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.


46th Annual Convention; Washington DC; 2020

Event Details

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Symposium #272
CE Offered: BACB
Assistive Technology Innovations in Interventions for People With Autism Spectrum Disorder Across Multiple Domains
Sunday, May 24, 2020
12:00 PM–12:50 PM
Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Level 2, Room 206
Area: AUT/EDC; Domain: Translational
Chair: Reem Muharib (Texas State university )
Discussant: Tonya Nichole Davis (Baylor University)
CE Instructor: Reem Muharib, Ph.D.

Technology has been used to facilitate the education and treatment of people with developmental and intellectual disabilities for many years. As technology continues to improve (e.g., reduced cost, increased portability and more versatile software), assistive technology-based interventions become more accessible, adaptable and potentially more impactful. This symposium will present two intervention studies that used assistive technology in innovative ways to improve academic performance, decrease challenging behavior and increase spoken communication. In study 1, Ledbetter-Cho et al evaluated the effects of a teacher-implemented video-schedule intervention on academic skills and challenging behaviors of five elementary-school students with autism. In study 2, Muharib used a speech generating device to increase the spoken (non-SGD) functional communication of three children with autism. Together, these two studies highlight recent advances in technology and demonstrate the utility of these devices on socially valid dependent variables.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): Academics, Assistive Technology, Communication, Speech
Target Audience:

Board Certified Behavior Analysts working in school and/or clinical settings with children with developmental and intellectual disabilities


Speech-Generating Devices and Backward Chaining Increases Spoken Mands in Children With Autism

(Applied Research)
REEM MUHARIB (Texas State university )

Behavioral intervention packages in combination with speech output technologies have been used to increase communication skills of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and other developmental disabilities. This study extended previous research (Gevarter et al., 2016; Gevarter & Horan, 2018) by examining the effects of backward chaining in combination with least-to-most prompting and differential reinforcement on the acquisition of functional communication skills in a multiple probe across participants design. Three male children (ages 4 to 8 years) with ASD or developmental disabilities and minimal vocal communication skills participated. Children were taught to mand for preferred items in three categories (edibles, videos, and videogames) and discriminate between icons on each page. The first page showed “I want to” and a distractor”, the second showed “play,” “eat,” and “watch,” and the third page showed 10 icons of different items within each of the three categories. The results indicated that the intervention was effective in increasing both three-step iPad-based manding and three-component vocal manding (e.g., “I want to eat raisins”) of all participants, two of whom were able to maintain vocal manding after the termination of the intervention. All three children showed some generalized responding across classroom teachers.


The Effects of Teacher-Implemented Video-Enhanced Activity Schedules on the Academic Skills and Collateral Behaviors of Students With Autism

(Applied Research)
KATHERINE LEDBETTER-CHO (Texas State University), Mark O'Reilly (The University of Texas at Austin), Laci Watkins (University of Alabama), Russell Lang (Texas State University-San Marcos), Nataly Lim (University of Texas at Austin), Katy Davenport (Texas State University-San Marcos), Caitlin Murphy (Texas State University)

Many students with autism display deficits in academic performance and often receive interventions that include one-to-one prompting in the classroom. This study evaluated the effects of a teacher-implemented video-schedule intervention on the academic skills and untargeted challenging behaviors of elementary-school students with autism. Results from a multiple baseline across participants indicated that the intervention was effective in improving participants’ academic performance. A decrease in challenging behaviors and stereotypy was also observed for participants following the introduction of intervention. Additionally, participants demonstrated generalization across academic problems and to a small group setting, suggesting that this technology-based intervention may be efficient and aid teachers in maximizing instructional time. Future research examining a variety of academic skills and intervention implementation by additional practitioners (e.g., teaching assistants) is warranted.




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