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 #283
CE Offered: BACB
Addressing the Unique Social Needs of Individuals With High-Functioning Autism
Sunday, May 27, 2018
3:00 PM–3:50 PM
Manchester Grand Hyatt, Grand Hall C
Area: AUT/VRB; Domain: Translational
Chair: Charlotte Mann (Western New England University; University of St Joseph)
CE Instructor: Charlotte Mann, Ph.D.

Adolescents and young adults with high-functioning autism (HFA) frequently have the content knowledge and vocational skills necessary to participate with typically developing peers in educational and employment settings. Their full integration in these settings, however, can be negatively impacted by differences in how they participate in verbal communities and resolve both social and non-social problems they encounter. We will present two empirical studies conducted with adolescents with HFA, one in which we taught problem-solving strategies that participants then successfully applied to solve novel problems in the natural environment. In the second study, we applied a stimulus equivalence framework to intraverbal interactions, to describe a novel outcome measure for assessing derivational stimulus control over intraverbal behavior. In addition, we reviewed literature on altering the prosody behavior of individuals with HFA. We will provide recommendations for clinicians on how to develop problem-solving and social skills in individuals with HFA, and for researchers interested in furthering our scientific understanding of these topics.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): high-functioning autism, intraverbal behavior, problem-solving, prosody behavior
Target Audience:

We will be making recommendations appropriate for practitioners and researchers, particularly relevant to those who work with individuals with high-functioning autism.

Learning Objectives: 1. Participants will be able to identify procedures that have been effective in teaching problem-solving skills that can generalize to novel scenarios in educational and vocational contexts. 2. Participants will learn to apply a stimulus equivalence framework to examine intraverbal interactions. 3. Participants will be able to identify what researchers have learned about the prosody behavior of individuals with high-functioning autism.

Generalization of Problem-Solving Skills to Vocational and Educational Settings by Individuals With High-Functioning Autism

(Applied Research)
REGAN MADORE (The Gengras Center), Nicole C Groskreutz (University of Saint Joseph), John D. Molteni (University of Saint Joseph), Sarah Lessard (The Gengras Center), Laura B. Turner (University of Saint Joseph)

To be successful in educational and vocational settings, individuals with disabilities must be able to use problem-solving strategies to determine effective and socially acceptable responses to problems that arise. We investigated the effects of teaching individuals with high-functioning autism (ASD) to discriminate problem and non-problem situations, and apply a problem-solving strategy in response to problems. During training sessions, participants were exposed to non-problem scenarios, problem scenarios they were not directly involved in, and problem scenarios including both social and non-social solutions. Participants learned to discriminate problems from non-problems, classify whether they were directly involved in the problems, and generate solutions to the problem scenarios during interviews that followed each training session. In addition, during in vivo scenarios that we staged prior to and throughout training, both participants successfully applied the problem-solving strategies learned to solve novel problems in educational and vocational settings. Data collected thus far suggest that it may be beneficial for clinicians to apply these procedures to teach other adolescents or young adults with autism an effective problem-solving strategy.


Conditioning Derivational Stimulus Control Over Intraverbal Behavior of Adolescents With Autism

(Applied Research)
ALEXANDRIA ARRIAGA (University of Texas at San Antonio), Lee L Mason (University of Texas at San Antonio), Alonzo Alfredo Andrews (University of Texas at San Antonio)

Conditioning stimulus control over intraverbals, the operant class of social behavior, is a primary function of the verbal community. Addressing intraverbal deficits, however, continues to be a challenge for researchers, due to the lack of precise measures, as well as practitioners, because of the sparse literature on establishing discriminations between various verbal stimuli. Applying a stimulus equivalence framework to intraverbal interactions, this paper describes a novel outcome measure for assessing derivational stimulus control over the intraverbal behavior of adolescents with high-functioning autism. Using two-sentence affordance narratives, we evaluated the relative control of reflexive, symmetrical, and transitive stimuli over participants' responses to who, what, and where questions. Results show a derivation gradient analogous to the generalization gradients described by Guttman and Kalish (1956). Across the three variations of Wh- questions, reflexive questions generated the strongest responding, while transitive questions provided the weakest levels of stimulus control. Error analyses show response prepotencies across each level of derivation. Implications for future research and practice will be discussed.


Assessment and Treatment of Prosody Behavior in Individuals With High Functioning Autism: A Review and Call for Research

CHARLOTTE MANN (Western New England University; University of St. Joseph), Amanda Karsten (Western New England University; Western Michigan University)

Differences in prosody behavior between individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and their typically developing peers have been considered a central feature of ASD since the earliest clinical descriptions of the disorder (e.g., Kanner, 1943). Differences in prosody pose a particular concern for individuals with high functioning autism (HFA) who operate in environments designed for typically developing people. The purpose of this review is to examine the state of the literature focused on altering the prosody behavior of individuals with HFA and to provide recommendations for researchers who are interested in contributing to the scientific understanding of prosody.




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