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 #37
CE Offered: BACB
Antecedent and Consequent Strategies to Promote Efficient Skill Acquisition
Saturday, May 25, 2024
10:00 AM–11:50 AM
Convention Center, 100 Level, 113 A
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Paige O'Neill (University of Nebraska Medical Center - Munroe-Meyer Institute)
Discussant: Mary Halbur (University of Nebraska Medical Center, Munroe-Meyer Institute)
CE Instructor: Paige O'Neill, M.A.

When providing ABA services for learners with autism spectrum disorder, it is crucial that clinicians identify not only effective, but efficient teaching procedures. Procedures that result in rapid acquisition of instructional targets or promote generative learning to untaught targets may be particularly helpful in this aim. Such procedures can involve manipulation of antecedent and/or consequent components of instructional protocols (e.g., prompts, reinforcement, or secondary stimuli). This symposium will present research that evaluates the effects of various antecedent and consequent strategies that aim to improve instructional efficiency across a range of skill domains for learners with autism spectrum disorder. Presenters will discuss extra-stimulus versus within-stimulus prompts and differential outcomes procedure to teach conditional discriminations, and antecedent and consequent instructive feedback to teach tacts and intraverbals. Presenters will discuss clinical implications of the findings, including potential benefits and barriers to using the procedures in practice, as well as areas for future research.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): assessment-based instruction, differential outcomes, instructive feedback, skill acquisition
Target Audience:

At least BCBA-level clinicians and researchers; graduate students

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) identify potential antecedent and consequent strategies to enhance efficiency of teaching procedures; (2) describe how to use instructive feedback and differential outcomes procedure; (3) describe potential benefits and barriers to the described procedures

An Assessment of Digital Stimulus Prompts to Teach Conditional Discriminations to Children With Autism

HAVEN SIERRA NILAND (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Samantha Bergmann (University of North Texas ), Katherine Flores (University of Nebraska Medical Center Munroe-Meyer Institute), Isaiah Salazar (76201), Karen Rader (ALABA)

Effective and efficient skill-acquisition procedures must be identified to support individualized behavioral programming for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). To do this, practitioners and researchers may use assessment-based instruction. Prompts are a common teaching strategy to promote skill acquisition. The purpose of this applied study was to use assessment-based instruction to evaluate the efficacy and efficiency of digital within- and extra-stimulus prompts to teach conditional discriminations to three children with ASD. We identified stimulus prompts using a survey of popular children’s games and conducted a tablet-based instruction readiness assessment. Stimulus prompts involved motion (within-stimulus) and pointing (extra-stimulus) to evoke correct responses in the presence of the discriminative stimulus. We used an adapted alternating treatments design with a no-treatment control condition to evaluate the effects of both prompt types across multiple sets of stimuli. Both stimulus prompt types were efficacious in facilitating skill acquisition for two of three participants. Little difference was observed in time to mastery with either prompt. Neither stimulus prompt was efficacious for the third participant. Assessment results were used to inform clinical programming to teach conditional discriminations to participants and contribute to research on designing and implementing assessments of skill-acquisition procedures.

Teaching the Function of Auditory Stimuli Using Secondary Target Instruction
MARYKATE MCKENNA (Hunter College), Lauren K. Schnell-Peskin (Hunter College), April N. Kisamore (Hunter College, CUNY), Casey Nottingham (ABA Collective)
Abstract: It is important for children to learn to identify safety stimuli in their environment; however, there has been limited research in the field of behavior analysis related to effective and efficient strategies for teaching these skills to children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Although previous research has demonstrated the effectiveness of using secondary targets to teach tacts of visual stimuli, little research has evaluated procedures to teach children with ASD to tact auditory stimuli. The purpose of this study was to teach individuals with ASD the function of auditory safety stimuli using secondary target instruction across two different instructional arrangements (Condition 1-Single Presentation and Condition 2-Re-presentation). Sessions to mastery and total training time were used to evaluate the efficiency of procedures. The results showed that participants learned all primary targets that were directly taught and that the secondary targets emerged in the absence of direct teaching in both conditions. Results also suggested that Condition 1-Single Presentation, resulted in more efficient learning across target sets for both participants, with one exception.

Further Evaluation of Variables That Affect the Efficacy of and Preference for Instructive Feedback Delivery

MANISH K. GOYAL (Southern Illinois University), Grace Lafo (Southern Illinois University Carbondale), Laurent Orozco-Barrios (Southern Illinois University), Connor Eyre (Southern Illinois University Carbondale), Lesley Shawler (Southern Illinois University)

Research has demonstrated the utility of instructive feedback (IF) as a method to produce emergent verbal behavior. Instructive feedback is a teaching strategy in which nontarget stimuli are presented in learning trials to increase the efficiency of instruction (Carroll & Kodak, 2015). Researchers have investigated differences in secondary target acquisition when inserting the secondary targets in different configurations of the learning trial (e.g., antecedent, consequence). Findings have shown minimal differences in efficacy irrespective of the configuration (e.g., Vladescu & Kodak, 2013). However, no studies to date have evaluated participants’ preference for feedback delivery. As such, the current study replicated previous research by comparing the efficacy and efficiency of IF when presented as antecedent or consequence feedback and included a preference measure for feedback delivery for two children with autism spectrum disorder. We included some procedural modifications such as incorporating probes throughout intervention to attempt to determine when secondary targets were acquired and measured participants’ echoic behavior to evaluate its role in the emergence of the secondary targets. Finally, we tested for the emergence of novel intraverbal responses following secondary-target acquisition. We discuss the clinical implications of our results related to past research, emergent verbal behavior, and participant choice.

Evaluation of the Differential Outcomes Effect on the Acquisition of Auditory Visual Conditional Discriminations
PAIGE O'NEILL (University of Nebraska Medical Center - Munroe-Meyer Institute), Melissa Valdez-Nuguid (University of Nebraska Medical Center's Munroe Meyer Institute), Zeinab Hedroj (University of Nebraska Medical Center’s Munroe-Meyer Institute), Madison Judkins (University of Nebraska-Medical Center Munroe-Meyer Institute, Stride Autism Centers), Catalina Rey (University of Nebraska Medical Center's Munroe-Meyer Institute)
Abstract: The differential outcomes procedure involves correlating reinforcers with responses, in that a specific reinforcer is provided contingent on a specific response. This procedure has been shown to result in faster acquisition than standard reinforcement procedures (i.e., the differential outcomes effect). Though this is a well-established effect in both human and non-human animals, there is little research demonstrating its utility in clinical applications. This study evaluated the effect of the differential outcomes procedure on the acquisition of auditory visual conditional discrimination among children with autism spectrum disorder with a history of difficulty acquiring this skill. An adapted alternating treatments design embedded within a multiple-probe across comparisons was used to compare the differential outcomes procedure to reinforcement-as-usual (i.e., non-differential outcomes). Preliminary data reveal idiosyncratic results across participants, with evidence that the differential outcomes procedure may result in more efficient acquisition for some learners. Considerations for clinicians and areas for future research will be discussed.



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