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.

  • AUT: Autism

    BPN: Behavioral Pharmacology and Neuroscience

    CBM: Clinical/Family/Behavioral Medicine

    CSS: Community, Social, and Sustainability Issues

    DDA: Developmental Disabilities

    DEV: Behavioral Development

    EAB: Experimental Analysis of Behavior

    EDC: Education

    OBM: Organizational Behavior Management

    TBA: Teaching Behavior Analysis

    VRB: Verbal Behavior

15th Annual Autism Conference; Online; 2021

Event Details

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Poster Session #9
AUT Poster Session
Monday, March 1, 2021
6:00 PM–8:00 PM

Teaching Imitation to Young Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder

Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
ALICE BRAVO (University of Washington)

Previous research has demonstrated imitation to be a pivotal skill in early childhood, serving both learning and social interaction functions for young children. Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) frequently experience delays in this skillset, demonstrating challenges in the ability and/or propensity to imitate the actions of others. Current intervention programs frequently use Discrete Trial Teaching (DTT) or Reciprocal Imitation Training (RIT) to teach imitation to young children with ASD. This study combined one component of RIT – contingent imitation – with DTT to enhance learning outcomes related to both the ability and propensity to imitate. A multiple probe design across three preschool children with ASD was conducted within participants’ early learning classrooms. Response to intervention varied across participants, with participants whose teachers reported observing some appropriate object play at onset of intervention experiencing greater outcomes than the participant whose teacher reported observing limited appropriate object play at study onset. Combining contingent imitation with DTT may facilitate the propensity to imitate for individuals who exhibit some appropriate engagement with objects and are inconsistently imitating others’ actions with objects. However, further research is needed to improve the teaching of imitation to young children with ASD who exhibit low object engagement and an inability to imitate actions with objects.

2. Electroencephalographic Patterns in Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder and Typical Development
Area: AUT; Domain: Basic Research
BEATRIZ SANABRIA-BARRADAS (Universidad Veracruzana), Dora Elizabeth Granados ( Laboratorio de Psicobiología, Facultad de Psicología, Universidad Veracruzana, Xalapa- Enriquez, Mexico)
Abstract: This study is a part of a PhD project that has the purpose of develop an algorithm to discriminate between a normal and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) electroencephalographic patterns, in order to have a support tool for an early diagnosis of the disorder. The aim of this study was characterize an electroencephalographic signal using the frequency, amplitude, absolute and relative power in ASD and control children. The research protocol was approved by an ethics committee and consisted in record the brain activity of eight children awake with ASD (one girl) and eight controls (one girl) with right laterality between 6 and 12 years old using 19 electrodes during 10 min. Then, we develop a method to select the close eye segment and calculate the amplitude, frequency, absolute and relative power of six analysis areas. The results evidence that ASD children have more frequency, lower amplitude and bigger relative power in delta band in front cortical areas, which can be related to behavioral difficulties present in the disorder, such as the impediment to recognize faces with emotions, the interaction face to face and the lack of social cognition.

Toilet Training Children With Autism: An Evaluation of a Behavioral Skills Training Package Delivered to Parents via Telehealth

Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
CARLY LAPIN (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology ), Dorothy Zhang (The Chicago School), Annette Griffith (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology), Jack Spear (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology)

The current evaluation assessed the effectiveness of a modified toilet training protocol based on Leblanc et al. (2005) which was delivered to parents using a Behavioral Skills Training (BST) model via telehealth. The purpose was to evaluate whether parents could successfully toilet train their child with autism without any on-site clinical assistance (i.e., remote training). In addition, the evaluation extended the research on rapid toilet training procedures by assessing the toilet training intervention without the use of any punishment procedures. Foremost, the results indicate that behavioral skills training was effective in training all three parent participants to conduct the toilet training method with high fidelity. Secondly, two out of the three child participants mastered the toilet training intervention and one out of the three child participants increased successful self-initiations for the toilet. All parents provided favorable social validity ratings of the treatment. Findings suggest that parents can be trained via telehealth to conduct complex toilet training interventions and increase appropriate toileting behavior of their children.


Remote Service Delivery During COVID-19 in China: A Qualitative Narrative From Teachers and Parents

Area: AUT; Domain: Service Delivery
TIAN JIANG (University of Rochester), Helen McCabe (The Five Project for International Autism and Disability Support; Daemen College)

COVID-19 has impacted educational service for students with ASD in China since February. Many cities did not have face to face classes until early July. We conducted qualitative research with teachers and parents from May to June 2020. We interviewed four parents of children with ASD and eleven special education teachers from a variety of educational settings, including mainstream schools, special schools, private organizations, and hospitals, to understand parent and teacher perspectives on how educational services were delivered during this critical time, with a focus on ABA intervention services. Our findings show that the majority of schools chose distance-teaching as an alternative method to deliver classes and service sessions. ABA was continued in various ways, including adjusting and modifying goals based on VB-MAPP results, training parents on ABA techniques, and providing behavior support to parents. Teachers and parents shared the advantages and disadvantages of providing education via the online format. Scholars and researchers have projected the COVID-19 virus will return in late 2020. This research synthesizes valuable experiences of providing quality ABA and other special education services to students with ASD that may help educators and parents be more prepared when future needs for online learning arise.

5. Mindful Self-Care for Caregivers: A Model for Embedded Parent Support in a Pediatric Autism Center
Area: AUT; Domain: Service Delivery
KATHERINE BELLONE (University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center; Children's Health System of Texas ), Stephen Elliott (University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center; Children's Health System of Texas ), Robin Jarrett (University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center ), Beth Warren (Children's Health System of Texas ), Linda Hynan (University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center )
Abstract: We conducted an open-trial proof of concept study to determine the safety, acceptability, and feasibility of Mindful Self-Care for Caregivers (MSCC) for parents of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) (N=13). The intervention was offered as a co-located care model in a pediatric specialty center where the participants’ children received care. Results demonstrated that the intervention was: highly acceptable to all stakeholders (i.e., participants, the group facilitator, and center administration) and able to be conducted safely with minimal resources by a masters-level practitioner. Further, secondary measures support a hypothesized interventional model of MSCC, demonstrating gains in mindfulness skills and sense of competency in the parenting role reduced perceived stress and depression in parents of children with ASD.

A Parent Delivered Dialogic Reading Intervention in the Home of Young Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder

Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
NOELLE BALSAMO (Florida Gulf Coast University)

Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) commonly present with reading comprehension impairments that impede their academic achievement and independent living. Research suggests that intervening on listening comprehension deficits of preschool children with ASD may contribute to improved reading comprehension proficiency in the school aged years. Dialogic reading is an empirically supported shared reading method known to increase the oral language and listening comprehension of young children with and without language impairments prior to formalized schooling. This study utilized a single subject repeated acquisition design (RAD) to evaluate the effect of a parent-delivered dialogic reading intervention on the independent and accurate responding of preschool children with ASD. Overall, results showed that the dialogic reading intervention was highly effective for increasing the independent and accurate responding for two of the three participants; however minimally effective for the third. Although the parent participants demonstrated varying levels of procedural fidelity to the dialogic reading procedures, they perceived the intervention to be both feasible and effective when implemented with their preschool children with ASD. Limitations and Social Validity are discussed.


Using Teleconsultation to Treat Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder in an Adolescent Male With a Comorbid Clinical Presentation

Area: AUT; Domain: Service Delivery
HUNTER KING (University of Utah, Department of Educational Psychology), Russell Howarth (University Neuropsychiatric Institute Neurobehavior HOME Program), Su Rin Choi (University of Utah, School of Medicine, Division of Public Health ), Aaron J. Fischer (University of Utah, Department of Educational Psychology)

Avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID) is a relatively new diagnosis in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders (DSM-5) and is characterized by highly selective eating habits. Considering the recency of ARFID’s recognition as a formal diagnosis, much is still unknown regarding the feasibility and effectiveness of ARFID treatment modalities. This study evaluated teleconsultation as a means to facilitate a home-based, parent-delivered behavior feeding treatment to a 17-year-old male adolescent with ARFID, autism spectrum disorder, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, and oppositional defiant disorder. Treatment included parent-delivered differential reinforcement and contingency management procedures, and consultant-delivered cognitive behavior therapy. Results were were evaluated using a multiple baseline across design across food groups. Results from visual analysis indicated increases in food consumption among all non-preferred foods, which maintained at a 1.5-month follow-up probe. Treatment outcomes and practical recommendations for future studies are discussed.


Increasing Correct Social Inferences Using a Teaching Method With a Differential Observing Response Procedure

Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
ELIZA DELPIZZO-CHENG (Endicott College), Sara Aganowitz Jones (Speech and Language Development Center), Marissa Caccavale (Speech and Language Development Center), Carrie Wada (Speech and Language Development Center), Gabriela Peinado (Speech and Language Development Center), LouAnne Boyd (Chapman University)

Over selective stimulus control interferes with people with autism’s ability to filter relevant from irrelevant information. Whereas selective stimulus control contributes to the understanding of the totality, social pragmatics, in a naturalistic scene. The ability to see the big picture, selective stimulus control, is important since socially adaptive behavior is dependent on identifying subtle social differences. The aim of the present study was to investigate a teaching methodology to promote a differential observing response. Differential observing response is where different observing responses occur across features within a scene. We conducted a study via distance learning to increase correct social inferences. Three students with autism from a self-contained special education school participated. They gave verbal responses to the prompt “what is the picture about” which were recorded and analyzed using a non-concurrent multiple baseline multiple probe design. A table depicts analysis of the initial verbal responses. Reliability for scored verbal responses was conducted and is found to be 77%. Fidelity measures were collected on each step of the teaching methodology and found to be 100%. We hypothesize results will demonstrate this teaching methodology supports responding to socially relevant features of a scene.


Addressing Food Selectivity in Adolescents With Autism Using Shaping Without Escape Extinction

Area: AUT; Domain: Service Delivery
MARA VANDERZELL (Upstate Cerebral Palsy), Tabitha Collins (Upstate Cerebral Palsy), Sean A Badger (Upstate Cerebral Palsy)

Individuals with autism have higher rates of prevalence of food selectivity than their typically developing peers. Many food selectivity interventions have targeted younger individuals; however, less research exists with older adolescents with longer histories of limited food repertoires. This study aimed to increase the food repertoires of two adolescents with moderate-severe autism using shaping without escape extinction. Preliminary results indicated that shaping procedures without the use of escape extinction were successful in decreasing food selectivity and increasing food repertoires.


