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 #521
Using Behavior Analytic Interventions to Address the Needs of Individuals With Autism Across the Lifespan
Monday, May 28, 2018
4:00 PM–5:50 PM
Manchester Grand Hyatt, Grand Hall D
Area: AUT/DDA; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Emily Gregori (Purdue University)
Discussant: Russell Lang (Texas State University-San Marcos)

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a lifelong disorder and the needs of this population persist and change throughout the lifespan. The purpose of the current symposium is to explore the use of behavior analytic interventions to address the dynamic and complex needs of individuals with ASD across the lifespan. This symposium will explore the use of behavioral interventions to treat deficits across academic, social, and behavioral domains. Paper one describes the results of a study that investigated the effects of a shared reading intervention on reading comprehension and task engagement for three elementary school aged children in a clinical setting. Paper two describes the effects of a peer-mediated intervention on appropriate conversation skills for three high-school students. The third paper evaluated the impact of covert audio coaching with prompting to increase the question asking of four college females with autism during lunch with their peers. Finally, paper four evaluated the effects of an electronic self-monitoring program on the vocal stereotypy of a young woman in an employment setting Together, these papers provide robust evidence for the utility and efficacy of behavioral interventions across the lifespan.

Instruction Level: Intermediate

The Effects of a Shared Reading Intervention on Narrative Story Comprehension and Task Engagement of Students With Autism Spectrum Disorder

SO YEON KIM (Purdue University ), Mandy J. Rispoli (Purdue University), Catharine Lory (Purdue University), Emily Gregori (Purdue University)

Students with ASD often have difficulties in acquiring reading comprehension skills. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of a shared reading intervention designed to improve narrative story comprehension and task engagement of students with ASD. The intervention was evaluated with a single-case multiple baseline design across participants. Three male students with ASD between six to nine years old participated in this study. The multicomponent shared reading intervention included before, during, and after reading strategies (i.e., topic anticipation, dynamic reading, story retelling). The results of this study indicated that all participants with ASD demonstrated noticeable improvements in narrative reading comprehension, and despite the longer duration of intervention sessions, participants showed similar or better task engagement than baseline sessions. Improved reading outcomes were maintained overtime for all participants. The inter-observer agreement (IOA), procedure fidelity, and social validity were measured, and implications for practical implementation and future research will be discussed.


Peer-Mediated Intervention for Adolescents With Autism: Reducing Inappropriate Communication Acts in "Dominant Talkers"

AMANDA THOMAS (Lehigh University ), Linda Bambara (Lehigh University)

One of the defining characteristics of students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a social communication deficit. For some students with ASD, who are dominant talkers or verbal noncommunicators, they are assertive but nonresponsive to their partner and display a number of interfering behaviors. As a result, high school students with ASD are often socially isolated and misunderstood by peers, impacting their ability to form friendships. Using a multiple baseline design across participants, this study evaluated the effects of a peer-mediated intervention (PMI) on improving the social conversation of three high school students with ASD who engaged in high rates of inappropriate communication acts. The PMI incorporated peer training, graphic/text cues, and direct instruction for the students to support appropriate initiations and on topic responses. Results revealed substantial improvements. Inappropriate communication acts decreased for all three students, while appropriate acts increased or remained at baseline levels. Social validity outcome measures were highly positive. The findings of this study provides additional evidence that PMI can be individualized to address the unique pragmatic language needs of high school students with ASD. This presentation illustrates the peer-mediated strategies through video examples


Increasing Question Asking Skills of College Females With Autism During Lunch Conversations With Peers: Impact of Covert Audio Coaching

ROSE A. MASON (Purdue University), Howard P. Wills (Juniper Gardens Children's Project), Debra M. Kamps (Juniper Gardens Children's Project, The University of Kansas), Raia Rosenbloom (University of Kansas)

Impairments in social-communication for individuals with autism limits the ability to engage in meaningful and socially reinforcing social interactions leading to social isolation and loneliness. The impact of which often leads to comorbid anxiety and depression particularly for females with autism. Unfortunately, research on effective social interventions for females with autism is limited. Further, typical interventions aimed at supporting social skill acquisition and maintenance while also fostering independence for adolescents and young adults with autism can be challenging and stigmatizing, particularly given the need for the close proximity of the interventionist. Yet, few studies have capitalized on the use of covert audio coaching (CAC) to deliver evidence-based practices within a natural setting. This study employed a multiple-baseline design across participants to evaluate the impact of CAC with prompting to increase the question asking of four college females with autism during lunch with their peers. Implementation of CAC resulted in increases in question- asking for all four participants, yet the addition of feedback yielded further increases. Additionally, social validity measures indicate the intervention was viewed favorably by participants. Challenges as well as implications for practice and future research will be discussed.


Using Technology-Enabled Self-Monitoring to Improve the Work Performance of an Adult With Autism

Leslie Ann Bross (University of Kansas), Howard P. Wills (Juniper Gardens Children's Project), Rose A. Mason (Purdue University), DANNI WANG (Purdue University)

Individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) experience barriers to obtaining and maintaining competitive employment in their local communities. Employees with ASD will most likely need workplace accommodations and on-going job support and training. In addition, employers will benefit from education and support for hiring an individual with ASD. One cost-effective intervention to support employees with ASD is self-monitoring. A withdrawal design was implemented to determine if there was a functional relationship between implementation of a self-monitoring intervention and decreases in verbal stereotypy for a female adult with ASD employed at a medical office. An iPad with an application titled ASD On The Go delivered questions at set intervals about engagement and on-task work performance. Visual analysis indicated a functional relationship between the implementation of the ASD On The Go application and decreases in the young adult's vocal stereotypy. Implications for utilizing self-monitoring in community-based employment settings and collaborating with employers of individuals with ASD will be discussed.




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