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

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Paper Session #370
Systematic Reviews of Autism Spectrum Disorder Interventions
Sunday, May 24, 2020
5:00 PM–6:50 PM
Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Level 2, Room 202B
Area: AUT
Instruction Level: Basic
Chair: Nidal Daou (McNeese State University)

An Overlooked Dimension of Social Validity: Toward a Participatory Approach When Involving Learners With Autism in Behavior Analytic Research and Practice

Domain: Theory
NIDAL DAOU (McNeese State University)

Over 40 years ago, one of the founding fathers of ABA introduced social validity to the field. In the decades since, whereas advances in science and changes in the world have been reflected in our field, we have overlooked a critical dimension of social validity in our work with the autistic population. We have not yet adopted a participatory approach when involving learners with autism in our research and practice. Doing so means that we not only obtain informed consent from caregivers before implementing procedures and recruit feedback from the community subsequently, but that we also enlist the help of people with autism, such as autistic self-advocates, those who transitioned out of services, and/or those who continue to receive our services but are able and willing to provide input on some programs. Rather than move our science in this direction of participation and social validation that is in the spirit of the times, empirical studies published in our main journals as recently as 2019 continue to reference “normalization” when discussing the behavior of participants with autism. The history and possible reasons for this transgression will be discussed, along with ways for ABA to renew its quest to “find its heart”.


Educational Outcomes of Young Children With Autism: Review of 15 Years of Data

Domain: Service Delivery
PEISHI WANG (Queens College, City University of New York), Menglin Sun (Beijing Wucailu Center for Children), Weiwei Chen (Beijing Wucailu Center for Children with Autism), Elizabeth Ijalba (Queens College, City University of New York), Mei Liu (Beijing Wucailu Center for Children with Autism), Qi Li (Queens College, City University of New York), Lihua Han (Beijing Wucailu Center for Children with Autism), Xiaowei Xu (Beijing Wucailu Center for Children with Autism)

The purpose of the current study is to systematically examine the educational outcome data from over 6000 young children served at Beijing Wucailu Center for Children with Autism since 2004. To date, Wucailu has provided educational and rehabilitation programs to young children with autism spectrum disorder from 31 provinces and municipalities in China. These programs were derived from principles of applied behavior analysis and evidence-based practices. Currently, there are approximately 800 children enrolled in multiple cities throughout China. Data analyses are underway. Demographic data were analyzed to determine trends within the sample. Paired sample t test was employed to evaluate children’s performance at entry and exit. Performance data were gathered from norm-referenced (Psychoeducational Profile--3, Chinese ed.) and criterion referenced assessments (Assessment of Basic Language and Learning Skills Revised, ABLLS-R). Growth curve modeling was used to explore the relationship between children's growth and the lengths and types of services received. Our preliminary findings indicated a heterogenous group of children and families who received services at Wucailu over the past 15 years. The descriptive data analyses showed the ages of diagnosis are associated with geographical variations, i.e. geographic access to health services are correlated to the age of receiving diagnosis. The average age of enrollment at Wucailu is 3.5 years and the average length of services is 8.5 months. Key findings and implications will be discussed.


Effectiveness of Matrix Training for Language and Literacy Outcomes in Individuals With Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Systematic Review

Domain: Theory
PAUL J. SIMEONE (Proven Behavior Solutions; Mass General Hospital Institute of Health Professions), Ralf Schlosser (Northeastern University), Howard Shane (Boston Children's Hospital)

Given the high incidence of impairments in language in people with ASD, there is a need for evidence-based interventions that target generative language in this population. The purpose of the current study is to determine the effectiveness of matrix training, also called a matrix strategy or a miniature linguistic system, in improving re-combinative generalization in instruction-following, expressive language skills, spelling, and reading interventions. Matrix training is a systematic framework for the organization of learning targets with the aim of improving generative language (Goldstein, 1983b). A systematic review methodology was used to reduce bias in searching, selecting, and coding treatment studies. A multifaceted search of over 20 bibliographic databases and trial registries was conducted, followed by ancestry and forward citation searches. Studies were subjected to a rigorous inclusion process, and 26 experimental studies were included. The study is currently in the data extraction phase. Using a pilot-tested coding form, at least two review team members will independently code all included studies to extract the identified data. Synthesis of the extracted data from randomized, quasi-experimental group designs, and single-case experimental designs will follow. Findings will have implications for informing evidence-based treatment to promote generative language for people with ASD. Goldstein, H. (1983b). Training generative repertoires within agent–action–object miniature linguistic systems with children. Journal of Speech & Hearing Research, 26(1), 76-89.

A Systematic Review of Intervention Intensity in Pivotal Response Training and Scripting Research
Domain: Theory
ZIJIE MA (University of Kansas), Jason Travers (University of Kansas), Jose Martinez (University of Florida), Jenee Johnson (University of Kansas), Leslie Ann Bross (University of North Carolina at Charlotte)
Abstract: Special education researchers have for decades emphasized the importance of intervention effectiveness and procedural fidelity, but relatively little attention has been directed toward understanding intervention intensity. This review focused on extracting details of intervention intensity as reported in peer reviewed studies of scripting and pivotal response training (PRT), two different evidence-based practices for learners with autism. We coded 24 scripting and 18 PRT studies and synthesized results according to four constructs of intervention intensity. Results indicated varied reporting of intervention intensity within and between studies. Only seven (29%) of scripting studies and one (6%) PRT study reported information sufficient to determine intervention intensity. Scripting and PRT researchers reported similar rates of opportunities to respond. Implications for researchers and professionals are discussed along with limitations and instructions for future study.



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