Acceptability of Treatments for Challenging Behavior Among Chinese Caregivers of Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder

Area: AUT; Domain: Service Delivery
QI WEI (University of Oregon), Wendy A. Machalicek (University of Oregon)

The present study evaluated treatment acceptability for behavioral interventions for challenging behaviors with Chinese caregivers of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Factors influencing treatment acceptability (severity of challenging behavior and Chinese child-rearing values) were examined. Caregivers aged 2-12 years (N = 216) participated in the survey study. Results suggest that caregivers found positive strategies including noncontingent reinforcement and positive reinforcement the most acceptable; punishment-based strategies were rated as the least acceptable. Furthermore, positive punishment was perceived as more acceptable for severe challenging behavior. Caregivers who endorsed training (i.e., set clear expectations and set examples for the child, teach appropriate behaviors as early as possible) were more likely to find positive strategies acceptable, while those who endorsed shaming (i.e. shape child behavior by inducing self-blame, using expressions of disappointment and reprimands) were more likely to rate punishment-based strategies as more acceptable. Implications for future research and culturally responsive behavioral treatments in Chinese context are provided.


Use of Extended Reality Based Assistive Technology for Individuals With Autism Spectrum Disorder

Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
SATHYANARAYANAN A R (Research and Development)

This study involves the use of a high tech Assistive technology calledAuticare which uses Virtual reality therapy as well as Artificial Intelligence basedassessment and diagnosis systems for individuals with Autism spectrum and otherneuro developmental disorders. Auticare has Brain Computer interface and eyetracking units to capture patient improvements. The objective of this study was toexplore the feasibility of the product Auticare and to understand how Virtual reality
sessions using Auticare results in the improvement of social, cognitive and self careskills of the participants. Five high functional autistic children in the age group of 7 to15 years were chosen for the present study and virtual reality therapy using Auticarewas administered to them along with other traditional therapies for 6 months under the supervision of clinicians. The virtual reality therapy sessions included 7 scenariosin Auticare. Inbuilt scoring systems are present for each tested scenarios in Auticare.Each participants was administered standardized scales to understand the majorchanges if any in the pre and post virtual reality therapy sessions and also theaverage task performance of each participant in each virtual reality scenario was also recorded in the cloud provided by the Auticare platform. The results showedimprovement in performance in social, cognitive and self care skills of theparticipants after the administration of Virtual reality scenarios using Auticare.


Hearing-Aid Desensitization Protocol Used for Child With Down Syndrome and Autism Spectrum Disorder Diagnoses

Area: AUT; Domain: Service Delivery
VALERIE MONICA COLANTUONO (Drexel University - A.J. Drexel Autism Institute), Alissa Anne Conway (Drexel University)

This case study analyzes a hearing-aid desensitization protocol used for a four-year-old male with Down Syndrome and Autism Spectrum Disorder diagnoses. This protocol was implemented during the last six weeks of a six month Early Start Denver Model (ESDM) naturalistic developmental behavioral intervention. The child was known to have a co-morbid hearing impairment; however, the severity was unknown due the child’s non-compliance with hearing testing. The protocol intended to desensitize the child to wearing hearing-aids, which could allow the child's clinicians to complete hearing tests without the use of sedation and increase hearing capability on a routine basis. Following baseline procedures, a seven-phase protocol was implemented. The child was able to increase his hearing-aid tolerance significantly, which led to compliance with hearing testing without the use of sedation. Instructional control was able to be transferred from therapist to the child’s mother and clinicians. The child's skills were able to be generalized to home and medical environments.

18. Utterance Training to a Student With Autism Spectrum Disorder Who Shows Selective Mutism
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
KAYO IWAMOTO (Joetsu University of Education)
Abstract: The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of utterance training on a student with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The student showed signs of selective mutism in a regular classroom. I assessed the utterances by an interview and direct observation. In addition, I used stimulus fading procedures training based on the results of “person,” “place,” and “activity” to collect the assessment information. First, I conducted the training during a play activity. This helped the student make the utterances. Furthermore, I displaced the training from the clinical treatment playroom of the university to the regular classroom. Second, I also provided a training in speech activity. This can be attributed to the difficultly of the student to make the displaced utterances. As a result, the student could talk to his teacher in the regular classroom in both activities. The results suggest that assessment-based utterance training may be useful for students with ASD who shows selective mutism in a regular classroom.
19. Assessing and Treatment Elopement in a Preschool Setting
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
BRITNEA LAINE MONACO (Missouri State University), Megan A. Boyle (Missouri State University)
Abstract: Elopement is a dangerous behavior that occurs in multiple settings, including in preschools. Special education teachers struggle to find ways to evaluate and treat this behavior due to safety concerns and a lack of resources, and there is a lack of research on assessing and treating elopement in preschool settings. This study used a trial-based functional analysis within the classroom setting during regular school hours to assess the elopement of a student with a history of elopement within the classroom, gym, hallways, and recess. Functional communication training (FCT) sessions were conducted within the classroom and within a nearby empty room to address each of the two obtained functions for elopement. The participant’s preschool teacher and a paraprofessional conducted all sessions and completed a social-validity questionnaire at the completion of the study.
20. Behavioral Skills Training for Teachers in the Classroom: A Review of the Literature
Area: AUT; Domain: Theory
LISHA PADILLA (University of Hawaii at Mānoa), Cecily Ornelles (University of Hawaii at Mānoa)
Abstract: Behavioral Skills Training (BST) is an evidence-based practice (EBP) that can be used to train teachers and other direct care providers to implement a variety of interventions. Data indicates that teachers feel unprepared to address intense behavioral needs of students with disabilities. This review examines the efficacy and efficiency of behavioral skills training (BST) as an approach to support teachers’ use of EBPs which are grounded in applied behavior analysis (ABA). Twenty-seven experimental studies were examined in relation to the components of BST, which were used to train teachers and direct service providers. Specific areas examined included training outcomes, generalization and maintenance of skills acquired, and social validity of the practice. Analyses of information revealed that individuals trained using a BST approach demonstrated a high degree of treatment integrity, with modeling and feedback being critical components. The limitations, as well as implications of these findings for future research are discussed.
21. Behavioral-Developmental Autism Instrument (BDAI)
Area: AUT; Domain: Theory
PATRICE MARIE MILLER (Salem State University), Mansi J Shah (Dare Institute)
Abstract: The purpose of the study was to generate a behavioral-developmental scale and see how well it predicted performance in participants diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Some items were created from our experience with children with an ASD diagnosis, some based on experience with the development with “normal” children. Some items were adapted from existing developmental scales. Each item consists of a task that the child is asked to perform. It starts with behaviors that occur in very early infancy. The aim was to allow for possible earlier diagnoses of autism and also to provide a basis for intervention. The items in the instrument are developmentally ordered, based on the Model of Hierarchical Complexity. If a child is shown to successfully perform these items, the instrument moves to more complex items. Because it assesses specific behaviors it is easier to use, providing face valid results. A brief comparison of this assessment to two others that are commonly used will be included.
22. Using Simultaneous Presentation and Backward Chaining to Teach Self-Feeding of a Multi-Vitamin
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
LAURA E PHIPPS (Munroe-Meyer Institute, University of Nebraska Medical Center), Myah Sloane (UNMC Munroe Meyer Institute ), Karlie Petersen (UNMC Munroe Meyer Institute)
Abstract: Children with autism spectrum disorder and food selectivity may experience difficulties in meeting recommended daily nutrient intake due to limited variety in their diet. Moreover, they may have the necessary skills to self-feed solids and liquids, but lack the motivation to do so (Volkert et al. 2016). The current study evaluated an intervention to increase consumption of a multi-vitamin in a self-feeding format for a child with autism and food selectivity. The intervention included simultaneous presentation by blending the vitamin into a reliably consumed target food (Mueller et al., 2004) and a backward chaining procedure with differential positive reinforcement of tangible items (Rubio et al., 2017). Results indicated that simultaneous presentation was effective at targeting consumption of the vitamin in a nonself feeding format and backward chaining was necessary to increase self-feeding of the multi-vitamin.

Can We Talk? Using Siri to Increase Conversational Speech in Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder

Area: AUT; Domain: Service Delivery
Benjamin R. Thomas (Claremont Graduate University), Marjorie H. Charlop (Claremont McKenna College), Stephanie Haft (Claremont McKenna College), CATHERINE RITA CALLACI (Claremont McKenna College)

Conversation difficulties are often prominent in verbal children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD)(Charlop & Milstein, 1989). One way of promoting conversational speech may be to increase the overall amount of question-asking. In the present study, we used a multiple-baseline-across-participants design to assess the effects of communicating with Siri on an iPad, on the conversation skills of four children with ASD, ages 9-12 years old. Specifically, we measured appropriate conversation behaviors, defined as articulate sentences (proper syntax and grammar) and contextually relevant statements (subjects and predicates related to the current topic). Measurements occurred with peers during baseline and training, and with Siri during training. During all conversation session probes, the children were instructed to talk to their partner (peer or Siri) for 5 minutes. Following question-asking with Siri, improvements in some appropriate conversation behaviors were noted, although differences in benefits were observed between peers and Siri.


Service Delivery for Severe Behaviour in Australia: Parent Impressions and Provider Recommendations Regarding Applied Behaviour Analysis

Area: AUT; Domain: Service Delivery
REBECCA BEIGHTS (Irabina Autism Services), Jose Molina (Irabina Autism Services), Debra Goldfinch (Irabina Autism Services)

Severe behaviours of concern (SBOC) describe a more extreme and challenging topography of problem behaviours that occur in 5 to 10% of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD; Kurtz et al., 2020). SBOC negatively impact quality of life for children and families and often interfere with access to intervention, education, and socialisation (Donnelly et al., 2020; Fuentes et al., 2020). Applied behaviour analysis (ABA) is established as an evidence-based practice effective for SBOC (Call et al., 2013). However, preliminary data examining a small sample of family experiences (n = 14) revealed a discrepancy in ABA as best practice and family understanding of and access to ABA as an intervention for SBOC. This initial dataset prompted follow-up data collection with families regarding their impressions and experiences with ABA and service delivery for SBOC. Irabina aims to promote improvement in family education and access to evidence-based practice for children with ASD. Thus, preliminary and follow-up data will be discussed in terms of 1) family impressions of ABA, 2) service delivery models in Australia, and 3) recommendations for improving family education and access to ABA interventions that provide meaningful positive change in the of children and families affected by SBOC.


Supporting the Transition to College Through Peer Supports for Students With Autism

Area: AUT; Domain: Service Delivery
ASHLEY BLANCA RODRIGUES (Bridgewater State University)

Lately in the area of special education there is an appeal for the advancement and growth of higher education opportunities for students with autism. In response, local school systems in partnership with their special education practitioners and leaders at institutions of higher education throughout the United States have started partnering to offer inclusive transition services through university enrollment to individuals ages 18 through 21 with autism. Equally important, it is a vital opportunity for college students without disabilities to collaborate with, learn from, and live with peers with autism. Purposeful supports on campus are more likely to lead to successful outcomes for students. With increased enrollment of students with disabilities in postsecondary education, institutions, faculty, staff, families, and students must be increasingly mindful of effective ways to foster success. This poster offers a synopsis of effective models of peer supports for students with autism applied at one public university. These include a college inclusion model using mentoring during the day and in the residence halls in the evenings where students with autism are fully assimilated into all aspects of the college experience. Relevant supporting research will be discussed and an exploration of the implications and approaches for creation and implementation of partnership programs will be put forward.


