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

Previous Page


Symposium #417
CE Offered: BACB
Assessment and Teaching of Abstract and Complex Social Behaviors to Children With Autism
Monday, May 31, 2010
1:30 PM–2:50 PM
203AB (CC)
Area: AUT/DDA; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
Chair: Sabrina D. Daneshvar (Autism Spectrum Therapies)
CE Instructor: Philip Hineline, Ph.D.
Abstract: It is well documented in the literature that individuals with autism have deficits in understanding and performing abstract and complex social behaviors. Specifically, they lack a fundamental understanding of other people’s perspectives (e.g., Baron-Cohen, Leslie & Frith, 1985) and are unable to engage in behaviors related to taking another person’s perspective such as lying or cheating. Included in the present symposium are 4 papers reviewing: 1) the development of abstract social behaviors in typically developing individuals and individuals with autism, 2) the assessment of social behaviors in individuals with autism and 3) the teaching of social behaviors to individuals with autism using empirically validated strategies (discrimination training and video modeling). Findings are discussed in terms of applications to natural settings, increased participation in social interactions and overall improvements in quality of life for individuals with autism.
The Development of Perspective Taking and Lying in Typically Developing Individuals and Individuals With Autism
JENNIFER BURKE (Autism Spectrum Therapies)
Abstract: It is well documented that individuals with autism demonstrate difficulties with abstract social behaviors, such as perspective taking in the form of lying. In contrast to typically developing peers, individuals with autism struggle with understanding, performing, and knowing when to perform or not to perform these social behaviors, even if language abilities are within a normal range. This presentation will review the development of two behaviors in typical children: perspective taking and lying, and what is known about the development of these behaviors in individuals with autism. There is currently a lack of information regarding children with autism and the development of the ability to successfully lie. The ability to lie involves higher order processes, such as theory of mind and perspective taking. It is well known that children with autism have difficulty with perspective taking (Perner, Frith, Leslie, & Leekam, 1989); however research has shown that initial deficits in these areas that can be improved through the use of behavior techniques such as reinforcement, modeling, and prompting (e.g., Carr & Darcy, 1990). The purpose of this discussion is to summarize what is know about the development of lying and perspective taking in typically developing children and children with autism.
The Assessment of Socially Abstract Behavior in Children With Autism
SARA GOMEZ (Autism Spectrum Therapies)
Abstract: Children with autism spectrum disorders demonstrate a variety of social impairments (e.g., Anderson, Oti, Lord & Welch, 2009). Abstract social behaviors such as lying and cursing are often never displayed or emitted in a socially appropriate context. Children with autism are not always aware of the discriminative stimuli in their environment which would typically elicit a particular response or behavior (Yirmiya, Solomonica-Levi & Shulman, 1996). Four children with autism participated in this study. The first phase of the study involved an assessment phase, in which a sample group of typically developing children (ages 6-10) were interviewed to determine under what conditions they lie and curse. These findings were used to establish what discriminative stimuli are present in the environment to gain appropriate response criteria for teaching discrimination. In the second phase, the 4 participants with autism were then also interviewed in order to compare their responses to those of their typical peers and focus the discrimination training. Assessment results found that typical children were likely to lie and curse based on the perspective of those in their current environment whereas children with autism lied less frequently and were less likely to take into consideration the individuals in their environment.
Teaching Discrimination of Abstract Social Behaviors to Children With Autism and/or Developmental Disabilities
CAITLIN ELIZABETH O'BOYLE (Autism Spectrum Therapies)
Abstract: The present study looked at the effects of a discrimination training procedure with respect to three abstract social behaviors: lying, cheating, and verbal aggression in children diagnosed with autism and/or developmental disabilities. The use of discrimination training procedures has been successful when implemented with children with autism and/or developmental disabilities for training when it is appropriate versus inappropriate to emit a previously learned behavior. This study explored more sophisticated forms of social behaviors that are complex, and therefore difficult to operationally define. A multiple baseline across participants design was utilized. Baseline assessments were conducted based on the lack of discrimination on the participants’ part. Discrimination training was defined as training participants to emit certain behaviors at appropriate times versus inappropriate times. Post-discrimination training, an analysis of participants was conducted and the behavior measured was participants’ ability to emit certain behaviors at appropriate times versus inappropriate times. Participant outcomes were later compared to the criteria available on typically developing children (no discrimination training). The present study will produce preliminary findings and provide researchers and applied practitioners’ insight into perspective taking, further uses of discrimination training procedures, and further research on complex social behaviors with children with autism and/or developmental disabilities.
Video Modeling as a Group Instructional Strategy: The Effectiveness in Teaching Perspective Taking Skills to Children With Autism
EVE R. RASMUSSEN (Autism Spectrum Therapies), Sabrina D. Daneshvar (Autism Spectrum Therapies)
Abstract: Research has consistently documented the failure of children with autism to take someone else’s perspective, a skill that is developed in typical children starting around age 4 (e.g., Baron-Cohen et. al, 1985). Two previous studies have successfully used video modeling to teach perspective taking to children with autism (LeBlanc, et. al, 2003; Daneshvar & Charlop-Christy, 2003). Video modeling has been successfully utilized in classroom settings (e.g., Ayres & Langone, 2005); however, the video model is presented to a child in a 1:1 teaching setting with a teacher or paraprofessional. The present study extends the previous research on teaching perspective taking by assessing whether video modeling presented as a classroom wide instructional strategy is effective in teaching perspective taking to children with autism. In addition, while previous research has focused on teaching first order, basic perspective taking skills, the present study also assessed the efficacy of video modeling in teaching second order, more advanced perspective taking tasks. Five children with autism, ages 4 to 9 participated in this study; results found that video modeling was effectively applied in a group setting and 5 out of the 5 children successfully acquired and generalized both first and second order perspective taking skills.



Back to Top
Modifed by Eddie Soh