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.

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46th Annual Convention; Washington DC; 2020

Event Details

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Symposium #191
CE Offered: BACB
Research Related to Teaching Language Flexibility, Social Planning, and Social Skills to Individuals With Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities
Sunday, May 24, 2020
8:00 AM–8:50 AM
Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Level 2, Room 201
Area: AUT/DDA; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Adel C. Najdowski (Pepperdine University)
CE Instructor: Adel C. Najdowski, Ph.D.
Abstract:

The current symposium presents three papers examining behavior analytic strategies for teaching language flexibility, social planning, and social skills. Individuals with autism spectrum disorder often display rigid, inflexible interests (American Psychiatric Association, 2013), behaviors (Cruz et al., 2013), and cognitions (Van Eylen et al., 2011). The first paper analyzes the effects of a multiple exemplar training package on skill acquisition of language flexibility via a “shades of gray” continuum, wherein participants’ language rigidity or a “black and white” approach in categorizing concepts dichotomously is anticipated to correspondingly decrease. Planning involves the predetermination of a set of actions toward a goal (Hayes-Roth & Perrault, 1979) that requires consistent monitoring (Hill, 2004), and social planning involves engaging in a complex chain of behaviors to plan a social outing, event, interaction, or goal. The second paper evaluates the use of gamification as a method to increase social planning skills in individuals with autism using a multiple baseline across participants design. The third paper provides a review of behavioral procedures used to teach social skills to individuals with autism and developmental disabilities, with an emphasis on evaluating the extent of generalization observed.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): flexibility, planning, review, social skills
Target Audience:

BCBAs

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: 1. State a behavioral intervention strategy for teaching language flexibility to individuals with autism using a “shades of gray” continuum. 2. State a behavioral intervention method for teaching individuals with autism to solve social problems. 3. State at least 5 areas of current research on social skills interventions and strategies to program for generalization.
 

Using a Shades of Gray Continuum to Teach Language Flexibility to Individuals With Autism

EMMA ISABEL MOON (Pepperdine University), Megan Michelle St. Clair (Halo Behavioral Health), Adel C. Najdowski (Pepperdine University), Victoria Daniela Castillo (Endicott College)
Abstract:

Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder often display rigid, inflexible interests (American Psychiatric Association, 2013), behaviors (D'Cruz et al., 2013), and cognitions (Van Eylen et al., 2011). Such rigidity can often lead to difficulty in functionally integrating into society, building, and maintaining relationships. However, there is a paucity of research on teaching individuals with Autism language flexibility skills. This study uses a nonconcurrent multiple baseline across participants design to evaluate the effects of utilizing a shades of gray continuum intervention via a multiple exemplar training treatment package, consisting of contingent least-to-most error correction and reinforcement, to increase language flexibility in responding across individuals with Autism. Treatment entails creating a series of continuums that display the ‘shades of gray’ between two dichotomous terms that are relevant to individual participants’ everyday lives. Current data represent baseline performance across three participants followed by initiation of the intervention with participants one and two. Given the immediate change in level across both participants, data thus far is encouraging and suggests that the multiple exemplar training package will be effective in increasing language flexibility by responding with shades of gray comparative to baseline performance. Future data is to be collected in order to determine if the intervention continues to yield acquisition via increasing trend and limited variability. Finally, future data will also be collected on the continued baseline performance of the third participant, as well as the introduction of the intervention.

 
Teaching Individuals with Autism to Engage in Social Planning
PETER FARAG (Halo Behavioral Health), Victoria Daniela Castillo (Endicott College), Noya Alperson (Halo Behavioral Health), Adel C. Najdowski (Pepperdine University), Megan Michelle St. Clair (Halo Behavioral Health), Emma Isabel Moon (Halo Behavioral Health)
Abstract: Planning involves the predetermination of a set of actions toward a goal (Hayes-Roth & Perrault, 1979) that requires consistent monitoring (Hill, 2004), and social planning involves engaging in a complex chain of behaviors to plan a social outing, event, or interaction. Research has identified gamification as an effective method to increase skill acquisition (Landers & Armstrong, 2015), yet there is a paucity of research investigating the effects of using gamification to teach individuals with autism to make social plans. The current study used a multiple baseline across participants design to evaluate the effects of gamification on teaching individuals with autism to engage in social planning. Current data represents baseline performance for two participants, with the initiation of intervention on participant one demonstrating an increase in responding. Given the change in level, data thus far suggest that the gamification intervention increased acquisition responding from baseline. Future data is to be collected in order to determine if the intervention continues to yield acquisition via increasing trend and limited variability. The current study will also be conducted with a third participant.
 

A Review of Social Skills Interventions Conducted With Individuals With Developmental Disabilities: Examining Extent of Generalization

SVETLANA DANIELYAN (Pepperdine University), Lusineh Gharapetian (Pepperdine University)
Abstract:

Social skills enable individuals to access to a variety of reinforcers across people and settings within their community. The absence of these skills is detrimental in that it hinders the development of successful social-emotional relationships that limits meaningful interactions with others (Goldstein & Naglieri, 2013). While social skills trainings are developed and implemented more consistently in ABA-based programs, a systematic review of these procedures has yet to be conducted to evaluate the extent of generalization outcomes across responses, settings, people, and time. Our aim is to provide a resource for practitioners to identify effective social skills training protocols for children, adolescents, and young adults (ages 3-22) that includes a generalization component and ensures the generalization of treatment effects. This literature review includes 60 studies (32 have been completed, and 28 are still in the process of data collection) from the last 20 years obtained from behavioral journals. The social skills evaluated included play skills (n=6), conversational skills (n=6), non-verbal social skills (n=2), perspective taking (n=3), and social interactions (n=11). The studies are classified according to their training format and setting, the intensity and length of training, the training procedures, and outcomes, including probes for generalization and maintenance. Generalization was trained in 23 of 32 studies and tested in 27 of 32 studies. Generalization was observed for 87 of 103 participants across all studies. Maintenance was observed at various points in 19 of 32 studies. These results will be discussed with the aim of generating a repository of information about generalization in social skills to inform clinical practice and provide directions for future research.

 

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