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.


47th Annual Convention; Online; 2021

All times listed are Eastern time (GMT-4 at the time of the convention in May).

Event Details

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Symposium #81
CE Offered: BACB
An Evaluation of Procedures to Increase Acquisition or Independence for Individuals With Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Across the Lifespan
Saturday, May 29, 2021
12:00 PM–12:50 PM
Area: DDA/AUT; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: J Turner Butler Braren (University of South Florida)
CE Instructor: Natalie Mandel, M.S.

This symposium presents three papers that evaluate procedures to increase skill acquisition or independence for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) across the life span. The first paper by Mandel et al. evaluated the effect of different stimulus modalities on the efficacy and efficiency of tact of actions acquisition in young participants diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The second paper by Braren et al. evaluated the predictive validity of a brief error-correction assessment when using Discrete Trial Instruction to teach adult participants with IDD to build LEGO® structures. The third paper by Budge et al. evaluated the effects of staff proximity on the performance of adults with ASD in completing vocational tasks at job sites. Audiences can expect to learn more about current research targeting the improved efficacy and efficiency of skill acquisition procedures, as well as research on procedures to increase skill acquisition or independence in adults with IDD.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): adults, IDD, independence, skill acquisition
Target Audience:

Attendees should have experience with DTT methodology; experience in implementing multi-component procedures with fidelity (e.g., model, error correction); experience with using multiple baseline, alternating treatments, multi-element designs; experience with verbal behavior.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1)identify multiple types of error-correction procedures; (2) identify multiple stimulus modes used to teach tacts; (3) describe procedure to systematically fade behavioral interventions (e.g., staff proximity) while maintaining high levels of vocational task completion in for adults with IDD.
An Evaluation of the Impact of Stimulus Mode on Acquisition, Maintenance, and Generalization of Tacts of Actions
NATALIE MANDEL (University of South Florida), Catia Cividini-Motta (University of South Florida), Jeff Schram (AchieveAbility Therapy)
Abstract: Individuals with an autism spectrum disorder or communication delay may experience deficits in tacting. Furthermore, children with and without language impairments display a gap in acquisition of tacting actions as compared to objects, suggesting actions are more difficult to learn (e.g., Sheng & McGregor, 2010). One variable that may impact acquisition of tacts of actions is the type of stimulus (e.g., picture of the action; video of the action) used during training. This study compared acquisition of tacts of actions taught using pictures, videos, and in-vivo models. Data were also collected on generalization and maintenance of the acquired tacts as well as participant preference towards the stimulus mode used during tact training. All three participants acquired all tacts, independent of the stimulus mode used during training. However, tacts of actions taught using an in-vivo model were acquired in fewer sessions and had greater generalization and maintenance outcomes. In addition, preference for a specific stimulus mode was idiosyncratic across participants.

Extending Brief Error-Correction Assessments to Adults With Intellectual or Developmental Disabilities

J TURNER BUTLER BRAREN (University of South Florida), Andrew L. Samaha (University of South Florida), Karie John (University of South Florida)
Abstract: We extended Carroll et al. (2018) by evaluating the predictive validity of a brief error-correction assessment (brief assessment) in adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities using leisure skills. One brief assessment and one validation assessment were conducted for each participant. During Phase 1, we evaluated acquisition during both assessments, and evaluated correspondence using a decision-making model similar to Carroll et al. During Phase 2, we developed an empirical decision-making model to identify the most relevant and predictive dependent measures related to efficiency and intrusiveness. Then, we applied our model to identify a target error-correction procedure (ECP) for efficiency and a target ECP for intrusiveness. During Phase 3, we evaluated overall correspondence across a range of dependent variables. Overall, low correspondence was obtained when applying a decision-making model to identify target ECPs (Phases 1 and 2), but overall correspondence between measures taken during both assessments was high (Phase 3). Finally, we discussed clinical implications for these results.

Evaluating the Role of Staff Proximity During Vocational Tasks for Adults With Autism Spectrum Disorder

JENNA BUDGE (Rutgers University), James Maraventano (Rutgers University), Meghan Hoffmann (Rutgers University), Robert LaRue (Rutgers University)

As school-age students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) transition into adult services, resources can diminish significantly. Adults with ASD may still require substantial supports and supervision to achieve successful outcomes. However, drastic reductions in financial resources upon turning 21 can have significant adverse effects on the ability to provide adequate staffing. While employment in the competitive workforce is the preferred outcome, lower levels of staff oversight may hinder the ability to procure employment for adults on the spectrum with significant support needs. Perceptions of potential employers on adult workers with ASD include a lack of productivity and the higher level of supervision that may be required (Morgan & Alexander, 2005). In order to be successful in an integrated work setting, adults with ASD must display the ability to perform work tasks thoroughly and independently. The purpose of the present study was to assess the role of staff proximity on the quality of vocational tasks in adults on the spectrum. Permanent products of completed tasks were measured at the employment setting of two participants. Assessment results indicated a negative correlation between staff proximity and task completion. The quality of work decreased as the instructor’s proximity from the participant increased. After achieving this outcome, intervention options will be examined to improve the quality of work performed in the absence of an instructor. Further, implications will be discussed for the importance of fading behavioral intervention plans as children age out of school-based placements.




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