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 #89
CE Offered: BACB
Exposure to Social Skill Opportunities in a Clinic-Based ABA Program: What Did We Improve?
Saturday, May 26, 2018
3:00 PM–3:50 PM
Manchester Grand Hyatt, Seaport Ballroom F
Area: AUT/PRA; Domain: Translational
Chair: Laura Sabin Milstrey (The BISTÅ Center)
CE Instructor: Cailin M Ockert, M.S.

This study reviews specific social skills programming and exposure to social opportunities and their effects on problem behavior rates for children diagnosed with ASD and other developmental delays. The setting for the study was a clinic-based ABA program designed to help children with various diagnoses respond in groups, follow instructions, and improve social skills for school readiness purposes. Three participants between the ages of 3-5 were evaluated in this study. Each participant was one of 5-7 children present in the program. Target programming consisted of say-do correspondence, functional play skills and interactive play skills, and engaging in reciprocal play. Problem behavior data was also reviewed and correlated in order to assess weather social skill improvements could correspond to changes in problem behavior rates. The results show that each participant's social target improved significantly. Some are now able to interact with peers in the program setting, and some exhibited a decreased rate of problem behaviors once their specific skill was mastered. Future research should include classroom wide social skill improvement measures and a review of data on how many redirections are given from teachers/technicians once specific social skills are taught.

Keyword(s): Autism, Behavior Reduction, Clinic-Based ABA, Social Skills
Target Audience:

BCBA in clinical practice, all BCBAs, people interested in social skills, applied professionals.

Learning Objectives: How to teach social skills using new programming based on research Teaching Functional Play Skills Exposure to Social Skills improves Social Skills Increasing Parallel Play with Peers

Using Say-Do Correspondence to Teach Social Skills and Reduce Problem Behaviors

(Applied Research)

Say-Do Correspondence was used to increase social interactions and reduce the aggression, and property destruction of two participants diagnosed with ASD. The participants were both male, ages 4 and 5. The setting was a clinic-based ABA program which was designed to work on group skills in order to improve the school readiness skills of our clients. The participants were asked what they wanted to play or do during transitions in the classroom, or during breaks from specific DTT programming. Previously, these participants would engage in problem behaviors during transitions or unstructured time. Once each participant identified what they were going to do, the RBT would prompt them to say "I am going to go ____" or "I am going to play _____" and then allow the participant to engage in the stated behavior. Once this phase was mastered, and the participants were above 80% accurate in doing what they stated, they moved the stated action to a social interaction. For example, the RBT would ask "Should we play _____ or _____ next?", in which each choice involved a peer already engaging in that activity. The participants would make a choice, the RBT would prompt them to say "I am going to go play ______ with _______" and then allow the participant to engage in the stated interaction. Results show increased social interactions and reduced problem behaviors for both participants. Future research should include a larger participant sample as well as varied levels in functioning.


How Social Opportunities in a Developmental Setting Build Reciprocation Skills

(Applied Research)

Teaching social skills to children with developmental delays in the community can be difficult as prompting random peers to engage with the child is not possible. Using a developmental setting with 8 peers with similar diagnoses, each equipped with a personal behavior technician, social skills were targeted in this study through both natural and contrived situations that mimic opportunities found in a typical classroom. The child identified for this study is a 3-year-old with no interests in peers, low tolerance of play being interrupted by peers and adults, and no ability to tolerate parallel play with preferred items. The child's treatment plan identified nine social objectives that would enable the child to interact with peers through play by developing reciprocal play and initiating and responding to peer requests. Prompts used in this study included modeling actions performed by peers, modeling appropriate play schemes, and modeling delivering a "stop" or "no" PECS card to a peer to end a non-preferred interaction.


Increasing Functional Play Skill in a Center-Based Environment

(Applied Research)

Teaching play skills is a valuable skill to target for kids when working on imitation skills and preparing for beginner social skills. This current study examined the effectiveness teaching individual play actions using various play sets during center-based sessions. The participant is a four-year old male diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder and Phelan-McDermid Syndrome. In each phase, the participant participated in a two-minute probe to assess current skills and then spent up to 10 minutes in teaching trials for skills that were not shown. During an initial intake, the participant displayed zero play skills and only engaged in property destruction. Preliminary results indicate that the participant was able to learn new play skills across the first initial playsets introduced to him. A wooden train set was the first playset introduced. This target had to be modified to take into account the participants fine motor skills and additional staff training.




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