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.


44th Annual Convention; San Diego, CA; 2018

Event Details

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Symposium #321
CE Offered: BACB
Home and Community Interventions for Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder
Sunday, May 27, 2018
4:00 PM–5:50 PM
Manchester Grand Hyatt, Seaport Ballroom H
Area: AUT/DDA; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Marjorie H. Charlop (Claremont McKenna College)
Discussant: Mandy J. Rispoli (Purdue University)
CE Instructor: Mandy J. Rispoli, Ph.D.

Trained professionals often treat children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) using a previously ordered and established curriculum. However, adjunctive treatment protocols are necessary if we are going to provide optimal functioning for the children within home environments and within the community. Such additional programming for example, include targets such as athletic training, cooperative play and social interactional training, and safety training. The research presented here will highlight some of the ways in which children with autism spectrum disorder can acquire athletic skills for later participation in sports programs, cooperative play with siblings and peers, furthering conversational speech for "phrase only" speakers, and finally, to teach children with autism spectrum disorder awareness of the dangers that strangers may bring within the community. These socially valid behaviors are necessary complements to the basics of any applied behavior analysis program. The importance of these behaviors within home and the community is emphasized in the symposium.

Target Audience:

Behavior analysts, practitioners, and researchers


Teaching Athletic Skills to Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder

Benjamin Thomas (Claremont Graduate University), CAITLYN GUMAER (Claremont Graduate University), Marjorie H. Charlop (Claremont McKenna College)

Participating in community sports is associated with a healthy lifestyle, and can also increase children with autism spectrum disorder's (ASD) opportunities for social development (Weiss & Harris, 2001). Unfortunately, children with ASD are often lacking in appropriate play and athletic skills (Potvin et al., 2013), and there are few guidelines in the literature for teaching them these skills. In the present study, we used a multiple baseline across participants and skills design to assess the effects of visual and positional prompting, fading, and differential reinforcement on the acquisition of two athletic skills by two boys with ASD. Social behaviors of communication and joint attention with peers were also measured before and after training for both children. Results indicated that the children acquired the athletic skills during training, and corresponding gains were observed in the peer play probes. Discussion will focus on the implications of targeting physical activity within interventions for individuals with ASD, as well as on considerations for structuring athletic skill teaching interactions and types of prompting methods.


Effects of Teaching Cooperative Puzzle Play on the iPad to Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder

JENNA GILDER (Claremont Graduate University), Marjorie H. Charlop (Claremont McKenna College)

The present study examined a strategy for encouraging social play among children diagnosed with ASD through teaching cooperative play skills using the iPad®. Specifically, the children were taught to play with the puzzle cooperatively by moving the puzzle pieces together. The study used a multiple baseline design to teach five dyads with ASD to play with the puzzle cooperatively. The dyads were observed in the puzzle sessions and in subsequent free-play sessions and their cooperative play and verbal behaviors were recorded. During baseline, the children did not play cooperatively. The intervention phase involved cooperative puzzle play training sessions, where the experimenter taught the children to move the pieces together using physical/verbal prompts. All ten participants learned to play the puzzle cooperatively. For seven of the participants, cooperative play and verbal communication also occurred in free-play. Follow-up data demonstrated that some children maintained cooperative play behaviors both in the puzzle and free-play settings 3-weeks to 15-weeks following treatment. These findings provide preliminary support for teaching cooperative play to individuals with ASD using an iPad®.


Increasing Phrase Speech Within the Community With Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder

CAITLYN GUMAER (Claremont Graduate University), Jenna Gilder (Claremont Graduate University ), Brittany Nichole Bell (Claremont Graduate University ), Marjorie H. Charlop (Claremont McKenna College)

Typically, communication interventions for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) target nonverbal children and highly verbal children, but tend not to focus on those children in the middle who are considered "phrase speakers." For non-verbal children, The Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) (Bondy & Frost, 1994) has successfully increased speech (Charlop-Christy, Carpenter, LeBlanc & Kellet, 2002), while script programs have been successful in increasing conversational speech in verbal and literate children with ASD (Charlop-Christy & Kelso, 2003). The present study used a multiple baseline design across participants to examine the effects of a PECS-based script program with three school-aged, phrase speakers with ASD in the community. Conducting training sessions indoors during play and outdoors during recreational activities, the present study focused on increasing each participant's contextually-appropriate speech while increasing varied responding and length of utterances through the inclusion of action verbs and descriptors (i.e., colors, numbers, sizes). Initial results are promising and additional data are being collected. Findings from the current study may have implications for communication interventions for phrase speakers with ASD, both in therapy and community settings.


Using Video Modeling to Teach Abduction Prevention Skills to Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder

BRITTANY NICHOLE BELL (Claremont Graduate University), Marjorie H. Charlop (Claremont McKenna College)

Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are especially vulnerable to potential abduction by predators within the community. Video modeling was used to teach children with ASD how to respond to taped stranger lure scenarios and in-situ stranger lures. A multiple baseline design across 6 participants was used to assess treatment effects. Measures consisted of reported verbal and motor responses to three stranger lure scenarios and actual responses to stranger lures planted near the children's therapy program and within the children's communities. Prior to intervention, participants displayed few appropriate responses to taped and in-situ stranger lure scenarios. Each participant rapidly met criterion during video modeling treatment. Results indicated that all six participants displayed increases in appropriate responses to taped stranger lure scenarios and in-situ stranger lures post-treatment. Participants demonstrated maintenance of the target behaviors three months following the intervention, with one hundred percent accuracy to taped stranger lures. This study indicated that children with ASD learned to appropriately respond to a stranger's lure and demonstrated the learned behavior in multiple contextually appropriate settings.




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