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.


11th International Conference; Dublin, Ireland; 2022

Event Details

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Symposium #42
CE Offered: BACB
Training Parents to Do it All: Infant Development, Sleep, and the Picture Exchange Communication System
Friday, September 2, 2022
2:00 PM–3:50 PM
Meeting Level 2; Ecocem Room
Area: AUT/DDA; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Maurice Feldman (Dept. of Applied Disability Studies, Brock University)
Discussant: Peter Sturmey (The Graduate Center and Queens College, City University of New York)
CE Instructor: Maurice Feldman, Ph.D.

When developing interventions for children with autism spectrum disorders, skill transference to the natural environment is a key component to ensure continued success. Parent training interventions are a key process in transferring learned skills to a child's natural environment. The current symposium explores four applied parent training studies across a variety of topics. Presentation 1 describes findings of a general-case parent training study for infants at risk for autism spectrum disorder via telehealth. Two concurrent multiple baseline designs were implemented to assess parent teaching accuracy and child performance accuracy. Presentation 2 describes the results of a telehealth program designed to train parents to implement their child’s behaviour-analytic sleep intervention. A concurrent multiple baseline design was used to evaluate whether parents could accurately implement their child’s behavior-analytic sleep intervention. Presentation 3 describes the results of a brief, telehealth Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS®; Bondy & Frost, 1994) parent training. A multi-baseline design across behaviors was used to explore the impact of the training on parents’ PECS teaching accuracy. Presentation 4 describes a telehealth/in-person hybrid training model teaching parents to implement PECS with their children. A repeated measures design was used to evaluate parent PECS implementation accuracy at five different time points.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): general case, PECS, sleep training, telehealth
Target Audience:

The attendees must have completed or be in completion of a master's degree in or related to the field of applied behaviour analysis.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) List and define the components of a parent mediated intervention for child behaviors characteristic of ASD using a parent teaching skills checklist and behavioral skills training via telehealth; (2) Describe the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) and its application to parent mediated intervention for young children with speech and communication deficits; (3) 1. Describe how a sleep intervention program can be implemented to remediate sleep disorders via telehealth for children with ASD.
General-Case Telehealth Parent Training for Infants at Risk for Autism Spectrum Disorder
CLAIRE SHINGLETON-SMITH (Brock University), Julie Koudys (Brock University), Maurice Feldman (Dept. of Applied Disability Studies, Brock University), Alicia Azzano (Brock University), Paige O'Neill (University of Nebraska Medical Center - Munroe-Meyer Institute), 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. The purpose of this study was 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. Six parent-child dyads participated in total. Child target skills were identified through the Parent Observation of Early Markers Scale 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 two concurrent multiple baseline across participants designs. Data were collected for the percentage of correct parent teaching skills implemented, as well as the percentage of child correct responses to the target skills. Results demonstrate an increase in parent teaching skills across all parents in teaching trained, untrained, and novel targeted child skills. These results provide preliminary support for GCT combined with BST via telehealth as an effective early intervention model to promote parent generalization.

Evaluation of a Telehealth Parent Training Sleep Program for Parents of Children with Autism

AMANPREET RANDHAWA (Brock University), Julie Koudys (Brock University), Angeline Savard (The Gregory School for Exceptional Learning), Catherine McConnell (Ontario ABA), Meghan Dunnet (Kalyana Support Systems), Jeffrey Esteves (York University), Andrea Valencia (Kalyana Support Systems)

Many children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) experience sleep problems (e.g., delayed sleep onset, frequent night wakings). Research supports parent-implemented, behaviour-analytic sleep interventions to address sleep problems in children with ASD (e.g., Jin et al., 2013; Linnehan et al., 2021). However, more research is needed to determine how accurately parents implement behavioural sleep interventions and the effectiveness of parent training delivered via telehealth. The current study used a concurrent multiple baseline across participants design to evaluate parents’ ability to implement their child’s behavior-analytic sleep intervention. Child sleep-related outcomes were also monitored. Four parents and their children with ASD participated. The parent training program included behavior skills training and nighttime coaching. Secure text chat software (VSee Messenger) was used to provide nightly coaching. D-Link® sound and motion detection cameras were placed in each child’s bedroom to enable data collection on parent behavior (i.e., treatment fidelity) and child behavior (i.e., sleep onset delay, sleep-interfering behaviour, total sleep duration). Parent treatment fidelity increased for all participants. Preliminary analyses of child outcomes indicate that total sleep duration increased for the majority of participants; however, sleep onset delay and occurrences of sleep-interfering behaviours remained variable. Implications for practice will be discussed.


Evaluation of a Brief, Telehealth PECS® Parent Training

MELISSA ELLIOTT (Bethesda ), Julie Koudys (Brock University), Jeffrey Esteves (York University), Krysten Spottiswood (Pyramid Educational Consultants of Canada), Alyssa Treszl (Brock University), Amanpreet Randhawa (Brock University), Katelyn Rolfe (Brock University)

The Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS®; Bondy & Frost, 1994) is an augmentative and alternative communication system designed to teach functional communication. Research indicates that PECS is an evidence-based communication approach for children and youth with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Despite substantial PECS research, little is known about how to train natural mediators such as parents, to teach and support their child’s PECS use. Without parental involvement, system abandonment is likely; reducing the opportunity for socially valid child communication outcomes. This study explored the results of a brief (i.e., two week) telehealth PECS parent training involving group didactic training (i.e., PECS Level 1 Training) and individual behavioral skills training (BST) sessions. Six parents of children with ASD participated. A multi-baseline design across behaviors was used to explore the impact of BST on parents’ PECS teaching accuracy for Phases 1, 2, 3a, and 3b. Results indicate that all parents’ PECS teaching accuracy improved, and outcomes generally maintained at follow-up. Overall, results indicate that a relatively brief telehealth training, using BST, may enhance parent PECS teaching skills. An analysis of common errors, phase accuracy, and rate of mastery will be presented. Limitations, future research directions, and clinical implications will be shared.

Evaluating a Hybrid Parent Training Package to Teach Implementation of the Picture Exchange Communication System
JEFFREY ESTEVES (York University), Julie Koudys (Brock University), Melissa Elliott (Bethesda ), Adrienne M. Perry (York University), Amanpreet Randhawa (Brock University), Claire Shingleton-Smith (Brock University)
Abstract: For children with developmental disabilities who do not develop speech, alternative and augmentative communication systems may be helpful. Among the available systems, The Picture Exchange Communication System® (PECS®) is one of the most common and best studied. However, relatively little is known about effective approaches to train parents to implement PECS. The current study evaluates the effectiveness of a telehealth/in-person hybrid behavioural skills training model to teach parents of non-verbal children with a developmental disability how to implement PECS with their children. Nine families participated in a 6-week hybrid training protocol to learn phases 1-3B of PECS. Parents received the official Pyramid Education Consultants PECS Level One training, as well as two training sessions a week for four weeks (one via telehealth and one in-person). Telehealth sessions included parents role playing with the trainer, while in-person sessions involved parents receiving live coaching with their child. Parent implementation accuracy was assessed across five timepoints. Preliminary results demonstrate substantial parent improvement in implementation accuracy across all taught phases of PECS. Data across all five time points will be presented for all participants, and future directions for PECS parent training research will be discussed.



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