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.


45th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2019

Event Details

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Symposium #233
CE Offered: BACB
Current Trends and Recent Advancements in Safety Skills Instruction
Sunday, May 26, 2019
10:00 AM–11:50 AM
Swissôtel, Event Center Second Floor, Vevey 1/2
Area: CBM; Domain: Translational
Chair: Douglas Kupferman (Caldwell University)
Discussant: Raymond G. Miltenberger (University of South Florida)
CE Instructor: Nancy Marchese, M.A.

Children are routinely exposed to potential hazards in everyday environments that may lead to injury, harm or even death. Safety skill instruction remains an important area of focus for scientist practitioners. This symposium will present four diverse papers focusing upon safety skills. The first paper will review strengths and gaps of safety skills research of individuals with ASD. The second paper will present research evaluating the extent to which BST conducted in a single context would evoke the safety response across a range of contexts. In the third paper, research on the use of social referencing to teach safety skills to toddlers with autism will be presented. The fourth paper will present findings on the use of videomodeling to establish differential responding to lures across known and unknown people. This symposium will commence with comments from an expert in safety skill instruction, Dr. Ray Miltenberger. Effective instructional strategies and areas of additional research will be discussed.

Instruction Level: Basic
Keyword(s): safety skills
Target Audience:

scientist practitioners

Learning Objectives: To discuss behavioral approaches to safety skills instruction To discuss the role of BST safety skills To discuss the role of social referencing on safety skills To discuss the role of videomodeling on safety skills To discuss the role of stimulus control and safety skills
Teaching Safety Skills to Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Review of the Literature
(Applied Research)
NANCY MARCHESE (Breakthrough Autism), Linda A. LeBlanc (LeBlanc Behavioral Consulting LLC), Melissa Bottoni (Breakthrough Autism)
Abstract: Individuals with autism are at risk for a variety of unsafe home- and community-based injuries and dangerous situations. This talk reviews the experimental research on behavioral strategies for teaching safety skills to individuals with autism. Behavioral strategies are effective in teaching a range of safety skills (e.g., seeking assistance when lost, responding appropriately to dangerous stimuli). However, some safety skills are understudied (e.g., water safety, home-based safety). Additional research is needed to investigate the variables that impact maintenance and generalization of safety skills.

Effects of Behavioral Skills Training on the Stimulus Control of Safety Responding

(Applied Research)
NICOLE LEE (Caldwell University), Jason C. Vladescu (Caldwell University), Kenneth F. Reeve (Caldwell University), Kathryn M. Peterson (University of Nebraska Medical Center's Munroe-Meyer Institute), Antonia R. Giannakakos (Manhattanville College)

Teaching individuals a safety response when they encounter a firearm may be one way to prevent accidental injuries or death. Previous researchers have used behavioral skills training (BST) with and without in-situ training to teach individuals with and without disabilities to engage in a safety response in the presence of a firearm. However, few studies have arranged BST to ensure the safety response occurred in response to a representative sample of all relevant stimulus features for which a response should be evoked. The purpose of the current study was to evaluate the extent to which BST conducted in a single context established stimulus control that would evoke the safety response across a range of contexts under which a dangerous stimulus could be encountered in a room in a house. All participants demonstrated a discriminated safety response following BST. Further, safety responses generalized across all contexts not associated with training for all participants.


The Use of Social Referencing to Teach Safety Skills to Toddlers With Autism

(Applied Research)
KATHRYN COUGER (NECC), Rebecca P. F. MacDonald (New England Center for Children)

The purpose of this study was to teach safety skills to 2 toddlers with autism through a social referencing chain. Experimental control came from a concurrent multiple probe design across stimulus categories within subjects, and a concurrent multiple probe design across stimulus sets. Participants were trained using differential reinforcement and least-to-most prompting to gaze shift from an item in a bin or a lunchbox to an adult and reach or use an “all done” response based on the adult’s facial expression. Mastery of the skill with the stimuli used in training were followed by social referencing probes where the child could not see the items within the bin or lunchbox and a novel items probe where unfamiliar items were presented in the bin and lunchbox. Results show acquisition of both discrimination between safe and dangerous stimuli and the maintenance of a social referencing chain in the presence of novel stimuli. Interobserver agreement was calculated for 31.6% of sessions and averaged 91.4% (range 75%-100%). These findings are discussed as they relate to the implications of teaching socially valid safety skills to toddlers with autism.


Effects of Video Modeling on Responding to Lures With Individuals With Autism Spectrum Disorder

(Applied Research)
CHRISTINA ABADIR (Caldwell University), Ruth M. DeBar (Caldwell University), Jason C. Vladescu (Caldwell University), Sharon A. Reeve (Caldwell University)

Deficits in safety skills and communication place individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) at risk of danger. Abduction prevention remains an understudied area. Video modeling has effectively resulted in the acquisition of safety skills for individuals with developmental disabilities and ASD. Existing research has yet to evaluate responding to lures from known people. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of video modeling to teach appropriate responding to lures from strangers using a multiple probe across participants with an embedded adapted alternating treatments design. We extended research by assessing responding to lures from known people by securing a code word using video modeling as the sole intervention. In addition, we programmed for and assessed generalization using multiple lure types, confederates, and locations. Participants learned to appropriately respond to lures from strangers and known people after viewing a video model and generalized responding to novel community settings, people, and lures. Maintenance was assessed for three participants at least one week following mastery criteria and maintained the skills. Procedures, goals and outcomes were considered socially valid among parents, clinicians, and educators.




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