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 #191
CE Offered: BACB
Recent Advancements in Social Skills Instruction With Individuals With Autism Spectrum Disorder
Sunday, May 27, 2018
8:00 AM–9:50 AM
Manchester Grand Hyatt, Grand Hall C
Area: AUT/DDA; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Ruth M. DeBar (Caldwell University)
Discussant: Rebecca P. F. MacDonald (New England Center for Children)
CE Instructor: Rebecca P. F. MacDonald, Ph.D.

A qualitative characteristic of individuals diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) includes deficits in social skills. It is important that practitioners address social skill deficits effectively to enhance social interactions. This symposium will highlight innovative methods to assess and enhance social skills with individuals with ASD. The first paper will present on the effects of video modeling on scripted statements with dyads of individuals with ASD during mastered leisure activities. The second paper will discuss the use of a packaged intervention consisting of video modeling and video feedback for teaching social skills to adolescents with autism during leisure. The third presentation will discuss an innovative approach using textual prompts via text messaging to increase conversational skills with individuals with ASD. The fourth and final paper will discuss the use of an assessment and a training program to enhance social interactions with individuals with ASD. Limitations, clinical implications and areas of research will be discussed.

Instruction Level: Basic
Keyword(s): ASD, social skills, video-based instruction
Target Audience:

undergraduates, graduate students, parents, and practictioners

Learning Objectives: To discuss deficits of social skills specific to individuals with ASD To discuss use of video-based instruction to target impairments of social skills To discuss use of textual prompts on social skills instruction

Using Video Modeling to Teach Play Comments to Dyads With Autism Spectrum Disorder

ESSMA EZZEDDINE (Caldwell University), Ruth M. DeBar (Caldwell University), Sharon A. Reeve (Caldwell University), Dawn B. Townsend (Institute for Educational Achievement), Jessica Lynn Amador (Caldwell University)

Individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) often display deficits in social and conversational skills. Methods to address social deficits include the use of video modeling. There is dearth of research targeting conversational skills using video-based instruction with individuals with ASD as conversational recipients. We evaluated the effects of video modeling on scripted statements during leisure activities to dyads of children with ASD using a multiple probe across activities design. Video modeling alone was found to be effective for three of the participants. Video modeling with tangible reinforcement was needed for one participant to learn scripted statements whereas tangible reinforcement and additional prompts were needed for two participants. Generalization was assessed across novel peers and data were variable across participants. Results were found to maintain across one and three weeks after mastery and goals and outcomes were reported as socially valid. Limitations and areas of future research will be discussed.


Evaluation of Strategies for Teaching Social Skills During Leisure Engagement

CHANTAL LITTLE (The New England Center for Children; Western New England University ), Stacie Bancroft (New England Center for Children), Erin Jarvis (The New England Center for Children), Matthew Darcy ( The New England Center for Children )

Teaching relevant social skills during engagement with leisure activities may promote natural interactions and enhance the benefits of leisure. The present study evaluated the effect and generalization of a treatment hierarchy starting with a video modeling and video feedback package (VMVF) for teaching social skills to adolescents with autism during leisure. Participants were between the ages of 15 and 21 with ASD and attended a residential school. Six target social skills determined to be important in typical leisure based interactions were divided into three domains: (a) initiating joint participation, (b) conversation relevant to activities, and (c) prosocial interactions. Experimental control was demonstrated using a multiple-baseline within participants design. Participants were shown one of the video models twice successively at the start of the session. Following the session, participants were shown the video recording and given feedback in the form of praise or suggestions for improvement. Additional treatment components of the package included naturalistic prompting and arbitrary reinforcers. Although VMVF alone had limited success, the additional treatment components produced an increase in targeted social skills. Interobserver agreement was calculated in 40% of sessions with a score of 94%.


The Effects of a Text Message Prompt on Conversational Speech on Dyads of Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder

JULIA BLANCO (Claremont McKenna College), Marjorie H. Charlop (Claremont McKenna College)

The present study used a multiple baseline design across 4 dyads of children with autism spectrum disorder to assess the efficacy of a text message prompt on smartphones to teach conversational speech during play time. During treatment, each child was taught to use text messages that prompted conversational phrases sent to their smartphones positioned beside them during dyad play. These texts were sent in, during real time play, by experimenters seated just outside the play area. The texts were then faded out, and the smartphones were then gradually removed from of the play area. Results indicated that each dyad maintained appropriate conversations with each other. Generalization of both previously scripted and unscripted phrases with non-trained peers and across untrained settings occurred. The results are discussed in terms of using simple texting on cell phones to occasion conversational speech for children with autism.


Assessing and Enhancing Social Behavior of Individuals Diagnosed With an Autism Spectrum Disorder

TRACEY TORAN (New England Center for Children), William H. Ahearn (New England Center for Children)

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is characterized by impaired social interaction and communication. Skill deficits are most noticeable in social behavior and these deficits may be related to atypical responsiveness to social stimuli. The current study sought to examine how individuals with an ASD allocated their behavior in the presence of others pre and post social exchange training and to evaluate the qualitative changes in social behavior following training. One adult and three children with an ASD participated. Relative preference for social interaction and the qualitative state of social engagement during social interaction were measured. Participants then received training to initiate and sustain a social exchange. Prompting and reinforcement, in the form of preferred social consequences, were provided. Following social exchange training, the results suggested an increased preference for social interaction for some participants and a qualitatively richer state of social engagement for all participants. All sessions were videotaped and more than 33% of sessions, across both assessment and training, were scored by 2 trained observers. Interobserver agreement (IOA) ranged between 84% - 100%. Social validity data indicated that the obtained coordinated joint interaction state of engagement of the study participants was reflective of the states of engagement in typically developing persons.




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