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.


44th Annual Convention; San Diego, CA; 2018

Event Details

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Symposium #132
CE Offered: BACB
Emerging Technologies and Alternative Modalities of Preference Assessment
Saturday, May 26, 2018
5:00 PM–5:50 PM
Manchester Grand Hyatt, Grand Hall A
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Audrey N. Hoffmann (Johnson State College)
CE Instructor: Audrey N. Hoffmann, Ph.D.

A large body of evidence exists supporting the use of preference assessment as part of providing behavior analytic services to individuals with disabilities. Although several empirically supported methods for identifying preference exist, practitioners and researchers often need to modify and individualize preference assessments to meet client needs, especially when using emerging technologies. For example, practitioners and researchers may need to identify preference for content on electronic devices or modalities for augmentative and assistive technology. The purpose of this symposium is to highlight the use of alternative forms of preference assessments. The first speaker will present a literature review study examining the efficacy of alternative modality stimulus preference assessments. The second speaker will present a study examining a modified MSWO preference assessment using picture icons to assess preference for content on an iPad. The third speaker will present a study examining preference for alternative communication apps commonly used by individuals with disabilities. Implications for alternative modality and individualized preference assessments will be discussed.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): alternative modality, communication applications, preference assessment, technology
Target Audience:

Applied Behavior Analysts, Researchers, Behavior Analytic Practitioners, Educators

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) describe recent research examining alternative forms of preference assessment; (2) list at least two methods for assessing preference for content on electronic devices; (3) explain why alternative methods of preference assessment may be necessary in everyday practice

Assessing Preferences of Individuals With Developmental Disabilities Using Alternative Stimulus Modalities: A Review

Megan R. Heinicke (California State University, Sacramento), James E. Carr (Behavior Analyst Certification Board), CATHERINE COPSEY (California State University, Sacramento)

The purpose of this review was to identify investigations comparing the efficacy of alternative modality stimulus preference assessments for individuals with developmental disabilities. We identified articles by searching peer-reviewed journals using the PsycINFO and ERIC databases, conducting table of content searches of common behavioral outlets, and conducting ancestral searches of recent reviews and practitioner summaries of preference assessment methods. A total of 32 articles met our inclusion criteria. These studies were then coded across a variety of features to gain a better understanding of the efficacy of alternative format preference assessment for individuals with developmental disabilities. In addition, we reviewed this literature for the use of prerequisite skill assessments and contingent reinforcer access to further investigate the relation between these variables and the success of pictorial, verbal, and video preference assessments. A variety of methodological concerns are discussed as well as suggestions for future research.


Using Pictures Depicting App Icons to Conduct an Multiple Stimulus Without Replacement Preference Assessment on a Tablet Device

Audrey N. Hoffmann (Johnson State College), RYAN PASKINS (Utah State University), Anna Brady (Utah State University), Tyra P. Sellers (Utah State University; Utah Behavior Support Clinic)

High tech items, such as iPads, are increasingly being used for individuals receiving behavior analytic services. When using iPads as part of behavioral services, it is important to assess preference for content delivered on the device, (i.e., applications or apps). Presenting apps for selection within a multiple stimulus without replacement (MSWO) preference assessment may involve unique difficulties (i.e., having multiple iPads to deliver an app on each screen, or needing to move apps around on the device prior to every presentation). This study examined the effects of using pictures depicting app icons within an MSWO preference assessment followed by reinforcer assessments to validate preference assessment outcomes. Participants included six adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities attending a vocational day program. Results of the app icon preference assessment included identifying preference hierarchies for all participants. Subsequently, when given a choice to earn different apps, five participants showed a clear pattern of responding toward the highest preferred app. Results have implications for using alternative formats when conducting preference assessments using high-tech devices.

Preference of Two Communication Applications and Ease of Navigation
DAPHNE HARTZHEIM (Louisiana State University), Surani Nakkawita (Louisiana State University), Cara Tyson (Louisiana State University)
Abstract: The aim of this study was to investigate how quickly someone unfamiliar to communication devices would navigate through two different systems. Further, our aim was to identify system preference. We recruited 10 adults, ages 20-30 years old. Recruitment continues until 30 adults and 15 children have participated in the study. Informed consent was obtained from participants. Twenty words with high- and low-frequency occurrence in regular conversation were identified. We utilized two communication apps (i.e. Speak for Yourself (SfY) and Proloquo2Go (P2G)) that are frequently used by therapists. SfY is based on motor planning theories, while P2G has a linguistic organization. Participants were asked to find words four times, twice using P2G and twice using SfY. All sessions were video-recorded to measure reliability. Duration and frequency of touches to get to target word were measured. Additionally, we interviewed each participant on their device preference. Thus far, results indicate no significant difference frequency of touches during first attempt between the apps. During the second attempt, participants needed less touches using P2G. Further, participants used less time using P2G. All ten participants indicated a preference for P2G due to ease of operation, categorization, logical organization and color coded layout.



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