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.


46th Annual Convention; Washington DC; 2020

Event Details

Previous Page


Symposium #202
CE Offered: BACB
Teaching the Use of Different Speech-Generating Device Displays to Individuals With Autism During Natural Routines
Sunday, May 24, 2020
8:00 AM–9:50 AM
Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Level 2, Room 206
Area: AUT/VRB; Domain: Translational
Chair: Cindy Gevarter (University of New Mexico)
CE Instructor: Cindy Gevarter, Ph.D.

Typically, speech-generating device interventions for children with autism spectrum disorder have often involved discrete-trial approaches. Recently, there has been a trend towards using naturalistic developmental behavioral approaches for children with autism spectrum disorder. These approaches embed behavioral principles within natural contexts, routines, and social interactions. Natural communication partners (e.g., parents, peers) are also often involved in such approaches. There is a need for speech-generating device research that explores the utility of these more naturalistic approaches across a variety of device display formats. This symposium will explore how different speech-generating device display formats (including simple grid-based formats, dynamic navigational grids, and visual scene displays) can be incorporated into different natural routines (e.g., play, art activity, meal time, conversation) with natural communication partners (parents and peers). All three studies embedded a variety of behavioral techniques (e.g., prompting, time delay) into natural routines in order to encourage the use of speech-generating devices for communicative purposes. Results indicate that naturalistic interventions with behavioral components can be effective for teaching communication responses to individuals with ASD across a range of display formats.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): communication partners, naturalistic intervention, speech-generating device
Target Audience:

The target audience for this event would be BCBAs and related practitioners with interests in behavioral approaches to speech-generating device interventions (e.g., special education teachers, speech-language pathologists).

Learning Objectives: 1. Participants will be able to identify different behavioral strategies that can be incorporated into naturalistic speech-generating device interventions 2. Participants will be to describe different speech-generating device formats 3. Participants will identify naturalistic routines that are appropriate for speech-generating device intervention

An Embedded Naturalistic Teaching Approach to the Increase Multi-step Speech-Generating Device Responses of Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder

(Applied Research)
CINDY GEVARTER (university of new mexico), Mariah Groll (University of New Mexico), Erin Stone (University of New Mexico), Adriana Medina (University of New Mexico)

This study evaluated the effectiveness of embedded naturalistic instruction for teaching multi-step speech-generating device (SGD) responses to three preschool-aged males with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Parents were taught to embed opportunities to request objects, request help, reject items, and make comments during every-day routines (e.g., play, meal time). During intervention, parents used time delay, prompting, reinforcement, and device proximity to encourage the use of two-step SGD responses on a grid-based display with category folders (e.g., vehicles, animals). The display format was selected based upon prior dynamic assessment to determine appropriate formats. Effects of intervention were evaluated using a multiple-probes across participants design. For object requesting, all three participants showed an immediate increase in responding that maintained at high levels. Other pragmatic functions also increased, but at a more gradual pace. All three participants showed generalized responding when new items were introduced, and when display pages with a larger array of folders and vocabulary items were assessed.


The Effects of Speech-Generating Devices on the Communication of Adolescents With Autism Spectrum Disorder During Social Interactions

(Applied Research)
SALENA BABB (Penn State University), Ciara Ousley (Penn State)

Social interactions are a critical component of quality of life. These interactions are often complicated for adolescents with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), as they experience difficulty in participating in social interactions with their peers. The challenges of social interactions are further intensified for those adolescents with ASD who have difficulty with speech. Speech-generating device (SGD) interventions designed to support communication during social interactions with peers in natural environments are needed for these individuals. Video visual scene displays (video VSDs) capture dynamic routines that support communication. This study used a multiple-probe across participants design to assess the impact of an intervention using videos with integrated visual scene displays (video VSDs), presented on a tablet-based app, on the communication of four adolescents with ASD and complex communication needs and their peer partners. The automatic pausing of a video at key points served as a prompt for communication opportunities and provided the necessary vocabulary within the VSD. Following intervention, all four participants demonstrated an increase in communicative turns and in modes of communication used (including speech), suggesting that video VSDs may be an effective tool for supporting social communication.

The Establishment of Peer Manding during Naturally Occurring Routines
(Applied Research)
ELIZABETH R. LORAH (University of Arkansas), Jessica Miller (University of Arkansas), Brenna Griffin (University of Arkansas)
Abstract: The use of handheld computing devices outfitted to function as speech-generating devices (SGD) for young children with autism, continues to gain popularity in educational and clinical settings. Within such settings, it is typically the case that early mand training is taught in a teacher-student dyadic manner. While this has proven to be effective for early mand training, given the social communication needs of young children with autism, greater effort should be placed on establishing peer-peer dyadic manding. Thus, the purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a five-second time delay, with full-physical, in the acquisition of manding from a peer-listener, for three preschool aged children with a diagnosis of autism, using a SGD. The instructional arrangement incorporated manding for a missing item, during an arts and crafts activity, incorporating naturally occurring routines within the procedures. The results indicated that all three participants acquired the ability to mand for the missing item from the peer-listener and two of the three participants indicated maintenance of this skill. Limitations of this study and considerations for future evaluations will also be discussed within this presentation.



Back to Top
Modifed by Eddie Soh