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 #16
CE Offered: BACB
Teaching Imitation Skills to Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder
Saturday, May 29, 2021
9:00 AM–9:50 AM
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Donald M. Stenhoff (Arizona State University)
Discussant: Mathew C Luehring (Children’s Hospital Colorado)
CE Instructor: Mathew C Luehring, Ph.D.

Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) often have deficits in imitation skills. Imitation skills are prerequisites to acquiring more complex behaviors. Often these deficits are debilitating as individuals move into adulthood and need to imitate the skills of peers, teachers, and colleagues. Baer et al. (1967) defined imitation as any behavior that temporally follows a behavior emitted by the model, and the imitative behavior’s topography is functionally controlled by the model’s behavior topography. Thus, the model becomes a critical aspect to teaching individuals to imitate. In this symposium, we discuss methods in which imitation skills were taught to children with ASD. In the first presentation, the presenter will describe a study in which modeling and prompting procedures were used to teach Syrian children with ASD imitation skills including eye contact. In the second presentation, the presenter will describe a study in which the effectiveness of two methods of prompting were compared. Based on the outcome, the most effective prompting procedure was used to teach imitation skills using a mirror to children with ASD. The symposium will conclude with remarks from a discussant.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): generalized imitation, imitation teaching
Target Audience:

The target audience includes practitioners delivering services to individuals with autism spectrum disorder and developmental disabilities. Attendees should have basic understanding of terminology related to imitation, generalization, and single-case research design.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) describe how to assess prompting procedures to meet clients' idiosyncratic needs; (2) describe how to conduct imitation teaching; (3) describe how to conduct imitation teaching using a mirrored model; (4) describe how to increase skill generalization.
Acquisition of Nonvocal Imitation Through Idiosyncratic Prompting and Measuring Technologies
TRISTAN T. LYLE (Arizona State University; InBloom), Donald M. Stenhoff (Arizona State University)
Abstract: Some children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) do not acquire imitation skills in their natural environments and may require direct instruction. Furthermore, some children with ASD may have some imitation skills within their repertoire, but fail to show generalized imitation skills (i.e., imitating a novel behavior never previously taught). In this presentation, we will describe how concurrent interventions idiosyncratic to the participants were used, such as identifying which measurement best reflects the participants performance, as well as the type of response prompt guiding skill acquisition. Additionally, we will describe the extent to which the use of a mirror facilitated imitation acquisition via additional visual feedback or whether the type of prompting itself guided the acquisition. Finally, novel object-imitation probe outcomes related imitation generalized as a result of the correct prompting and measurement methods will be described.

Using Modeling and Prompting to Teach Imitation Skills to Syrian Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder

Wissam Mounzer (Stockholm university), Donald M. Stenhoff (Arizona State University), ELAINA POSTHUMUS (InBloom)

In this presentation we will describe the effects of prompting and modeling on imitation skills and eye contact of three Arabic-speaking children with autism spectrum disorder. A multiple baseline design with a withdrawal component was used to evaluate the effects in a clinical setting and in follow up sessions conducted in the participants’ homes. All participants’ imitative responding increased when modeling and prompting was used. Additionally, participants’ percentages of the targeted imitation skills maintained at a high correct percentage at the two- and five-week follow-up. Finally, participants’ percentage of eye contact increased during the modeling and prompting conditions and maintained at follow-up will be discussed.




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