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 #246
The Effectiveness of Choice in Assessment and Intervention of Children With Autism and Related Disorders
Sunday, May 30, 2010
3:00 PM–4:20 PM
204AB (CC)
Area: AUT/DDA; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
Chair: Ruth M. DeBar (Caldwell College)
Discussant: Helen I. Cannella-Malone (The Ohio State University)
CE Instructor: Brandon Forth, M.D.
Abstract: Applied behavioral research strongly supports the use of choice in assessment and intervention with learners with Autism and related disorders. Various uses of choice are supported in the literature resulting in outcomes of increasing on-task behavior and decreasing challenging behaviors in learners with Autism and related disorders. Further, previous research supports the use of various choice paradigms in the assessment of stimulus preference. The purpose of this symposium is to highlight investigations that have differentially explored the use of choice. Specifically, one paper will explore the use of duration of an eye gaze response to indicate stimulus preference. Another paper will examine choice of instructional materials on interfering behaviors. Lastly, the third paper will address the use of creating and completing a textual schedule on on-task behaviors. Collectively, the results of these explorations further support the use of choice and suggest that when embedded within various interventions, there are positive outcomes across different dependent measures.
An Examination of the Use of Eye Gaze to Assess the Preferences of Individuals With Severe Physical and Intellectual Disabilities
GEOFFREY WHEELER (The Ohio State University), Courtney Fleming (The Ohio State University), Helen I. Cannella-Malone (The Ohio State University), Abby Basbagill (The Ohio State University), Yi-Chieh Chung (The Ohio State University), Kristall J. Graham (The Ohio State University)
Abstract: This study used duration of eye gaze toward a stimulus to measure preference in four high school students with severe cognitive and physical disabilities. In the first phase, a pair-wise preference assessment was conducted using duration of eye gaze as the selection method. In the second phase, the reinforcing effects of the most highly preferred (i.e., selected most frequently) and the least preferred (i.e., selected least frequently) items identified in phase one were assessed using a reversal design. The results indicated that for all four participants, the item identified as highly preferred in the preference assessment successfully acted as a reinforcer and the item identified as the least preferred did not act as a reinforcer. These results suggest that using duration of eye gaze toward a stimulus may be a promising method for identifying preferred items that can act as reinforcers for individuals who are not able to physically select stimuli
The Effects of Choice of Instructional Materials on Competing Behaviors of Children Diagnosed With Autism
ASHLEY C. FOGLE (Including Kids, Inc.), Ruth M. DeBar (Caldwell College)
Abstract: Research positively supports the use of choice embedded within academic tasks. One area of choice making that has received little attention is assessing the effects of providing choice of academic materials on interfering behaviors. The purpose of this investigation was to evaluate the effects of providing choice of instructional materials on competing behaviors determined to be maintained by escape or attention with children diagnosed with autism. Across participants, a brief analogue functional analysis was conducted to determine the function of competing behaviors. A reversal design was then employed to assess the effects of material choice related to academic tasks. Results showed that for two of the participants whose competing behaviors were maintained by escape, the intervention was effective in decreasing competing behaviors. For the participant whose competing behaviors were determined to be maintained by attention, a positive effect was observed once a DRA/extinction procedure was implemented. Generalization of the intervention was assessed and results indicate that choice of task related materials was successful in maintaining low occurrences of competing behaviors when implemented in the learner’s typical learning environment. Results of the social validity measure indicate that classroom teachers positively viewed the intervention.
Teaching Children with Autism to Independently Choose Activities and Create a Textual Schedule
DIANA ZITELLI (Caldwell College), Sharon A. Reeve (Caldwell College), Tina Sidener (Caldwell College), Patrick R. Progar (Caldwell College)
Abstract: Individuals with autism often demonstrate dependence on adults to remain on task, especially during unstructured leisure time. Activity schedules have been used to teach individuals with autism to independently structure their leisure time. Teaching individuals with autism to create their own activity schedules may further reduce the need for adult supervision. Embedding choice in the schedule may further promote self management skills and decrease off-task behavior. Few studies, however, have investigated teaching schedules in this way. The present study used a multiple probe across participants design to assess the effects of teaching three adolescents with autism to independently choose activities and create a textual schedule on increasing task engagement during unstructured leisure time. Reinforcement and manual prompts were used and faded by graduated guidance to teach the participants to select activities from a choice board, write a list of leisure activities, and follow the textual schedule by completing and crossing off each activity on the list in sequence. Results indicated that all participants learned to independently choose activities, prepare and use textual schedules. Independent engagement also increased for all participants resulting in a reduced dependence on adult supervision.



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