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.


47th Annual Convention; Online; 2021

All times listed are Eastern time (GMT-4 at the time of the convention in May).

Workshop Details

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Workshop #W16
CE Offered: BACB
Augmentative and Alternative Communication Intervention Considerations for Individuals With Autism
Friday, May 28, 2021
9:00 AM–12:00 PM
Area: AUT/VRB; Domain: Service Delivery
CE Instructor: Joseph Novak, Ed.D.
JOSEPH NOVAK (REED Academy; Kean University; Endicott College)
Description: AAC is reviewed for its benefits for expressive and receptive language. Research-based information is provided as it relates to how vocal speech development is affected by AAC. Communication modes, the range of communication systems, and brief information related to assessment is given. Research on the efficacy of SGDs for supporting communication needs of individuals with autism will be highlighted. Information regarding recommended prompts/prompt-fading procedures will be shared. AAC modeling techniques are reviewed in detail. Navigating AAC needs and vocal speech is discussed and a sample protocol is shared. Specific skill acquisition programs to target skills such as communicative repair will be shared. Common challenges faced when trying to develop more advanced language for AAC users are explored. The tendency for AAC devices to becoming “manding machines” is discussed and several possible explanations are provided. Recommendations for how to develop advanced language skills are provided and sample SGD layouts are given. Ethical considerations regarding authenticity of the communicative message are discussed. Potential areas of challenge related to collaboration between behavior analysts and SLPs will be reviewed with implications and possible resolutions given. The importance of collaboration between the two disciplines in order to ensure effective AAC intervention practice will be emphasized.
Learning Objectives: 1) Participants will be able to describe the research to date on the use of speech-generating devices for individuals with autism. 2) Participants will be able to accurately describe various instructional strategies including language modeling and direct prompting. 3) Identify ethical challenges related to AAC implementation including issues regarding authenticity when using phrase-based icons on AAC devices 4) Identify strategies for AAC implementation when effective collaboration is unavailable, ineffective, or a work-in-progress. 5) Discuss several possible reasons why devices may become manding machines
Activities: Instructional strategies include: lecture, discussion - Workshop objectives will be met through a presentation of lecture and group discussion. - Core content will be taught through lecture and video demonstrations of strategies will be provided as appropriate. - Supplemental materials for will be provided in order to support participant learning. - The format combines lecture and group discussion.
Audience: The target audience consists of BCBAs who may only have entry-level competence in the area of augmentative and alternative communication. It is important that BCBAs has a better understanding of evidence-based intervention strategies for individuals with autism who use AAC and also have the tools to collaborate effectively with SLPs on AAC interventions.
Content Area: Practice
Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): AAC, aided modeling, augmentative, SGD



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