Are Kids With Autism More Likely to Elope to Water? Implications for Professionals and Police

Area: AUT; Domain: Theory
LINDSAY MCCOMBE (St.Amant Research Centre), Toby L. Martin (St.Amant Research Centre; University of Manitoba), Brendan James Böhr (Manitoba Association for Behaviour Analysis (MABA); St.Amant)

Winnipeg (Manitoba, Canada) Police Services wanted to know more about children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) who elope. They wanted to know how prevalent this dangerous behaviour is and what are the common safety risks. Specifically, they wanted to know if these children often elope to water. Addressing this knowledge need will help local police officers plan and train for search and rescue operations involving children with ASDs. A systematic literature review was conducted to identify scientific literature about the prevalence and outcomes for persons with ASDs who exhibit elopement behaviours. Two electronic databases were searched (CINAHL, PsycInfo) using a PICO framework. Following title and abstract screening, full text review, and searching references lists, a total of 14 articles met our inclusion criteria for prevalence of elopement, and three additional articles were deemed relevant that reported on mortality. All the studies were from the United States, and elopement prevalence ranged from 25 – 60% across studies. Additionally, although some children may elope to water, many other children do not. Based on this information, (1) autism clinicians should be prepared to support families with prevention interventions; (2) police and other first responders should plan for individualized search and rescue strategies.

27. Timing and Intertemporal Choice Behavior in the Valproic Acid Rat Model of Autism Spectrum Disorder
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
BILL DECOTEAU (St. Lawrence University), Jayden Ladison (St. Lawrence University), Adam E. Fox (St. Lawrence University)
Abstract: Recently it has been proposed that the broad array of behavioral deficits manifest in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) may be reflect a more fundamental, underlying, disruption in timing and time perception. The Valproic Acid (VPA) model has become one of the most widely used animal analogues of ASD. Here, rat pups from control and VPA groups were assessed on a battery of tests that measured behaviors linked to ASD including motor function, perseverative and exploratory behavior, anxiety, memory, and social interaction. Temporal processing was tested using fixed-interval (FI) temporal bisection, peak interval, and intertemporal choice tasks. VPA rats were found to be significantly different from controls on measures of exploration, perseveration, anxiety, and social interaction. In addition, the VPA group displayed a leftward shift in timing functions and flatter slopes in the intertemporal choice task. These differences suggest an increased speed of subjective time and possible reduced timing precision. Together, our findings have important implications for characterizing the behavioral abnormalities of the VPA model and understanding the temporal processing dynamics observed in humans with ASD.

Naturalistic Interventions to Improve Conversational Skills for Adolescents With Autism Spectrum Disorder

Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
SARA SAMANI (University of New Mexico)

Autism spectrum disorder has an adverse impact on an individual’s ability to fulfill social needs, which can frequently lead to hardship for persons diagnosed with the disorder (World Health Organization, 2019). As individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder grow older, there is a growing social demand for conversational skills (Locke et al., 2010). Naturalistic interventions have been shown to be effective in the acquisition of target social skills (Wong et al., 2014). I conducted an open search for peer-reviewed research articles that addressed conversational skills for adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder using naturalistic interventions. Out of 2,646 results, six studies were selected that met criteria and acted as a representative sample of the research overall. The following poster summarizes the results of my literature review. Outcomes and limitations are discussed. Overall, adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder showed an increase in conversational behaviors during intervention compared to baseline. However, the evidence for generalization and maintenance was scant.


Ethical Issues in Procedural Fidelity of Evidence-Based Practices for Students With Autism

Area: AUT; Domain: Service Delivery
GOSPEL KIM (University of Kansas), Kathleen Zimmerman (University of Kansas)

The efficacy of behavioral interventions for students with Autism lies in both improved outcomes and a high level of procedural fidelity (PF). However, because the level of PF can influence the outcome of the interventions, interventions supported by sufficient evidence may not have the greatest potential to promote behavioral change. Interventions with limited evidentiary support may be just as potentially harmful as evidence-based interventions implemented with low PF because inaccurate implementation may result in varied or less meaningful outcomes. The ethical problems with implementing potentially ineffective interventions and/or effective interventions with low PF can be similar, but often overlooked when behavior analysts select interventions for use in school-based settings. In this poster, we present a flowchart guiding the discussion of ethics in intervention selection and implementation by first asking (a) whether the selected intervention is evidence-based, then asking (b) the level of PF in each case. The flowchart can be used to support school-based behavior analysts in identifying how to consider outcomes and fidelity with ethical adherence when delivering interventions for students with Autism.


Online-ACT Matrix for an Adolescent With Autism Spectrum Disorder

Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
SHINJI TANI (University of Ritsumeikan)

ACT Matrix is a frequently used tool to conduct Acceptance and Commitment Therapy in clinical works with different populations. However, a study using ACT Matrix with ASDs is limited. The purpose of the current study is to show the effectiveness of ACT Matrix for a person with ASD. The participant was 16-years old female. She was diagnosed as ASD. She has usual intelligence and speaks English and Japanese fluently. She was struggling with social interactions with her classmates. The six-steps of ACT Matrix was conducted during eight sessions (50-minute long). GHQ-28 was used as an outcome measurement. The four questionnaires (AAQ-II; Acceptance and Action Questionnaire-II, AFQ-Y; Avoidance and Fusion Questionnaire for Youth, CFQ; Cognitive Fusion Questionnaire, and VQ; Valuing Questionnaire) were used as the process measurement. At the baseline, the score of GHQ-28 was 12-point, and decreased to 2-point at the end of the intervention. The change was statistically significant (Reliable Change Index, RCI=3.77). The score of AAQ-II and CFQ decreased (RCI=3.78 for AAQ-II, 2.42 for CFQ at the post assessment). The change of VQ was significant only at one-month follow-up. The results were considered that ACT Matrix is thought to be applicable to a person with ASD.

31. Ecological Validity in Trial-Based Functional Analysis: A Case for Teacher-Led Assessment in Classrooms
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
MARY HASPEL (Monmouth University), Alexandra Hollo (West Virginia University), Stacy Lauderdale-Littin (Monmouth University)
Abstract: Trial-based functional analysis is a quick and effective strategy for assessing complex behaviors in the classroom. A significant factor that can affect validity in conducting this type of assessment with students is the degree to which procedures mimic naturally occurring variables. As such, best practice indicates trial-based functional analysis should be conducted by school-based personnel, in classrooms, during regular routines and activities. However, few studies have used teachers as primary assessors and, subsequently, critically examined findings for students. This study presents results of trial-based functional analysis conducted for 3 boys with autism by their teachers; all conditions were individualized and produced socially significant outcomes related to highly specific events in their natural settings. Findings affected key decision-making for educational programming, as well as the development of targeted behavioral interventions for each student. Implications for conducting ecologically valid assessments for students with autism, as well as trial-based functional analysis in schools, are discussed.

The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Telehealth Autism Services Delivery in China

Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
HAIDAN LU (East China Normal University), Rui Chen (Four Leaf Workshop (Yisita Information Technology Consulting Center))

Telehealth enables autism services delivery during the Covid-19 pandemic. However, little is known about telehealth autism service delivery. The purpose of the study is to investigate the telehealth autism service delivery in China during the Covid-19, factors influencing telehealth implementation, and practitioners' attitudes toward telehealth. A self-administered electronic survey was sent to the social media groups of autism services practitioners. The number of returned surveys is 122. The majority of the respondents worked for private practice, with three to five years of work experience. Language and communication was the primary telehealth intervention focus during the COVID-19. Autism service provision hours decreased by 60.7% even with telehealth, while the number of practitioners using telehealth increased 2.4 times during the COVID-19. Telehealth was used mainly for family consultation before pre-COVID-19 and for direct service during the COVID-19. Although 95.9% practitioners would continue telehealth after the pandemic only 38.1 % reported clients made progress through telehealth. Parent engagement, adapting interventions for telehealth, and clients' technology use skills strongly influenced telehealth implementation. We concluded that telehealth had a significant impact on autism services delivery. More research is needed to examine how to engage parents during telehealth practice and make interventions telehealth friendly.


Using the Picture Exchange Communication System in the School Setting for a Child With Autism Spectrum Disorder and Deafness

Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
MARY AULTMAN WELDON (Mississippi State University), Meredith Huff (Mississippi State University), Harry Bobak (Mississippi State University), Kasee Stratton-Gadke (Mississippi State University), Kayla Bates-Brantley (Mississippi State University)

The Picture Communication Exchange System is a widely known and effective means of teaching and increasing communication between those who are vocal and those who lack the capability. While there is a plethora of evidence citing the efficacy of PECS for students with ASD, there is little research in the area of implementing PECS for a child who is autistic and also deaf. Without the means to communicate wants and needs effectively, children with diagnoses of both Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and deafness are unable to facilitate communication and ultimately decrease their overall quality of life. This study aimed to extend effective interventions that lead to the acquisition of communication by implementing PECS with a child diagnosed with ASD and deafness. This study utilized a changing criterion design across one participant within a special education classroom in a rural southern town. Results yielded noticeable gains in communication across five modified PECS phases and one generalization phase. The communicative results demonstrate the establishment of a functional communication system for an individual who is deaf and has ASD in an efficient manner over a span of three and a half months. The findings of this study support the use of PECS as an effective way to increase communication and also expands the literature on populations the intervention can be used with.


Stimulus Stimulus Pairing Procedures and Behavioral Cusps: The relation Between Generative Behaviors and the Construction of the Relationship

Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
GIULIA FERRAZZI (AARBA), Chiara Vignudelli (Università di Modena E Reggio Emilia)

The topic of the study is an evaluation of the Stimulus Stimulus Pairing procedure as a promoter of behavioral cusps in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. During pairing, based on the principle of transfer of stimulus function, the therapist reinforces any kinds of child behaviors. The validity of this study is based on the acquisition of some generative skills such as to MAND, to ECHOIC, to LISTENER and MIMETIC; this behaviors corresponding to cusp characteristics according to Rosalez-Ruiz and Baer (1997), expanded by Bosch and Fuqua (2001). The research involved eight children with Autism in treatment by the Childhood and Adolescent Neuropsychiatry Service in Modena (Italy). The target behaviors are detected in each session. From the data analysis it appears that 50% of children acquire mands, no children acquire echoic and 75% acquire listener. The relevance of the study outcomes lies in the importance of a correct, constant and monitored pairing procedure to promote generative repertoires.


