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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.

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Ninth International Conference; Paris, France; 2017

Event Details

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Paper Session #96
Topics in Autism: Applied Research
Wednesday, November 15, 2017
2:00 PM–3:50 PM
Forum ABC, Niveau 1
Area: AUT
Chair: Thomas S. Higbee (Utah State University)
Identification of Untrained Emotions by Individuals With Autism Spectrum Disorder After Equivalence Relations Training
Domain: Applied Research
Anna Plessa (University of Auckland), Angela Arnold-Saritepe (University of Auckland), JESSICA CATHERINE MCCORMACK (The University of Auckland)
Abstract: The primary purpose of this study was to investigate the application of equivalence-based instruction (EBI) to teaching facial emotions both as an isolated stimulus and within a social context. Nine children with ASD aged 9-12 years were taught to identify six facial expressions of emotions (A) correctly, and to relate them to the situational context (C) by using the stimulus equivalence technology. The participants were using a tablet and the stimuli were presented to the participants on the tablet’s screen. A pre-test was conducted to assess the participants’ ability to match pictures of facial expressions (A) to written labels of emotions (B) and to match pictures of emotional situations (C) to pictures of facial expressions (A). In the test phase, a matching-to-sample procedure was used to teach the participants to match AB and BC. A post-test assessed the participants’ ability to match AC. Generalisation probes were conducted using novel picture stimuli and video clips. Preliminary group data on each emotion are presented in conjunction with individual performances. The results contribute to the literature suggesting that stimulus equivalence training can be effective in teaching emotional recognition to children with ASD. However, generalisation results varied remarkably between participants. Clinical and further research implications will be discussed.
 
The Effects of Group Contingencies on Students' Behavioral Problems in a Classroom
Domain: Applied Research
CHING CHRISTY LAI (Autism Partnership Hong Kong; St. Cloud State University)
Abstract: Inclusion of students with disabilities in regular classrooms has raised wide interest from educators (National Center for Learning Disabilities, 2014). Researchers have studied different contingency systems so that students with disabilities and students that engage in high rates of disruptive behaviors succeed in regular classrooms (Barrish, Saunders, & Wolf, 1969; Donaldson, Vollmer, Krous, Downs, & Berard, 2011; Greenwood, Hops, Delquadri, & Guild, 1974). Of the reinforcement contingencies, group reinforcement contingencies are more commonly used mainly due to their economic feasibility and practicality, and utilization of the peer group to control and enhance classroom behavior (Litoe & Pumroy, 1975). The present study aimed to study the effectiveness of independent and interdependent group contingencies on students worksheet responses in a classroom. The present study found that six students with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) maintained similarly high worksheet responses across both academic subjects and types of group contingencies. The group contingencies appeared to be equally effective. However, more students preferred the interdependent group contingency for all sessions during the choice conditions for both academic subjects.
 
A Study of Learning Robustness for Children With Autism and Related Disorders: Assessing the Maintenance and Generalization of Baseline Competency
Domain: Applied Research
DOUGLAS S. LEE (Behavioral Solutions Inc.), Francisca Bix Sie Lee (Learning Ladders Society), Hui Min Lim (Learning Ladders Society)
Abstract: Children with Autism are known for having unique learning profiles. Two aspects of concern regarding their learning profiles relate to the stability and the flexibility of their learning. Overestimating the childrens true learning could expose them to unwanted consequences later on, as further skill demands are placed on them. On the other hand, underestimating their potential could seriously impede their development. Based on our preliminary research we have been looking at the stability and flexibility of childrens behavioral repertoires who show higher levels of competence during a baseline assessment. This mirrors the situation in many school settings where teachers assess the skills sets of their students during, for instance, the beginning of the school year. Our initial results suggested that caution needs to be taken in deciding to pass children using initial evaluations of scoring 70% or higher at baseline. In our current study we are attempting to evaluate if there are differential outcomes for children who score in the 70, 80 or 90% range at baseline given standardized criteria for evaluating the maintenance and generalizability of their behavior.
 
Strategies for Promoting Behavioral Variability in Young Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder
Domain: Applied Research
THOMAS S. HIGBEE (Utah State University), Matthew T. Brodhead (Michigan State University), Katie Endicott (Cache County School District), Bethany P. Contreras Young (Utah State University)
Abstract: Behavioral rigidity, or a lack of behavioral variability, is a defining characteristic of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Over the past several years, researchers have begun to study the operant characteristics of behavioral variability and to develop interventions designed to increase response variability in contexts where behavioral variability is desirable. In the current presentation, I will discuss recent research at Utah State University where we examined behavioral strategies for increasing variability in requesting behavior and play behavior in young children with autism. Strategies employed included social scripting and script fading, lag schedules, and discrimination training. Data from the studies presented indicate that behavioral variability is, in fact, an operant dimension of behavior that can be controlled by both reinforcement and discriminative stimuli. We also found that behavioral variability can be increased for both verbal behavior and play behavior in young children with autism using behavioral interventions. The implications of this series of studies for applied practice will also be reviewed and discussed as well as suggestions for future research in this area.
 
 

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