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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Paper Session #589
Exercise and Music Research
Monday, May 25, 2020
4:00 PM–5:50 PM
Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Level 2, Room 201
Area: AUT
Instruction Level: Basic
Chair: Stephanie Chan (PlaySmart Child Development Society)

CANCELED: Autism and Water Safety: How Can Applied Behaviour Analysis Help?

Domain: Applied Research
CATRIONA MARTIN (Queen's Universty of Belfast), Karola Dillenburger (Queen's University Belfast)

Drowning is one of the leading causes of death in children under five years of age (Asher, Rivara , Felix, Vance, & Dunne, 1995). It is the third most common cause of accidental death in children in Britain, after road traffic accidents and burns (OPCS, 1988). The mortality rate from drowning for children with ASD has been estimated to be as much as twice that of the typical population (Mouridsen, Bronnum-Hansen, Rich, & Isager, 2008). The present study investigated the impact of a eight-week instructional programme on the acquisition of behavioural water safety skills in young people with autism. A multiple-baseline design (Horner & Baer, 1978) across behaviours was employed to determine the effectiveness of ABA-based methods to teach water-based safety skills. This doctoral study comprised of three phases and included six participants with varying presentations of Autism Spectrum Disorders. Example results for participant A are included. The results of this study showed that, by applying behaviour analytic methods children with autism can be taught critical water safety skills.


Just Keep Swimming: Collaborating With Others to Teach Lifesaving Swim Skills to Children With Autism

Domain: Service Delivery
VINCENT LAMARCA (Applied Behavior Center for Autism)

When you discover a problem worth addressing, how do you professionally become part of the solution? Drowning is the primary cause of accidental death in children with autism (Alaniz, Rosenberg, Beard, & Rosario, 2017). Drowning incidents in such children most commonly occur in ponds, close to home, and include running away (Guan & Li, 2017). Yet, a systematic review of behavioral interventions for swimming found that only one study focused on water safety (Martin & Dillenburger, 2019). This paper focuses on next steps. The efforts of a large Midwest organization will be used as a case study. The paper is a practical example of how to create additional research data while working within a practice organization (LeBlanc, Nosik, & Petursdottir, 2018), partner with others both in and outside the field (LaFrance, Weiss, Kazemi, Gerenser, & Dobres, 2019), and practice within one’s scope of competence (Brodhead, Quigley, & Wilczynski, 2018), all in an effort to strengthen the role of behavior analysis in a needed area, in this case to teach swimming. The paper strives to become a resource for others who wish to pursue similar endeavors but need additional help to start their own journey.


Exercise Intensity and Its Importance in Promoting Physical Activity for Individuals With Autism Spectrum Disorder

Domain: Applied Research
SHANNON MARIE DIERINGER (Ball State University), Constance McIntosh (Ball State University), David E. McIntoch (Ball State University)

It is recommended that children ages 6-17 engage in 60 minutes or more of moderate to vigorous physical activity (PA) daily. However, many children do not meet these guidelines, especially those with disabilities. Furthermore, individuals on the autism spectrum often lack the social and communicative skills necessary to participate in PA with others. In order to promote positive PA behaviors, it is essential to include interventions that teach the importance of PA and how to engage in it appropriately. The purpose of this study was to 1. Examine intensity of the PA during sessions; 2. Examine use of a social story to teach exercise intensity; and 3. Examine use of social stories in addition to heart rate monitors to teach PA intensity. Nine male participants ages 8-11 with ASD were recruited. Data were collected during 30-minute sessions three days/week for 5 weeks. All participants wore a heart rate (HR) monitor and a perceived exertion scale was completed twice each session. An A/B/B+C design was used. Phase A, participants wore HR monitor and engaged in the required PA. In Phase B, participants read or were read a social story which explained the importance of and what to expect when engaging in PA. Phase B+C, participants continued to use the social stories, but also self-monitored their HR using an iPad). Results indicated that most participants engaged in moderate levels of PA during sessions however, there was no clear indication that participants were able to self-monitoring of HR intensity increased PA.

Teaching Early Piano Skills to Children with Autism with Equivalence-Based Instruction
Domain: Service Delivery
STEPHANIE CHAN (PlaySmart Child Development Society; Chicago School of Professional Psychology), Shannon Ormandy (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology)
Abstract: Studies have shown the benefits of music to individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in different areas, however, teaching children with ASD to play a music instrument can be challenging. The current study focused on teaching piano skills to children with ASD, and tried to seek an effective and efficient method. Equivalence-based instruction (EBI) has been applied in teaching various skills among different populations. The study examined the effectiveness of EBI in teaching early piano skills to 6 children with ASD. Future research direction was discussed.



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