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.


11th International Conference; Dublin, Ireland; 2022

Event Details

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Paper Session #139
Music as a Medium for Skills Training and Conceptualization
Saturday, September 3, 2022
4:00 PM–4:50 PM
Meeting Level 1; Liffey Hall 1
Area: CSS
Instruction Level: Basic
Chair: Richard Cook (Applied Behavior Medicine Associates of Hershey)

Dance for All: Teaching Creativity, Group and Motor Skills to Students With Developmental Disabilities Through an Inclusive Dance Project

Domain: Applied Research
SARA ACCETTURA (University of Malta), Guido D'Angelo (DALLA LUNA - BARI)

Inclusive dance projects could be beneficial for people with autism or other developmental disabilities. In fact, working alongside dance practitioners may support social skills acquisition, communication, motor skills development and self-confidence. This project involved 9 adolescents with autism or other developmental disabilities, in the context of an inclusive dance project, involving typically developing dance practitioners, of approximately the same age. Participants were divided into two groups, with respect to their skill level or specific needs, and took part in a series of workshops. The dance teacher collaborated with ABA therapists in carrying out the sessions, presenting assignments and adopted a lesson format similar to the one intended for typically developing students. In addition, teaching included ABA strategies, such as modeling, shaping, prompting and reinforcement of specific behaviors. Two independent observers (i.e., dance teacher and an ABA therapist) at the end of the sessions used a behavioral checklist to evaluate specific abilities for participants with disabilities (i.e, group skills, motor skills, creativity). 8 out of 9 participants showed an increase in recorded skills, with 2 participants showing an increase of more than 50%, from the first to the last session. This study represents a first attempt to integrate behavioral strategies in the context of group teaching in dance workshops for students with developmental disabilities.


Learning to Play a Musical Composition: A Window to See, Understand, and Explain Principles of Behavior and Brain/Behavior Interactions

Domain: Theory
RICHARD COOK (Applied Behavior Medicine Associates of Hershey)

Learning to play a Musical composition provides a window to see Brain and Behavior Interactions. Eventually the day dreaming piano student realizes that the fingers are playing notes, correctly or incorrectly, and the brain is focused on something else. Understanding the sequences of behavior, at times occurring far faster than one can actually consciously read the music and direct up to ten fingers to strike, and in what sequence, illustrates the brain's acting before the "conscious" thought or the finger strikes the key, as the brain prepares the finger to move to a note, the wrist to change its angle for the next note, without the pianist consciously noting or directing such. Similarly, when one sits down to play a piece of music not played in months or even years, one can watch as deliberate attempts to read the music and slowly strike the correct note, become followed eventually with the other hand playing, and both hands playing faster, than once is consciously directing, as the firing of learned well but long forgotten neural trace pathways increase the robustness of connections (decrease resistance) at the synapses, and subsequently recruit "collateral" neural pathways previously associated with the targeted pathway. Presentation to include examples highlighting these and other principle points, as well as feature fMRI imaging studies associating the behavior of playing a musical instrument with the neural imaging of brain pathways directing it.




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