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 #258
CE Offered: BACB
Parent Coaching Interventions to Build Relationships and Manage Health for Children With Autism
Sunday, May 27, 2018
12:00 PM–12:50 PM
Manchester Grand Hyatt, Grand Hall D
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Emily Gallant (Caldwell University)
Discussant: Sandra R. Gomes (Somerset Hills Learning Institute)
CE Instructor: Kevin J. Brothers, Ph.D.

This presentation will discuss two parent-coaching interventions employed for a number of families in a private school for children with autism. We consider the two outcomes targeted (i.e., a generalized repertoire of managing contingencies of reinforcement, and children's healthy weight and body mass index) critical to address early in intervention, with important long-term benefits as they are maintained. Though the same general procedures are used across families within each intervention, a number of variables are individualized during implementation. This flexibility within a standardized framework allows delivery of parent coaching that is efficient, but also effective. First, we will discuss an intervention to teach parents skills of managing contingencies of reinforcement for their children with autism in various settings and contexts. Next, we will describe a multidisciplinary approach to teach weight management skills to parents for their children with autism. To conclude, we will discuss the benefits of this program-level approach to parent coaching interventions in the greater context of systems-based provision of behavioral intervention services. The presentation will thus offer both interventionists working directly with children/parents, and those in management/supervision roles, insights into useful parent coaching procedures for two very different skills related to autism intervention.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): contingency management, parent coaching, weight management
Target Audience:

The target audience is BCBA-D's, BCBA's, or other behavior analysis professionals who directly teach children with autism, provide coaching to children's parents on interacting with and teaching their children with autism, are interested in behavior-analytic weight management interventions, and/or implement or are interested in behavioral systems analysis.


A Coaching Intervention Package to Teach Parents Contingency Management of On-Task and Undesirable Behaviors of Their Children With Autism

KEVIN J. BROTHERS (Somerset Hills Learning Institute), Emily Gallant (Somerset Hills Learning Institute; Caldwell University), Sandra R. Gomes (Somerset Hills Learning Institute), Caralyn Harris (Somerset Hills Learning Institute)

We employed a systematic approach to coaching parents of young children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) to become skillful agents of behavior change across a variety of settings, contexts, and child behavior. Specifically, parents were taught to manage contingencies: (a) at school, at home, and in the community; (b) surrounding children's initiations, anticipated undesirable behaviors, and undesirable behaviors occurring in vivo; and (c) with expectations of child behavior and across specific activities individualized to child needs and parent concerns. Dependent variables were (a) percentage of opportunities during which a parent correctly managed contingencies, (b) percentage of intervals with children's on-task behavior, and (c) percentage of intervals in which children engaged in undesirable behavior (e.g., stereotypy, disruptive behavior). Treatment effects across parents are positive, with parents increasing contingency management skills from baseline to criterion levels across a variety of settings, contexts, and child behaviors with rapid acquisition across numerous successive phases. In all cases, these were associated with concomitant increases in children's on-task behaviors to criterion levels and decreases in child undesirable behaviors to zero- or near-zero levels. Variability in skill acquisition patterns across parents, settings, contexts, and child behaviors are discussed, as is the impact of each individualized condition sequence.


A Nursing and Behavior-Analytic Collaboration to Teach Weight Management Skills to Parents of Children With Autism

DEBRA BROTHERS (Somerset Hills Learning Institute), Kevin J. Brothers (Somerset Hills Learning Institute), Emily Gallant (Somerset Hills Learning Institute; Caldwell University), David Kelleher (Somerset Hills Learning Institute), Edgar D. Machado (Somerset Hills Learning Institute), Jennifer Rodzinak (Somerset Hills Learning Institute)

The school nurse, in collaboration from classroom teachers, teacher supervisors, and the school's executive director, implemented a parent-coaching intervention package to help reverse unhealthy trends in children's body mass index (BMI). Overweight and obesity, especially among children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), is a growing national concern with imminent and lifelong health implications. Via routine school screenings, three children and two young adults with ASD were identified as overweight, obese, or underweight. Parents were coached to measure and report children's food consumption, increase the proportion of healthy foods in the child's diet by reducing servings of nutritionally poor foods (e.g., cookies, chips), increasing servings of nutrient-rich foods (e.g., vegetables, fruits), and increasing daily physical activity using a shaping procedure. Coaching at school and/or at home and supplemental teaching to increasing food repertoires at school were implemented based on individual student needs. Results indicate reversal of trend in BMI for all five students; two students achieved healthy-range BMI, and two achieved BMI designations healthier than those prior to intervention. Improved outcomes are predicted for the fifth student by time of presentation. Outcomes represent an effective, individualized, school-based multidisciplinary collaboration of behavior analysts, health professionals, and parents to manage unhealthy weight in students with ASD.




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