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 #369
Speech, Augmentative and Alternative Communication, and Autism Spectrum Disorder
Sunday, May 24, 2020
5:00 PM–6:50 PM
Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Level 2, Room 202A
Area: AUT
Instruction Level: Intermediate
Chair: Jessica Miller (University of Arkansas)

Effect of Multi-Step Augmentative and Alternative Communication Intervention on Three Partner-Directed Communicative Behaviors During Play in Preschoolers With Autism Spectrum Disorder

Domain: Applied Research
JESSICA MILLER (University of Arkansas), Christine Holyfield (University of Arkansas), Elizabeth R. Lorah (University of Arkansas)

This study evaluated the effect of a multi-phase augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) intervention package using modeling, prompting, and reinforcement on prelinguistic and linguistic partner-directed play communicative behaviors, in three preschoolers with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), using a speech-generating device (SGD). Using a multiple probe across participants design, the researchers modeled and prompted holding up a toy (prelinguistic play communication), activating the SGD button “Look” (linguistic play communication), and engaging in partner-directed gaze with the interventionist. All three participants demonstrated some increase in prelinguistic communication and partner-directed gaze, although only one met and maintained full mastery criteria for all three target behaviors. Results are discussed in terms of their contribution to AAC research involving prelinguistic and linguistic communication, and in terms of participant differences, such as prior SGD experience, size of imitation repertoire, and response to social praise, that may help account for variance in acquisition. Future directions are also discussed, including the need for further research on incorporating prelinguistic targets into SGD intervention.


Collaboration Between BCBAs and SLPs: Can’t We All Just Get Along?!

Domain: Service Delivery
BEN J. SEIFERT (Central Texas Autism Center/ Ball State University)

The fields of Behavior Analysis and Speech and Language Pathology continually appears to argue over who is most qualified to teach individuals with communicative disabilities language. Both fields have misconceptions as to what the other does which often leads to miscommunication regarding implementation of teaching techniques. There is often a lack of communication in regards to choosing an appropriate mode of communication for non-verbal learners. There is also confusion and disagreement in terms of what skills are in each field’s scope of competence. Both Behavior Analysis and Speech and Language Pathology have years of history and research to support their methods. The purpose of this presentation is to discuss how BCBAs can collaborate with SLPs and find success for each individual they work with. To accomplish this, misconceptions about each field will be brought to the forefront, discussed, and responsibilities of each profession will be defined. Ethical considerations from both the BACB and ASHA will be discussed so Behavior Analysts are better prepared to work with SLPs, find agreement points, and what to do when there are disagreements. After all, the goal of each field is to help students learn a way to communicate effectively.

Vocal Emergence And The Verbal Operant: An Analysis Of 735 First Instances Of Speech In 105 Non-Vocal Children With Autism
Domain: Applied Research
SMITA AWASTHI (Behavior Momentum India), Karola Dillenburger (Queen's University Belfast)
Abstract: Speech emergence in children with autism may not always follow predictable patterns. A study with 126 non-vocal children with autism included teaching signs under motivating operations and intraverbal training over a period of 6 years 8 months. Of these 105 (83%) participants emerged with 7 first instances of speech each, to meet the mastery criteria of stable vocalization (Awasthi, 2017). This retrospective study examines first instances of speech recorded (first 7 vocals of each participant). Total 61 participants were on mand training alone and emerged with 85% mands, 8% intraverbal fill-ins and 7% echoics. While 65 participants were on mand and intraverbal training, and emerged with 47% vocal mands, 45% intraverbal fill-ins and 8% echoics. While this data corroborates the importance of mand training with non-vocal children, it also suggests that initial speech sounds may emerge as intraverbal fill-ins. This study adds to evidence on teaching language to non-vocal children with autism based on Skinner’s (1957) classification of language and emphasizes the role of intraverbal training with non-vocal children with autism.
An Analysis of First 735 Speech Instances in 105 Children with Autism
Domain: Applied Research
Smita Awasthi (Behavior Momentum India), Karola Dillenburger (Queen's University Belfast), Sridhar Aravamudhan (Behavior Momentum India), ABHYUDAY SHANKAR AWASTHI (Cerverus Digital Solutions)
Abstract: A 6-year 8 months study (2010-2016) with children with autism (n=126) was successful in inducing 7 first instances of speech in 105 (83%) participants (Awasthi, 2017). This retrospective study examines a) the form of speech emergence (syllables, word approximations, words) in this large cohort and b) the form of emergence under different stimulus conditions. A total 735 first instances of speech were recorded (first 7 vocals of each participant). Of these, initial vocals emerged as words in 341 instances (46%) and 394 (54%) word approximations or syllables. When speech emerged as mands, 66% were words and only 34% were word approximations or syllables. The percentages were 57% and 43% respectively for intraverbal fill ins. With part echoic-part mands, only 19% were words and 81% were word approximations or syllables. Sounds that started with /b/, /m/, /p/, /c / /k/ and /o/ accounted for 54% of the first instances of speech. These results suggest a pattern of speech emergence in children with a diagnosis of autism undergoing behavioral interventions for speech emergence. Identifying, recording and classifying the type of emergence could help with clinical decision making for further interventions and serve as a starting point for new lines of research.



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