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

Workshop Details

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Workshop #W44
CE Offered: PSY/BACB
Mobile Technologies for Autism Intervention: Strategies for Communication and Visual Support, and Remediating Challenging Behavior
Saturday, May 28, 2016
8:00 AM–3:00 PM
Zurich D, Swissotel
Area: AUT/DDA; Domain: Applied Research
CE Instructor: Mandy J. Rispoli, Ph.D.
OLIVER WENDT (Purdue University), MANDY J. RISPOLI (Purdue University), MATTHEW T. BRODHEAD (Purdue University), RAVI NIGAM (Governors State University)
Description: This workshop will focus on the use of mobile technologies to implement augmentative and alternative communication (AAC), functional communication training (FCT), and visual supports into behavioral services for individuals with severe autism. Approximately 25–50% of children on the autism spectrum have complex communication impairments resulting in a lack of functional speech and language and unresolved challenging behaviors. AAC augments or replaces spoken language through alternative means of communication. AAC can remediate challenging behaviors within a FCT approach. Graphic AAC materials such as photographs, symbols, and line drawings provide visual support to enhance comprehension and learning. Breakthroughs in contemporary mobile technologies offer new opportunities to provide these interventions in efficient yet motivating and engaging ways to learners with severe autism. This workshop will start with evidence-based AAC strategies for functional and social communication, as well as natural speech production. Subsequently, presenters will address FCT applications for remediating challenging behaviors, and showcase how to use visual activity schedules to promote independence, choice-making, and social interactions. Particular emphasis will be on suitable tablet and app solutions to support these intervention goals. Data and video-cases from recent single-subject experiments will illustrate successful implementation into daily activities in clinical and school settings.
Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the workshop, the participant will be able to: (1) successfully apply principles of AAC and FCT to enhance behavioral programming for learners with severe autism; (2) effectively select technology solutions that are most suitable for a variety of AAC, FCT, and visual support applications; (3) effectively implement visual supports for a range of instructional and behavior modification activities; (4) distinguish well-designed from poorly-designed communication apps, and identify app features that are important to facilitate sensory-processing and prevent cognitive overload; (5) explain how single-subject research is used to evaluate the effectiveness of AAC and related interventions.
Activities: Workshop goals will be met through a balanced delivery of lecture, hands-on activities with follow-up discussion, and video case demonstrations. Infusion of empirical data will promote an evidence-based practice approach. Participants will learn the role of single-subject experimental designs for evaluating intervention efficacy for the presented strategies and approaches. Videotaped case studies will illustrate differences between AAC approaches and provide a better understanding of intervention components. Video cases will also demonstrate how to use AAC for facilitating natural speech development and remediating aggression and self-injury. Group discussion will evolve around the presentation of different types of app solutions and evaluation of app features; these will be examined in terms of ease of access and programming, suitability for ABA instruction, symbol iconicity, cost-efficiency, and ability to track progress. Finally, resources will be discussed that are available to practitioners seeking for further resources and treatment evidence. Attendees will be provided with supplemental materials and digital handouts of the information covered in the workshop.
Audience: Do you currently have learners with severe communication disorders and challenging behaviors such as aggression and self-injury? Are you finding your students are successful with manding but have difficulties with advanced communicative functions and complex language? Practitioners with motivation to implement evidence-based practices in AAC and particular interest in learning about mobile technology applications will find this workshop very suitable for their needs. This target audience includes applied researchers, Board Certified Behavior Analysts, licensed psychologists, special education teachers, speech-language pathologists, and graduate students in any of these disciplines. 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: Intermediate
Keyword(s): challenging behavior, communication intervention, mobile technology, visual supports



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