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 #210
CE Offered: BACB
The Evolution of Technology for Individuals With Disabilities: Uses of Advanced Portable Devices to Teach Students and Train Staff
Monday, May 30, 2016
10:00 AM–10:50 AM
Randolph, Hyatt Regency, Bronze East
Area: AUT/DDA; Domain: Translational
Chair: Helen Bloomer (Helen Bloomer & Associates)
CE Instructor: Jessica Zawacki, M.S.

A variety of traditional high and low technological applications (smart boards, communication devices, picture schedules, timers) have long shaped the way special educators approach the education of persons with disabilities. The use of smart phones, tablets, and the ubiquitous Internet to teach are now widely accepted practices, have become routine and can often be found integrated into core curriculum, all with the great expectation that the new technology will result in significant gains in knowledge and competence. Much like the typically developing population, individuals with disabilities are increasingly relying upon their I Phones to make them more independent in their daily functioning. Recent advances in both hardware and software have greatly expanded the affordability, portability and wearability of technological devices. As technology continues to develop, the potential for evolutionary applications to advance solutions of some of the most daunting challenges to identify functions of behavior, frame effective intervention and increase staff competencies is great. However, the empirical research database is deficient with studies demonstrating the effectiveness of this new technology. Although educators use technology with abandon, technology is not yet firmly identified as evidenced-based practice, particularly with the older learner. The papers in this symposium will provide data-based empirical investigations on two examples of the use of advanced technology to teach. The first paper will comprehensively review the existing research regarding the use of technology to teach and whether there is an empirical basis to support these practices. The second paper investigates the use of wireless audio and live streamed video to train staff to competently implement instructional protocols with learners with autism. The third paper focuses on evaluating the biophysical correlates associated with self-injurious behavior, attempting to demonstrate possible variables that might aid in the reduction of such problems through the use of a FitBit.

Keyword(s): adolescents, autism, staff training, technology

A Review of the Use of Technology in the Education of Learners With Disabilities

Gloria M. Satriale (Preparing Adolescents and Adults for Life (PAAL)), Cheryl J. Davis (7 Dimensions Consulting/Endicott College), KARI ANNE DUNLOP (HMEA), Danielle LaFrance (Endicott College), Thomas L. Zane (Institute for Behavioral Studies, Endicott College)

Special educators have long used technology in the education of persons with disabilities. Smart boards, communication devices, picture schedules, and timers are examples of technological strategies to teach and maintain a variety of academic, communication, and social skills. As the technology has evolved, there is currently a new generation of personal technology devices that have great potential for supporting the education of these individuals. For example, smart phones, tablets, and the ubiquitous Internet can be used to support individuals with disabilities and make them more independent in their daily functioning. These devices are being used extensively in the education of special learners, with teachers purchasing IPads, loading them with education apps, and teaching the learners to use these devices, all with the great expectation that the new technology will result in significant gains in knowledge and competence. This paper reviews the breadth and depth of technological educational strategies. Technology was classified into its abilities, the skills needed to use, the skills it targets to teach, and the characteristics of the user. A review of the literature on the degree of evidence of effectiveness showed that technology is not the panacea and promise initially believed. There is little empirical investigation of its effectiveness, and the results are mixed. Conclusions will be drawn about the future use of technology, future research studies, and the extent to which skills can be supported by these new strategies.


Use of Remote Technology to Increase Fidelity in the Community-Based Instruction of Adolescents and Adults With Autism

JESSICA ZAWACKI (PAAL), Eric Schindeldecker (PAAL), Thomas L. Zane (Institute for Behavioral Studies, Endicott College), Gloria M. Satriale (Preparing Adolescents and Adults for Life (PAAL))

Over the next 10-15 years, approximately 800,000 children with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) diagnosis will be entering adulthood. Services for adults are likely to be decentralized with training taking place in various community settings; such as vocational environments, restaurants, exercise facilities, offices, hospitals, and during recreational activities. In adult services, the physical distance of various community placements, coupled with additional administrative and clincial responsibilities, may influence supervisors to selectively choose which programs and interventions to supervise based on the above constraints rather than the needs of students and staff. Fortunately, there is an increasing research database showing that various technologies can be successful in training and supporting staff. The purpose of this studey was to use a live-streaming device to train staff to implement instructional protocols while teaching adults with ASD across various community settings. Specifically, board certified behavior analysts listened in and viewed via a live streaming device instruction of learners and were able to provide immediate feedback to the staff to improve the fidelity to the instructional protocols. Using a multiple baseline design across participants, the findings showed that supervisors could effectively supervise staff from a distance using the live streaming technology and offer staff support that in turn reduced staff errors and increased fidelity of programming.

The Relationship Between Biophysical Markers and Self-Injurious Behavior Maintained by Automatic Reinforcement.
DAVID DRAGONE (Melmark/PAAL), Kaitlin Ross (PAAL), Gloria M. Satriale (Preparing Adolescents and Adults for Life (PAAL)), Thomas L. Zane (Endicott College/PAAL), Lauren Erion (PAAL)
Abstract: Self-injurious behavior (SIB) has been shown to occur for all of the four functions – attention, escape, tangible, and automatic. For those behaviors that are socially mediated in some way, there are generally accepted treatment strategies, such as escape extinction, functional communication training, and Differential Reinforcement for Other Behaviors (DRO). SIB that is automatically maintained is a unique dilemma. Since there are no obvious or detected environmental influences on this category of SIB, the cause(s) often remain murky and difficult to identify. One approach to explaining SIB involves examining biophysical variables that might elicit or evoke such behaviors. There are two competing theories related to physiological state of the person engaging in this behavior. Both hypotheses suggest that individuals engage in SIB to regulate their arousal state; either to activate (excite) the central and peripheral nervous systems, or lower/reduce the activity of these autonomic systems. Often the measurement of arousal states focuses on heart rate, salivary cortisol, and brain activity (via electroencephalogram). The purpose of the present study was to examine heart rate measures to facilitate the reduction of SIB in a teenage girl with autism. Wearing a wireless device that transmitted real-time heart rate data, baseline conditions involved measuring heart rate across her daily activities, particularly before and after episodes of hand biting. Intervention consisted of implementing antecedent interventions when heart rate was noticed to suddenly increase, and prior to the occurrence of the SIB. Results showed that there was a correlated pattern of heart rate changes along with different environmental conditions (e.g, leisure activities and SIB), and that when antecedent interventions were employed (cued by the heart rate), rates of SIB reduced. Results were discussed in terms of the use of physiological measures when examining problem behaviors of an automatic function.



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