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.


36th Annual Convention; San Antonio, TX; 2010

Event Details

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Symposium #243
Some Foundational Topics in ABA-Based Treatment for Autism
Sunday, May 30, 2010
3:00 PM–4:20 PM
205 (CC)
Area: AUT/DDA; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
Chair: Erik A. Mayville (Connecticut Center for Child Development)
Discussant: James A. Mulick (The Ohio State University)
CE Instructor: Brandon Forth, M.D.
Abstract: The success of ABA in the treatment of autism spectrum disorders has led to its recognition as a standard treatment approach. The resulting burgeoning interest in ABA underscores the importance of educating professionals to meet this demand. A particular challenge of this task is to bring behavioral theory and conceptual analysis coherently within the context of autism treatment, so that treatment evolves conceptually consistently yet dynamically in each application. In this symposium, presenters will address three foundational concepts relevant to sound practice of ABA with persons with ASD: precision and consistency of description of treatment concepts; application of operant learning principles that emerge from experimental research; and flexible design and implementation of assessments and treatments to meet the varied needs of a diverse clinical population. While these are not the only concepts underlying sound ABA practice, they represent several core tenets of ABA that may unfortunately be overlooked in everyday practice contexts.
Behavior Analytic Language in Autism Treatment
PHILIP N. HINELINE (Temple University), Stacie M. Groeling (Xanadu Behavior Therapy)
Abstract: Both basic and applied behavior analysts are drawn together by common characteristics of their work – an emphasis upon the behavior of the individual, procedural adjustments based upon ongoing assessments of the individual’s performance, and, most importantly, upon adherence to a coherent set of interpretive concepts that are grounded in dynamic behavior-environment relations. Part of what makes behavior analysis distinctive and effective is the interrelatedness of those concepts and the patterns of speaking and writing that embody them (Hineline, 1980). The present talk, then, is concerned, on the one hand, with the precision and consistency of description of those concepts as they are addressed to the problems of autism. On the other hand, this talk addresses a concern over the evident conflicts between the special language of behavior analysis and the language patterns of everyday speech. These conflicts come to the fore when behavior-analytic strategies and techniques become important to the community at large. The problem is not merely one of technical terms or jargon, for it concerns conventions of phrasing that can impede the understanding of a problem or the acceptance of a proposed solution.
Some Current Dimensions of Translational Behavior Analysis: From Laboratory Research to Intervention for Persons With Autism Spectrum Disorders
WILLIAM J. MCILVANE (University of Massachusetts Medical School), William V. Dube (University of Maryland Medical Center), Karen M. Lionello-DeNolf (University of Massachusetts Medical School), Richard W. Serna (University of Massachusetts Medical Center), Romariz Barros (Universidade Federal do Para), Olavo F. Galvão (Universidade Federal do Pará)
Abstract: Research on basic learning processes with animal and human populations has led to principles that have been applied with success in developing interventions for persons with autism and related neurodevelopmental disorders. Processes in the domains of stimulus control and reinforcement have been especially relevant. As behavioral research continues to evolve, so also do opportunities for translating resulting knowledge for intervention purposes. To take advantage of such opportunities, the challenge is to render evolving knowledge accessible to clinicians, educators, and others involved directly in intervention. With this goal in mind, this talk will review recent translational behavioral research directed at challenges of autism spectrum disorders and related neurodevelopmental disorders, especially those in which functional communication is substantially impaired. We focus on certain promising conceptual and empirical advances for this enterprise that have not as yet exerted strong influence on intervention practice. We consider also how animal models can be used to accelerate translational research efforts, describing a unique approach to modeling that may be especially relevant for translation into effective intervention strategies for persons with autism and related disorders.
Continuum-Based Model of Behavioral Treatment for Children With Autism: A Multi-Factor and Multi-Dimensional Perspective
RAYMOND G. ROMANCZYK (Institute for Child Development, Binghamton University), Jennifer M. Gillis Mattson (Auburn University)
Abstract: ABA-based intervention is often mistakenly characterized as constituting very few procedures (e.g., Discrete Trial Instruction - DTI) conducted under limited conditions (e.g., at a table, with “instructor selected” objectives, in repetitive fashion, etc.). While some behavior analytic procedures may be used more than others in the treatment of autism (e.g., DTI), there is considerable variability and flexibility within procedures comprising ABA intervention. Further, there are multiple parameters of comprehensive intervention that deserve careful consideration, including assessment, curriculum or intervention planning, goal selection and prioritization, on-going progress monitoring, intervention and intervention setting methodology, and family/caregiver involvement. We will discuss the importance of careful consideration of multiple factors of a continuum-based ABA treatment approach, and will review the different dimensions of each factor that must be addressed to derive an appropriately individualized and sensitive treatment program for persons with autism.



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