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 #138
CE Offered: BACB
Advances in Skill Acquisition Programs for Individuals With Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
Saturday, May 25, 2024
4:00 PM–4:50 PM
Convention Center, 100 Level, 103 A
Area: DDA/AUT; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Tonya Nichole Davis (Baylor University)
Discussant: Jeffrey Michael Chan (Northern Illinois University)
CE Instructor: Jeffrey Michael Chan, Ph.D.

When developing a skill acquisition program, the implementer must deliver the program in a way that meets the needs of the client. Contextual fit is critical to ensuring treatment adherence. To achieve contextual fit, behavior analysts must be flexible in delivering non-salient features of the intervention, such as setting and ongoing activities, while maintaining the salient features of the interventions necessary for treatment efficacy. Such a balance can be difficult, at times. Thus, research on unique applications of skill acquisition programs is warranted. In this symposium, we will present unique applications of evidence-based skill-acquisition programs: discrete trial teaching (DTT) and total task presentation chaining. The first study implemented a multielement design to compare the effects of four variations of DTT: (a) traditional trials with low-quality attention, (b) traditional trials with high-quality attention, (c) DTT trials embedded in preferred activities with low-quality attention, and (d) DTT trials embedded in preferred activities with high-quality attention. The second study implemented a multiple baseline design to evaluate the effectiveness of total task presentation chaining with least-to-most prompting delivered via a technician-delivered telehealth program on vocational skills. The contributions to the literature and implications of both studies will be discussed.

Instruction Level: Basic
Keyword(s): chaining, discrete-trial teaching, skill acquisition, telehealth
Target Audience:

BCBAs in practice with varying years of experience.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of this presentation, the participants will be able to: 1. Describe the differences between traditional and embedded DTT trials. 2. Describe the benefits of embedded DTT trials. 3. Define technician-delivered telehealth. 4. Describe three considerations that should be made if considering technician-delivered telehealth (e.g, prompts that can and cannot be delivered via technician-delivered telehealth)

A Comparison of Traditional and Embedded Discrete Trial Teaching Paired With High and Low-Quality Attention

WENDY WELLER (BCBA-D), Rachel Garcia (The Chicago School), Annette Griffith (The Chicago School), Julie A. Ackerlund Brandt (The Chicago School; Yellow Brick Academy)

Discrete trial teaching (DTT) has been used synonymously with Applied Behavior Analysis with criticism from the Autistic population who participated in the procedure. The traditional procedure has demonstrated effectiveness. However, many learners are unable to sit at a table and engage in task demands without problem behavior. Among the many effective interventions that have been utilized to address problem behavior during DTT is embedded DTT which implements the same procedures as the traditional process, however in a different setting, usually in a more preferred environment or during a preferred activity. It has not been determined if the instructor’s affect in traditional or embedded trials is qualitatively different across those settings or the degree to which those potential differences impact improved performance. Using a multi-element design, this study compared embedded and traditional trials paired with high and low-quality attention with three boys ages 5 to 7 years diagnosed with autism. Reported outcomes were that one participant demonstrated trial completion across all conditions, another demonstrated little or no trial completion across conditions, and one demonstrated response differentiation for each condition. One implication from this study includes confirmation of a procedure that aligns with trauma informed care.

Technician-Delivered Telehealth to Teach Vocational Skills to Adolescents and Young Adults
RENMING LIU (Baylor University), MacKenzie Raye Wicker (Baylor University), Julia M Hrabal (Baylor University), Tonya Nichole Davis (Baylor University), Kristina McGinnis (Baylor University)
Abstract: Employment significantly impacts financial stability, social engagement, and overall quality of life. Individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) often face unique challenges in accessing employment due to limitations in intellectual functioning, social skills, and adaptive abilities. This study addresses this issue through technician-delivered telehealth. Four participants with IDD identified three vocational goals. All study sessions were conducted via a videoconference platform in which the implementer directly provided instruction and prompts to the participant, without the use of a mediator such as a parent. The researcher implemented a total-task training in which each step of the skill was taught every trial using discrete trial teaching with least-to-most prompt fading. The effects of the technician-delivered telehealth teaching approach was evaluated with a multiple baseline design across skills. The results indicate that the teaching package effectively improved vocational skills for all four participants. This suggests the potential of technician-delivered telehealth as an efficient method for teaching vocational skills to individuals with IDD. Detailed analysis and these findings will be further discussed.



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