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 #140
CE Offered: BACB
Recent Research on Skill Acquisition and Derived Relational Responding in Children with Autism
Sunday, May 24, 2015
9:00 AM–10:50 AM
217D (CC)
Area: AUT/VRB; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Megan St. Clair (Center for Autism and Related Disorders (CARD))
Discussant: Richard James May (Swansea University)
CE Instructor: Richard James May, Ph.D.
Abstract: Ample research has been published on teaching relatively simple skills to children with autism. However, relatively little research has focused on teaching complex skills and skills that inherently involve the emergence of untrained performances. This symposium brings together four such recent studies. The first paper, by Megan St. Clair, consists of an experiment that taught children with autism to play friendly tricks on others, a skill that involves planning and socially appropriate deception. The second paper, by Jenny Fischer, presents a study on the use of video modeling to teach pronouns to children with autism, a basic prerequisite skill for perspective taking. The third paper, by Erin Paulsen, presents a study on the role of fluency training on the acquisition of deictic relations and perspective taking skills. The fourth paper consists of a study that taught relational framing skills to children with autism and then assessed for generalization to natural language samples. The symposium concludes with a discussion by Dr. Richard May.
Keyword(s): autism, perspective taking, RFT
Teaching Children with Autism How to Play Friendly Tricks on Others
MEGAN ST. CLAIR (Center for Autism and Related Disorders (CARD)), Jonathan J. Tarbox (Autism Research Group, Center for Autism and Related Disorders (CARD)), Adel C. Najdowski (Center for Autism and Related Disorders (CARD)), Angela M. Persicke (Center for Autism and Related Disorders (CARD))
Abstract: Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) have deficits in a variety of social skills. In particular, previous research has documented that children with autism have deficits in identifying deception and playfully deceiving others. The ability to identify deception in others is an important skill to prevent bullying and other forms of inappropriate peer interactions. In addition, the ability to playfully deceive others is an important social skill in everyday positive peer relationships. To our knowledge, no previous research has evaluated procedures for teaching playful deception to children with autism. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to evaluate a multiple exemplar training package, including rules, modeling, practice, and feedback (e.g., praise and error correction), for teaching children with autism to use deceptive skills to play friendly tricks on others.
Using Video Modeling to Teach First and Second Person Pronouns to Children with Autism
JENNY FISCHER (Cascade Behavioral Intervention), Jonathan J. Tarbox (Autism Research Group, Center for Autism and Related Disorders (CARD))
Abstract: Children with autism often display delays in language acquisition, including delayed or atypical use of personal pronouns such as I, you, me, mine, and yours. Pronouns present particular instructional challenges because they are deictic, changing form depending on whether the child is speaker or listener. Observing others engaging in speaker and listener responses with pronouns may help children with autism learn to use and comprehend deictic pronouns. A multiple baseline design across the pronoun pairs me/you, I/you, and mine/yours was used to study the effectiveness of video models and video prompts in teaching children to use and comprehend personal pronouns. Maintenance of skills and generalization to novel stimuli and instructors were also assessed. The results suggest that video models may be effective in teaching certain learners to use personal pronouns. Not all participants benefitted from the video modeling procedure, however, suggesting that further research on prerequisite skills for video modeling and pronoun acquisition is warranted.
The Role of Fluency in the Acquisition of Deictic Relations and Theory of Mind
ERIN PAULSEN (California State University Fresno), Marianne L. Jackson (California State University, Fresno), Amanda Mortimer (CSU, Fresno), Dena Mendoza (BEST Consulting, Inc.)
Abstract: Those who do not acquire age-appropriate social skills have deficits that affect their everyday functioning. The development of social skills is directly related to the ability to share another’s perspective (Weil, Hayes, & Capurro 2011). It is well documented that individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) tend to have pervasive deficits in perspective-taking, which leads to larger problems related to social skill deficits later in life. Three approaches have been taken toward the study of perspective-taking skills in children with ASD: a developmental approach, a traditional behavioral approach, and an alternative behavioral approach from the area of Relational Frame Theory (RFT). The current study focuses on the relational approach. Children with ASD received training on deictic relations using the Barnes-Holmes Protocol. The protocol was used to train 3 relational frames (I-YOU, HERE-THERE, NOW-THEN) at 3 complexity levels (simple, reversed, double reversed) at both a mastery criterion and then a fluency criterion. After training on each complexity level, a set of untrained ToM probes was administered in the absence of reinforcement to assess any changes following deictic relations training to a mastery and then fluency criterion. Scores on the Barnes-Holmes protocol probes increased, however there was no consistent increase in untrained ToM scores across the study.



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