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

Workshop Details

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Workshop #W11
CE Offered: BACB
Augmentative and Alternative Communication in Autism: Evidence-Based Strategies to Enhance Communication and Remediate Challenging Behavior
Friday, May 28, 2010
10:00 AM–5:00 PM
Texas Ballroom Salon B (Grand Hyatt)
Area: AUT/DDA; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
CE Instructor: Scott Gaynor, Ph.D.
OLIVER WENDT (Purdue University), MIRIAM CHACON BOESCH (Purdue University), RAVI NIGAM (Governors State University)
Description: This workshop will provide an introduction and overview of interventions in augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) for autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). One of the core ASD symptoms includes a “delay in, or total lack of, the development of spoken language.” Approximately 25-50% of children with ASD are functionally nonverbal and will not develop sufficient natural speech or writing without ongoing and systematic AAC intervention. AAC augments or replaces spoken language through alternative means of communication. The first part of this workshop will review evidence-based AAC strategies to facilitate functional communication skills, enhance natural speech production, and increase social-communicative behaviors. Strategies include unaided approaches such as manual signs and gestures, and aided approaches such as graphic symbols, Picture Communication Exchange System, and speech-generating devices. The second part will focus on how to use AAC for remediating challenging behaviors such as aggression or self-injury. AAC strategies can be part of functional communication training—a systematic program to replace challenging behavior with alternative communicative responses. Results from recent systematic reviews of single-subject and group experiments will be reviewed to identify empirically supported AAC interventions. Pseudoscientific treatment claims will be outlined along with guidelines for evidence-based decision making when providing AAC services for ASDs.
Learning Objectives: After completion of this workshop participants will be able to do the following: 1. summarize and critically appraise research related to ASD and AAC approaches such as manual signs and gestures, communication boards with graphic symbols, tangible symbols, Picture Exchange Communication System, speech-generating devices, and functional communication training; 2. understand the potential benefits of AAC intervention on the development of natural speech in children with ASD, as well as the roles of behavioral versus naturalistic AAC intervention approaches for children with ASD; 3. understand how single-subject research is used to evaluate the effectiveness of AAC interventions, how practitioners can easily estimate the amount of treatment effectiveness, and how to identify quality criteria for sound treatment research in AAC; 4. define evidence-based practice in AAC, understand the benefits of systematic reviews and meta-analyses for clinical decision-making in ASD, and identify empirically supported AAC interventions for this population; 5. understand the controversy about facilitated communication and rapid prompting method, and be able to distinguish scientific from pseudoscientific AAC treatment claims.
Activities: Lecturing will provide an initial overview on the various AAC interventions and their effectiveness for individuals with ASD. Videotaped case studies will illustrate differences between AAC approaches and provide a better understanding of different intervention components. During practical exercises participants will learn how to use easy-to-compute nonparametric measures within a single-subject design to determine how effective an AAC or FCT intervention truly was. Group discussion will revolve around the presentation of two controversial videotapes, one on facilitated communication (FC), and the other on rapid prompting (RP). Participants will learn warning signs to watch for, when separating scientific from pseudoscientific treatment claims, and will subsequently apply these criteria to the FC and RP controversies. Finally, resources will be discussed that are available to practitioners seeking for best available AAC treatment evidence. Attendees will be provided with handouts of all the information covered in the workshop.
Audience: This workshop is intended for professionals working in the autism field who have an interest in AAC interventions for individuals presenting with little or no functional speech. Specifically, practitioners with motivation to implement evidence-based practices in AAC and particular interest in treatment efficacy will find this workshop very suitable for their needs. This can include applied researchers, behavior analysts, special education teachers, speech-language pathologists, graduate students in any of these disciplines, and other practitioners serving individuals with autism. A basic understanding of single-subject research methodology is advantageous to fully benefit from this workshop, but not strictly necessary.
Content Area: Practice
Instruction Level: Basic



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