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

Event Details

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Symposium #196
CE Offered: BACB
Advances in Research Aimed at Improving Social Interactions, Advocacy, and Building Meaningful Relationships
Sunday, May 28, 2023
11:00 AM–12:50 PM
Convention Center Mile High Ballroom 3B
Area: VRB/AUT; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Robert Anthony Bottalla (Marquette University)
Discussant: Amanda Karsten (Grand Valley State University)
CE Instructor: Amanda Karsten, Ph.D.
Abstract: Previous research has found that individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) often lack a rich social skill repertoire. Social skills are a foundational component to forming healthy and lasting relationships with others. However, within the domain of social skills, there are several unique skills that need to be learned for individuals to cultivate these types of relationships. In addition, individuals need to learn self-advocacy skills to decrease situations where they may be taken advantage of or bullied. This symposium will include four speakers. Tressa Forrest will speak first on using Behavior Skills Training (BST) and Interactive Computer Training to teach children to adjust their play style (to banter or not) based on their play preferences and the vocal and nonvocal cues of cooperative and competitive play partners. Claudia Todd will speak second on teaching children with ASD to discriminate traits of healthy and unhealthy friendships. Zeinab Hedroj will speak third on teaching autistic children to identify and respond to gendered lies (i.e.lies based on excluding others based on their gender). Kathleen Wiley will speak fourth on evaluating BST to teach conversation skills to adolescents with ASD.
Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): Advocacy, Conversation Skills, Play Skills, Social Skills
Target Audience: Be or have experience working as a researcher or practitioner working with individuals with social skill deficits
Learning Objectives: 1). Understand how interactive computer training can be used to teach children how to discriminate their play partners preferred playing style. 2). Evaluate the effectiveness of behavioral skills training in teaching children to identify the traits of healthy and unhealthy friendships 3). Identify one method of teaching children to identify gendered lies 4). Examine the effectiveness of behavioral skills training for teaching adolescents with ASD conversation skills.
To Banter or Not: Teaching Foundational Play Skills and Audience Control for Play Styles
TRESSA LYN FORREST (Marquette University), Jesey Marie Gopez (Marquette University), Stephanie A. Hood (Marquette University ), Sylvia Aquino (Marquette University )
Abstract: Behavioral skills training (BST) and video models have been shown to be efficacious intervention components in teaching play skills to autistic children (Pisman & Luczynski, 2020; Sancho et al., 2010). Interactive computer training (ICT) may enhance these intervention components through active responding opportunities (Zhang et al., 2006) and may yield efficiency in teaching complex play skills. A growing body of research has focused on teaching individuals to play cooperatively or engage in good sportsmanship behaviors (e.g., consoling losses or congratulating wins), however these skills may not match a wide range of play preferences (e.g., playing competitively or engaging in banter) (Trespalacios et al., 2011). In the present study we used a concurrent chains preference assessment to identify preference for cooperative or competitive play styles. Three participants showed a preference for competitive play (e.g., engaging in banter, playing to win) and one participant preferred cooperative play (e.g., playing for fun). Next, we will evaluate an ICT package to teach participants to engage in matched play, navigate play with partners who prefer to play a different style and engage in self-questioning to discriminate others play styles. Implementing an intervention that is matched to play style preferences may yield higher social validity ratings.

Evaluating Video-Based Multiple Exemplar Instruction on Tacting Features of Healthy and Unhealthy Friendships

CLAUDIA TODD (Marquette University), Sylvia Aquino (Marquette University ), Stephanie A. Hood (Marquette University ), Tressa Lyn Forrest (Marquette University), Robert Anthony Bottalla (Marquette University)

Individuals with ASD may experience difficulties establishing and maintaining meaningful friendships and discriminating the signs of unhealthy friendships. How individuals identify and maneuver the signs and nuances of a friendship may have lasting effects related to unhealthy, and potentially abusive or manipulative relationships. We evaluated behavior skills training (BST) to teach an individual with ASD to discriminate traits of healthy and unhealthy friendships and to provide rationales for each exemplar presented through video models. Following BST, we observed an initial increase in correct tacts of healthy traits. We added a differential observing response (DOR) to increase attending to the relevant variables depicted in the models. Following the inclusion of a DOR, Luca was able to tact both healthy and unhealthy friendship traits from video models. BST alone was insufficient for teaching Luca to provide a correct rationale for video models. Further refinements are needed to increase correct rationales for why various traits relate to healthy and unhealthy friendships. This line of research seeks to help individuals make informed decisions when seeking meaningful and healthy friendships. Learning these skills may protect against the establishment of unhealthy friendships, bullying and reduce the risk of harm for vulnerable populations (i.e., individuals with ASD).


Teaching Children With Autism to Identify and Respond to Deceptive Statements

ZEINAB HEDROJ (Montana State University Billings; University of Nebraska Medical Centre (UNMC)), Michael Passage (Montana State University Billings), Catalina Rey (University of Nebraska Medical Center's Munroe-Meyer Institute)

vulnerable to bullying. Ranick et al. (2013) showed that autistic children can be taught to distinguish and respond to deceptive statements meant to exclude them from an activity or take something away from them. However, there is no research on how to teach children with autism to identify and respond to lies meant to exclude them based on gender, which is common among children. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to replicate Ranick et al. (2013) and expand on their findings by teaching autistic children to identify and respond to gendered lies. The treatment package consisted of multiple exemplar training while the investigator and the participant played board games. Three boys between the ages of six to nine years-old, diagnosed with autism, were presented with five trained deceptive statements and five novel deceptive statements. The results showed that all three participants learned to identify and respond to novel deceptive statements and that skill was maintained after one month and generalized to novel deceivers.


The Assessment and Treatment of Conversational Skills for Individuals With Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Replication and Extension

KATHLEEN WILEY (University of Nevada, Reno), Bethany P. Contreras Young (University of Nevada, Reno)

Deficits in social skills are considered a hallmark of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and have been shown to impact quality of life, but the research on effective social skills interventions, particularly for adolescents with ASD, is lacking. Specifically, more research is needed on complex social skills (e.g., conversation skills) and methods that promote generalization. The current study is a replication and extension of a study by Hood and colleagues (2017). We used behavioral skills training (BST) and in-vivo training to teach conversation skills to two adolescents with ASD. The purpose of the study was to evaluate the impact of those teaching procedures on the generalization of conversation skills to novel conversation partners using a multiple probe design across behaviors. Results for one participant indicated that BST was sufficient to produce generalization across three novel conversation partners. The second participants’ results indicate that for some individuals, additional intervention may be necessary for taught conversation skills to generalize to novel conversation partners.




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