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.


50th Annual Convention; Philadelphia, PA; 2024

Event Details

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Symposium #58
Recent Advancements in the Use of Technology-Based Training
Saturday, May 25, 2024
10:00 AM–11:50 AM
Marriott Downtown, Level 5, Grand Ballroom Salon AB
Area: TBA/DDA; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Jordan DeBrine (UNMC, KKI)
Discussant: Ellie Kazemi (Behavior Science Technology (BST) & CSUN)

Behavior analysts are commonly tasked with training a variety of stakeholders and non-behavioral professionals to implement behavior-change procedures. Given the integral role of technology in our everyday lives, the field of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) has begun to integrate advanced technology into practice, specifically in the area of staff, caregiver, and educator training. The presenters will review recent advancements in training using multimedia technology. Presenters will expand upon the use of virtual reality (VR), artificial intelligence (AI), video-based training (VBT), and behavioral skills training (BST) to train a variety of behavior change procedures. Across these studies, participants included caregivers, novice volunteers, experienced professionals, and university psychology students. Across studies, participants were taught to implement Functional Communication Training (FCT), Free Operant Stimulus Preference Assessments, and a Feeding Protocol. The researchers will examine the value, efficacy, and accessibility of innovative training modalities across skills. We will discuss the implications of new and existing technology advances and the implications for research and practice.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): BST

Integrating Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Virtual Reality (VR) to Teach Functional Communication Training: Results From Exploratory Studies

SETH KING (University of Iowa)

Functional communication training (FCT) is an effective approach to treating challenging behaviors in students with disabilities. Staff involved in behavior intervention often lack access to training in FCT, however. We evaluated behavior skills training (BST) in FCT featuring artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual reality (VR). BST consisted of prerecorded lectures and models followed by AI-delivered systematic prompting and feedback within a VR simulation. Five doctoral-level students in psychology and education participated. Lessons involved behavior maintained by escape from demands (Studies 1 & 2) and access to tangibles (Study 2). Results across studies suggest correspondence between AI-assessment of movement and speech and human observation was high, but varied based on the condition and student facility with English. For Study 1, Weighted baseline corrected Tau (WTaubc) was consistent with a large effect (.81). For Study 2, WTaubc was consistent with a large effect (.67). Participants reported learning the procedure and found the training acceptable.


Training Adults to Implement a Brief Stimulus Preference Assessment: Increasing the Accessibility of Training

WILLIAM J. HIGGINS (Munroe-Meyer Institute, University of Nebraska Medical Center), Brenda J. Bassingthwaite (Munroe-Meyer Institute; University of Nebraska Medical Center), Adriano Barboza (Conduzir Behavioral Health Services)

We trained 6 novice adults without prior experience implementing behavior-analytic procedures to conduct a free operant stimulus preference assessment using multimedia content with embedded instructions and modeling. We modified previously published training content to be presented at the seventh-grade level. Also, we translated the training content so people could be recruited and participate in Spanish. We used a nonconcurrent multiple baseline across-participants design to evaluate acquisition and demonstrate experimental control. We scored participants' performance before and after training. After training, participants responded to a social acceptability questionnaire and provided information about the quality of their training experience. The training procedure resulted in robust and immediate improvements in performance, regardless of the language the content was presented in. In addition, participants expressed high satisfaction with the multimedia content and the overall training experience. We discuss the importance of creating training content that is more accessible regardless of education level and directions for future inquiry.

An Evaluation of Training Modalities to Teach Behavior Analysts to Conduct an Intensive Pediatric Feeding Intervention
CHRISTINA MARIE SHEPPARD (Florida Institute of Technology), Ronald J. Clark (University of Florida), David A. Wilder (Florida Institute of Technology)
Abstract: A common focus within behavior-analytic clinical practice is to incorporate training with caregivers to promote a successful transition of clinical services. However, training staff members to conduct specific behavioral interventions has received less attention. In the current study, we implemented three training levels to evaluate the intensity required to train behavior analytic staff (i.e., behavior technicians, Registered Behavior Technicians®, and Board-Certified Behavior Analysts®) to implement a feeding protocol with a role play partner. Only one participant met the mastery criteria following the first training phase, which included written instructions and video modeling. Following seventy-two hours of exposure to the instructional materials, we provided participants an opportunity to ask clarifying questions about the procedure (second training phase). Only one participant met mastery in this phase. Three other participants required in-vivo feedback and modeling (third training phase) to master the protocol. We discuss the clinical implications and future research directions of this study.

Training Parents of Children With Autism to Implement Function-Based Interventions to Reduce Challenging Behavior

JOHN ROBERT BUDDE (Children’s Hospital of Orange County), Casey J. Clay (Utah State University)

A potential symptom exhibited by individuals diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is an inability to acquire functional communication skills at a pace comparable to that of typically developing peers of the same age (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). As such, children with ASD may engage in challenging behavior of varying topography and function. Individualized behavior analytic interventions and treatment programs address such challenging behaviors, and a potentially crucial component to ensuring lasting treatment effects is the training of caregivers familiar to the individual of focus. Parents have been successfully trained to implement a variety of behavior reduction and acquisition procedures. The current study seeks to evaluate the effectiveness of Virtual Reality Behavioral Skills Training (VR BST) by conducting FCT training within a VR BST modality. Caregivers were exposed to an immersive virtual reality (VR) simulation in which they were tasked with conducting FCT with a simulated child. After successfully completing training by meeting the predetermined mastery criterion, parents/caregivers were tasked with conducting in-vivo FCT with their own children. We will review and discuss the results obtained and the implications for future research regarding the effectiveness and validity of VR BST in parent/caregiver training of behavioral intervention implementation.




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