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 #71
CE Offered: BACB
Foundational Skills Throughout the Lifespan of Individuals With Autism and Developmental Disabilities
Saturday, May 25, 2024
12:00 PM–12:50 PM
Convention Center, 100 Level, 114
Area: AUT/DDA; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Randi A. Sarokoff (Kean University)
CE Instructor: Randi A. Sarokoff, Ph.D.

Individuals with developmental disabilities display deficits in social, academic, and other functional skills throughout their lifespan. Participants included in this symposium had developmental disabilities and ranged in age from preschooler to adult. Skills targeted across the three studies included attending and accuracy during academic tasks, identifying sensations that could be indicative of a medical problem, and memorizing a script for a theatrical performance. To increase eye contact and accuracy during academic skills, a high-probability (high-p) instructional sequence was compared to presentations of only low-probability (low-p) tasks. To mimic potential medical problems, stimuli were applied with verbal prompting and a time-delay procedure to teach reporting of those sensations. A script fading procedure was used to teach memorization of a theatrical script. Experimental control was demonstrated. Two studies used a multiple-baseline design and one study used an alternating-treatments design. Graphs will be presented to demonstrate that the procedures used were responsible for teaching the target behaviors. These studies extended the literature by providing novel applications of procedures previously shown to be effective. Given the success of these teaching procedures, the impact of presenting these data will be relevant to service providers who may want to incorporate them for individuals with similar needs.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): Attending, Autism, Developmental Disabilities, Social Skills
Target Audience:

Pre-requisite skills and competencies: Distinguish between dependent and independent variables. Identify and distinguish among single-case experimental designs (e.g., multiple-baseline, and alternating-treatments design) Critique and interpret data from single-case experimental designs (i.e., graphs)

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: 1. To identify and distinguish between high-probability and low-probability tasks 2. Identify and describe the procedure used in the presentation for teaching expressive identification and reporting of sensations 3. Identify and describe the script fading procedure and the target behavior addressed in the study

High-Probability Instructional Sequence: Is It Just Effective for Compliance?

MEGAN MAHONEY (Kean University), Randi A. Sarokoff (Kean University), Daphna El-Roy (Kean University), Jilian Planer (Kean University)

Individuals with autism often have difficulty with attending skills such as making or sustaining eye contact (Chukoskie et al., 2018). Poor eye contact may adversely affect the educational gains of children with autism, due to the relationship between eye contact and attending to the teacher, and instructional demands (Greer & Ross, 2007). The purpose of this study was to investigate whether a high-probability (high-p) request sequence can be an effective procedure for increasing attending skills, such as eye contact, during discrete trial teaching. Additionally, this study investigated if increases in attending would result in higher accuracy in responding. To date, no study has investigated the use of the high-p instructional sequence to increase attending in individuals with autism. An alternating-treatments design was used to compare the effects of a high-p instructional sequence to the presentation of only low-probability (low-p) tasks on attending, defined as eye contact, of a 3-year-old with autism. In the high-p condition, eye contact was measured when three high-p tasks were presented, prior to delivery of a low-p instruction. In the low-p condition, eye contact was measured with only low-p tasks presented. Results showed that the high-p condition increased eye contact and accuracy more than the low-p condition.


Teaching an Adult With Disabilities to Self-Report Potential Health Concerns

DAPHNA EL-ROY (Kean University), Randi A. Sarokoff (Kean University), Regina Murphy (Lakeview School)

Teaching individuals with disabilities to express private events is important for independence and safety (Devine et al., 2021). Perceptions of health-related issues may vary, therefore teaching descriptions of sensations may be more accurate. This study aimed to enhance the expressive repertoire of reporting sensations that could be indicative of a medical problem. A 20-year-old woman with multiple disabilities participated. A multiple-baseline-across-sensations design was used to evaluate the effects of applying sensations, and verbally prompting using a time-delay procedure. She was taught to expressively label, and then verbally initiate the labels for three novel sensations. Initiations also included expressive labeling of body parts to which the sensations were applied, using multiple stimuli. The target sensations were mastered. Two of the sensations generalized across a novel stimulus and a novel setting, and were maintained. For the third sensation, responding to a novel stimulus and in a novel setting needed to be taught. Responding to a novel body part did not generalize, and needed to be taught for all three sensations. This research extends the private events literature teaching children to report arbitrary private events.


Script Fading to Teach an Adult With Autism to Memorize Dramatic Scripts

RANDI A. SAROKOFF (Kean University), Jason K. Gillis (Kean University)

A script fading procedure (SFP) was used to teach a performing arts social/leisure skill to an adult woman with autism. The participant had previously demonstrated a skill deficit for memorizing lines of a theatrical script. Although the SFP has been effectively used to teach a variety of skills, previous research did not use dramatic scripts, defined in this study as contrived conversational exchanges between two or more individuals that are performed for an audience. Using a multiple-baseline-across-scripts design, the words of three scripts were taught and systematically faded. Following the SFP, the physical scripts were faded entirely. The participant maintained her ability to recite her lines in all three scripts after the SFP was concluded. She was also able to generalize her performance to novel settings and theatrical partners. Through all steps of script fading, generalization, and maintenance, the participant successfully recited the script correctly with nearly 100% accuracy. This suggests that the SFP was effective in teaching the skill of memorizing lines. This study was the first to examine the effect of a behavior analytic approach on teaching a performing arts skill.




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