Effects of Point of View Video Modeling for Students With Autism: A Literature Review

Area: AUT; Domain: Theory
JARED R MORRIS (Brigham Young University), Ryan Kellems (Brigham Young University), Cade T. Charlton (Brigham Young University), Emmy Davis (Brigham Young University - Provo), Sarah McFadyen (Brigham Young University - Provo), Jamie McKay (Brigham Young University - Provo)

This literature review was conducted to synthesize the research studies that evaluated point of view video modeling and analyze the behavioral, academic, and social outcomes it had on students with autism. Video modeling has been established through research as a robust intervention with positive effects across disabilities to teach behavioral, academic, functional, social, and life skills. Methods: A literature search was conducted using the online databases ERIC and APA PsychInfo. The Boolean search string: video technology AND modeling AND point of view AND autism was used. The titles and abstracts of the articles were reviewed to identify relevance and, in order to be included in the review, studies had to meet the following criteria: (a) independent variable is POV video modeling, (b) study participants are individuals with autism, and (c) study was conducted using a single-subject research design. Results: Twenty studies met the criteria for this review. Analysis of these studies indicate a functional relation between POV video modeling and the skills and behaviors the researchers were targeting. Implications: This systematic review provides evidence that point-of-view video modeling has positive effects when used to teach play, social skills, vocational tasks, letter writing, mathematics, and transition related tasks.


Using Video Self-Modeling to Teach Turn-Taking to Preschoolers With Autism Spectrum Disorder

Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
ELIZABETH SARAH BROWER (University of Nebraska Lincoln; University of Nebraska Medical Center Monroe Meyer Institute; University of Nebraska Omaha ), Regina A. Carroll (University of Nebraska Medical Center Munroe-Meyer Institute)

Young children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) often struggle to take turns during play and learning this skill could create opportunities for enjoyable interactions with peers and promote social skill development. Video modeling is an evidence-based practice for teaching social skills to children with ASD. We used a multiple baseline across behaviors design to measure the effects of feedforward video self-modeling (VSM) on turn-taking across Lucky Ducks® and Pop Up Pirate™ for two preschool-aged males with ASD. We also assessed whether turn-taking maintained without VSM (i.e., in the post-training phase), with a new adult partner (i.e., in the generalization phase), and across four weeks of follow-up. Samuel acquired mastery-level turn-taking for both games during VSM, and this skill maintained during generalization, post-training, and at least two weeks of follow-up. Chris did not acquire mastery-level turn-taking for either game despite receiving VSM and additional training with specific prompts and reinforcement. We interpret these effects with caution due to lack of interobserver agreement data. Our results provide moderate support for using feedforward VSM to teach turn-taking during games for young children with ASD and highlight the need to understand why VSM may be more effective for some children over others.


Efficacy and Efficiency Evaluation of Real-Time Feedback for Caregiver Training

Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
ELIZABETH J. PREAS (Integrated Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders, University of Nebraska Medical Center), Therese L. Mathews (University of Nebraska Medical Center)

Caregivers of children with an autism spectrum disorder are often responsible for assisting their child to complete activities of daily living skills. Effective and efficient caregiver training methods are needed to train caregivers to implement activities of daily living skills teaching procedures with integrity. The present study used a concurrent multiple-baseline across participants design to evaluate the effects of real-time feedback to train 4 caregivers to implement teaching procedures for activities of daily living skills with their child. We assessed caregivers’ accuracy and correct implementation of the 6-component teaching procedure after receiving real-time feedback. Caregivers met the mastery criterion in few sessions and total minutes, and all caregivers maintained correct implementation of the teaching procedures with their child during follow-up sessions. The overall results suggest that real-time feedback is an efficacious method to train caregivers to implement activity of daily living skills procedures with their child and may be an efficient alternative training approach.


Perceptions on Providing Acute Psychiatric Care to Individuals With Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Systematic Review

Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
JILL FODSTAD (Indiana University School of Medicine; Indiana University Health Physicians), Jadon Mehringer (Indiana University Purdue University - Indianapolis), Nicole Scheive (Indiana University Purdue University - Indianapolis), Justin Carpenter (Indiana University Purdue University - Indianapolis; Indiana University School of Medicine)

Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder are more likely to receive emergency-based care for acute psychiatric needs than the general population. Providing care in non-specialized settings (e.g., emergency department, behavioral psychiatric unit) to persons with autism often results in longer hospital stays, greater healthcare costs, and high level of staff burnout. It is imperative that improvements to care provision in non-specialized settings occur. A first step to improving autism-specific care in these settings is a better understanding of perceived barriers. A systematic review of the literature using the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRIMSA) reporting guidelines was conducted between April – May 2020 using Medical Subject Headings (MESH) and free-text keywords, as well as a priori inclusion and exclusion criteria. Twelve articles were retained for data extraction. Key themes found across these studies included (1) complexity beyond usual patients seen, (2) limited knowledge of autism or appropriate interventions, (3) training and experience, (4) communication among relevant stakeholders, (5) need for more information, training, or resources, and (6) need for care coordination and system-wide changes. Results have implications for future research and should be considered to improve crisis-based service provision for individuals with autism in the future.


Parent Training to Reduce Challenging Behaviors in Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Systematic Review

Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
PAIGE O'NEILL (Brock University), Julie Koudys (Brock University), Amanpreet Randhawa (Brock University), Meghan Dunnet (Kalyana Support Systems), Claire Shingleton-Smith (Brock University), Alyssa Treszl (Brock University)

Many children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) demonstrate challenging behaviors and applied behavior analysis (ABA) has been shown to be effective for reducing these challenging behaviors, often through multicomponent interventions including antecedent, consequent, and skill replacement strategies. Previous research has shown that parents can be trained to effectively implement multicomponent ABA interventions with their children to address challenging behavior, but systematic reviews examining research in this area are lacking. The present study included a complete review of single case design studies of parent training in multicomponent ABA interventions to reduce challenging behavior in children with ASD and summarizes the state of the literature, specifically parent and child demographics, the setting of and methods used for parent training, the nature of parent-implemented interventions, the function and topography of challenging behaviors addressed, and the presence of follow-up and social validity data. Results show that demographic information is commonly underreported, particularly with respect to parent participants. Parents are often trained to use reinforcement-based procedures in natural settings. Further, parents are often involved in the assessment of target behaviors which are commonly multiply controlled and present as a range of topographies. Finally, generalization, maintenance, and social validity data are lacking. Future directions are suggested.


Developing and Enhancing Adherence to a Telehealth ABA Parent Training Curriculum for Caregivers of Children With Autism

Area: AUT; Domain: Service Delivery
ZHIHUI YI (Univeristy of Illinois at Chicago), Mark R. Dixon (University of Illinois at Chicago)

The current COVID-19 pandemic poses unique challenges to the delivery of ABA services and there has been a growing demand for evidence-based practices on how to develop a Telehealth ABA service model. The current study provided a guide on how to develop a Telehealth caregiver training curriculum. Our model also includes a series of brief Acceptance and Commitment Training (ACT) protocols to enhance parental adherence. Besides providing the overall curriculum structure, a randomized controlled trial was conducted to examine the effectiveness of this program. Thirteen families from the southern Illinois region participated in the curriculum before the COVID-19 outbreak. Obtained data indicated that the training was effective to teach skills, and parents with supplemental ACT material made significantly more progress than those in the control group, t(11) = 2.36, p = .044. Half-way through the training, the outbreak of COVID-19 occurred, and parents in the ACT group were more likely to continue the program while parents in the control group were significantly more likely to postpone their participation, χ2 = 6.96, p = .008. Social validity measures indicated that parents rated the curriculum favorably. Limitations and suggestions for practitioners are discussed.

41. Reimagining Behavior Analytic Services to Prioritize Neurodiversity
Area: AUT; Domain: Service Delivery
MCKENNA DOUGLASS (Monmouth University ), Lindsay Renee Mehrkam (Monmouth University)
Abstract: The behavior analytic and autistic community have had a controversial relationship since their inception. Many autistic people subscribe to neurodiversity theory which acknowledges atypical neurology as a natural occurrence in human nature and therefore should be accepted not treated. The autistic community has expressed that behavior analytic services centered around the treatment or erasure of autistic traits are often harmful. The aim of this paper was to utilize current research, expertise from behavior analysts, and genuine autistic experiences to reimagine the delivery of behavior analytic services. We have outlined strategies for professionals to employ that would embrace neurodiversity and foster environments that would provide choice/independence for autistic people. Additionally, we address the need for cultural and system change regarding attitudes towards disability within the behavior analytic community. Implementation of meaningful inclusion through the use of co-production concerning all aspects of our services will be imperative for such changes. Moreover, we highlighted potential barriers when attempting inclusivity and bring awareness to criticisms by autistic people of behavior analysis to facilitate largescale change. Behavior will always be influenced by the environment, however, it is necessary that disabled people feel respected, heard, and safe if we are to continue using behavior analytic services.

Effects of Parent Training Prior to Feeding Therapy in Children With Autism and Feeding Disorders

Area: AUT; Domain: Service Delivery
MEGHAN DAHLMAN (University of Rochester), Kimberly Ann Brown (University of Rochester), Courtney A. Aponte (University of Rochester), Steven Fedchak (University of Rochester)

Parent training for children with feeding disorders is usually initiated once feeding therapy is completed. We were interested in the effects of parent training prior to feeding therapy to more actively engage the parents in therapy and assist with generalization. Three parent education sessions were implemented prior to feeding therapy for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders and a diagnosed feeding disorder. The first session focused on antecedent strategies, (scheduling and structure). The second session focused on positive interactions, specific directions, and appropriate expectations. The third session focused on reinforcement. Next, a series of treatment sessions were scheduled to assist the parent to implement behavioral strategies with their child. Treatment goals were established for both the parent education sessions and the therapy sessions. Data indicate that children were more likely to meet their treatment goals if parents met all of their parent training goals. Discussion regarding variables contributing to success and failure will be provided. Future research should focus on the effects of parent training before and after therapy sessions in addition to component analysis to determine which variable in the parenting sessions was most effective.

43. Modifications to a Comprehensive Treatment Model to Ensure Continuity of Care During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Area: AUT; Domain: Service Delivery
Stephanie Brockman (Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center), SKYRA MAYO (Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center), Brooke Seavitt (Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center)
Abstract: The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has impacted the lives of citizens globally. Health experts shared the importance of social distancing and limiting the amount of contact made with others in order to prevent the spread of the virus. The current study focuses on the model used to meet these recommendations and ensure continuity of care in the Comprehensive Behavioral Program at the Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center (SARRC) during the pandemic. The model was adjusted from a team-based format to client and therapist dyads. Additionally, parent training and supervision transitioned to a telehealth format. This study examines the data from a random sample of clients who received behavioral treatment throughout the pandemic, comparing direct service, parent training, and supervision hours, as well as the number of targets mastered, in the standard service provision model and the COVID-19 model. The data reflects that treatment intensity was maintained with direct service and parent training, and the intensity of supervision and number of targets mastered increased. The results suggest that one to one dyads and telehealth parent training and supervision may be an appropriate way to maintain continuity of care for individuals receiving intensive behavioral treatment while also limiting the spread of COVID-19.

