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.


41st Annual Convention; San Antonio, TX; 2015

Event Details

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Symposium #404
CE Offered: BACB
Assessing and Addressing Practical and Vocational Repertoires of Adults and Adolescents with Autism
Monday, May 25, 2015
4:00 PM–4:50 PM
Grand Ballroom C1 (CC)
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Jaime DeQuinzio (Alpine Learning Group)
Discussant: Peter Sturmey (The Graduate Center and Queens College, City University of New York)
CE Instructor: Jaime DeQuinzio, Ph.D.
Abstract: Responding to a fire alarm and assessing vocational preference prior to beginning employment are two practical yet important areas to consider when programming for adolescents and adults with autism. In the two studies presented, success and challenges with addressing both skills are highlighted. In the first study, three adults with autism were taught to respond to an audio-taped recording of a fire alarm using manual prompts, graduated guidance, and reinforcement. Correct responding to simulated fire alarms reached criterion however, generalization to the actual fire alarm was limited. In the second study, preference assessments identified high and low preference vocational tasks with two adolescents with autism about to begin supported employment. However, these tasks were not reliably associated with higher and lower levels of engagement possibly indicating that preference might not be predictive of performance for certain individuals. Both studies provide directions for future research and implications for practice with adolescents and adults with autism.
Keyword(s): adolescents, adults, fire safety, vocational preference
Teaching Adults with Autism to Independently Respond to Fire Alarms
ERIN RICHARD WHITE (Alpine Learning Group), Helene Cierzo (Caldwell College), Bridget A. Taylor (Alpine Learning Group)
Abstract: There is little research in the area of teaching fire safety skills to adults with developmental disabilities. The purpose of this study was to teach adults with autism to independently respond to a fire alarm. A multiple-probe design was used to assess the effects of prompting and reinforcement on leaving the building within 1 min of the activation of a fire alarm. During baseline, none of the participants responded during the actual fire drills or simulated drills. During intervention, the experimenter played an audio-taped recording of the alarm. Initially, manual guidance was provided to prompt the participant to stop the current activity and leave the building. Prompts were faded using graduated guidance until the experimenter was no longer in the room. Correct responses were reinforced on an FR 1 schedule using edibles identified during a preference assessment. Once the learner demonstrated mastery with the experimenter positioned outside of the room, reinforcers were provided on an FR 3 schedule. Sessions were then conducted twice a month. Generalization to untrained rooms and to the scheduled monthly fire drills was assessed. Results indicted all three participants demonstrated the skill during teaching sessions and generalized to novel rooms. Responding appropriately during regularly-scheduled monthly fire drills was inconsistent.
Assessing Vocational Task Preferences of Adolescents with Autism Prior to Beginning Supported Employment
KELLY DELLA ROSA (Alpine Learning Group), Tina Sidener (Caldwell College), Ruth DeBar (Caldwell University), Bridget A. Taylor (Alpine Learning Group), Jaime DeQuinzio (Alpine Learning Group)
Abstract: Measuring preference is an area of increasing interest in the literature. Despite the vast amount of research on identifying reinforcer preferences for individuals with autism, there is an overall lack of research on identifying vocational preferences .Additionally, prior research has focused almost entirely on identifying vocational preferences in adult populations with a variety of diagnoses. The purpose of the present study was to assess the vocational preferences of adolescent learners diagnosed with autism. During the vocational preference assessment, a multiple stimulus without replacement assessment was conducted in which participants selected a vocational task and then engaged in that task for 1 min. Following implementation of the preference assessments, a most- and least-preferred vocational task was identified. During engagement assessments, participants were prompted by a text cue in their daily schedule to engage in the assigned high-preference task and assigned low-preference task and duration of engagement was measured. MSWO preference assessments were administered every two engagement sessions. Results demonstrated that despite differences in preference, participants engaged with both the least and most-preferred tasks equally and engaged in zero occurrences of problem behavior, contradicting past research that high preference tasks are associated with higher engagement than low preference tasks. Social validity measures demonstrated that clinicians found the procedures feasible, useful and were likely to use them. Areas for future research include increasing session length, assessing engagement without the instructor present, and investigation of characteristics of jobs that make them more or less preferable.



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