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.


48th Annual Convention; Boston, MA; 2022

Event Details

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Symposium #354
CE Offered: BACB
Diversity submission Evaluation of Social and Academic Supports for College Students With Autism Spectrum Disorder
Sunday, May 29, 2022
6:00 PM–6:50 PM
Meeting Level 2; Room 254A
Area: AUT/EDC; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Courtney Butler (Rutgers University)
CE Instructor: Courtney Butler, M.S.

In this symposium, presenters will discuss research on improvements to current supports of college students with Autism Spectrum Disorder. The authors will present the results of implementing effective strategies to increase social and academic skills in higher education. The symposium will review methods of increasing social skills using behavior skills training and through the development of quality relationships with typically developing peer mentors. Additionally, the symposium will include the evaluation of academic support meetings to increase student engagement. All presentations will add to the current research involving college students with Autism Spectrum Disorder and will provide future directions of support for this population.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): academic coaching, BST, college support, mentoring
Target Audience:

The target audience is clinicians that are working with college students with ASD and looking to improve the quality of services presented to this population. Parents and students may find this symposium useful to inform them of some of the supports that are currently available at various universities.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) Identify effective methods for targeting social deficits among students with ASD; (2) Evaluate relationship-building models of mentoring support; (3) Describe treatment options for improving student engagement in academic support meetings.
Diversity submission 

Evaluating Behavioral Skills Training to Decrease Interfering Behavior and Increase Adaptive Behavior With Individuals With Autism Spectrum Disorder

STEPHANIE A. CONTRUCCI KUHN (Western Connecticut State University )

Evidence suggests that while a growing number of students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) are reaching college age (Van Bergeijk, Klin, & Volkmar), students with ASD fail to enter college or drop out before completing their degrees despite high intelligence (Cederlund et al, 2008). In addition, evidence-based services for students with ASD are very limited (Bishop-Fitzpatrick et all, 2013; Howlin et al., 2004). Individuals with ASD experience social difficulties such as recognizing and responding to nonverbal cues, following social boundary rules, refusing to complete group work, speaking out, and going on tangents (Gobbo & Shmulksy, 2013). The goal of the current project was to contribute to and expand our knowledge regarding interventions based on the principles of behavior to individuals in college settings. Students participating in a college transition program volunteered to participate based on the recommendation of their advisor. Students targeted 2-3 behaviors for increase and/or decrease. Behavioral Skills Training (BST) consisting of instruction, role-play, modeling, and feedback was implemented. Results indicated that BST may be an effective method for targeting social difficulties among students with ASD in college programs. Limitations and future directions will be discussed.

Diversity submission 

Teaching Peer Mentors to Build Rapport and Support College Students With Autism Spectrum Disorder

WILLIAMS ADOLFO ESPERICUETA LUNA (University of Florida), Samantha Bergmann (University of North Texas ), Karen A. Toussaint (University of North Texas)

Peer mentor programs can increase undergraduate retention and satisfaction, and the perceived quality of a mentee-mentor relationship plays a role in mentee satisfaction with a peer-mentoring program. The current study sought to teach peer mentors to emit behaviors that may contribute to a high-quality peer-mentor relationship. We developed a computer-based instruction (CBI) training module that included identifying target outcomes, operationally defining target behaviors, and developing examples and nonexamples to teach the skills through discrimination training. The CBI training program was divided into four submodules, and we evaluated the efficacy of each submodule using a pretest/posttest design with two peer mentors in a university peer-mentoring program. The results showed an increase in the frequency of correct responses in three out of four submodules for one participant and all four submodules for a second participant. Additionally, more target behaviors were identified within each participant’s typed responses to posttest questions following training. These findings suggest that this CBI training module could be used to teach peer-mentors the behaviors that may improve their relationship with their mentee. Limitations and future directions will be discussed.

Diversity submission 

Increasing Engagement in Virtual Academic Coaching Sessions in University Students With Autism Spectrum Disorder

FAARIHA FAHEEM (Rutgers University)

Students diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are enrolling in postsecondary educational institutions with increasing frequency, and these numbers are likely to continue to grow (Wolf et al., 2009; VanBergeijk, 2008). This study aims to add to the sparse literature on supporting successful outcomes for university students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) specifically in regards to their level of engagement in academic settings. This was a nonconcurrent multiple baseline study conducted with three students with ASD currently enrolled at an east coast university. To increase levels of engagement in the students we a) restructured the students’ academic coaching sessions, b) implemented contingency contracts, and c) introduced a consistent and salient schedule of reinforcement throughout the sessions. Results showed that the treatment package was effective in increasing the levels of engagement in all three students. Future studies may examine using the aforementioned treatment package to increase engagement in university students with ASD across multiple settings.




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