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 #189
CE Offered: BACB
Improving Behavioral Services With Technological Advancements
Sunday, May 24, 2020
8:00 AM–8:50 AM
Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Level 1, Room 102
Area: AUT/DDA; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Lois Meszaros (CHIMES Delaware)
CE Instructor: Erick M. Dubuque, Ph.D.

Recent technological advancements have the potential to vastly improve the strategies and tactics behavior analysts use to promote behavior change. These technologies have the potential to increase the efficiency of instruction, improve procedural fidelity and allow for the remote delivery of covert prompting and feedback to learners and clinicians. During this symposium, three presenters will describe their investigations incorporating various technological advancements into applied behavior analysis therapy settings. This will include a review of an intelligent agent (IA) used to guide clinicians working in vocational rehabilitation settings with adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD); the use of the Tactile Awareness Prompting System (TAPS) to evoke distinct social responses in children with ASD; and the use of the Apple Watch to contingently deliver covert remote tactile stimulation as a reinforcer for on-task behavior in a child diagnosed with autism. The potential benefits and challenges of successfully incorporating these types of technologies to improve behavioral therapy will be discussed.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): intelligent agent, tactile stimulation, technology
Target Audience:

This presentation is appropriate for practicing behavior analysts and supervisors.

Learning Objectives: 1. Describe IA technology and its relation to ABA practice in adult vocational rehabilitation. 2. Identify common pitfalls in ABA practice regarding procedural fidelity and data collection and describe how AI can overcome these. 3. Identify the advantages of an AI apprenticeship and coaching over common and traditional training. 4. Describe how covert tactile stimulation can be used to prompt and shape performance.
Expert Guiding Technology for Vocational Rehabilitation
DONALD A. HANTULA (Temple University), John T Nosek (Guiding Technologies; Temple University), Matthew Tincani (Temple University), David McElwee (CHIMES Delaware), Lois Meszaros (CHIMES Delaware)
Abstract: An intelligent agent (IA) for use in guiding clinicians in vocational rehabilitation work with adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder is described. The IA runs on inexpensive Android tablets, coaches the clinician throughout a task analysis, adjusts levels of prompting in real time, collects data and saves it to secure cloud storage for later analysis. The IA replaces binders and other paper program and data materials, relieves the clinician from having to collect data while teaching difficult vocational rehabilitation tasks and improves procedural fidelity. This IA delivers a real-time in situ apprenticeship experience for the clinician that may be able to replace lengthy and often ineffective training.
Tactile Prompting of Orientation and Social Responses
MARK T. HARVEY (Florida Institute of Technology), Bruce Mortimer (Engineering Acoustics Inc.)
Abstract: The potential utility of tactile prompting for teaching social responses to children with autism has been demonstrated; however, previous tactile prompting systems did not allow differential tactile patterns to signal multiple discrete responses. The Tactile Awareness Prompting System (TAPS), sends tactile cues to an array of vibrotactile actuators (i.e., tactors) embedded within a stretchable belt worn around the torso of participants. The multi-tactor array allows instructors to differentially cue topographically dissimilar responses using distinct tactile patterns. Investigators taught three participants, two children diagnosed with autism and an age-matched control, three distinct orientation responses (e.g., look left, look forward, look right) and three social responses (i.e., ask for help, a social bid to a peer, and respond to a social bid from a peer), each associated with a different tactile pattern. Investigators tested generality of social responses in a group situation with and without the device for both participants who had autism. Results are discussed in relation to the use of tactile prompts for children with autism in clinical and educational settings.

Shaping Performance Covertly and Remotely With Tactile Stimulation

ERICK M. DUBUQUE (University of Louisville), Lee Collins (University of Louisville), Molly Dubuque (LittleStar ABA Therapy)

Tactile stimulation can be used to privately prompt or provide feedback for a variety of behaviors. However, technological limitations have primarily resulted in narrow investigations of tactile stimulation delivered on a time-based schedule delivered by a device like a Motivader or WatchMinder. Recent advances in smart phone and watch technologies have created new ways for practitioners to deliver tactile stimulation privately and remotely to shape behavior. The aim of this presentation is two-fold. First, to share the results from initial investigations utilizing this technology to reinforce on-task behavior in a young child diagnosed with autism. Second, to discuss the advantages and applications of utilizing tactile stimulation as a prompt or reinforcer. Discussions will center around using this technology to preserve the privacy and dignity of clients by covertly shaping performance; prompt behavior based on environmental events independent of scheduled times; deliver feedback quickly, quietly, and remotely without interrupting interactions; and fade dependence on tactile prompting and feedback.




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