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 #10
CE Offered: BACB
Using Direct Instruction, Frequency Building, and Peer Coaching to Teach Language, Reading, and Math Performances
Saturday, May 27, 2023
10:00 AM–10:50 AM
Convention Center 403/404
Area: EDC/AUT; Domain: Translational
Chair: Jessica E. Van Stratton (Western Michigan University)
CE Instructor: Jessica E. Van Stratton, Ph.D.
Abstract: Direct Instruction, Frequency Building, and Peer Coaching have been used to teach a wide range of performances to both typical and non-typical learners. In this symposium, we will describe and show evidence of the effectiveness of these procedures to teach language, reading, and math performances. First, Alice Shillingsburg will present data from a randomized controlled trial in which preschool and young school-aged children received language and communication instruction either from the Direct Instruction program, Language for Learning, or with Treatment As Usual (TAU). Second, Ky’Aria Moses will describe how frequency building procedures were used with typically developing elementary students to develop fluency with number identification, digit formation, and math facts. Third, Leah Herzog and Nicole Erickson will describe procedures for teaching students how discriminate error patterns and provide feedback through a process called peer coaching. They will show evidence of the effectiveness of teaching students peer coaching repertoires and how to apply those repertoires to novel classroom contexts.
Instruction Level: Intermediate
Target Audience: Professionals interested in behavioral education, direct instruction, Precision teaching/frequency building, Response to Intervention, communication, and teaching students how to partner and peer coach effectively. Audience should have a basic understanding of applied behavior analysis as applied to academic learning behavior.
Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: 1. Describe the benefits of using Language for Learning over Treatment as Usual for teaching expressive and receptive language behaviors to children with autism, 2. List the three mathematics behaviors targeted by the intervention and describe frequency building procedures to build fluency of those three behaviors, 3. Describe the procedures for teaching peer coaching repertoires and for teaching the application of those repertoires to novel contexts.

Randomized Control Trial of the Direct Instruction Language for Learning Curriculum for Children With Autism

(Applied Research)
ALICE SHILLINGSBURG (Munroe-Meyer Institute, UNMC), Lawrence Scahill (Emory University; Marcus Autism Center), Courtney McCracken (Kaiser Permanente)

One of the most common concerns expressed by caregivers of children diagnosed with autism is related to challenges in the development of communication skills. Often children with autism require specialized intervention to promote language and communication skills. The current study examined the efficacy of Direct Instruction Language for Learning (DI-LL) in preschool and young school age children diagnosed with autism who also exhibited moderate language difficulties. DI-LL is a highly structured, commercially available curriculum designed to target expressive and receptive language abilities. This study included 83 participants who were randomized to receive 6 months of DI-LL or Treatment as Usual (TAU). The intervention was delivered twice per week for approximately 90 minutes per session. Using the Clinical Global Impressions-Improvements (CGI-I) scale, 54.8% of children who received DI-LL were rated as “much improved” or “very much improved” compared to only 21.9% of children randomized to TAU. Further, 55.5% of children who received the intervention achieved a clinically meaningful improvement on the standardized language measure compared to only 29.3% of those in the TAU condition. Overall, these results suggest that the Language for Learning program is an effective intervention to promote language skills in young children with autism.

Using Frequency Building to Enhance Fluency in Basic Math Skills
(Applied Research)
KY'ARIA MOSES (Western Michigan University), Jessica E. Van Stratton (Western Michigan University)
Abstract: Many students across the country fail to perform at proficient levels on state and national math assessments and require additional instruction and practice with foundational math concepts to achieve and maintain a level of fluency (National Assessment of Educational Progress, 2019; Berrett & Carter, 2018). Fluency in basic math facts is a critical component for the acquisition of higher-order math computation and is often the missing link in students’ repertoires (Berrett & Carter, 2018). Fluency timings have been empirically researched and validated as an efficient and effective strategy to build fluent math performers (McTiernan et al., 2015; Johnson et al., 2021; Stocker Jr et al., 2020) as repeated practice opportunities can increase the rate to which students answer math facts. (McTiernan et al., 2018). This presentation will discuss the implementation of fluency practice sessions with elementary aged students and the impact on students’ individualized progress towards mastery. The Morningside Math Curriculum was used to target number identification, digit formation, and math facts. Fluency sessions included goal setting, 1-min timings, immediate performance feedback, self-recording, and progress monitoring. Aligning with previous research, data suggest positive effects of daily fluency practice on increasing students’ level of accuracy with the target math skills.
Teaching and Applying Peer Coaching Repertoires to Reading Challenging Words and Reading Comprehension
(Service Delivery)
LEAH HERZOG (Morningside Academy / PEER International), Nicole Erickson (Morningside Academy), Andrew Robert Kieta (Morningside Academy)
Abstract: In peer coaching arrangements, student groups of two or three practice various skills and give each other feedback, with one partner acting as the “performer”, and the other student acting as the “coach”. While peer coaching is most frequently used during frequency building sessions, it can and should be applied to a wide variety of contexts. This presentation will describe and show evidence of the effectiveness of two such applications: 1. reading challenging words in a group context, and 2. answering comprehension questions in a partner context. First, students were taught to apply peer coaching repertoires to a whole group exercise where students took turns reading passages aloud. They learned how to discriminate between the decoding error patterns made by their classmates, how to provide immediate and specific instruction to their peers, and how to track decoding errors. In the second classroom, students applied peer coaching repertoires to the answering of comprehension questions. Students read a passage together from Reading Mastery Transformations 4, asked comprehension questions provided by the program, used delayed prompting procedures for error correction, and tracked the types of prompts given to each other. Finally, students generated their own comprehension questions based off the data collected during their peer coaching delayed prompting sessions.



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