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 #86
CE Offered: BACB
Generalization From the Clinic
Saturday, May 25, 2019
3:00 PM–3:50 PM
Hyatt Regency East, Lobby Level, Plaza Ballroom AB
Area: AUT; Domain: Translational
Chair: Karen Nohelty (Center for Autism and Related Disorders)
CE Instructor: Karen Nohelty, M.Ed.

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is used to teach individuals diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in a variety of settings. While there are many benefits for clients receiving sessions in a clinic-based setting, one area that deserves attention from clinicians is generalization. The gains made by clients have a significantly greater impact when their skills are demonstrated in situations in which training did not occur. Assessing and planning for the occurrence of generalization are key components of quality programming for individuals with ASD. Clinician cannot “train and hope” that skills will generalize to other locations, parents, etc. In this symposium, research on generalization from three different perspectives will be discussed to provide more information to clinicians programming for generalization. In the first talk, a literature review on the amount and type of generalization measured in research studies on individuals with ASD will be shared, along with a discussion of the factors leading to successful generalization. Following this discussion, the effects of a parent training program on parent-child interactions and parental self-efficacy will be reviewed. Lastly, data will be presented on the generalization of treatment gains made in the clinic setting, to parents in the home.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): clinic-based, generalization, parent training
Target Audience:

Board Certified Behavior Analysts, Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analysts

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) describe the current state of inclusion of generalization in recent research articles on individuals with ASD; (2) describe elements of an effective parent training program; (3) identify factors contributing to the success of generalization from the clinic with a technician to the home with parents.
A Review: Examining the Use of Generalization in the Current Literature
LEAH HIRSCHFELD (Center for Autism and Related Disorders), Karen Nohelty (Center for Autism and Related Disorders), Dennis Dixon (Center for Autism and Related Disorders (CARD))
Abstract: A key component of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is generalization: the occurrence of skills under circumstances in which they were not specifically trained. In order for generalization to occur, ABA practitioners can teach a number of different scenarios and examples so individuals use the instructional concept outside of one context. This review examined articles in the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis over five years. In order to be included in the review, articles had to be primary research that included at least one participant diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Our review showed that researchers frequently did not plan for generalization; however, of the articles that did program for generalization, a majority of them utilized a generalization promotion strategy in the research study design. This review also examined the factors that lead to the success of generalization. The results of this review provide information to better inform current ABA practices to increase generalization of skills taught to individuals with ASD.
Examination of Effects of Parent Training on Parent-Child Interactions
(Service Delivery)
JULIE LEMON (Center for Autism and Related Disorders), Karen Nohelty (Center for Autism and Related Disorders), Dennis Dixon (Center for Autism and Related Disorders (CARD)), Nicholas Marks (Center for Autism and Related Disorders), Christopher Miyake (Center for Autism and Related Disorders)
Abstract: Parent training has been established as a key element of treatment programs for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). However, treatment gains noted in the research vary greatly. The current study expanded upon past research on the naturalistic developmental behavioral intervention, Project ImPACT, by modifying procedures to increase accessibility to parents (e.g. removing homework) and incorporate collaborative practitioner strategies (e.g. asking open ended questions, individualizing examples). Twelve weekly sessions were implemented for six children with ASD and their parents. Each week, the clinician reviewed the target skill(s) with the parent during a 1-hour session and then used behavioral skills training to support the parent in demonstrating the target skill(s) with his/her child during a subsequent 30-minute session. A concurrent multiple baseline design across participants was used to examine parent treatment integrity scored from a video of interaction with the child. Data indicate an increase over baseline throughout the course of the treatment for all participants. Additionally, on a measure of parental self-efficacy scores increased over baseline for 5 out of 6 parents. These results build upon the research base behind the benefits of parent training and provide details regarding parental treatment integrity throughout the course of the intervention.
Generalization of Clinic-Based Treatment Gains to Parents
(Applied Research)
KAREN NOHELTY (Center for Autism and Related Disorders), Dennis Dixon (Center for Autism and Related Disorders (CARD)), Leah Hirschfeld (Center for Autism and Related Disorders)
Abstract: While Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) as a treatment for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) has demonstrated effectiveness across a multitude of studies, generalization of gains is an area of concern. Not only is it necessary to consider generalization from clinicians to parents, but it is also critical to program for generalization of skills mastered in a clinic to the home. In this study, for children with ASD receiving the majority of their ABA services in a clinic-based setting, skills were identified that were mastered within the ABA program and indicated as not known by parents via the Skills® Assessment before instruction began. The amount of parent training received by the children’s parents was compared with the percent of skills known in a probe at home with their parent. Preliminary data indicate that the children demonstrated a high rate of generalization of skills at home with their parent regardless of amount of parent training received. While the generalization noted by this study is promising, more research is needed to clarify the variables impacting the transfer of skills across people and settings. However, this study provides early support of generalization of skills for children with ASD receiving services at a clinic.



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