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 #382
CE Offered: BACB
Advancements in Skill Acquisition Research for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders
Monday, May 25, 2015
2:00 PM–3:50 PM
217D (CC)
Area: AUT/PRA; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Kimberly Sloman (Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center, Rutgers University )
Discussant: Thomas S. Higbee (Utah State University)
CE Instructor: Kimberly Sloman, Ph.D.
Abstract: The symposium includes four papers related to the effectiveness of various skill acquisition techniques for individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). In the first paper, Rebecca Werle will present on a comparison of simple discrimination and conditional-only teaching methods in teaching receptive identification to individuals with ASD. In the second paper, Mariana Torres Viso will present on a comparison between speech output and no speech output conditions in teaching receptive identification to individuals with ASD. In the third paper, Shimin Bao will present on a comparison of three training sequences on acquisition of expressive and receptive skills for individuals with ASD. In the fourth paper, Shaji Haq will present on a comparison of massed and distributed practice in skill acquisition for individuals with ASD. Finally, Thomas Higbee will serve as the discussant for the four papers.
Keyword(s): autism, skill acquisition, treatment comparison
An analysis of the simple-conditional and conditional only methods
REBECCA WERLE (Florida Institute of Technology), Alison M. Betz (Florida Institute of Technology)
Abstract: Children with autism spectrum disorder often have difficulty in making conditional discriminations. As such, various teaching methods have been developed and evaluated to determine the best approach for teaching conditional discriminations for this population. The purpose of this study was to evaluate various extensions of the previous research that compared the efficacy of the simple-conditional and conditional-only methods on teaching receptive identification tasks (Grow et al., 2014) by: 1) modifying teaching procedures, 2) determining the extent to which there may be interaction effects in the experimental designs, and 3) evaluating the effectiveness of a modified simple-conditional method. Results will be discussed in limitations and practical application.
The Effects of Speech Output Technology on Skill Acquisition in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder
MARIANA TORRES-VISO (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Kimberly Sloman (Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center, Rutgers University ), Katelyn Selver (Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center, Rutgers University)
Abstract: Previous research on the use of voice output communication aids (VOCAs) has found a number of positive effects including that incorporating speech output into language learning tasks may result in more efficient learning (e.g., Schlosser et al, 1998). However, the relationship between speech output and skill acquisition has not yet been evaluated for individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). The present study compared acquisition of receptive identification of stimuli with speech output (SO) to a no speech output (NSO) condition. Two individuals with ASD participated. For both participants, a multielement design along with a multiple baseline probe across sets was used to evaluate the conditions. Results showed higher rates of correct responding and lower rates of errors for targets were obtained in the SO condition across sets. Furthermore, participants generally met mastery criteria with SO targets in fewer sessions, indicating higher efficiency of the SO condition. Findings from this investigation provide strong preliminary evidence for the benefits of speech output in skill acquisition for children with ASD, both in terms of student accuracy and session efficiency.
The Effects of Receptive and Expressive Sequencing on the Acquisition of Feature, Function, and Class
SHIMIN BAO (University of Houston-Clear Lake), Taylor Sweatt (University of Houston-Clear Lake), Sarah Antal (University of Houston-Clear Lake), Sarah A. Lechago (University of Houston-Clear Lake)
Abstract: Many Early and Intensive Behavioral Intervention (EIBI) curricula recommend targeting receptive language skills prior to targeting the corresponding expressive skills (Leaf & McEachin, 1999; Lovaas, 2003). However, there is very little empirical support for this recommendation. Moreover, some of the research literature on this topic demonstrates that expressive language training may facilitate the acquisition of receptive language (Cuvo &Riva, 1980; Keller &Bucher, 1980; Smeets, 1978). Additional research is warranted to investigate the effects of receptive-expressive sequencing in teaching language to children diagnosed with autism (Petursdottir & Carr, 2011). This study contributes to this body of literature by comparing the effects of three training sequences: 1) expressive-receptive, 2) receptive-expressive, and 3) mixed expressive and receptive, on the acquisition of object feature, function, and class in three children diagnosed with autism. An alternating-treatments design was used to examine the total number of trials to the mastery criterion for both expressive and receptive targets. Thus far, the results demonstrate that targeting the expressive skills before targeting the corresponding receptive skills produces fewer total trials to the mastery criterion for all three participants. Additionally, there was greater emergence of receptive responding after training responses expressively than there was emergence of expressive responding after training responses receptively.
Comparing the Effects of Massed and Distributed Practice for Children with Autism
SHAJI HAQ (University of Oregon), Tiffany Kodak (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee), Eva Kurtz-Nelson (University of Oregon), Marilynn Porritt (University of Oregon), Kristin Rush (University of Oregon), Tom Cariveau (University of Oregon), Vincent E. Campbell (University of Oregon), Traci Elaine Ruppert (University of Oregon)
Abstract: The ways that educators format instruction has implications for children's acquisition of skills. The frequency of practice opportunities that are provided in an instructional session, and the number of instructional sessions that are conducted per week, are two ways to format instruction. Massed practice is an instructional format in which many practice opportunities are provided in an instructional session on one day during the week. In contrast, distributed practice involves presenting fewer practice opportunities in sessions that are conducted across several days per week. The current study replicated and extended Haq and Kodak (in press) by comparing massed and distributed practice on the acquisition of tacts, textual, and intraverbal behavior for children with autism using an adapted alternating treatments design. Dependent measures included total trials, minutes, and weeks to mastery. The results showed that distributed practice led to faster acquisition for all participants. Future research and implications for practice will be discussed.



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