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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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44th Annual Convention; San Diego, CA; 2018

Event Details

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Symposium #90
CE Offered: BACB
A Discussion on Social Referencing, Empathy and Joint Attending
Saturday, May 26, 2018
3:00 PM–3:50 PM
Manchester Grand Hyatt, Seaport Ballroom H
Area: AUT/VRB; Domain: Applied Research
CE Instructor: Sandra R. Gomes, Ph.D.
Chair: Elena Garcia-Albea (Somerset Hills Learning Institute)
Abstract: The communication and social-skill deficits characteristically displayed by learners with autism are wide ranging, especially in the areas of social referencing, empathy, and joint attending. In the first presentation, a behavioral conceptualization of social referencing will be expanded upon, and the role of discriminative stimuli, social reinforcers, and transitive conditioned motivating operations in the acquisition of the chain of responding in typically-developing children will be discussed. Assessment data supporting this conceptualization will also be discussed as well as treatment considerations for establishing social referencing in children with autism. The second presentation, will provide an overview of the development of empathy, different theories accounting for empathy deficits in children with autism, and behavioral interventions used to teach empathy to children with autism. In addition, suggestions for future research will be described. The third presentation will describe an overview of a study that evaluated whether a three-component strategy consisting of (a) a general-case analysis, (b) multiple-exemplar training, and (c) experimenter-defined categories along with auditory scripts and script-fading, a trial-unique procedure, prompts and prompt-fading, and socially mediated consequences effectively established a generalized repertoire of initiating joint attending in four young children with autism.
Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): Joint Attending, Perspective taking,, Social Referencing, Verbal Behavior
Target Audience: Graduate Students and Board Certified Behavior Analysts
Learning Objectives: Audience Members will: 1) Define Joint Attending and describe a way to teach it using multiple exemplar training 2) Identify the compound discriminative stimuli for empathetic responding 3) Define social referencing from a behavior analytic perspective
 
A Conceptual Analysis of Social Referencing
PAMELA NICHOLE PETERSON (New England Center for Children), Rebecca P. F. MacDonald (New England Center for Children)
Abstract: Social referencing is a social response that has been largely discussed in the developmental literature. Behaviorally-defined as a discriminated operant consisting of a chain of responses following the presentation of a novel or ambiguous stimulus, social referencing is lacking in children with autism. Over the last several years, behavior analysts have begun to consider approaches most suitable to teaching this chain of responses to children with autism. A behavioral conceptualization of social referencing will be expanded upon, and the role of discriminative stimuli, social reinforcers, and transitive conditioned motivating operations in the acquisition of the chain of responding in typically-developing children will be discussed. Assessment data supporting this conceptualization will be discussed as well as treatment considerations for establishing social referencing in children with autism will be discussed. Interobserver agreement was collected in 33% of attention to distress assessment sessions for CWA and averaged 94% with a range of 82%-100%.
 
A Brief Review of the Literature of Empathy With Suggestions for Future Research
ELENA GARCIA-ALBEA (Caldwell University), Sharon A. Reeve (Caldwell University), Kenneth F. Reeve (Caldwell University), April N. Kisamore (Caldwell University), Linda A. LeBlanc (LeBlanc Behavioral Consulting LLC)
Abstract: The communication and social-skill deficits characteristically displayed by learners with autism are wide ranging. In particular, many children with autism have a marked impairment in the use of multiple nonverbal behaviors to regulate social interaction and communication. Children with autism who display empathy, which consists of appropriate concern and interest when others are sad, excited, or frustrated, will likely increase their opportunities for future interaction with peers and family members. Although investigations of empathetic behavior are not new to developmental psychology, behavior analysts have only recently begun to investigate this topic, both theoretically and empirically. Instead of assuming that an empathetic repertoire emerges as a function of development, behavior analysts contend that specific learning histories give rise to this complex, higher-order skill. Therefore, establishing the necessary learning history may help remediate deficits in empathetic responding often observed in individuals with autism. This review provides an overview of the development of empathy, different theories accounting for empathy deficits in children with autism, and behavioral interventions used to teach empathy to children with autism. In addition, suggestions for future research are described.
 
Establishing a Generalized Repertoire of Initiating Joint Attending With Children With Autism
SANDRA R. GOMES (Somerset Hills Learning Institute), Sharon A. Reeve (Caldwell University), Kenneth F. Reeve (Caldwell University), Kevin J. Brothers (Somerset Hills Learning Institute), Tina Sidener (Caldwell University)
Abstract: The current study evaluated whether a three-component strategy consisting of (a) a general-case analysis, (b) multiple-exemplar training, and (c) experimenter-defined categories along with auditory scripts and script-fading, a trial-unique procedure, prompts and prompt-fading, and socially mediated consequences effectively established a generalized repertoire of initiating joint attending in four young children with autism. One hundred forty stimuli consisting of 20 in each of 7 experimenter-defined categories were used to program for generalization for joint attending from trained to untrained stimuli. Two categories of 20 stimuli each were reserved for assessment of generalization. A multiple-baseline across-participants design with a multiple probe was used to assess the effectiveness of the treatment package on the establishment of a generalized repertoire of initiating joint attending. All four participants learned to make initiations for joint attending in the presence of training stimuli. In addition, all participants displayed response and stimulus generalization. That is, all scripts were successfully removed and participants continued to engage joint attending. Also, joint attending generalized from trained settings, interaction partners, and categories of stimuli to an untrained setting, interaction partner, and categories of stimuli. Joint attending skills also maintained at two-week and one-month follow-up assessments.
 

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