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 #310
CE Offered: BACB
Issues in and Application of Meta-Analyses and Syntheses of Single-Case Experimental Research in Autism and Developmental Disabilities
Monday, May 25, 2015
9:00 AM–10:50 AM
214B (CC)
Area: DDA/AUT; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Jennifer Ganz (Texas A&M University)
Discussant: Kimberly Vannest (Texas A & M University)
CE Instructor: Jennifer Ganz, Ph.D.
Abstract: Recently, the field has seen an increase in the publication of meta-analyses and systematic reviews of treatments for people with autism spectrum disorder and developmental disabilities, which are critical in providing practitioners and other stakeholders with information regarding for whom and in what contexts particular treatments are most effective. However, many controversies remain regarding these advances. To that end, this symposium will include conceptual and applied presentations and discussions by nationally/internationally-recognized researchers who publish cutting-edge work in meta-analysis and synthesis of single-case research and in autism spectrum and developmental disabilities. The four included presentations will cover current debates in the use of meta-analysis and research synthesis, effects of measurement methods on estimation of effect sizes, and two meta-analyses of studies on caregiver- and family member-implemented interventions. Single-case researchers will gain an understanding of the state of the science in regard to the use of meta-analyses and research syntheses to evaluate single-case experimental research in autism spectrum and developmental disabilities.
Keyword(s): Effect size, Meta-analysis, Research synthesis, Single-case experiment

Current Issues in Research Synthesis and Meta-Analysis of Single-Case Experiments on Autism Treatment

OLIVER WENDT (Purdue University)

For single-case researchers in autism and their audiences it is critical to stay informed on current advances and issues related to research synthesis of single-case designs (SCDs). This presentation will highlight the current status of three ongoing debates: 1. Critical appraisal: Evaluating the quality of SCDs is crucial for research synthesis and documenting evidence-based practice. Seven different checklists and evaluation scales have recently emerged for this purpose. The strengths and weaknesses of each will be discussed alongside the results of a field trial comparing their performance on assessing study quality. 2. Selection of effect size metrics: Controversy exists as to which techniques are most appropriate to analyze between-phase differences in SCDs and derive meaningful effect size estimates. Two general strategies have been proposed: Regression approaches versus non-overlap metrics. Advantages and disadvantages of each will be outlined and scenarios will be described when one approach is preferable over another. 3. Mixed methods synthesis: Autism researchers are increasingly confronted with heterogeneous forms of research evidence including both quantitative and qualitative designs; these can be combined using a mixed methods approach. Staying abreast of these recent methodological advances will assist with the production of high quality syntheses of autism treatment research.

The Effects of Interval-Based Measurement on the Estimation of Effect Sizes
JENNIFER LEDFORD (Vanderbilt University)
Abstract: Interval-based measurement systems (partial interval, whole interval, and momentary time sampling systems) are widely used in behavioral research. These systems result in different types of predictable or random measurement error (e.g., partial interval recording systematically overestimates occurrence). Historically, this error was considered acceptable because research suggested it might not interfere with accurate determination of the existence of a functional relation, given appropriate measurement constraints (e.g., small intervals). However, the use of interval systems may result in biased effect sizes that are not directly comparable to effect sizes derived from direct measurement. The presenter will provide a brief overview of interval-based measurement systems and their error patterns and will show several examples of how the use of data collected using interval-based systems can result in effect size estimates that are not comparable to those derived from duration recording. Suggestions will be provided for syntheses including both interval-based and non-interval-based systems.
A Meta-Analytic Review of Single-Case Studies on Primary Caregiver-Implemented Communication Interventions with Individuals with ASD
EE REA HONG (Texas A&M University), Jennifer Ganz (Texas A&M University), Leslie Neely (Texas A&M University), Margot Boles (Texas A&M University), Stephanie Gerow (Texas A&M University), Jennifer Ninci (Texas A&M University)
Abstract: Children with ASD who acquire spoken language by five to six years old tend to have better long-term outcomes, such as high rate of employment, better academic outcomes and positive social relationships (Howlin & Charman, 2011). For this reason, providing early and intensive social and communication interventions has been emphasized by researchers and educators (Flippin, Reszka, & Watson, 2010). Since young children with ASD who receive special education services spend most of their waking hours at home with their families, involving family members in interventions may provide more communication opportunities to their children with ASD regardless of time and settings (Steiner, Koegel, Koegel, & Ence, 2012). Some studies have found that caregiver- and sibling-implemented interventions promote generalization of acquired skills of those children with ASD (e.g., Schreibman & Stahmer, 2013). In addition, it is expected that caregiver- and sibling-implemented interventions are more cost-effective than clinician-delivered interventions (Minjarez, Williams, Mercier, & Hardan, 2011). The purpose of this meta-analysis is to determine whether family member-implemented interventions are effective in promoting social and communication skills of individuals with ASD. This meta-analysis will include comparisons of effectiveness differentiated by critical moderator variables. In addition, overall and specific effect sizes of family-implemented social and communication interventions according to each moderator variable will be identified. Those moderator variables will include participant characteristics, type of communication interventions, training duration or number of training sessions provided to family members, and design quality of a study. Finally, the gaps in the literature will also be discussed regarding social and communication interventions that family member implemented for individuals with ASD.

Parent Implemented Interventions: Evaluation of Utility of 3 Effect Size Estimates and Visual Analysis

WENDY A. MACHALICEK (University of Oregon), Sarah Hansen (University of Oregon), Tracy Raulston (University of Oregon)

For children with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) including autism spectrum disorder, intervention participation is mediated by caregivers, necessitating increased awareness by researchers about how to support parents as interventionists and the effects of parent implemented interventions on child outcomes. WWC 2010 standards for single-case research (SCR) designs recommend reporting multiple effect size estimates alongside regression estimates and visual analysis and researchers are increasingly doing so. We are unaware of any comparison of effect size estimates for parent implemented interventions. The 55 SCR studies for the current analysis were selected from a recently completed review (1997-2013) of parent implemented interventions for children, birth to twelve years of age, with IDD. Following coding of demographic variables, intervention procedures, and social validity outcomes, Tau-U, NAP, and R-IRD were applied to each case. 3 raters independently used visual analysis procedures to evaluate data. Pearsons r was calculated to determine agreement between estimates and visual analysis. Effectiveness of parent training on treatment fidelity and of parent implemented interventions on child outcomes will be discussed. Data analysis will be finished before May. This review offers information on the relative utility and efficaciousness of effect size estimates when applied to parent implemented interventions.




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