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 #454
CE Offered: BACB
Evaluating Skill Sets Across a Variety of Populations
Monday, May 28, 2018
11:00 AM–12:50 PM
Manchester Grand Hyatt, Harbor Ballroom AB
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Kimberly Crosland (University of South Florida)
Discussant: Claudia L. Dozier (The University of Kansas)
CE Instructor: Jennifer L. Cook, M.S.

While much of the behavior analytic literature focuses on teaching skills to individuals with disabilities, there is less extensive research assessing skill sets typically-developing individuals, which may also benefit people with disabilities. The first study evaluates refinements to a model for teaching eye contact to children with autism spectrum disorder. This is followed by a study using a descriptive analysis for eye contact in typically developing adults, with a goal of providing normative data for research in eye contact interventions. The third study focuses on teaching group home staff to increase the frequency of praise given to foster children. While this intervention was of direct benefit to typically-developing children, the procedure focused on teaching staff, which may benefit a number of populations under group home staff care. The last study evaluates teaching culinary skills to adults with Traumatic Brain Injury.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): culinary skills, eye contact, normative data, staff praise
Target Audience:

The target audience of this symposium are clinicians and researchers interested interventions for people with and without disabilities.


Further Evaluation of a Practitioner Model for Increasing Eye Contact in Children With Autism

JENNIFER L. COOK (University of South Florida; Monarch House), John T. Rapp (Auburn University), Raluca Nuta (Monarch House), Carissa Balagot (Monarch House), Kayla Crouchman (Monarch House), Claire Jenkins (Monarch House), Sidrah Karim (Monarch House), Chelsea Watters-Wybrow (Monarch House)

Cook et al. (2017) recently described a progressive model for teaching children with autism spectrum disorder to provide eye contact with an instructor following a name call. The model included the following phases: contingent praise only; contingent edibles plus praise; stimulus prompts plus contingent edibles and praise; contingent video and praise; schedule thinning; generalization assessments; and maintenance evaluations. In the present study, we evaluated the extent to which modifications to the model were needed to train 15 children with ASD to engage in eye contact. Results show that 11 of 15 participants acquired eye contact with the progressive model; however, 8 participants required one or more procedural modifications to the model. Results also show that participants who acquired eye contact with or without modifications continued to display high levels of the behavior during follow-up probes. For those participants who acquired eye contact in this study, three did not require any modifications, six required one modification, and two required multiple modifications. The most frequently employed modification across participants was prompts to sit (PTS). Specifically, investigators' addition of PTS produced mastery-level eye contact for 4 of 6 participants who received the modification. Taken together with the findings from the Cook et al. (2017) study, results suggest that adding a PTS sub-phase (when low eye contact correlates with low in-seat behavior) to the progressive model could increase training efficiency.


Descriptive Analyses for Eye Contact During Social Interactions

NADRATU NUHU (Auburn University), John T. Rapp (Auburn University), Anna Kate Edgemon (Auburn University), Amanda Niedfeld (Auburn University), Jodi Coon (Auburn University)

Individuals with autism spectrum disorder have demonstrated difficulty initiating and maintaining eye contact from early infancy into adulthood (Jones & Klin, 2013). Interventions that target improving eye contact are of paramount importance given that eye contact and appropriate use of eye gaze during social interactions may function as a behavioral cusp that provides access to other environments and contingencies (Bosch & Fuqua, 2001). Currently, normative data regarding appropriate eye contact are lacking in the literature. The purpose of the current study was to use descriptive analyses to collect normative data on levels eye contact exhibited by typically developing college students during a brief social encounter. A secondary aim of the study was to assess whether the probability of eye contact increased or decreased in the presence of vocalizations. Participants engaged in a 5-min social interaction with trained confederates wearing video recording glasses. High levels of eye contact and vocalizations were observed across all participants. Conditional percentages indicated that vocalizations decreased participant's engagement in eye contact. Lower proportions of eye contact occurred during periods of vocalizations. Findings suggest that although high levels of eye contact are observed during brief social interactions, eye contact is more likely to occur when an individual is not engaging in vocalizations.


Using a MotivAider to Increase Behavior-Specific Praise From Staff in a Residential Facility

Marissa A. Novotny (University of South Florida), KIMBERLY CROSLAND (University of South Florida), Darienne Boyden (University of South Florida)

This study used a combination of a multiple baseline across participants and a reversal design to evaluate the effects of a MotivAider on the frequency of behavior specific praise provided by staff members to youth at a residential facility for youth in the foster care system. Two staff members were given a brief training on providing behavior specific praise and were instructed to wear the MotivAider on their hip and to delivery behavior specific praise whenever the MotivAider vibrated. Results demonstrated an increase in the frequency of behavior specific praise delivered by staff to the youth when wearing the MotivAider.


Teaching Culinary Skills Using Video Modeling to Individuals With Traumatic Brain Injury

SARAH CASTRO (University of South Florida), Kimberly Crosland (University of South Florida), Jessica Moore (University of South Florida)

Individuals with Traumatic Brain Injury often need to be taught independent living skills in order to reintegrate into community settings. This study examined the use of video modeling to teach culinary skills to three individuals with Traumatic Brain Injury. Video modeling is easily accessible, inexpensive, and not reliant on an additional person to directly teach skills. For all three participants, video modeling resulted in increases in cooking skills using a task analysis created for each food item prepared. For one participant, the skills maintained over two weeks and generalized to a novel food. For another participant video modeling was insufficient in reaching high skill levels therefore a second phase utilizing reinforcement and corrective feedback was implemented. This phase demonstrated with the additional component including reinforcement and corrective feedback, the third participant reached high skill levels.




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