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 #237
CE Offered: BACB
Reevaluating the Big Picture: New Approaches to Old Dogma in ABA and Autism
Sunday, May 27, 2018
11:00 AM–11:50 AM
Manchester Grand Hyatt, Grand Hall C
Area: AUT/VRB; Domain: Translational
Chair: Jonathan Tarbox (University of Southern California; FirstSteps for Kids)
Discussant: Amanda C. Nicolson (Swan Consulting Inc.)
CE Instructor: Lisa Stoddard, M.A.

More than five decades of research have documented the effectiveness of applied behavior analytic (ABA) treatment for individuals with autism spectrum disorder. The ABA service delivery industry has proliferated accordingly and various models of ABA treatment have been largely influenced by the research and practice sites where they originated. As clinical practices have spread, many traditional practices that have been components of larger models have maintained, regardless of whether research has shown those individual components to be crucial. This symposium brings together two presentations that reevaluate traditional practices and discuss directions for future research and practice. The first presentation, by Lisa Stoddard, discusses the concept of purpose-driven understanding at the level of the direct implementer ABA therapist. The second presentation, by Erin Herbe, is a program evaluation of the effects of transitioning from all-trials data collection to first trial data collection in a multiple baseline across three children with autism. The symposium concludes with a discussion by Dr. Amanda Adams.

Keyword(s): data collection, principles, probe data
Target Audience:

Board certified behavior analysts working with children with autism and interested in staff training and data collection issues


What's the Point? Purpose-Driven Applied Behavior Analysis at the Implementer Level

Lisa Stoddard (FirstSteps for Kids, Inc.), Jennifer L. Harris (FirstSteps for Kids, Inc.), JONATHAN TARBOX (University of Southern California; FirstSteps for Kids)

Procedural integrity has been emphasized as a critical piece of applied behavior analysis (ABA) service delivery and research, since the beginnings of our field. Baer, Wolf, and Risley (1968) emphasized the importance of ABA procedures being described with technological precision, so that they can be replicated by others. Accordingly, the need for consistency is almost universally emphasized when training entry-level ABA therapists. A common practice across service delivery agencies has been to train entry-level ABA therapists to implement treatment protocols with a high degree of precision but training entry-level therapists on the overall purpose of individual programs may be less common. This presentation will revisit this common practice and discuss potential strengths and limitations. A behavioral conceptual analysis will be made in terms of therapist attending behavior and what various training practices may inadvertently result in (e.g., therapists paying more attention to data collection than to the teaching interaction, etc.). Potential directions for research and practice will be discussed.

Data Schmata: Evaluating the Real-Life Effects of Switching to First-Trial Data Collection
(Applied Research)
ERIN HERBE (FirstSteps for Kids), Jonathan J. Tarbox (University of Southern California; FirstSteps for Kids), Jenna Stauffer (FirstSteps for Kids)
Abstract: Collecting data during every discrete trial in the context of early intensive behavioral intervention for children with autism is the standard measurement system that has been recommended for decades. A small amount of existing research suggests that first-trial data collection may produce much the same results, thereby requiring less time and effort of therapists. However, little or no previous research has evaluated the effects of changing entire client programs from all-trials data collection to first-trial data collection, the very transition that would need to be done if first-trial data were to be adopted on a larger scale. The current program evaluation studied the effects of changing discrete trial data collection from all-trials to first-trial, across the entire EIBI programs of three children with autism. The results showed no consistent change in learning rate or in learning opportunities. Furthermore, parents and therapists consistently reported preference for first-trials data collection.



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