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 #191
CE Offered: BACB
Recent Research on Skill Acquisition With Children With Autism
Monday, May 30, 2016
9:00 AM–9:50 AM
Roosevelt, Hyatt Regency, Bronze East
Area: AUT/VRB; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Megan Michelle St. Clair (Institute for Effective Behavioral Intervention)
Discussant: Timothy M. Weil (Tandem Behavioral Health and Wellness)
CE Instructor: Megan Michelle St. Clair, M.A.

Early intensive behavioral intervention is a well-established treatment for children with autism spectrum disorders. However, many details of treatment have yet to be individually empirically evaluated. For example, ample research supports both more-structured teaching procedures (e.g., discrete trial training) and less-structured teaching procedures (e.g., natural environment training) but little research has evaluated strategies for combining them in optimal proportions. In addition, relatively little research has evaluated procedures for teaching children with autism to identify and respond to the private events of others. This symposium brings together two studies that address these topics. The symposium concludes with a discussion by Dr. Timothy Weil.

Keyword(s): DTT, knowing, NET, perspective taking

Comparison of Pure Natural Environment Training to Blended Discrete Trial and Natural Environment Training

COURTNEY TARBOX LANAGAN (FirstSteps for Kids), Jonathan J. Tarbox (FirstSteps for Kids), Stephanie Paden (FirstSteps for Kids), Danielle Pederson (FirstSteps for Kids)

Naturalistic behavioral skill acquisition procedures have been used with children since the 1960s and continue to be an integral component of comprehensive early intensive behavioral intervention (EIBI) programs for children with autism. Some advocates of natural environment training (NET) suggest that NET is virtually always superior to structured teaching procedures such as discrete trial training (DTT) and several studies have compared NET-only to DTT-only and shown that NET was superior. However, it can be argued that such research evaluated what amounts to a false comparison because they evaluated DTT implemented alone. Most comprehensive EIBI programs today implement a combination of DTT and NET and few behavior analysts would suggest that DTT ever be used without any other more naturalistic approaches. Therefore, the purpose the current study is to compare NET-only to DTT combined with NET for the acquisition and generalization of verbal behavior in children with autism. This combination mirrors more closely what is actually done in contemporary comprehensive EIBI programs.


Teaching Children With Autism to Identify and Explain Known and Unknown Information Across Self and Others

MEGAN MICHELLE ST. CLAIR (Institute for Effective Behavioral Intervention), Adel C. Najdowski (ABRITE), Angela M. Persicke (Autism Research Group, Center for Autism and Related Disorders (CARD)), Kristin V. Gunby (Breakthrough Autism), Jennifer Chu (Breakthrough Autism)

All previous research regarding perspective-taking has solely addressed the use of sight to acquire knowledge and perspective. No previous studies, of which we are aware, have sought to systematically teach children with autism how to identify and explain known and unknown information across oneself and others using a wider variety of senses. Therefore, the purpose of the current research study was to extend behavioral research on the topic of knowing by evaluating the effectiveness of a multiple exemplar training package that included rules, modeling, practice, and feedback, in teaching children with autism to identify and explain information that is known and unknown to themselves and others based on sensory perspective taking and experience.




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