The Effect of Matrix Training on Generalization of Instruction Following for Children With Autism

Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
CHRISTIAN BORROMEO (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology; Breakthrough Behavior), Jennifer Quigley (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology), Melissa J. Richards (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology), RIANNE CANLAS CORTEZ (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology)

Matrix training involves arranging multi-component skills in a grid-like array, such that one component of the skill is arranged along the edge on one side of the matrix and another component is arranged along the edge of the perpendicular side. Teaching skills through the matrix training method often allows learners to easily generalize the target multi-component skills across novel arrangements of the skill. The present study examined the use of matrix training with two children ages 4 and 7 with autism spectrum disorder diagnoses. The multi-component skill evaluated was listener responding to pre-academic instructions (e.g., draw a check mark or write the letter “a”) that involved the use of a prepositional phrase (e.g., under, in between, on top). Results indicated that matrix training was effective for one of the two participants, wherein the six trained skills were directly taught to mastery and non-taught skills emerged without direct teaching.


An Integrative Approach to the Treatment of Encopresis in Child With Autism

Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
YEARIN KIM (Seoul National University Hospital (SNUH)), Dongjoo Chin (Seoul National University Hospital (SNUH))

Encopresis, sometimes called fecal incontinence or soiling, affects children ages 6 to 12 and it occurs often when a child has chronic constipation. Children with developmental disabilities such as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in particular more likely to have constipation than typically developing children and it causes encopresis. The purpose of this study is to investigate and examine the effects of an integrative approach that incorporates both medical and behavioral approaches to the treatment of encopresis for a 11 years old boy with ASD using a multiple baseline across behaviors including: (a) not soiling (b) defecating in toilet and (c) voluntary toileting behavior. The result documented a clear pattern of improvement in the child’s response to successful bowel movements in the toilet and decrease in frequency of encopretic episodes following the intervention.


Music Effects on Attention in Students With Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Systematic Literature Review

Area: AUT; Domain: Theory
QIN YANG (Texas Woman's University), Elizabeth Keener (Texas Woman's University ), Suzanna Dillon (Texas Woman's University ), Randa Keeley (Texas Woman's University )

Background: To address students' learning needs with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), educators have developed strategies to increase attention control for students with ASD in school settings. This systematic review aims to evaluate the empirical support for using music as an intervention to improve attention control for students with ASD, 3 to 21 years. The attention control includes attentional behavior, task engagement, on-task behavior, and joint attention. Method: A multi-step systematic review of the literature, published between 2000 and 2020, was conducted using inclusion and exclusion criteria. Results: From the 32 identified articles, 14 articles met the inclusion criteria. A total of 154 participants were involved across the 14 research studies and eight of the studies used a single-subject research design. Although all research claimed that music could improve selective attention and joint attention, increased task engagement and on-task behavior, there was no clear definition and description of the various types of music intervention. Therefore, it is hard to replicate the research. Conclusion: While limited, there appears to be empirical support that music as a therapeutic intervention could positively affect attentional control for students with ASD. However, more research with a standard music treatment protocol should be explored in future research.

48. A Systemic Review of Resurgence of Clinically Relevant Behavior
Area: AUT; Domain: Service Delivery
JESSE PERRIN (Pathways), Cody Morris (Salve Regina University ), Kathryn M. Kestner (West Virginia University)
Abstract: Basic, translational, and applied researchers have all identified resurgence as a phenomenon with significant implications for successful behavioral intervention. Resurgence can occur during both unplanned changes to treatment as well as planned changes. In fact, many common treatments used with individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and similar disabilities, such as Functional Communication Training, appear to have components that may lead to resurgence. In 2017, Kestner & Peterson published a systematic literature review that included resurgence studies focused on clinically relevant behaviors. Their data indicated that most resurgence research was focused on children with ASD. Since their publication, the amount of resurgence research with human participants appears to have increased significantly. Therefore, the purpose of this paper was to systematically review research on the resurgence of clinically relevant behaviors published since the Kestner and Peterson review to determine if the targeted demographics have changed and if any practice guidelines could be established. This review included 22 articles published from 2015-2020. The initial interrater agreement was 93%. Participant demographics and key findings will be discussed.

Evaluation of Conditioned Aversive Stimuli Associated With Past Traumatic Events on Choice-Making and Avoidance Behaviors

Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
ELIZABETH JOY HOUCK (University of North Texas), Joseph D. Dracobly (University of North Texas)

People with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) experience high rates of exposure to traumatic events (e.g. abuse and neglect). Exposure to trauma often increases problem behavior. Exposure to conditioned aversive stimuli (CAS) that are associated with past trauma (often referred to as “triggers”) interfere with task engagement and are often stimuli that the individual is not able to avoid. However, assessing for the effects of past trauma is difficult for people with limited verbal repertoires. Functionally analyzing the impact of potential “triggers” on behavior could demonstrate the effects of past trauma for people who are non-verbal and help practitioners to identify appropriate treatment strategies. This poster presents data for a man who has ASD and is non-verbal. Data presented show effects of CAS on choice-making and avoidance behaviors. Treatment data depict the beneficial effects of teaching a break request even when exposure to the CAS cannot be completely avoided.


Police Officers' Attitudes Toward Autistic Behaviors

Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
ALANNA NEWTON (Alliant International University ), Sydney Puga (Alliant International University ), Teresa Anes (Alliant International University ), Stephanie Motta (Alliant International University )

This study aims to identify factors contributing to police officer’s perceptions of criminal intent related to the behavior of individuals with autism. The study assessed the views of 38 police officers and 267 members of the general public regarding the police treatment of an adolescent male with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Utilizing a short questionnaire completed online a total of 129 of general public and 14 of the police respondents reported having a personal or professional connection to ASD. Some 161 participants stated they believed the officer had not handled the child properly after ASD was disclosed. Additionally, 198 participants concluded the officer was not justified in handcuffing the child after ASD was disclosed. Approximately 92.5% of participants believed ASD training should be enacted on policing platforms but only 17 police reported receiving training on ASD. The data suggest having previous knowledge regarding ASD will affect how an officer’s actions are considered and how an officer will handle individuals with ASD. The present study highlights the need for the implementation of national guidelines and training regarding ASD for policing services.


Addressing Burnout in Early Intervention: Recommendations From the Literature

Area: AUT; Domain: Service Delivery
Alexandra Alvarez (California State University, Los Angeles), Radhika Ekbote (California State University, Los Angeles ), KYLIE LAM (California State University, Los Angeles), Jennifer Ramirez (California State University, Los Angeles), Ya-Chih Chang (California State University, Los Angeles), Mitch Fryling (California State University, Los Angeles)

Burnout is a socially important issue for both employees and organizations. While it may be more readily understood that burnout impacts employees, it also impacts organizations and critically, the quality of services provided. Factors often associated with burnout include low job satisfaction, absenteeism, and high levels of stress. Within the area of ABA, burnout may result in lower quality instruction which directly affects progress with clients and may hinder their overall development. While burnout has been found to be prevalent among practitioners working with children in early childhood settings, and especially within the area of special education, burnout remains a relatively under-researched area in ABA. This presentation provides an overview of research on burnout from various disciplines with an emphasis on work that is closely related to ABA. The presentation summarizes the main factors associated with burnout, emphasizing those that may be addressed within organizations providing ABA services. In addition, strategies to counter burnout when it is already occurring will also be reviewed. A major emphasis of the poster will be research-based recommendations for both organizations and clinicians providing ABA services. Opportunities for research in practice settings will also be considered.


Teacher Characteristics, Knowledge, and Use of Evidence-Based Practices in Ireland

Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
LORNA BARRY (University of Limerick), Jennifer Holloway (National University of Ireland, Galway), Stephen Gallagher (University of Limerick), Jennifer McMahon (University of Limerick)

Evidence-based practices (EBPs) are key to improving outcomes for students with autism, however, a research-to-practice gap exists whereby teachers regularly use unsupported practices. In Europe, eclectic teaching methods persist and little is known of the adoption of EBPs in European settings. This study aimed to establish the characteristics, knowledge and use of EBPs by teachers in Ireland. 369 teachers completed an online questionnaire assessing demographic characteristics, and knowledge and use of EBPs (Paynter & Keen, 2014). Results demonstrated that teachers lacked training, rarely received support from external professionals, had low levels of knowledge of EBPs, and used EBPs infrequently. Knowledge and use of EBPs differed based on teacher characteristics, with special educators reporting higher levels of knowledge and use of EBPs in comparison with general educators, and those with more years of experience, more training and more support from external professionals reported higher levels of knowledge, and used EBPs more frequently. The findings suggest that teachers in Ireland require substantial training in understanding and employing EBPs, and as teachers in general education settings had the lowest levels of knowledge and use EBPs least frequently, these teachers in particular require training urgently.

53. An Examination of the Importance of Treatment Fidelity in Early Intervention Programs
Area: AUT; Domain: Service Delivery
ALEXIA BARNES (Advanced Behavioral Health, Inc.), Junie Lazo-Pearson (Advanced Behavioral Health, Inc), Melissa Pattone (Advanced Behavioral Health, Inc.)
Abstract: Treatment fidelity or treatment integrity refers to the extent that an intervention is implemented as planned, intended, or originally designed (Lane, et al., 2004). Carroll, et al. (2013) found that lower levels of treatment integrity decreased the effectiveness of teaching procedures. The authors reported that the acquisition of mands was impeded when treatment fidelity was at 40% and 70%. The purpose of this study was to examine treatment fidelity and percentage of delay obtained from the Developmental Assessment of Young Children 2nd Edition (DAYC-2). The DAYC-2 is used to identify children with possible delays in five different domains that reflect an area mandated for assessment and intervention for young children in IDEA. Three children under the age of 3 who qualified for early start services with a California Regional Center participated. Based on DAYC-2 results prior to intervention, participants had a percentage of delays in cognition and adaptive domains, two participants had delays in the social-emotional domain. Participant 1 was 8% and 4% delayed in cognition and adaptive, respectively; while Participant 2 was 30%, 33% and 33% delayed across domains (cognition, social emotional, adaptive, respectively), and Participant Three was 41%, 47%, and 71% delayed. During intervention, treatment fidelity was assessed at an average of 100%, 99%, and 97%. Each participant was retested using the DAYC-2 at the 5th month of intervention. The percentage of delay decreased across two participants while it increased across the third participant. While treatment fidelity does not demonstrate a functional relationship with dependent variables (Gresham et al., 1993), our study demonstrates a plausible correlation.

