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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Paper Session #519
Patterns of Service and Diagnosis in Autism Spectrum Disorders
Monday, May 27, 2019
3:00 PM–4:50 PM
Hyatt Regency West, Ballroom Level, Regency Ballroom B
Area: AUT
Instruction Level: Intermediate
Chair: Michael Nicolosi (Queen's University Belfast; Voce nel Silenzio Onlus)

CANCELED: A Music Family Intervention to Promote Preverbal and Verbal Communication for Young Children With Autism

Domain: Applied Research
POTHEINI VAIOULI ( Hellenic Open University), Georgia Andreou (University of Thessaly Department of Special Education Volos, Greece)

The transactional model of language acquisition describes the language-learning process as reciprocal and dynamic. Children interact within their social environment and acquire a rich repertoire of gestures and sounds, which are prerequisites for language development. However, children with ASD seem to face significant barriers in symbolic and/or verbal communicative actions across partners and settings. Such challenges may impede language development and speech acquisition. This study explored the effectiveness of a family-centered, music therapy intervention to promote preverbal and verbal communication of young children with autism. The music therapy intervention utilized and expanded children’s vocalizations, melodic utterances, and babbling to enhance children’s communicative actions within their social environments (duration 15 weeks). Participants were eight children with autism (aged 3–6) and their parents. Pre- and post-data on children’s language abilities were collected through the Communication and Symbolic Behavior Scales Developmental Profile and the Pragmatics Profile of Everyday Communication Skills. During the intervention, qualitative data on each dyad’s engaging actions were gathered and analyzed. Analysis of the findings showed that music therapy, within the context of families, holds the potential to facilitate language development through children’s engagement in music making. Music therapy interventions may constitute a viable approach to enhance young children’s language development through engaging them in music-making episodes.


Sociodemographic Pattern and Comorbidities in Autistic Children With Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder in US Hospitals

Domain: Basic Research
RIKINKUMAR S PATEL (Department of Psychiatry, Griffin Memorial Hospital), Harkeerat Bhullar (Windsor University School of Medicine), Neelima Amaravadi (Department of Pediatrics, Oakleaf Eau Claire Medical Clinic), Hema Mekala (Department of Psychiatry, Griffin Memorial Hospital)

Objective: To determine demographic predictors of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in hospitalized children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and the impact of comorbidities on the length of stay (LOS). Methods: A retrospective study was performed using Nationwide Inpatient Sample data. All patients were =18 years with a primary diagnosis of ASD (N=3,095) and grouped by co-diagnosis of ADHD using ICD-9 diagnosis codes. Logistic regression was used to calculate the odds ratio (OR) and linear regression for estimated LOS. Results: Male had higher odds of comorbid ADHD (OR 2.2). Age and race were not significant predictors of ADHD though it was prevalent in adolescents and Caucasians. These children were majorly from South (30.8%) and Midwest (29.9%) regions of the US. Psychosis was seen in 37.3% of patients with ADHD and were more likely of comorbid psychosis (OR 1.8). Depression and ADHD increased the LOS in hospitalization for ASD by 2.1-day and 0.9-day, respectively. Conclusion: We found the demographic predictors of comorbid ADHD in patients with autism which can help to better serve these patients and their families. Comorbid ADHD and depression prolong the length of hospitalization and the need for acute inpatient care.


The University of California at Los Angeles Young Autism Project: A Systematic Review of Replication Studies of the Model

Domain: Applied Research
MICHAEL NICOLOSI (Queen's University Belfast; Voce nel Silenzio Onlus), Karola Dillenburger (Queen's University Belfast)

University of California at Los Angeles - Young Autism Project (UCLA-YAP) provided one of the best known and most researched applied behaviour analysis (ABA)-based intervention models for young children with autism. The present study is a systematic literature review of replication studies over more than 30 years to assess the impact that the UCLA-YAP model has on cognitive functioning and adaptive behaviour of children with autism. The data show that UCLA-YAP model can be highly beneficial for children with autism in both domains, while low-intensity ABA-based interventions and eclectic treatments have less or no impact. Findings suggest that highly structured and systematic ABA-based approaches, such as UCLA-YAP model, can be considered powerful interventions to address cognitive functioning and adaptive behavior development of children with autism. The study concludes that while more research is always welcome, the influence of the UCLA-YAP model on autism interventions is justified by over 30 years of evidence.


Multilingual Diversity in Autism: Challenging Common Assumptions Within Applied Behavior Analysis

Domain: Theory
YIYI WANG (University of Southern California and Autism Partnership Foundation Academy), So Ra Kang (University of Southern California and FirstSteps for Kids), Jonathan J. Tarbox (University of Southern California; FirstSteps for Kids)

The United States was founded as a diverse, multicultural “melting pot” and migration patterns continue to increase cultural and linguistic diversity, making it increasingly important to address these issues within the field of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). The role of cultural diversity and multilingualism in ABA treatment for autism has scarcely been addressed and yet these factors likely impact the ABA treatment process significantly. ABA practitioners commonly advise bilingual parents in the US to only teach their child English, at least in the beginning stages of treatment, however this recommendation has not been subjected to research. This review will summarize and critique existing outcome research on children with ASD raised bilingually versus monolingually, as well as reviewing research on bilingual approaches to assessing and treating challenging behavior within ABA. The results of our review show that existing research does not support the common ABA recommendation against bilingualism but that much more research is still needed, and that the effects of including a second language in intervention are likely idiosyncratic to the particular individual with ASD.




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