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 #127
Intervention Strategies for Older Learners With Autism Spectrum Disorder: Enhancing Life and Work Skills
Saturday, May 26, 2018
5:00 PM–5:50 PM
Manchester Grand Hyatt, Seaport Ballroom G
Area: AUT/PRA; Domain: Translational
Chair: Kaitlin Ross (MECA)

Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder who graduate from the public school system face an uncertain future. It is well known that the amount and quality of services for adolescents and adults with ASD pale in comparison to the supports offered in the public school (K-12) system. However, adolescents and adults face significant life concerns associated with living and working in their communities. Most individuals do not have jobs. Most individuals don't access community opportunities such as restaurants, parks, exercise facilities, and movie theaters. Innovative programming must be developed to increase the choice, competency, and control that these individuals can exert over what they do with their lives. This symposium will provide data-based examples of behaviorally-based programs that focus on unique challenges that these individuals pose. These instructional programs incorporate principles of behavior change that result in improved vocational independence, improved coping of aversive events, and enhanced independence of completing academic activities. More data-based programming must be developed for these individuals who are transitioning into the real world and dealing, often for the first time, with these real-world problems.

Instruction Level: Basic
Keyword(s): ASD adolescents, ASD adults, community integration

Effectiveness of Electronic Visual Schedules on Task Completion and Transitioning of Adolescents With Developmental Disabilities

(Applied Research)

Adolescents with developmental disabilities are often unable to navigate single daily tasks without depending on verbal prompts. The purpose of this study was to measure the effectiveness of electronic visual schedules on task completion and independent transitioning from one task to another. Four high school students diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders participated. A single subject multiple baseline design was used for the study. During the baseline, students followed a paper based daily schedule. Independence in task completion and transitioning were measured. During the intervention, an application, First Then Visual Schedule High Definition, on an iPod was provided for each student. Individualized tasks were programmed into each device's app and adjusted for individual academic goals and unique needs at the beginning of the academic day. Participants' independence was monitored during academic lessons and during community based instructions for 20 consecutive days. Applying the principles of behavior analysis, an additional intervention condition was presented to one of the participants. The results showed that task completion and independent task transition of all participants increased when using FTVS HD app on an iPod.


The Effects of Using an iPad Mini to Teach Vocational Tasks

(Applied Research)
KARI ANNE DUNLOP (HMEA; Endicott College)

Young adults with disabilities, specifically autism spectrum disorder (ASD), struggle to find competitive employment upon completion of schooling. It is critical to minimize dependence upon other people to assist with tasks to make the transition from school to adult work more successful. The present study evaluated the use of a technologically presented visual schedule, Choiceworks on the iPad miniTM to teach vocational skills to four young adults with ASD. Using a multiple baseline design, participants mastered vocational tasks, maintained, and generalized those skills to community vocational settings, with the use of the technology. Overall, 75% of tasks were mastered across participants, and all participants mastered at least one task. The majority also maintained skills and successfully generalized to known community settings. These findings suggest that the use of portable technology could have implications for teaching vocational skills to adults with disabilities. Future research should expand these findings to other disability groups, and the use of the technology in vocational settings.


Developing Adaptive Responses Through Systematic Desensitization to Challenging Stimuli

(Applied Research)
LAUREN ERION (Preparing Adolescents and Adults for Life (PAAL)), Dan Albrand (Preparing Adolescents and Adults for Life (PAAL)), Thomas L. Zane (University of Kansas), Gloria Satriale (Preparing Adolescents and Adults for Life (PAAL))

It has been well documented in the literature that individuals diagnosed with autism have challenges in developing adaptive skills, specifically the ability to cope with the ever-changing and often unanticipated events in their daily environment. These skills often come naturally to their typically developing peers and are essential to develop relationships, participate in their community, and increase quality of life. A deficit in these necessary adaptive skills can lead to extreme responses and behavioral concerns. The inability to tolerate and cope with a wide variety of unexpected stimuli is suggested to correlate with levels of anxiety which are reported to be far more prevalent in the ASD population. While cognitive functioning does not appear to play a role in the increased incidence of anxiety or lack of coping skills, potential relationships have been found between levels of executive functioning, emotional regulation, and social perception. This study explored these relationships for 3 adolescents with autism. Baseline measures of inappropriate behavior (indicators of anxiety) were taken, and then researchers implemented systematic desensitization while allowing escape to build tolerance and consistent reinforcement to increase the use of functionally relevant replacement behaviors across changing criteria. Preliminary results indicate systematic desensitization can build tolerance to aversive stimuli even with access to escape. Data demonstrate increasing use of coping strategies through reinforcement and explicit instruction across participants.




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