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.


49th Annual Convention; Denver, CO; 2023

Event Details

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Symposium #175
Helping Students to Read, Write, and Do Math with Frequency Building and Precision Teaching to Power Academic Skills in School-Going Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in India
Sunday, May 28, 2023
11:00 AM–11:50 AM
Convention Center Mile High Ballroom 4C/D
Area: AUT/EDC; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Smita Awasthi (Behavior Momentum India)
CE Instructor: Smita Awasthi, Ph.D.

There is increasing evidence that fluency building and precision teaching can increase academic skills with school aged children which improves retention, endurance and generalization of skills (Gist & Bulla, 2022). In this symposium, we present the use of PT interventions to improve reading, math and writing skills of school going children in India who are diagnosed with autism. The first presentation illustrates the use of within stimulus prompts to help a student achieve discrimination in reading words with the letters ‘b’ and ‘d’, overcoming problems with spontaneous mirror invariance (Pegado et al., 2011). Fluency building exercises there after improved reading rates with an investment of less than 20 minutes. The second presentation addresses specific techniques used to improve component skills in ‘addition’ for three students and ‘multiplication’ in two students. The third presentation examines improvement in writing speeds and the fourth presentation demonstrates the effectiveness of joint control procedures in remediating discrimination errors while writing words with ‘b’ and ‘d’ and frequency building to improve rates of response. The effect of fluency building on composite skills are discussed

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Target Audience:

Certified Behavior Analysts with knowledge of fluency training and celeration charts

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) apply fluency building strategies to component skills in reading, writing and math (2) apply strategies for reducing reading errors with mirror images via tele-health (3) observe the effects on composite skills after training on component skills

Within Stimulus Prompts and Precision Teaching to Address ‘b’ and ‘d’ Discrimination in a 9-Year-Old Girl With Mild Autism

SMITA AWASTHI (Behavior Momentum India), Tejashree Gambhir (Behavior Momentum India), Sridhar Aravamudhan (Behavior Momentum India)

Primary school children with reading difficulties are prone to continue struggling with reading. Hence, new methodologies and interventions are required to help struggling readers (Forne et al., 2022). A 9-year-old girl in grade 3, diagnosed with mild autism, in a mainstream school participated in this study. An assessment showed that she had difficulties reading words with ‘b’ and ‘d,’ in three letter words. In phase 1, we used an intervention of presenting the letters ‘b’ and ‘d’ with within stimulus prompts, echoic prompts and periodic probes with three-letter words to monitor progress. After 630 trials the participant met the mastery criteria of reading 3 letter words with ‘b’ and ‘d’ in both positions. The skill generalized to novel three and four-letter words. In phase 2, we used precision teaching to increase the response rates. In 12 sessions, with 30s timed practices, her reading speed of three-letter words with ‘b’ and ‘d’ improved from 58 per minute to 76 per minute with no errors. The effect on performance of composite skill of reading passages will be discussed.


Math Without Tears – A Precision Teaching Intervention to Improve Component Math Skills of Pre-Primary and Primary School Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

Smita Awasthi (Behavior Momentum India), SRIDHAR ARAVAMUDHAN (Behavior Momentum India), Anupama Jagdish (Behavior Momentum India), Papiya Mukherjee (Behavior Momentum India)

Precision Teaching has been used successfully to teach math skills to school going children who were at risk of being left behind ( Stormgren et al., 2020; Vostanis et al., 2020). In the current study, five students aged 6 to 11 years with diagnoses of ASD participated. They were studying in kidergarten to fifth grade in mainstream schools. Three participants had only counting in their repertoire. As such their initial targets for the composite skill of addition operations were component skills such as add by one, add by two, addition of pairs of numbers and numbers that add to 10.One student, MR improved his performance in hear-say add 1 skill from zero corrects and 10 errors in baseline to 38 correct and 2 errors per minute in 23 sessions. A student AA also showed similar progress and a third is in baseline condition. Two other participants in grades 3 and 5 had difficulties with multiplication. With pre-session priming, reading aloud the tables from 1 to 15, they achieved a rate of 20 corrects per minute with no errors in completing hear-say simple multiplication sums (0-15). The effect of training component skills on composite skills, retention, endurance, and application are discussed.


Improving Writing Performance of Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Attending Mainstream Classrooms in India

Smita Awasthi (Behavior Momentum India), TEJASHREE GAMBHIR (Behavior Momentum India), Anupama Jagdish (Behavior Momentum India), Papiya Mukherjee (Behavior Momentum India), Sridhar Aravamudhan (Behavior Momentum India)

There are several examples within precision teaching (PT) literature where students at risk being left behind in class can be trained to perform academic skills either by addressing component skill deficits or by building frequencies to the level of competent peer performers (Kubina, Morrison, & Lee, 2002; Kubina & Wolfe, 2005;White & Neely, 2012) . In the current study, 4 students with ASD, aged 9 to 11 years with low rates of writing participated. The intervention started by improving the speed of copying words from the board and writing words heard (dictation) with daily timed practice. The first participant, MA, showed improvement in copying words from the board from 8 letters /min to 20 letters / min over 35 timed sessions and in writing down heard words from 9 letters per min to 18 letters per min in 36 sessions. Intervention has commenced on 2 other students with similar difficulties. Social validity in the form of feedback from school on these interventions helping the students cope better with class are discussed.




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