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 #290
CE Offered: BACB
Effectiveness and Efficacy of Several Different Applications of ABA Intervention Across Two Countries
Sunday, May 24, 2020
12:00 PM–12:50 PM
Marriott Marquis, Level M4, Independence A-C
Area: TBA/AUT; Domain: Translational
Chair: Jessica Singer-Dudek (Teachers College, Columbia University)
CE Instructor: Jessica Singer-Dudek, Ph.D.

Different models of intervention and their effectiveness and efficacy have been studied a lot in USA. Most of them focused on the intensity measured by the numbers of hours of service children with disabilities received. In this symposium we will look at several different packages and intensity of ABA interventions across different settings and countries. Europe has different systems of health, education and social care compared to USA so in some countries the systems and services like early intervention may be completely missing for children with ASD and other developmental disorders. In addition to those differences, even when existent, eclectic models compared to evidence-based and specifically ABA programs, are prevalent. These papers will talk about evidence-based possible models, comparing different intensity and application across various settings. In addition, we will talk about the process and the time a child with developmental disorder needs to go from detection to reach intervention, and provide some research- based insight on how to improve that and then, what type of intervention is the most effective.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): ABA, Intervention effectiveness
Target Audience:

Service providers, supervisors, academics

Learning Objectives: - How to measure effectiveness of ABA Intervention - How to create different intensity ABA programs - Haw to set up a effectiveness studies comparing models of intervention
Measuring Special Education without Special Schools: Challenges and Research Opportunities where Treatment Efficiency is Needed the Most
(Service Delivery)
FABIOLA CASARINI (Scuola delle Stelle Learning and Research Centre), Elisa Galanti (Scuola delle Stelle Learning and Research Centre), Adele Vero (Scuola delle Stelle Learning and Research Centre), Chiara Leuci (AllenaMenti Educational Centre), Claudia Puchetti (VitaLab Educational Center)
Abstract: Countries such as Italy have welfare systems drastically different from those in the United States. Therefore, it is essential to measure the criteria of effective ABA interventions for children with ASD, that can’t attend special schools or have insurance-covered intensive treatments.We implemented a CABAS®-based treatment package with high educational intensity and modified frequency, in which each participant received intervention for 12 hours a week. Participants were 7 children with Autism, aged 2 to 6 years old at the beginning of the study. The dependent variables were the changes in each child’s ADOS-2 and CARS-2 scores prior to and after one and two years of intervention. The results showed a significant difference between before and after the low-frequency package was implemented, for the total scores and each sub-test of both instruments. Data were also collected about the number of Learn Units to Criterion rate. This preliminary study aims to pave the way for further research, with a larger number of participants and a longitudinal analysis of change. Results suggest that normative tests, together with individual graphs’ analysis, can help differentiate between treatment effectiveness and efficiency and that further research is needed in order to make the necessary progress in improving access to treatment and sustainability.

Autism Diagnostic Protocol for Low-and-Mid Income Countries: Barriers for an Early Diagnosis and Intervention for Autsim Spectrum Disorder in Bosnia and Herzegovina

(Service Delivery)
NIRVANA PISTOLJEVIC (EDUS; CABAS and Teachers College, Columbia University), Eldin Dzanko (EDUS- Education for All), Mohammad Ghaziuddin (University of Michigan Hospitals)

Obtaining a reliable and timely diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a large problem in most Low-and-Mid Income Countries (LMIC). The problem lies mostly in the lack of trained professionals and access to reliable screening/diagnostic tools which are often to expensive and culturally inappropriate for those countries. Bosnia and Hercegovina (B&H) is such a county, where children with ASD often stay undetected and without appropriate intervention. We analyzed medical documentation and tested 126 children ages 23 to 94 months, with detected severe developmental delays. Although parents reported developmental problems in their children on average at the age of 17 months, it took 812 visits to professionals (>6 per child) over several months (mean 16.8, range 2-52) to get the diagnosis. Only 8 children (6.3%) of our sample received a diagnosis referring to autism. However, when these children were tested with the Childhood Autism Rating Scale (Second Edition), 68 of them (54%) were rated in the severe autistic range. In order to solve such high rates of undetected and undiagnosed children with ASD in B&H we developed the EDUS Protocol for Autism Screening which is a functional behavioral screening tool created by following the DSM-V diagnostic criteria and aimed to help professionals in diagnosing autism in B&H. We will discuss the barriers to an early childhood diagnosis of ASD in B&H and the development of the EDUS Protocol for Autism Screening as the first step forward to an early diagnosis of ASD enabling access to early intervention programs.

Establishing and Evaluating Different Evidence-based Interventions: Experiences from Bosnia and Herzegovina
(Service Delivery)
NIRVANA PISTOLJEVIC (EDUS; CABAS and Teachers College, Columbia University), Eldin Dzanko (EDUS- Education for All)
Abstract: Applied behavior analysis intervention services for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and other Developmental Disorders (DD) are mostly unknown and not affordable for the most Low-and-Mid Income Countries (LMIC) such is Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H). Usually intervention services in B&H are delivered within public institutions and provided by defectologists and speech therapists based on a Soviet Russia approach in dealing with rehabilitating individuals with developmental disorders. EDUS - Education for All, and NGO in B&H is the only high intensity behavioral intervention provider in the country, providing services in cooperation with public institutions for the last 9 years. For the past several years we have developed different intensity programs across country and health and education systems and completed several studies comparing its effectiveness In order to provide insight for decision makers, and with financial support by the USAID, last year, we conducted a matched-pairs pre-post intervention study by comparing effects of three different intervention models during a five months period: Early Intensive behavioral intervention (n=24; 25 hours weekly), Eclectic models in combination with low intensity behavioral interventions used in public institutions (n=24; 4-25 hours weekly), and a control group of children without any intervention (n=27), on a waiting lists for the programs. Initial and final blind assessments were conducted with the EDUS Developmental Behavioral Scales 2 (Pistoljevic, Zubcevic, Dzanko, 2019) and the EDUS Guides for Developmental Assessment (Pistoljevic & Majusevic, 2015) in these three groups in order to assess the number of skills gained as an effect of the intervention model. We will discuss each model and variables of interest separately and the superior effects of the intensive behavioral intervention on the acquisition of developmental skills in comparison to the eclectic model and control group.



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