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 #172
CE Offered: BACB
Training for Implementation in Natural Contexts
Sunday, May 28, 2023
10:00 AM–11:50 AM
Convention Center Mile High Ballroom 1E/F
Area: AUT/DDA; Domain: Theory
Chair: Aaron Check (University of South Carolina)
Discussant: Stephanie Gerow (University of Nevada, Las Vegas)
CE Instructor: Aaron Check, M.S.
Abstract: Ecological validity of an intervention is demonstrated using typical change agents as implementers, typical settings wherein intervention takes place, practical financial costs, amount of personnel support needed, and appropriate level of effort required for implementation (Chezan et al., 2022). It is critical for practicing behavior analysts to continue advancing research design to account for ecological validity (Ledford et al., 2016). The purpose of this symposium is to explore current practices in behavior analysis focused on integrating natural settings, procedures, and change agents. This symposium includes a systematic literature review on parent training practices of pivotal response treatment, a second systematic literature review on the use of natural environment teaching for young children with Autism, a meta-analysis on caregiver-mediated interventions for young children with Autism in the single case research design literature, and a single case research study evaluating the effects of behavior skills training on teaching imitation, in the form of naturalistic behavioral intervention, to a confederate adult.
Instruction Level: Advanced
Keyword(s): meta-analysis, natural environment, parent training, systematic review
Target Audience: Advanced with a fundamental understanding of conducting and reading systematic literature reviews and meta-analyses, as well as critically evaluating single-case research. Audience should also have knowledge of current approaches to integrating social and ecological validity within intervention research.
Learning Objectives: 1. Identify the five key features of parent implemented pivotal response treatment. 2. Identify three potential improvements to the practice of natural environment teaching. 3. Describe the effects of caregiver-mediated communication and behavioral interventions on caregiver outcomes in single-case studies and identify the variables that may moderate those effects.
A Systematic Review of Parent Training Procedures in the Pivotal Response Treatment Literature
AARON CHECK (University of South Carolina), Katie Wolfe (University of South Carolina), Emily Manning (University of South Carolina), Jessica Bradshaw (University of South Carolina)
Abstract: Pivotal response treatment (PRT) is considered an evidence-based intervention and has a growing literature base devoted to training parents and natural change agents to implement the associated procedures. This subset of the PRT literature strengthens the intervention’s social and ecological validity. However, the characteristics, quality, and outcomes of these studies have yet to be evaluated, limiting the understanding of whether training parents in PRT is effective, for whom, and under what circumstances. The purpose of this literature review is threefold: to investigate (1) how parents are trained to implement pivotal response treatment, (2) the outcomes associated with the treatment, and (3) the quality of these studies. Preliminary results find variation in experimental design (single-case, group studies), how parent fidelity is measured (percent of intervals, opportunity based) and data collection procedures (interval length and recording type). Three of the five single-case studies coded to this point have demonstrated a functional relation. Full text review is ongoing with complete results and implications to be discussed.

A Systematic Review of Natural Environment Teaching for Improving Communication Outcomes for Children With Autism

ERIN SWEENEY (Vanderbilt University), Jennifer Ledford (Vanderbilt University)

Initial competencies for registered behavior technicians include an item related to competence in engaging in naturalistic teaching procedures, but little evidence is available regarding what components are included when using these procedures, what dependent variables are targeted, and what the outcomes are. This presentation will include synthesis of studies conducted using natural environment teaching (as described by Halle et al., 1984) for young children with autism. An electronic search of PsycINFO and ProQuest Dissertations and Theses resulted in identification of 4560 articles. Researchers double screened these articles using the online tool “Rayyan”, with inclusion of about 10% of articles for full text review with 90% or greater agreement. Full text review is ongoing and will be completed in November with coding completed in January and February. Variables to be coded included those related to intervention components, design, participants, and outcomes. Improvements to the conceptualization and practice of natural environment teaching will be discussed.


Caregiver-Mediated Interventions for Young Children With Autism: A Meta-Analysis

SUNGWOO KANG (Purdue University), Eric Shannon (Purdue University), Rose A. Mason (Purdue University), John Davis (The University of Texas at San Antonio), David Ray Gutierrez Miranda (Purdue University)

Caregiver-mediated interventions based upon the principles of behavior analysis have been used to target deficits in social communication and challenging behavior in young children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Recent meta-analyses have examined the effects of randomized control trials on parent and child behavior, but none have examined the effects of single-case interventions. The purpose of this meta-analysis was to examine the effects of caregiver-mediated communication and behavioral interventions on caregiver outcomes in single-case studies and identify the variables that may moderate those effects. Only studies that met What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) quality indicator standards were included in the analysis. A total of 51 contrasts across eight studies were included. Caregiver-mediated interventions yielded medium to large effects on caregiver behavior across settings, coaching strategy, dosage, and parent characteristics, with an overall large effect size (Tau-U = 0.90; CI = [0.84, 0.97]). Future implications of caregiver-mediated interventions for young children with autism in research and practice are discussed.

Training Behavior Technicians to Implement Naturalistic Object Imitation Using Behavioral Skills Training
ASHLEY NICHOLE WALKER (Michigan State University), Matthew T. Brodhead (Michigan State University), Emma Seliina Sipila-Thomas (Michigan State University )
Abstract: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of Behavioral Skills Training (BST) on teaching behavior technicians to implement imitation training, in the form of naturalistic behavioral interventions, to a confederate adult. Using a concurrent multiple baseline across participants design, participants were exposed to baseline conditions and given the instruction to teach the adult confederate how to imitate. Then, participants were exposed to a single BST session. Following BST, participant behavior was monitored further in the presence of the confederate. Results suggest BST resulted in an improvement in imitation training for all three participants. Limitations and future directions are discussed.



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