The Impact of Combined Within- and Across-Activity Choice on the Indices of Happiness and Unhappiness of Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder

Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
DEVON MICHELLE RAMEY (Queen's University Belfast), Olive Healy (Trinity College Dublin)

Self-determination is the right to exert control over one’s own life. Choice-making is considered a key component of self-determination, yet children with disabilities are often given limited opportunities for choice within their daily lives. By providing choices to children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), practitioners can promote their self-determination, and in turn, improve their overall quality of life (QOL). Another essential component of QOL is individual happiness. Behaviorally speaking, happiness is considered a private event that cannot be directly observed, and the overt behaviors theorized to be associated with happiness must be observed instead. These behavioral indicators of mood are often referred to as indices of happiness or unhappiness, and our research has found that these indices can be operationally defined and reliably measured among young children with ASD. The present study aimed to measure these indices during a choice-based intervention that included both within- and across-activity choices. We found that all three children with ASD displayed more indices of happiness and less indices of unhappiness during intervention. In addition, the on-task behavior improved for two of the three participants. The mean omnibus effect size suggested that the choice intervention package was moderately effective (Tau-U = 0.27) for these children.

55. Utilizing Differential Reinforcement to Increase the Generalization of Attending Skills
Area: AUT; Domain: Service Delivery
KYLA CHRISTENSON (Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center), Amber Feick (North Valley Pediatric Therapy; Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center), Madison Theis (Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center)
Abstract: The skill of attending—appropriately providing attention to various stimuli—can be affected by the core symptoms of autism, including restricted and repetitive interests and deficits in social communication. Attending may further impact skills such as environmental awareness, safety, and building relationships with others. The study examined a multiple-baseline and changing-criterion intervention designed to increase and promote the generalization of attending skills for an 8-year-old male with autism. Baseline data were collected on communicative opportunities presented from individuals other than the clinician, at a variety of volumes, while engaged in activities within four conditions: 1) highly preferred, 2) preferred, 3) neutral, and 4) miscellaneous loud sounds. Intervention began with a changing-criterion design on the target skill of responding to loud communicative opportunities within 3-5 seconds while engaged in neutral activities. Engagement in the target skill was reinforced with a tangible item from the communicative partner; prompted opportunities were differentially reinforced by a different tangible item and verbal feedback. Data suggests that the intervention effectively increased the skill within the targeted conditions; however, there were minimal collateral effects. This may indicate a need to address the deficit similarly across a variety of social and environmental conditions to ensue generalization.

Teaching Overlapping Domestic and Vocational Tasks Remotely Using Components of the PRISM Curriculum

Area: AUT; Domain: Service Delivery
ELANA KEISSA SICKMAN (Missouri State University), Lindsey Audrey Marie Dennis (Missouri State University), Ray Burke (The Prevention Group), Jordan Belisle (Missouri State University)

The present research study sought to elaborate and adapt necessary vocational skills training procedures to a remote climate. Adapting Constant Time Delay procedures (CDT) to online instruction allows researchers to examine the effects of teaching domestic and vocational skills, identified by the PRISM curriculum, to two individuals with various developmental and/or intellectual diagnosis. Throughout this study, researchers utilized a matrix training approach to assist in developing the selected domestic skills (i.e. washing a table, washing a fridge door, washing a window) to increase autonomous living and potential future employment opportunities. A multiple probe design across targeted skills was replicated across the participants within their homes with prompting provided over virtual conferencing due to COVID-19. Results demonstrated an increase of task completion independent of prompting for both participants and when presented with the Treatment Inventory - Short Form (TEI-SF) participants indicated the intervention was helpful, positive, and adaptable to their current circumstances.

58. General Case Parent-Mediated Telehealth Intervention for Young Children at Risk for Autism Spectrum Disorder
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
CLAIRE SHINGLETON-SMITH (Brock University), Maurice Feldman (Dept. of Applied Disability Studies, Brock University), Alicia Azzano (Brock University), Julie Koudys (Brock University), Paige O'Neill (Brock University), Amanpreet Randhawa (Brock University)
Abstract: Research indicates that young children at-risk for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) show developmental improvements with the implementation of a parent training intervention, although evidence of parent generalization to novel skills is inconsistent (Azzano et al., 2020a, b). This ongoing study aims to determine the effects on generalization of a parent-mediated early intervention using general case training (GCT) combined with behaviour skills training (BST) via telehealth for young children at-risk for ASD. Three parent-child dyads are currently participating. Child target skills were identified through the Parent Observation of Early Markers Scale (Feldman et al., 2012) and confirmed through direct observation. Nine exemplars from three child skill categories that target deficits representative of early signs of ASD were taught to parents using a multiple baseline across participants design. Data are being collected for the percentage of correct parent teaching skills implemented, as well as the percentage of child correct responses to the target skills. Preliminary IOA is 85% (range 73–93). Early results demonstrate an increase in parent teaching skills across all trained participants for both target and novel child skills. These results provide preliminary support for GCT combined with BST via telehealth as an effective early intervention model.
59. Gamification of Discrete Trial Training Using the PEAK Relational Training System
Area: AUT; Domain: Service Delivery
LINDSEY AUDREY MARIE DENNIS (Missouri State University), Elana Keissa Sickman (Missouri State University), Ray Burke (The Prevention Group), Jordan Belisle (Missouri State University)
Abstract: The purpose of this research study was to embed instructional technologies which gamify discrete-trial training to encourage learning and engagement in individuals with disabilities. Using the PEAK curriculum, researchers developed a gamified version of a well-known arcade game, whack-a-mole, to target derived relational responding in three participants with various developmental and intellectual disabilities. Due to the conditions of COVID-19 the procedures were delivered via video conferencing with screen share capabilities to allow for the participants to interact with the game though not present with the researcher. During the pilot evaluation, a multiple baseline across participants design revealed an increase in target skill acquisition and performance. Due to the gamified features such as points, sounds, and autonomous timer selection, when the game increased in difficulty as did the participant’s performance. As compared to traditional discrete-trial training methods, participants reported higher preference for this teaching strategy as the gamified version was a more intriguing and engaging way to promote skill acquisition.
60. Using Telehealth to Train Behavior Technicians to Implement Response Interruption and Redirection
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
ANGELINE V EATON (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology ), Laura A. Kruse (First Leap LLC; The Chicago School of Professional Psychology), Robyn M. Catagnus (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology)
Abstract: Families and children with a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder are requesting more telehealth services due to the current global pandemic. With this increase, little research exists on the effectiveness of telehealth services. Additionally, little research exists on the effectiveness of the training procedures used via telehealth. This study analyzes the use of telehealth to train behavior staff to implement response interruption and redirection with a trained confederate acting as a child with a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder. The behavior staff were trained to identify motor and vocal stereotypy and trained to know when and how to intervene based on safety and ethical implications. The authors found that telehealth was an effective means for training behavior staff to implement response interruption and redirection when working with children who engage in stereotypy. The results add to the literature to support the effectiveness of telehealth services as a means for training behavior staff.

Effects on Interest in Lessons by Active Learning Method for a Child With Autism Spectrum Disorder

Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
MAKO ITO (Meisei University), Yoshikazu Sato (Meisei University), Koji Takeuchi (Meisei University)

Study objective: This study consists of two studies. Study one is to examine whether, for a child with ASD, active learning (focused on instructions between an instructor and the child) is more effective in increasing positive attitude in difficult lessons to attend. Study two is to examine the effects on the greater change for the positive attitude by long-term implementation of active learning method. Participant: A 5th grade ASD child attending free school. He is not interested in social studies and often leaves his seat during the lessons. Procedures: In Study one, he has each 15 minutes lesson on the three teaching methods (1:lesson to solve problems alone, 2: lesson to give information unilaterally, 3:active learning lesson). We measure which lesson was most effective for him. In Study two, we examine how interest levels change by extending active learning time to 45 minutes from 15 minutes and measure. Results: In Study one, Active learning lesson was the most effectively to raise interest in (Figure 1). The level of understanding of the lesson was the same for all three. In Study two, his interest in social studies was raised after the active learning lesson(Figure 2) .


The Effects of Group-Based Telehealth Parent Coaching on Sleep in Children With Autism

Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
ROBIN FINLAYSON (University of Washington), Annette Estes (University of Washington), Ilene S. Schwartz (University of Washington)

Persistent sleep problems are reported in as many as 80% of children with autism spectrum disorders. Children’s sleep problems also impact the sleep and general wellbeing of family members. This study examined the effects of a novel service-delivery model, group-based parent coaching delivered via telehealth, on sleep for children with autism and parent-reported sleep problems. It also investigated the acceptability of the model via parent social validity questionnaires and interviews. Parents were taught targeted behavioral interventions in a small-group format via videoconferencing. Improvement was demonstrated on each dyad’s primary sleep goal and on the Child Sleep Habits Questionnaire and Bedtime Routines Questionnaire for all participants. The intervention was well accepted by participants, who reported high levels of satisfaction with the intervention, increased ratings of self-efficacy when dealing with their children’s sleep problems, and satisfaction with the service delivery model. If future research is consistent with these findings, this model may improve access to effective, acceptable, and contextually appropriate interventions to improve sleep problems in children with autism and their families.


Can You Teach Perspective Taking Through Telehealth? Teaching First-Order Perspective Taking to Children With Autism Using Video Models via Telehealth

Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
ADRIANA ANDERSON (Autism Spectrum Therapies)

Individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have been reported, through observations and self-evaluation, to have difficulties engaging in social interactions, including understanding another’s nonverbal social cues and mental states, referred to a theory of mind or perspective taking. Research has shown that adolescents with ASD are more likely to require support with establishing relationships into adulthood if perspective taking needs not addressed and can result in feelings of isolation, peer-rejection, and depression symptoms. Which is why, addressing the foundational social skills at the age in which it typically develops is of critical importance. Several previously published articles have demonstrated the efficiency of using video modeling to teach first-order perspective taking skills, to both children and young adolescents with autism, but have primarily occurred within in-person teaching. Due to COVID-19, in-person applied behavior analysis (ABA) services, had to rapidly adjust to find meaningful ways to provide medically necessary services through telehealth. To further extend the current literature, this research sought to evaluate if first-order perspective taking could be taught through telehealth services using video models and what supports would need to be in place for the program to be successful. A multiple baseline design across participants and within participate across tasks was used with three children with autism. Results revealed that although first-order perspective taking skills could be taught through telehealth using video models, progress occurred at various rates based on prerequisite skills. Recommendations for future research are described as well since generalization in the natural environment was unable to occur.


Parent Training in a Pandemic: Lessons Learned From the Online Front Lines

Area: AUT; Domain: Service Delivery
LORI A. DOTSON (Institute for Applied Behavior Analysis), Nicole Murillo (Institute for Applied Behavior Analysis), Angela Fulgencio (Institute for Applied Behavior Analysis), Danielle Huntling (Institute for Applied Behavior Analysis), Allison Liu (Institute for Applied Behavior Analysis), Jessica Swerbilow (Institute for Applied Behavior Analysis), Janette Miranda (Institute for Applied Behavior Analysis), Janelle Aguilar (Institute for Applied Behavior Analysis)

Parent training is well established as a critical component of early intervention for young children with Autism. In addition to having an effect on children’s development and behavioral outcomes, parent-child interactions and caregivers’ well-being can be enhanced through engagement in parent training. State and regional stay at home orders during the COVID19 pandemic have necessitated parents and other caregivers take a more hands-on role in the provision of discrete trial training and other applied behavior analysis interventions, and the emphasis of parent training on understanding intervention has shifted to providing intervention. This presentation aims to present effective strategies for parent engagement, education and competency development during remote participation in parent training. Further, opportunities for the enhancement of service equity through remote service will be discussed. Strategies for educator training and supervision will also be provided.


