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 #38
CE Offered: BACB
Diversity submission What's Technology Got to Do With It? Well Basically Everything Nowadays
Saturday, May 28, 2022
10:00 AM–11:50 AM
Meeting Level 2; Room 203
Area: TBA/AUT; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Brandon M Franklin (Lee Specialty Clinic)
Discussant: Marc J. Lanovaz (Université de Montréal)
CE Instructor: Marc J. Lanovaz, Ph.D.

Behavioral principles and procedures have demonstrated their effectiveness when applied in the context of intensive interventions aimed at increasing skill acquisition and reducing challenging behaviors of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and other neurodiverse populations. However, important limitations may prevent appropriate training of individuals implementing these procedures, such as the lack of regular face-to-face contact with qualified professionals. The current pandemic has only exacerbated this problem and emphasized the need to develop innovative yet practical technologies that facilitate access to evidence-based information and skills training. This symposium seeks to present the respective evaluations and outcomes of four studies examining the use of a) a self-directed online training program, b) telehealth, c) a mobile application, and d) virtual reality training (VRT). Across these studies, participants included experienced volunteers, parents, professionals, university students, and Board Certified Behavior Analysts. Overall results demonstrate that these methods are effective for training individuals possessing different levels of expertise on a wide variety of skill sets. Social validity measures also demonstrate the usefulness and acceptability of the technology employed. The clinical implications are significant in that these proposed methods may address training barriers related to access and cost, thus benefiting service providers and their clients.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): e-learning, telehealth, training technology, VRT
Target Audience:

The participants should be familiar with behavior analytic interventions and have a general understanding of their application via current and emerging technologies.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, the participants will be able to: 1) Identify and describe common barriers limiting access to expert trainers and early intensive behavioral interventions. 2) Describe the development and application of technologies, such as telehealth, online platforms, mobile apps, and virtual reality training to teach behavioral skills and procedures. 3) Describe the overall effectiveness of these technologies in terms of skill acquisition as well as perceived satisfaction and acceptability.
Diversity submission Evaluation of the Simple Steps Online Training Platform: Promoting Diversity and Inclusion in Autism Interventions
GENEVIÈVE N. ROY-WSIAKI (Université de Saint Boniface), Nicolas Gravel (University of Manitoba), Maria Pongoski (Manitoba Association for Behaviour Analysis, University of Manitoba)
Abstract: Over the past two decades, there has been a rapid increase in the prevalence rate of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Concurrently, there is a greater demand for evidence-based resources and intervention programs, such as early intensive interventions based on applied behavior analysis (ABA). This may create a challenge for families, especially where there are geographic or language constraints. The Simple Steps Autism online teaching platform aims to support parents and professionals by providing step-by-step training on autism and the principles of ABA in several languages. The purpose of this descriptive study was to develop and evaluate the French version of this platform. The evaluation was conducted with French-speaking parents, professionals, and university students in Manitoba, Canada. A total of 10 participants consulted the platform and provided feedback through an online survey. Overall results demonstrate a favorable impression of the site's components, its ease of use, and its usefulness as a pedagogical tool. The results of this study also contribute to existing data regarding the social validity of the Simple Steps platform. The presenter will review these findings and discuss clinical and research implications.
Diversity submission Training Behavior Analysts via Telehealth to Conduct Trial-Based Functional Analysis Through Video Modeling
KARIE JOHN (University of South Florida), Sarah E. Bloom (University of South Florida), Alyssa Zak (University of South Florida)
Abstract: Functional analyses are considered the “gold standard” for assessing problem behavior, and although many behavior analysts recognize the value of conducting a functional analysis, some report being hesitant to conduct the assessment (Oliver et al., 2015). This may be because there are potential barriers to conducting functional analyses. Two of the most common barriers include setting limitations (Roscoe et al., 2015) and lack of trained staff to conduct the assessment. Researchers within the field of Applied Behavior Analysis have addressed these limitations by developing variations of the traditional FA and demonstrating that those procedures could be taught across various populations. Perhaps the issue related to training isn’t one of quality, but accessibility to quality training. The purpose of this study was to evaluate if a remotely delivered video modeling procedure would be effective at training Board Certified Behavior Analysts to conduct the trial-based functional analysis procedures. Results from this study demonstrated that the remotely delivered video modeling procedure was effective and all participants met mastery criteria.
Diversity submission 

Integrating Behavioral Skills Training and Video Modelling Within an E-Learning Modality to Train Volunteers Working With Neurodiverse Populations

KIRSTEN YOUNG (Brock University), Kendra Thomson (Brock University ), Priscilla Burnham Riosa (Brock University), Maureen Connolly (Brock University), Julia DeSantis (Brock University)

Volunteers supporting neurodiverse populations require adequate training on instructional strategies to ensure the safety of themselves and those they are supporting. While behavioral skills training (BST) is an empirically validated training framework, it has some constraints such as requiring an experienced trainer. Implementing a BST framework into a mobile application to train volunteers interacting with neurodiverse populations may help to increase volunteers’ implementation accuracy of pre-determined instructional strategies. This study evaluated the efficacy of a mobile application based on BST and voice over video modelling (VMVO) on volunteers’ implementation accuracy of three instructional strategies. Semi-structured interviews with experienced volunteers in an adaptive movement program informed which instructional skills were included in the app (visual schedules, modeling, and high-probability instructional sequence). A multiple probe design across behaviours demonstrated preliminary efficacy of the app for training two novel volunteers. Participants also reported the app to be highly acceptable.

Diversity submission Review of Artificial Intelligence Embedded Virtual Reality Trainings
AN AN CHANG (California State University, Northridge), Ellie Kazemi (California State University, Northridge), Roxana Lemus (California State University, Northridge), Matthew Davies (California State University, Northridge), Vahe Esmaeili (California State University, Northridge)
Abstract: Researchers have conducted studies on the integration of autonomous artificial intelligence (AI) in Virtual Reality Training (VRT); however, little is known about the effectiveness of these trainings and the types of skills that are typically taught. Out of the 1,357 related articles found, there were 18 articles that met our inclusionary criteria. We analyzed the 18 articles along the dimensions of participant demographics (e.g., age, disability, ethnicity); skills taught; measurement methods; components of VRTs (e.g., feedback, communication medium, degree of immersion); effectiveness; and social validity. Our results showed that VRT is effective in teaching social, safety, and professional skills (e.g., vocally initiate play, fire escape, job interview) to diverse populations. The results of the present review suggest that VRT is a viable option for scaling behavior skills training, significantly reducing training cost. In this symposium, we will compare the 12 VRTs mentioned in the present review, discuss ways for behavior analysts to leverage VRTs with autonomous AI, and recommendations for future research.



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