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 #454
CE Offered: BACB
Advances in Interventions for Teaching Safety Skills
Monday, May 31, 2021
3:00 PM–4:50 PM
Area: DDA/AUT; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Adam M. Briggs (Eastern Michigan University)
Discussant: Raymond G. Miltenberger (University of South Florida)
CE Instructor: Raymond G. Miltenberger, Ph.D.

Children and individuals diagnosed with intellectual and developmental disabilities are at a greater risk of experiencing accidents or victimization scenarios and must be taught skills to avoid or successfully navigate these situations. The presentations within this symposium describe advances in interventions for teaching safety skills to these individuals or to the caregivers responsible for training their children. Specifically, this symposium will address teaching individuals to safely cross the street, how to recognize and respond to victimization scenarios, and discuss a web-based program for training parents to teach safety skills to their children. A discussant will summarize these studies and discuss these advances and future directions for research.

Instruction Level: Basic
Keyword(s): BST, Safety skills
Target Audience:

Students, researchers, and practitioners who work with individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities or caregivers of children and use behavioral skills training to teach safety skills to these individuals or their caregivers.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, attendees will be able to: (1) Describe the common components of behavioral skills training (BST); (3) Discuss recent advancements in teaching safety skills; (3) Identify evidence-based approaches for teaching specific safety skills.

Teaching Individuals With Developmental Disabilities to Cross the Street: A Review of the Literature

Renata Ribeiro (Caldwell University), PRIYA PATIL (Caldwell University), Tina Sidener (Caldwell University), Kenneth F. Reeve (Caldwell University), Sharon A. Reeve (Caldwell University)

Pedestrian skills are critical for individuals and caregivers to ensure safety when crossing the street. Although all individuals are vulnerable to crash-related injuries, children diagnosed with disabilities are two to three times more likely than typically developing children to be killed in pedestrian accidents (Brown & Gillard, 2009). Therefore, given the importance of effective instruction for individuals of developmental disabilities, we conducted a systematic quantitative analysis of published studies that evaluated interventions to teach individuals with developmental disabilities to cross the street. Eighteen evaluations met the inclusion criteria and were evaluated across participant and methodological characteristics and effectiveness. Based on the results, recommendations are made about best clinical practice (e.g., methods for measurement, teaching street crossing in a variety of contexts) and future areas for research.


Efficiently Teaching Adults With Autism Spectrum Disorder in a Virtual Reality Environment to Safely Navigate Pedestrian Street Crossing

CHRISTEEN SCARPA (Rutgers University), Cecilia Feely (Rutgers University), Dillon Reitmeyer (Rutgers University), Christopher Manente (Rutgers University), Robert LaRue (Rutgers University), SungWoo Kahng (Rutgers University)

One of the most important and influential activities of daily living for assimilating into the community is the ability to safely navigate unfamiliar settings. Individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) typically have difficulty with this (Goldsmith, 2009), and in particular street safety is a major concern and may have severe consequences such as injury and possible death. Pedestrian street crossing training is recognized as an integral life skill and is a fundamental step in the development of independence, increasing safety awareness, mobility, and safely integrating into society. The current evaluation utilizes a virtual reality (VR) procedure to facilitate training in a safe, controlled environment to acquire the necessary skills to independently cross the street. Along with VR, behavior skills training was used to examine whether skills would generalize in a natural setting. Results showed four of five participants mastered VR conditions and generalized skills in a natural setting. This study provides a model for efficiently and safely teaching pedestrian street crossing to adults with ASD.


Teaching Young Adults With Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities How to Recognize and Respond to Coworker Victimization Scenarios

ANDREA PETERSON (Eastern Michigan University), Marisa H Fisher (Michigan State University), Matthew T. Brodhead (Michigan State University)

Adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) are at risk of experiencing social victimization and should be taught to respond to deceptive statements and victimization scenarios they are likely to encounter as they transition from school to work. Using a multiple probe across participants design, the current study evaluated the effectiveness of behavioral skills with multiple exemplar training (BS+MET) to teach four young adults with IDD a response to victimization protocol. Participants were taught to 1) abstain from retaliation, 2) decline the request, 3) respond with an acknowledgment that the person is attempting to victimize them, and 4) walk or turn away. Two participants demonstrated mastery of this response after only BS+MET, while the other two participants demonstrated mastery of the response after BS+MET and additional in situ training (IST). Additionally, three of the four participants demonstrated generalization across settings, across exemplars, and with coworkers, and they maintained the response up to two-months after the completion of training. This study expands research of BS+MET and IST to teach safety skills to adults with IDD and provides insights into improving generalization of safety skills taught through behavioral skills training.

Evaluating a web-based program for training parents to teach safety skills to their children
MARISSA A. NOVOTNY (University of Texas at San Antonio), Raymond G. Miltenberger (University of South Florida), Rasha Baruni (University of South Florida ), Trevor Maxfield (University of South Florida), Vanessa Marie Larson (University of South Florida)
Abstract: Recent research has shown that a web-based manual can be effective at giving parents the skills necessary to use behavioral skills training (BST) to teach firearm safety skills to their children. However, this manual has only been used with seven parents and results have been mixed. In order to assess the effectiveness of this web-based manual we conducted a post-test only group design. Thus far results have indicated that the manual-based training is effective with the group receiving training having an average score of 3 and the control group having an average score of .25. These results indicate that the group receiving training do not touch the gun, run away, and tell their parents; while the control group have all touched the firearm or stayed in the same room as the firearm during in-situ assessments.



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