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 #306
CE Offered: BACB
Recent Innovations in Procedures for Teaching Children with Autism
Monday, May 25, 2015
9:00 AM–10:50 AM
217C (CC)
Area: AUT/DDA; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Chata A. Dickson (New England Center for Children)
Discussant: Rebecca P. F. MacDonald (New England Center for Children)
CE Instructor: Chata A. Dickson, Ph.D.
Abstract: Four innovative teaching procedures for children with autism spectrum disorders will be presented in this symposium of empirical papers. The first paper, by Farber, Dube, Chiaccio, and Dickson details a procedure for teaching compound matching, addressing the common problem of stimulus overselectivity. The second paper, by Whalen, Casale, Stahmer, Mittal, Small, and Quicho describes effects of an innovative video game with embedded video modeling on social understanding. The third paper, by Niemand and MacDonald, applies matrix training instructional design to teach a general repertoire of recipe following in adolescents with autism spectrum disorders. Finally, the fourth paper, by Weiss, McKay, Dickson, and Ahearn, identifies and compares effective prompting procedures; and discusses the relative simplicity of implementing these procedures. Attendees who are charged with education children with autism spectrum disorders should come away with this symposium with awareness of innovative developments in teaching children in this population, and these innovations should be directly applicable to their own work.
Keyword(s): autism, stimulus overselectivity, teaching, video modeling

Teaching Compound Matching with a Sorting-to-Matching Procedure

RACHEL FARBER (University of Massachusetts Medical School-Shriver), William V. Dube (E.K. Shriver Center, University of Massachusetts Medical School), Chata A. Dickson (New England Center for Children)

Individuals with autism often have difficulty attending to multiple features in a compound stimulus (e.g., pictures with multiple objects, words with multiple letters, or signs with multiple symbols). This restricted attending can be detrimental to learning. Participants were 4 children with autism who had low to intermediate accuracy scores (49-84%) on a computer-presented simultaneous matching-to-sample (SMTS) task with compound stimuli. Sample stimuli had 2 elements (e.g., pictures of a chair and tree), the correct comparison was identical to the sample, and each incorrect comparison had one feature in common with the sample (e.g., chair and sun, airplane and tree). A tabletop sorting-to-matching procedure was used to teach compound SMTS. There were 5 steps in the procedure, and an additional prompted scanning step was imposed if progress stalled. The first step required the participants to sort 3 single pictures; subsequent steps gradually changed the task requirements until it simulated the compound SMTS task. Following mastery of the sorting-to-matching procedure, the participants were retested on the computer-presented compound SMTS task; accuracy improved (93-99%) for all 4 children. This procedure illustrates one way to expand attending to multiple features of a complex stimulus.


Development of a Video Game Using Video Modeling and Embedded Discrete Trials to Teach Social Understanding to Children with ASDs

Christina Whalen (West Health Institute), MICHAEL CASALE (West Health Institute), Aubyn C. Stahmer (Rady Children Hospital), Asim Mittal (West Health Institute), Matthew Small (West Health Institute), Jovy Quicho (West Health Institute)

While video modeling has been demonstrated as an effective procedure, it is often difficult and time-consuming. Research has also shown that children can learn through characters and that gaming can help facilitate executive function skills. With the intent of developing a game that could potentially teach social skills to children with ASDs, a series of studies were completed to determine naturally occurring social behaviors in neuro-typical and ASD children (n=24), assess usability of a new ABA-based video game (n=16), and assess the feasibility, potential effectiveness, and generalizability through single-subject research (n=12). Data obtained through each phase drives the development and changes are made as the data indicates is necessary through an iterative development process. Observational data helped to establish the behaviors to target. Video modeling, embedded discrete trials, prompt fading, thinning of reinforcement, and naturalistic behavioral interventions are the procedures used. Animated peer models are used in the game with real childrens voices in the social scenes to enhance generalization. Data from the iterative process, a demonstration, and initial findings will be presented from all 3 studies. Implications for increasing accessibility, motivation, and data efficiency will be discussed, as well as potential impact on cost for existing social skills programs.

Teaching Cooking Skills Using Matrix Training and Video Prompting
LAUREN-ASHLEIGH NIEMAND (The New England Center for Children), Rebecca P. F. MacDonald (New England Center for Children)
Abstract: The purpose of the present study was to teach cooking skills to children with autism using matrix training in combination with video prompting. A non-concurrent multiple baseline design across two participants was used. Participants were first taught to imitate cooking related actions on objects using matrix training and video prompting. The video prompt was then removed. If recombinative generalization occurred with untrained actions, then training began with the subsequent matrix. Three different 3x3 matrices were used to teach the various cooking skills. After mastery and recombinative generalization occurred for each matrix, the students were presented with three picture recipes (brownies, pudding and rice) that included untrained matrix relations and instructed to complete the recipes. Interobserver agreement was collected in over 50 percent of sessions and ranged between 96-100% agreement. Results indicated that matrix training was effective in teaching cooking skills to children diagnosed with autism. The participants were able to complete the three picture recipes as a result of the cooking skills taught during matrix training and video prompting.
A Comparison of Prompting Hierarchies in the Acquisition of Play Skills
JULIE S. WEISS (New England Center for Children), Julie McKay (Cambridge Public Schools), Chata A. Dickson (New England Center for Children), William H. Ahearn (New England Center for Children)
Abstract: The purpose of the study was to compare the effectiveness and efficiency of prompting hierarchies on the rate of acquisition of a behavior chain to teach play skills. Two comparisons were made: manual guidance with constant delay vs. most-to-least physical prompting with constant delay and (b) manual guidance with constant delay vs. modeling with constant delay. Three individuals diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder participated, and the dependent variable was the number of sessions and number of trials to acquisition for two 12-step play construction figures. Each session consisted of one probe trial and 10 training trials; generalization probes across a novel teacher and one new setting were conducted after acquisition. Results for the first experiment showed that both teaching procedures were effective. Results from the second comparison also demonstrated effective teaching procedures. Findings generalized across new teachers and settings. Inter-observer agreement data were collected in at least 33% of sessions and averaged 96%. Procedural integrity data were collected in at least 33% of sessions and averaged 99%.



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