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 #351
CE Offered: BACB
Behavior Analysis Goes to Preschool: Strategies for Increasing Critical Skills in Young Children
Sunday, May 26, 2019
5:00 PM–6:50 PM
Fairmont, Third Level, Crystal
Area: EDC/DEV; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Jennifer L. Austin (University of South Wales)
Discussant: Gregory P. Hanley (Western New England University)
CE Instructor: Gregory P. Hanley, Ph.D.

Preschool is potentially one of the most important years of school, as it may set the stage for a child’s later success in building important social, academic, and self-help skills. Behavior analytic strategies have much to offer in creating positive environments that foster the development of these important behaviors. In this symposium, we will address a range of issues pertaining to skill acquisition. The first presentation will address using multiple exemplar training to establish generalized helping behavior. The second presentation will analyze the intervention components necessary for teaching children to appropriately wash their hands. The third presentation will explore the effectiveness of strategies aimed at building letter-sound correspondence. The fourth presentation will present an analysis of reinforcement strategies for increasing on-task behavior. The studies will be discussed within the context of their contributions to the preschool literature, as well as what future research directions may be useful in promoting effective learning environments for young children.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): early childhood, preschool, skill acquisition
Target Audience:

Behaviour analysts working with young children

Developing Helping Behavior in Young Children Through Multiple Exemplar Training
GEORGE H. NOELL (Louisiana State University), Jeanne M. Donaldson (Louisiana State University), Kristin Gansle (Louisiana State University), Rachel Bradley (Louisiana State University), Catherine Lark (Children's Healthcare of Atlanta), Katherine Moore (Louisiana State University), Ashley Bordelon (Louisiana State University)
Abstract: Research has demonstrated that engaging in helping is highly valued by children and adults and has diverse benefits for the recipient, helper, and larger group. Not surprisingly, raising children who exhibit prosocial behavior such as helping others is a central concern for parents and societies. However, the learning process that leads to the emergence of helping remains under-studied. The current study examined the establishment of generalized helping behavior in young, typically developing children, in a context in which helping competed with ongoing toy play. Additionally, we examined the emergence of verbalizations about behavior that suggest the adoption of a socially conventional rule that helping is a good thing to do. Generalized helping was initially established through multiple exemplar training, with some participants also receiving rule instruction and behavioral feedback. Generalized helping emerged across all participants and 2 of 3 participants made verbalizations demonstrating a behavioral rule that helping is good.
Component Analysis of a Video-Modeling and Visual-Feedback Package on Handwashing in Preschool Children
RACHEL JESS (University of Kansas), Claudia L. Dozier (University of Kansas), Elizabeth Foley (University of Kansas), Kelsey Goddard (University of Kansas)
Abstract: Young children who attend out-of-home care (e.g., preschool) are more susceptible to infections than children who do not attend out-of-home care (Bylinsky, 1994). Previous research suggests handwashing is effective in reducing risk of infection and illness (Larson, 1988). However, research suggests that individuals do not routinely wash their hands using methods that healthcare agencies, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, have determined best practice (Witt & Spencer, 2004). The purpose of this study was to evaluate the separate and combined treatment components of a video-modeling and visual-feedback intervention on handwashing in preschool children: (a) rules, (b) singing a handwashing song, (c) video modeling, and (d) visual feedback. We evaluated the effects of the various intervention components on correct handwashing steps across groups of preschool children. Furthermore, we measured an index of hand cleanliness pre- and post-handwashing to determine how well children washed their hands. Overall, results suggest that the treatment components are most effective in increasing correct handwashing and cleanliness of children’s hands when combined as a packaged intervention.

The Effects of Paired Kinesthetic Movements on Literacy Skills Acquisition With Preschoolers

ERICA LOZY (Louisiana State University), Jeanne M. Donaldson (Louisiana State University)

The standard approach for teaching pre-reading skills is small and whole group instruction that combines passive and active techniques. Because the standard approach for evaluating pre-reading skills is conducted in a one-to-one format, skill deficits are identified as early as preschool and thus warrant early intervention. The purpose of this study was to compare a traditional drill (TD) and strategic incremental rehearsal (SIR) flashcard method on letter-sound correspondence with 5 preschool children. All participants mastered the letter sets in both conditions, however, results varied across and within participants: The TD method was superior for four evaluations and the SIR method was superior for four evaluations. Letter set mastery predicted follow-up data for five evaluations, suggesting that maintenance is a function of the superior method for each individual. Additionally, fewer treatment integrity errors occurred during the TD method, suggesting that TD should be considered first when implementing interventions for young children.

Comparison of the Effects of Conjugate and End-of-Session Reinforcement for Increasing On-Task Behavior in Preschoolers
SARA CAMILLE DIAZ DE VILLEGAS (University of Kansas), Claudia L. Dozier (University of Kansas), Rachel Jess (University of Kansas), Elizabeth Foley (University of Kansas)
Abstract: Researchers have demonstrated that manipulating various dimensions of reinforcement (i.e., magnitude, intensity, duration, and schedule of reinforcement) may produce changes in behavior (Morgan, 2010). For example, intermittent and continuous reinforcement schedules produce different patterns of responding (Lattal, 2010; Lerman, Iwata, Shore, & Kahng, 1996; Wallace, Iwata, Hanley, Thompson & Roscoe, 2012). A less common schedule of reinforcement termed “conjugate-reinforcement schedule” is a schedule in which a dimension of behavior directly controls some dimension of reinforcement (e.g., magnitude, intensity, or duration of reinforcement; Lewis, 1973; Rapp, 2008). Although previous research has demonstrated the influence of conjugate-reinforcement schedules on various behaviors, no studies have evaluated the effects of conjugate reinforcement on increasing socially important behavior in young children. Furthermore, few have compared the effects of a conjugate-reinforcement schedule to other reinforcement schedules. The purpose of this study was to compare the effects of a conjugate-reinforcement schedule to a schedule of reinforcement in which reinforcers are delivered at the end of a session for on-task behavior in preschool children. We also determined participant preference for the two schedules of reinforcement. Results show that the conjugate-reinforcement schedule was more effective for increasing on-task behavior and more preferred for most participants.



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