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.


49th Annual Convention; Denver, CO; 2023

Workshop Details

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Workshop #W3
CE Offered: PSY/BACB
Early Identification and Treatment of Autism Symptomatology in Infants
Friday, May 26, 2023
4:00 PM–7:00 PM
Convention Center Mile High Ballroom 1E/F
Area: AUT/DDA; Domain: Applied Research
CE Instructor: Rebecca P. F. MacDonald, Ph.D.
REBECCA P. F. MACDONALD (New England Center for Children), Sally Dupere (The New England Center for Children), VICTORIA WEISSER (The New England Center for Children)
Description: While there is a growing body of research examining early symptoms of ASD, the point at which this pattern of atypical social responding begins to deviate in children who are later diagnosed with autism is unclear. A preponderance of evidence indicates that autism symptomatology emerges between 6 and 12 months of age (Tanner & Dounavi 2020). Some studies suggest that symptoms of autism can emerge in infants as early as 3 months of age (Jones & Klin 2013). A thorough review of the research on early diagnosis of ASD will be provided. The purpose of this workshop is to describe the research we have been doing with high-risk infants birth through 18 months of age to document the emergence of early symptomatology. In this workshop we will present a tool we have developed called the Early Markers of Autism (EMA) that provides direct observation of possible early markers that may be predictive of a diagnosis of autism. We will review data from our study and discuss specific behaviors that may be concerning at a young age. A variety of exercises will allow participants to record data using the EMA, as well as to practice implementing portions of the tool. In addition, we will review strategies for coaching parents and teaching infants, which is very different from teaching toddlers. This research has implications for the early identification of autism and potentially leading to changing the diagnostic trajectory for those infants at risk of a later diagnosis of autism.
Learning Objectives: 1. The participants will be able to describe early markers of autism in infants. 2. The participants will be able to describe strategies for teaching infants’ early skills. 3. The participants will be able to coach parents to teach skills to their infants using behavioral skills training.
Activities: Workshop objectives will be met through a balanced presentation of lecture, video observation, small group discussion and guided practice.
Audience: Participants are encouraged to have their BCBA and be engaged in clinical practice with individual on the Autism Spectrum.
Content Area: Practice
Instruction Level: Intermediate



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