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 #232
CE Offered: BACB
Teaching Literacy Skills to Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
Sunday, May 24, 2015
4:00 PM–4:50 PM
Grand Ballroom C1 (CC)
Area: AUT/EDC; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Nancy Marchese (Breakthrough Autism)
CE Instructor: Nancy Marchese, M.A.
Abstract: Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) may have great difficulty in learning to read unless they have effective behavioral instruction in various literacy skills. Three studies are presented that directly examine strategies for enhancing various literacy skills with school-aged children. One study compares the effectiveness of two commercially available behavioral instructional programs (i.e., Headsprout, Reading Mastery) in a randomized controlled trial. Another study examined the effects of strategies (i.e., picture prompts, picture fading, no pictures [i.e., text only] for teaching sight word skills. The final study examined the effects of strategies for teaching (i.e., my-turn-together-your turn, token economy) de-coding skills. In summary, learning to read is difficult because so many component skills must become interdependent and fluent to produce an effective reading repertoire. Each presenter will discuss their findings in the context of making instruction in literacy skills effective and readily available to children with ASD.
Keyword(s): direct instruction, literacy skills, oral reading, sight reading
Teaching Children with Autism to Read: Comparing an Intranet-Based Behavioral Intervention (Headsprout) and Direct Instruction
NANCY MARCHESE (Breakthrough Autism), Linda A. LeBlanc (Trumpet Behavioral Health), James E. Carr (Behavior Analyst Certification Board), Jonathan Roland (Kinark Child and Family Services), Alison M. Betz (Florida Institute of Technology)
Abstract: Direct instruction (DI) is a behavioral manualized intervention that has substantial evidence of effectiveness with typically developing children and those at-risk for academic problems. Headsprout (HS) is a behavior analytic computerized instructional program that teaches literacy skills. This study compared the effects of these two behavioral interventions for teaching reading using a randomized control group design. Children with autism were matched on pretest DIBELS oral reading fluency skills and were randomly assigned to one of the two treatment conditions. Each treatment was implemented multiple times per week either by a live instructor (DI) or via the intranet (HS) until a matched point in the curriculum was completed or until 50 total hours of instruction had been delivered. Upon completion of the program or the instructional limit, the DIBELS measure was repeated as a post-test. Results were analyzed for a) magnitude of effects on oral reading, b) time to completion, c) problem behavior and problems with acquisition, d) modifications required to resolve acquisition problems. The HS program was completed more quickly and with fewer instances of problem behavior in all instances. Successful modifications were developed for the most common problems in the HS instructional program; however, several problems with acquisition in the RM condition could not be successfully resolved. Results are discussed in terms of the utility of technology-based interventions and the critical aspects to examine in direct comparison studies.
Increasing Decoding Skills Using a My Turn–Together–Your Turn Procedure with Children with Autism
JENNIFER FROSCH (Texas A&M University), Jennifer Ganz (Texas A&M University), Yvonne L. Goddard (The Ohio State University)
Abstract: Little research has focused on strategies to teach academics, particularly reading, to students with autism spectrum disorder. Although academics are not a core deficit for people with autism spectrum disorder, communication deficits are often a predictor of poor reading performance. This reading intervention study aimed to determine effects of a letter-sound correspondence, or phonics, intervention using Direct Instruction principles, specifically My Turn-Together-Your Turn procedures and a token economy, to increase the reading skills of three children with autism spectrum disorder. “My Turn” involves the instructor modeling pronunciation of individual sounds displayed on square letter tiles, then modeling blending them together. Then, participants and the instructor simultaneously pronounce sounds and blending. Lastly, students independently pronounce sounds displayed on letter tiles as they touch each letter and blended sounds. Three 4-to-6-year old participants, who were enrolled in a behavioral clinic, were included in this research. This single-case research study utilized a multiple baseline design across students with baseline, intervention, and maintenance phases. Results demonstrated that the intervention positively impacted participants’ abilities to decode consonant-vowel-consonant and consonant-vowel-consonant-variant words. The presenters will offer an overview of one promising intervention to provide early reading instruction to people with autism and related developmental disabilities.
Fading Picture Prompts When Teaching Sight-Word Reading to Children with Autism
KALLY LUCK (University of Houston - Clear Lake), Dorothea C. Lerman (University of Houston-Clear Lake), Melissa Nissen (University of Houston-Clear Lake), Ashley Neal (University of Houston – Clear Lake)
Abstract: Past research has shown that picture prompts can hinder the acquisition of sight-word reading (Didden, Prinsen & Sigafoos, 2000). However, results of several studies indicate that picture prompts may be highly effective for teaching other types of skills, such as intraverbals (Ingvarsson & Hollobaugh, 2011) and auditory-visual conditional discriminations (Carp, Peterson, Arkel, Petursdottir, & Ingvarsson, 2012; Fisher, Kodak, & Moore, 2007). In addition, picture prompts are commonly used to teach sight words in educational settings. As such, the purpose of this study was to determine if gradually fading in picture prompts as needed, using a least-to-most prompting strategy, would facilitate the acquisition of sight words. Four children with autism participated. The effectiveness of teaching with picture prompts, picture fading, and no pictures (text only) was compared in a multielement design. Results suggested that picture fading improved performance during teaching sessions and decreased the interference that is typically associated with picture prompts. However, in the majority of comparisons, participants mastered the sight words more rapidly when text was presented without pictures.



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