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 #305
CE Offered: BACB
Best Practices in Intensive Behavioral Intervention: Increasing the Efficiency of Teaching Procedures
Monday, May 25, 2015
9:00 AM–10:50 AM
217D (CC)
Area: AUT/PRA; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Ivy M. Chong Crane (Florida Institute of Technology: The Scott Center)
Discussant: Caio F. Miguel (California State University, Sacramento)
CE Instructor: Ivy M. Chong Crane, Ph.D.

Research in the area of intensive behavioral intervention continues to examine methods to improve learning outcomes for individuals diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Especially in the area of early intervention, many questions remain unanswered about the types of children for which certain procedures may be most beneficial. An emerging area of research aims to improve or refine the efficiency of teaching procedures. Presenters in this symposium will provide data from four studies conducted through university autism centers. The first study examines the extent to which pre-arranged stimulus sets produced untrained relations (learning without explicit teaching). The second study systematically evaluates the extent to which multiple exemplar training (MEI) using videos can lead to rule derivation. The third study compares two variations of the stimulus-stimulus pairing procedure on novel vocalizations. Finally, the fourth study examines the effect of generalized imitation training on functional speech acquisition during Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) Training. Dr. Caio Miguel will provide remarks as our discussant.

Keyword(s): autism, best practice, emergent relations
Evaluation of stimulus equivalence training to produce class mergers
Ivy M. Chong Crane Crane (Florida Institute of Technology: The Scott Center ), JEANINE R TANZ (The Scott Center for Autism Treatment at Florida I), Michael E. Kelley (The Scott Center for Autism Treatment, Florida Institute of Technology)
Abstract: Using a multiple probe nested into a multiple baseline design, stimulus equivalence procedures were used to teach three children with ASD categories and their corresponding items using pre-arranged stimuli sets. The stimulus equivalence procedures produced untrained relations (learning without explicit training) for all three participants. For at least two the of the participants, class merger (see fig. 1) was demonstrated after teaching two sets of associated stimuli. For the third participant, additional teaching was required. Results indicate that stimulus equivalence (i.e., equivalence based instruction) procedures are an efficient way to produce generalization. Participant characteristics and implications for practice are discussed.
Teaching Children with Autism to Derive Rules
MELISSA NISSEN (University of Houston-Clear Lake), Sarah A. Lechago (University of Houston-Clear Lake)
Abstract: Rule-governed behavior is behavior that occurs from contact with the rules that describe the contingency, rather than prior contact with contingency itself (Skinner, 1969). Following and deriving rules are important skills (Bentall & Lowe, 1987; Rosenfarb, I. S., Newland, M. C., Brannon, S. E., & Howey, D. S., 1992; Vaughn, 1985). This study employed a multiple-baseline design across participants to investigate the effects of multiple exemplar instruction (MEI) using videos to teach rule derivation to two children with autism. Thus far, the results demonstrate that the MEI procedure was effective for teaching rule derivation to both participants, and emergent responding was observed to untrained sets of rules. However, in the dyad probes, only one participant derived rules independently, while the other participant did not. Additional data are being collected with four more participants.
A Comparison Of Two Variations Of A Stimulus-Stimulus Pairing Procedure On Novel And Infrequent Vocalizations Of Children With Autism
ANDREW BULLA (Western Michigan University), Jessica E. Frieder (Western Michigan University)
Abstract: Despite the growth in a behavioral technology for the treatment of autism, a small population of individuals with autism fails to develop functional language. One procedure used for inducing vocalizations in non-verbal children is a stimulus-stimulus pairing (SSP) procedure. In an SSP procedure a vocalization is paired with a reinforcer over a period of time to establish the vocalization as a learned reinforcer, and any utterance of the target vocalization is believed to be automatically reinforced thus increasing the frequency of the vocalization. Past research has yielded mixed results with the SSP procedure, and more research is warranted to identify the key components of the procedure that are necessary to produce an effect. This study extended the literature in two ways, by (1) comparing two variations of the SSP procedure; a 5:1 condition in which the target vocalization was emitted five times and presented with one delivery of a reinforcer and a 1:1 condition in which the target vocalization was emitted one time with the delivery of one reinforcer, and (2) comparing the effects of a SSP procedure on the frequency of novel and low frequency vocalization. Results suggest that both pairing procedures were effective in increasing target vocalizations over baseline levels, and target vocalizations could be brought under the control of more direct acting contingencies. Additionally, results suggest that infrequent vocalizations may be increased to higher frequencies more easily than the novel vocalization. Implications for applied work will be discussed, and related to previous research findings.
Effects of Generalized Imitation Training on Functional Speech Acquisition During Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) Training
MINDY NEWHOUSE (Western Michigan University), Jessica E. Frieder (Western Michigan University)
Abstract: Previous research has demonstrated that some children with autism exhibit increases in speech during Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) training, but factors influencing this speech gain have not been widely studied. Some research suggests a link between motor as well as vocal imitation and language acquisition in general. This study examined generalized motor imitation as one potential factor influencing speech gains during PECS training. Participants included children diagnosed with autism with no previous history of formal motor imitation training prior to the study. Participants were divided into two groups, one that received PECS training without any prior imitation training and one which received imitation training prior to PECS training. A multiple baseline design across subjects design was implemented within each group to examine the effects of these procedures on vocal mands, echoics, and other forms of speech. Results of the study will be highlighted and implications for utilizing this information to better inform early intervention practices aimed at improving the communication skills of children with autism will be discussed.



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