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.


48th Annual Convention; Boston, MA; 2022

Event Details

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Symposium #570
CE Offered: BACB
Current Trends and Advances in Research on Safety Skills Training
Monday, May 30, 2022
5:00 PM–5:50 PM
Meeting Level 2; Room 251
Area: DDA/AUT; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Rasha Baruni (University of South Florida )
CE Instructor: Rasha Baruni, M.S.

Children may encounter a variety of safety threats which can lead to fatalities. Although parents and caregivers must always strive to keep environments safe, children must receive safety skills training so that they learn to engage in safety responses should they encounter a safety threat. This symposium will present three papers on current research related to safety skills training. Two presentations focus on interventions to teach children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) safety skills and one presentation discusses critical features in the safety skills literature. This discussion paper is the first presentation and it outlines critical features in the literature that have emerged related to best practices for assessing and training safety skills and provides recommendations for practitioners. The next presentation describes an evaluation of generalization-enhanced behavioral skills training (BST) to teach children with ASD poison prevention skills. The final presentation describes a BST program with prompts to teach children with ASD to respond to bullying statements. As a whole, these presentations will highlight recent advances in safety skills research, and considerations for best practice related to teaching safety skills to children.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): BST, prevention, safety skills
Target Audience:

Practitioners, researchers, and students who work with neurotypical children and children with developmental disabilities and use behavioral skills training to teach safety skills.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) Identify the main critical features that have emerged in the literature; (2) Identify how behavioral skills training was implemented to teach poison safety skills to children diagnosed with autism; (3) Discuss why teaching children to behave discriminatively towards different topographies of bullying may be important.
Critical Features in Teaching Safety Skills to Children
RASHA BARUNI (University of South Florida ), Raymond G. Miltenberger (University of South Florida)
Abstract: Children may encounter safety threats from the physical environment (e.g., firearms or poisonous substances) or from the behaviors of others (e.g., abduction or sexual abuse lures). Such encounters may result in injury or death if children do not learn skills to respond safely. Research over the last 35 years has investigated approaches to assessing and training safety skills. This paper reviews critical features that have emerged in the research related to best practice for assessing and training safety skills. We emphasize the importance of in situ assessments, effective training approaches, the need for data-based decision making, strategies for enhancing generalization and maintenance, accessibility of training programs, and approaches to training different populations. Following a discussion of each critical feature presented in this paper, we provide recommendations for practicing behavior analysts.

Using Generalization-Enhanced Behavioral Skills Training to Teach Poison Safety Skills to Children With Autism

ELLIE MOROSOHK (Adapt and Transform Behavior), Raymond G. Miltenberger (University of South Florida)

It is important for children to learn safety skills, especially involving dangerous stimuli such as medicine that can be found in almost every household. This study examined a generalization-enhanced behavioral skills training package to teach children with autism poison safety skills. Three children ages 4- to 10-years-old received generalization enhanced BST to teach the safety skills required when they found pills. In situ assessments were conducted both in home and in the clinic to examine whether the skills generalized to the natural setting. All children engaged in the safety skills following training. The results of this study indicated that generalization enhanced BST is an effective method of teaching poison safety skills to children with autism.


Teaching Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder How to Respond to Different Topographies of Bullying

MAYA FALLON (University of Nebraska Medical Center's Munroe-Meyer Institute), Kevin C. Luczynski (University of Nebraska Medical Center's Munroe-Meyer Institute), Christine Felty (University of Nebraska Medical Center’s Munroe-Meyer Institute), Emily Ferris (University of Nebraska Medical Center; Munroe Meyer Institute), Kortlyn Tawney (University of Nebraska Medical Center’s Munroe-Meyer Institute), Katlyn Altic (University of Nebraska Medical Center’s Munroe-Meyer Institute)

Children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are at risk for bullying (Zeedyk et al., 2014). Bullied children are at risk for physical injury, social and emotional distress, self-harm, depression, anxiety, and death (Center for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2020). The prevalence of bullying and its impact on a child’s quality of life make effective interventions to teach responses that may increase their emotional and physical safety warranted. Stannis et al. (2019) evaluated Behavioral Skills Training (BST) and in-situ training (IST) to teach four adults with intellectual disabilities appropriate responses to bullying statements. Similar procedures have yet to be evaluated with children with ASD. In addition, Stannis et al. (2019) taught one set of responses for various topographies of bullying. Bullying could be described as having subcategories that differ in degrees of severity or danger. The difference in the degree of danger may warrant the child to respond differently. We extended Stannis et al. (2019) by evaluating BST and textual prompts in teaching children with ASD to respond to instances of unkindness and threats of physical or material harm. Furthermore, we assessed the social validity of our target responses and teaching procedures with caregivers and the child when applicable.




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