Relationship Between Prefrontal Cortex Activity and Autism Spectrum Quotient Score During an Executive Function Task

Area: AUT; Domain: Basic Research
HIDEAKI FUJIHARA (Graduate School of Education, Kyoto University), Akiko Megumi (Graduate School of Social and Cultural Sciences, Kumamoto University), Akira Yasumura (Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Kumamoto University)

People with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) have lower executive function (EF) task performance and atypical frontal cortex (PF) activity. However, ASD is not a categorical disorder but rather a continuum between typical developmental (TD) and clinical groups. Previous studies have often compared executive functions and brain activity between the TD group and the clinical group, but little has been done to examine patterns within TDs. Therefore, in the present study, we examined whether there was an association between scores indicating Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ) and activity in the PC during reverse Stroop task (RST) as an EF task in twenty college students (mean age = 22.7) who had never been diagnosed with ASD before. Blood flow changes in the PC during RST were measured using Near-infrared spectroscopy. The results showed that subjects who scored higher on the difficulty in communication skills, a sub-item of AQ, had significantly higher activity in the right, polar, and left PC (r = .72, p < .01; r = .51, p < .05; r = .49, p < .05). Thus, even people within the TD range score who exhibit communication difficulties may have a higher brain load on the EF task to answer the meaning.


Predictors of Presence and Severity of Aggression and Self-Injurious Behavior Exhibited by Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder

Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
DEIJA MCLEAN (Southern Illinois University Carbondale), Janine Stichter (University of Missouri), Wendy Reinke (University of Missouri), Ze Wang (University of Missouri), Kerri P Nowell (University of Missouri), Stephen Kanne (Weill Cornell Medicine)

Autistic individuals are especially at-risk for exhibiting challenging behaviors (e.g., aggression, self-injurious behavior) when compared to peers with and without neurodevelopmental disorders. Aggression and self-injurious behavior (SIB) are particularly concerning due to the potential negative effects associated with their presence. The current study investigated variables which predicted the presence and severity of aggression and SIB in a large sample (n = 2100) of autistic children aged 4 to 17 (M=9.14; SD=3.54). Results of regression analyses indicated that the presence of lethargy/social withdrawal behavior, irritability, and hyperactivity/noncompliance were predictive of aggressive behavior. Irritability and hyperactivity/noncompliance also predicted severity of exhibited aggressive behavior. Older age and the presence of inappropriate speech, irritability and aggression were predictive of SIB in this population. Irritability also predicted severity of exhibited SIB. These findings provide important implications for prevention and treatment of aggression and SIB in autistic children by presenting risk factors which can be utilized by professionals who serve those with ASD. Due to the substantial impacts of challenging behavior in autistic youth, targeted prevention efforts can potentially reduce the presence of challenging behaviors in this population.


The Role of a Service-Based Organization Model on Extracurricular Involvement of Students With Intellectual Disabilities

Area: AUT; Domain: Service Delivery
MEETI MEHTA (University of Central Florida), Taylor Duffy (University of Central Florida), Andrea Doster (University of Central Florida)

Students with intellectual disabilities (IDs) benefit most from an inclusive curriculum facilitating engagement with peers without IDs. While such curricula exist in primary and secondary education, inclusive postsecondary education (IPSE) is still new. Integrated IPSE allows students with and without IDs to take classes together, with further inclusion in residential life and extracurricular activities. In addition to fostering growth in students with IDs, this creates a diverse college experience for those without IDs, cultivating an informed and inclusive student body. Knights Exemplar (KE) is a student-led peer mentorship program supporting students with IDs enrolled in the University of Central Florida’s Inclusive Education Services (IES), an integrated IPSE program. KE educates students to ensure peer mentors of the highest quality, serving as role models and bridging the gap between IES students and university resources. A retrospective cohort study investigating the role of KE’s student-led organizational model on the extracurricular involvement of students with IDs enrolled in IES indicated that KE has contributed to an overall increase in campus engagement among students with IDs. These results suggest that KE can serve as a sustainable, progressive model for other university-based IPSE programs seeking to provide more significant support to students with IDs.


Teaching Self-Control to Elementary School Children in the Classroom: Changes in Delay Discounting and Social Discounting

Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
MICHIKO SORAMA (Kyoto Notre Dame University), Masato Ito (Osaka City University), Sakiko Wada (ABASaC), Aya KATAYAMA (Osaka City University)

Children with ASD (autism spectrum disorder) often have difficulties in both self-control and social communication. In the choice behavior paradigm, self-control is defined as choosing the delayed, but larger reinforcer, whereas impulsiveness is defined as choosing the immediate, but smaller reinforcer. Such choice tasks have been applied to measure and treat impulsivity for children with ASD. Delay discounting is a quantitative measure of self-control. There has been some research conducted on delay discounting in children and found that delay discounting decreases with age. Also, choice behavior in a social situation can be measured by social discounting. In contrast to the abundance of studies of developmental change in delay discounting, there are only few studies that examined developmental change of social discounting. Delay and social discounting tasks may be useful tools for understand difficulties with ASD. The present study evaluated the effects of socials skills training in the classroom using the delay discounting and social discounting tasks. Preliminary analysis of 85 participants, ages 8-9 years, suggests that there was no significant difference between pre and post training. Individual analysis for participants with difficulties in self-control will be also discussed.


Comparing Interventions: Improving Reading Fluency via Telehealth of a High School Student With Autism

Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
KAITLYN ESTES (Mississippi State University), Tawny N. Evans-McCleon (Mississippi State University), Kayla Bates-Brantley (Mississippi State University )

Reading fluency is a vital skill for individuals to learn to become a successful reader. Individuals who have difficulties in reading often face many challenges in all academic areas, which can affect an individual's life as an adult. Previous research has shown many effective fluency interventions for increasing reading fluency for elementary-age readers, including repeated reading. Yet, the effects of repeated reading or echo reading on fluency have not been examined with high school students diagnosed with ASD. The current study explores the effectiveness of ER and ER + RR and if the combined intervention produces a greater increase in reading fluency than just ER alone. A single-subject withdrawal design was used to compare the effectiveness of ER and ER + RR. One high school-aged participant with low reading abilities and a current diagnosis of ASD was exposed to the conditions during this five-week study. Data were analyzed using visual analysis, and the effect size was calculated using nonoverlap of all pairs (NAP). The results suggested that both the ER and ER + RR intervention increased the participant's overall reading fluency compared to baseline with medium effects for both.


Assessing Perceptions, Preferences, and Barriers of Exercise in Individuals With Autism Spectrum Disorder

Area: AUT; Domain: Theory
MICHELLE GRAZIOLI (Montclair State University ), Sadaf Khawar (Montclair State University/Helping Hands Therapeutic Services, Inc), Amelia Yanchik (Montclair State University), Ghowash Irshad (Montclair State University), Peter M Vietze (Montclair State University)

It has been found that children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) are more likely to suffer from obesity compared to their typically developing counterparts (McCoy, 2016). One effective intervention for decreasing the risk factors associated with obesity is exercise. In addition, exercise has been suggested to improve maladaptive behaviors associated with ASD (Lang, 2010). Before promoting exercise in this population, it is critical to first understand their preferences, motivation and barriers in regards to exercise. In order to assess these variables, a literature review was conducted. Inclusion criteria was that assessments of perceptions or preferences of exercise must be obtained by individuals with ASD. Seven articles fit this criteria. Overall, this review found a variety of preferences in physical activity, one being a strong preference for swimming in those with ASD (Eversole, 2016). In addition, several barriers were found, including hypersensitivities and impaired motor coordination. Several motivating factors were noted for participation, such as increased predictability and freedom of choice in activities (Bertillson, 2018; Hamm, 2018; Obruskinova, 2012; Pan, 2011; Stanish, 2015). More findings are discussed in the poster. This review is the first step to creating an effective evidence-based exercise intervention for individuals with ASD.

71. Utilizing a Physical Lip Closure Prompt to Increase Food Acceptance in the Treatment of Pediatric Feeding Disorders
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
RUQIAN MA (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Marian West (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Danielle Gilboy (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Jennifer Del Re (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Alison Kozlowski (Kennedy Krieger Institute)
Abstract: Oral motor deficits, such as lack of lip closure on a feeding utensil, are a major factor that contribute to and maintain feeding disorders. Children who lack the skills to close their lips around a utensil have difficulty accepting food. A physical lip closure prompt, in which the feeder uses the index finger and thumb to facilitate forming a full lip closure around the spoon, may help increase lip closure. This study used a reversal design to evaluate the effectiveness of a physical lip closure prompt to increase food acceptance for a 3-year-old male with autism spectrum disorder when escape extinction and noncontingent reinforcement were ineffective. Acceptance was 0% during baseline, increased to 100% following the introduction of an immediate physical lip closure prompt, decreased to 0% during the reversal to baseline, and increased back to 100% following re-implementation of treatment. Acceptance remained at 100% when the immediate physical prompt continued with differential reinforcement. After fading the physical prompt, acceptance initially became variable, but then increased back to 100%. These results suggest that a physical lip closure prompt can be effective at increasing levels of food acceptance in children with oral motor deficits when other commonly used interventions are ineffective.

Telehealth Comparison of Multiple and Mixed Schedules During Functional Communication Training Schedule Thinning

Area: AUT; Domain: Service Delivery
GIOVANNA SALVATORE (Rowan University), Abigail Moretti (Rowan University), Christina Simmons (Rowan University)

During the COVID-19 pandemic, behavior analysts have increasingly delivered interventions for challenging behavior via telehealth. The efficacy of implementing functional communication training (FCT) via telehealth has been previously established (e.g., Suess et al., 2014; Wacker et al., 2013), with less research investigating remote schedule thinning. The current study compares virtual FCT reinforcement schedule thinning using a multiple and mixed schedule with a 7-year-old participant with autism spectrum disorder. Virtual functional analysis results indicated that protests were maintained by social control. Therapists taught a functional communication response to access to the functional reinforcer (engaging in child-directed high-preferred virtual activities) and evaluated the efficacy of FCT in an A-B-A-B withdrawal design. Multiple (signaled alteration of reinforcement and extinction contingencies via color-correlated stimuli) and mixed (unsignaled contingencies) schedules were alternated during schedule thinning. Therapists conducted terminal-schedule probes (75-s SD/300-s S?) throughout schedule thinning. After reaching the terminal goal in one condition, participant and therapist preference for the mixed/multiple schedule was assessed. Results suggest that telehealth FCT and schedule thinning were effective at decreasing protests, increasing functional communication, and thinning the reinforcement schedule, with the multiple schedule facilitating more rapid schedule thinning. We discuss the practical application of FCT and schedule thinning via telehealth.

