence in a curriculum guide (VB-MAPP). Children with ASD were randomly assigned to two treatment groups to determine difference in imitation performance. The treatment group followed the instructional sequence proposed in the MVIA. The comparison group followed the instructional sequence proposed in the VB-MAPP. The intervention consisted of discrete trial training (DTT). Participants in the MVIA treatment group had significantly more skill acquisition than children in the VB-MAPP comparison group. MVIA treatment group also acquired these skills more efficiently, spent less time on skills that never reached mastery and demonstrated higher levels of responding. In general, these results indicate the MVIA provides an appropriate sequence ordered from simple to complex for selecting targets for intervention. Improved outcomes for the children in the MVIA treatment group highlight the importance of target selection on intervention outcomes. Furthermore, poor performance in the VB-MAPP comparison group emphasizes the negative impact that choosing skills that not yet appropriate for the childs current skill level can have on intervention outcomes.


An Analysis of the Effects of Individual Variables on Success With a Video-Modeling Intervention

LOGAN MCDOWELL (The Victory Center for Autism and Related Disabilities), Anibal Gutierrez Jr. (Florida International University)

The present study sought to determine whether video modeling might function as a successful alternative treatment for teaching basic motor imitation to young children with ASD, and if so what individual variables might influence that success. We began by analyzing a treatment comparison between video modeling and live modeling in which all aspects were held consistent between the two treatments barring the medium through which the SD was presented. Eight children were taught to imitate two equivalent behaviors each, one using a video modeling technique and the other using a live modeling technique. The trials to criterion required to learn the behaviors were then compared in an effort to identify a) whether there was a difference in effectiveness between the two treatments, and b) which treatment was more effective for each individual child. Results indicated that there was a significant difference between the two treatment types, and that six of the eight participants were more successful with video modeling. Further analyses were conducted to determine whether social skills, imitation skills, and/or technological literacy were significant predictors of success with either treatment modality. Implications related to these findings will be discussed.

Evaluating Preference for Telehealth and In-Person Parent Training
JENNIFER STICH (University of South Florida), Andrew L. Samaha (University of South Florida)
Abstract: Although effective behavioral in–person parent training packages have been used to decrease problem behavior, there is an acknowledged gap between the requirements of behavioral interventions for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and the amount of resources and trained professionals. Telehealth provides an alternative delivery form of parent training that allows practitioners to disseminate information and feedback at a distance. Research has shown telehealth can be as effective as in-person training, and has implications for reduction in costs and increasing the practicality of services (Wacker et al., 2013a; Wacker et al., 2013b; Vismara et al., 2009). Telehealth has received high satisfaction ratings, however a number of studies have reported problems with telehealth including issues with the videoconferencing software and Internet connectivity. However acceptable telehealth may be, high acceptability may not translate into actual use or selection. The primary purpose of the current study is to evaluate a procedure for identifying parent preference of in-person or telehealth training modalities. Secondary purposes are to evaluate and compare correspondence between preference as measured in a choice format and a social validity measure, determine if the procedures can be used to detect differences in acquisition from each modality, and to evaluate effects of parent training on child appropriate and inappropriate behavior.



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