74. Assent of Research Participants in Applied Behavior Analysis
Area: AUT; Domain: Theory
JESSICA DETRICK (Western Michigan University ), Cody Morris (Salve Regina University ), Stephanie M. Peterson (Western Michigan University)
Abstract: Whether conducting behavior analytic research or providing behavior analytic services to individuals with developmental disabilities, it is important to gain consent for the provision of the procedures in question. Several issues arise when considering how informed consent is obtained to ensure individuals with developmental disabilities who are their own guardians are not coerced into providing consent. There are also several considerations that must be made to ensure consent is effectively informed. When adults with developmental disabilities are not their own guardians or when children with developmental disabilities are involved, they may not be able to legally provide consent. However, the majority of the time, such individuals must still provide assent. Thus, similar issues apply. Provided is an overview of the procedures and concerns that can arise when attempting to gain consent or assent from individuals with developmental disabilities. We will provide a behavior analytic perspective on these issues, as well as present potential solutions behavior analysts might consider as ways to evaluate assent and consent that avoid coercive procedures.

The Impact of COVID-19 on Referrals for Behavioral Services for Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder

Area: AUT; Domain: Service Delivery
CHRISTINE HOFFKINS (University of Rochester Medical Center), Allyson Jordan (University of Rochester Medical Center)

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way providers and families of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) interact with one another, and has resulted in many clinics shifting rapidly to telehealth. Given this rapid change, as well as pandemic-related stressors, it is important to compare pre-COVID-19 times to during COVID-19 times to determine if there are differences in access to services. Specifically, it is important to consider if telehealth allows for greater geographic reach, a decrease in no show rates, and/or a change in provider referrals to behavioral services. This study investigates these questions via a retrospective chart review. The chart review includes reviewing appointments attended by individuals with ASD who were seen by providers in a Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics Clinic in Western New York. Initial analyses include descriptive statistics characterizing and comparing the samples at two time points (a three-month span in 2019 and the same three-month span in 2020, after an initial shutdown for COVID-19). 49.8% of initial cases reviewed met inclusion criteria (i.e., had a documented diagnosis of ASD). Additional initial data findings are included in the attached table and maps. Preliminary results show that there are some differences between the two time points.


Examining Mother and Father Stress in Parents of Children With a Special Needs Diagnosis

Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
SHANEHA PATEL (Université du Québec à Montréal ), Mélina Rivard (University of Quebec, Montreal), Catherine Mello (Penn State Berks), Diane Morin (Universite du Quebec a Montreal)

Extant literature has demonstrated that parents who have a child with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or intellectual disability (ID) experience higher levels of stress compared to parents of typically developing children. These elevated stress levels seem proportional to longer wait times for receiving early intervention services, making this time period critical. There is currently little research on stress among families awaiting intervention services, as well as on both parents. Therefore, the present study (1) compared mothers’ and fathers’ stress and their sociodemographic correlates and (2) investigated links between each parent’s stress when accounting for these factors and children’s clinical profile. The sociodemographic characteristics, parenting stress, and clinical profile of intellectual functioning, adaptive behavior, and symptom severity of fifty-nine mother-father dyads and their child recently diagnosed with ASD/ID were assessed. Although mothers’ and fathers’ stress did not differ within families, they were each linked to different family characteristics. Furthermore, mothers and fathers accounted for unique variance in each other’s stress, above and beyond family and child predictors. Findings are discussed in terms of orienting services for the entire family; for instance, providing interventions such as acceptance and commitment therapy to help parents increase adaptive and flexible behaviors (Gould et al., 2017).

78. Promoting Increased Physical Activity for Young Adults on the Autism Spectrum
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
SHANNON MARIE DIERINGER (Ball State University), Nicole Gegas (Ball State University), Jordan Grammas (Ball State University)
Abstract: Young adults on the autism spectrum often have decreased levels of physical activity when compared to their same aged peers. Young adults on the spectrum often report not know how to "be active" or that they are uncomfortable when they are engaged in physical activity. Furthermore, research has indicated that caregivers and behavior analyst perceive exercise as difficult to include and not a top priority for behavioral interventions. However, research suggests there are several behavioral and physiological benefits as a result of engaging in physical activity. This poster will address previous research and proposes a model of instruction to promote physical activity via goal setting and constructive feedback for young adults on the autism spectrum. Preliminary data is included that was collected pre-Covid-19. Participants were recruited from a Midwest suburban city. All participants were diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. A non-concurrent multiple-baseline across participants design was used. All session were 20-minutes and included 4, 5 minute physical activity circuits. The data indicates that participants were able to maintain levels of physical activity during the entire 20 minute workout and sustain a healthy heart rate zone. Additionally, baseline data demonstrated that participants were not able to correctly engage in each skill. Future directions will be presented.

Children's Clinical Profile at the Time of Diagnosis: Associations With Maternal Stress and Family Quality of Life

Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
CATHERINE MELLO (The Pennsylvania State University, Berks), Shaneha Patel (Université du Québec à Montréal), Mélina Rivard (University of Quebec, Montreal)

Parents of children with developmental disabilities such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD) report more mental health difficulties compared to parents of typically developing children. The early childhood period is rife with stressors as parents adjust to the child’s diagnosis and begin a search for appropriate services. The presence of challenging behavior and emotional difficulties (CBED) can compound, and interact with, parents’ adjustment difficulties. The present study examined adjustment (parenting stress and quality of life) in 185 mothers whose child was recently diagnosed with ASD in relation to their symptom severity, adaptive behavior, intellectual functioning, and CBED. Symptom severity and children’s intellectual functioning both accounted for unique variance in mothers’ parenting stress (22.4 and 5.4%) and quality of life (7.9%, 6.7%), but adaptive behavior did not. Together, several dimensions of CBED accounted for 25.4% and 8.1% variance of stress and quality of life, respectively, over and above these factors; the most highly predictive of stress were Externalizing Problems and Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity. These results highlight the unique role of specific child variables in mothers’ levels of stress and quality of life. Thus, targeted supports for both children and their mothers may be critical during this phase of their services trajectory.


Review of Alternatives to Physical Guidance for Skill Acquisition in Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder

Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
KIMBERLY FORD (Rowan University), Christina Simmons (Rowan University), Giovanna Salvatore (Rowan University)

Behavior analysts frequently use physical guidance to facilitate skill acquisition. However, in some situations, physical guidance may be contraindicated (e.g., large stature, touch aversion, trauma history). We conducted a systematic literature review of alternatives to physical guidance in articles from 2009-2020 that included school-aged children (3-18 years) with autism spectrum disorder. Preliminary results of 242 articles with 1,247 participants indicate that video modeling was the primary alternative intervention, followed by the use of model (e.g., physical or pictorial), vocal, and gestural prompts within intervention packages. Interestingly, of the interventions using video modeling, 38.04% included another intervention component that did use physical guidance (e.g., least-to-most prompting). Few published studies compared the efficacy of physical guidance and alternative interventions (5.79%). We present data systematically quantifying the efficacy and efficiency of skill acquisition with and without physical guidance. Many intervention packages include environmental manipulations (e.g., activity schedules) and other intervention components (e.g., differential reinforcement) to enhance the efficacy of skill acquisition interventions. We further report on the lack of generalization (51.24%), maintenance (47.11%), and social validity (38.84%) measures in the studies included in this review. Further, we discuss the implications of selecting alternatives when physical guidance is contraindicated and explore best practices.


Socially-Oriented Distraction Strategies Used by Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder in Response to Delayed Reinforcement

Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
YANRU CHEN (Teachers College, Columbia University)

Reinforcement may not always be delivered immediately in the natural classroom environment. Tolerance to delay of reinforcement is essential to sharing, cooperation, social interaction, and learning. To examine how children with autism respond to delayed reinforcement at school, three delayed behavioral measures were developed: delayed delivery of edibles, delayed delivery of tokens, and delayed turn-taking with an adult. A total of 32 preschoolers with autism aged 3 to 5 from two private schools in New York participated in this study. Three socially-oriented distraction strategies were identified in these tasks used by children with autism during frustrating waits: using language, gestures, and eye contact. The frequencies of using these three strategies were found to be significantly associated with the cumulative wait durations in the three tasks with delayed reinforcement. The finding provided evidence on how we may help children with autism cope with delayed reinforcement in the classroom environment.

82. Competency-Based Staff Training for Canadian Paraprofessionals in Inclusive Classrooms
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
PREETINDER NARANG (University of Toronto), Katreena Scott (University of Toronto)
Abstract: Despite the abundance of research on the efficacy of behaviour analytic methods, educators and paraprofessionals in inclusive settings struggle to utilize proactive and planned support strategies for students with autism and challenging behaviour. This poster will describe research using a randomized control design to examine the effectiveness of training paraprofessionals in a competency-based program aligned with the BACB’s Registered Behaviour Technician (RBT) standards. Two training groups were offered in a single academic year and 30 paraprofessionals were randomly assigned to either Fall (treatment) or Winter (service-as-usual) groups. All paraprofessionals were individually assigned to students with autism, Grades K-3, who displayed significant skill deficits in the areas of language, socialization, and challenging behaviour. Analysis using a mixed ANOVA revealed statistically significant interaction effects (p<0.05) between training group and time for paraprofessional use of proactive and reactive strategies; student maladaptive behaviour; student cooperation with academic tasks; frequency of problematic routines; and paraprofessional ratings of student success. For the treatment group, a within-subjects ANOVA at Time 3 indicated maintenance of outcomes for all dependent variables. These findings provide support for the effectiveness and social acceptability of competency-based staff training models based on the principles of ABA in public schools.
83. Pivotal Response Treatment: Facilitating Functional Communication in Early Childhood Special Education
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
LINETTE THOMAS (University of Detroit Mercy), Rachel Lee (University of Detroit Mercy)
Abstract: Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder receiving early intervention services often have difficulties adjusting to the communication demands of the classroom environment. Because communication skills are critical to student success in the classroom, it is important for educators to be familiar with evidence-based strategies targeting these skills. Pivotal Response Treatment is one such intervention, intended to facilitate communication skills through naturalistic teaching procedures. The current study was designed to extend prior studies examining the effects of a Pivotal Response Treatment procedure for basic social interactions. The participant included a 5-year old, male student with Autism Spectrum Disorder, receiving early childhood special education services in a preschool classroom. Findings are promising and show significant improvement compared to baseline. Final results of this study will be delivered in conjunction with an intervention script to provide educators with strategies to modify the Pivotal Response Treatment intervention to meet their needs. Limitations, social validity, implications for educators, and additional resources will be provided.
84. ABAI Education: Accreditation and Verified Course Sequences
Area: AUT; Domain: Service Delivery
JENNA MRLJAK (Association for Behavior Analysis International)
Abstract: This poster will provide an overview of ABAI’s recognition of university training in behavior analysis. There are currently two mechanisms for programs to be recognized: accreditation of degree-granting programs and verification of course sequences.



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