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 #73
CE Offered: BACB
Advancing and Refining Skill Acquisition Procedures for Young Children With Autism
Saturday, May 25, 2024
12:00 PM–12:50 PM
Convention Center, 100 Level, 113 B
Area: AUT/DDA; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Kimberly Sloman (The Scott Center for Autism Treatment/ Florida Institute of Technology )
CE Instructor: Kimberly Sloman, Ph.D.

The proposed symposium will include three empirical papers to refine skill acquisition outcomes for children with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) diagnosis. In the first paper, Kacie McGarry will first describe a method to assess prerequisite skills (i.e., scanning, auditory conditional discrimination) and then present a comparison of differential observing responses (DOR) on skill acquisition of receptive identification tasks for three participants. Results showed differences in effectiveness between the DOR types and that the pre-assessment can be used to inform the most effective DOR. In the second paper, Skye Nelson will present a study on the effects of automated speech output on the acquisition of listener and speaker skills. Results showed faster acquisition when speech output was provided. In the third paper, Jennifer Stracquadanio will present a study on the effects of a novel representation and modeling error correction procedure on the acquisition of matching skills in children with ASD. All participants acquired the matching task using the novel error correction procedure.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): Error Correction, Observing Response, Skill Acquisition, Speech Output
Target Audience:

BCBAs who program skill acquisition for learners with autism and other developmental disabilities

Learning Objectives: 1) Participants will be able to describe the unique contributions of automated speech output on skill acquisition including effects on listener and speaker trained and untrained targets. 2) Participants will be able to differentiate between general and differential observing responses (DORs) as well as describe pre-requisite skills for using specific DORs 3) Participants will describe advantages and disadvantages of different error correction procedures as well as the effects of re-presentation and model as error correction in skill acquisition.

Effects of Speech Output Technology on Skill Acquisition in Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder

AMELIA SKYE NELSON (Florida Institute of Technology and The Scott Center), Kimberly Sloman (The Scott Center for Autism Treatment/ Florida Institute of Technology ), Mariana Torres-Viso (Yale University ), Julianne I Fernandez (Florida Institute of Technology and The Scott Center)

Previous research has shown that speech output technology is beneficial at increasing communication skills in individuals with developmental disabilities (Chavers et al., 2022). Fewer studies have evaluated the role of speech output technology on acquisition of receptive identification skills, specifically in individuals with ASD. In a preliminary investigation, we employed a single-case, multielement design with multiple baseline probes to evaluate differences in teaching receptive identification with a speech output (SO) versus no speech output (NSO) condition across three sets of stimuli for two participants. Results showed faster acquisition and maintenance for the SO condition. Additionally, we conducted pre and post tact probes and found that more untrained tacts were observed in the SO condition. Furthermore, we conducted a treatment preference assessment and both participants preferred to SO condition. Next, we will compare synthesize SO to therapist feedback to better isolate the unique contributions of the SO condition. Results will be discussed in terms of potential consequent effects of the SO condition.


Correspondence Between Prerequisite Assessments and Effective Differential Observing Responses in Individuals With Autism Spectrum Disorders

KACIE MCGARRY (University of Florida), Kimberly Sloman (The Scott Center for Autism Treatment/ Florida Institute of Technology ), Kristin M. Albert (Florida Institute of Technology), Amelia Skye Nelson (Florida Institute of Technology and The Scott Center for Autism Treatment )

Observing responses have been used in skill acquisition programs to promote attending to relevant aspects of a task. For example, in receptive identification (e.g., matching a vocal stimulus to a picture), an instructor may prompt an individual to engage in general observing responses (orienting) or differential observing responses (DOR) to highlight a specific stimulus or instruction. Two types of DORs are identity matching and repeating instructions. While both types of DORs may be effective, responding may be idiosyncratic. To date, no assessment exists to guide selection of DORs. The purpose of the present investigation is to conduct an assessment to identify prerequisite skills for certain DORs. Three individuals with autism participated. We assessed participants’ ability to scan and track visual stimuli as well as conditionally respond to auditory stimuli. Next, we compared the effectiveness of two different DORs using a multi element design on acquisition of receptive identification tasks. Overall, results showed correspondence between the prerequisite assessment and effective DOR for all participants. That is, participants who engaged in correct responses in the visual assessment acquired the skill fastest in the visual DOR condition.


Increasing Matching Using Re-Presentation and Model-Based Error Correction With Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

JENNIFER STRACQUADANIO (Millburn Public School District), Mary Gabrielle Saydah (Millburn Township Public Schools), Daphna El-Roy (Kean University)

In the current study, we analyzed the effects of re-presentation and model-based error correction with differential reinforcement across blocked trials in a matching task. The study included three students diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) aged 7 to 11 years old in a self-contained Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) classroom in a public school setting. Each student had a history of slow progress on individualized programming as well as inconsistent maintenance and generalization of skills. Students were taught to match three different stimuli to sample using an error correction procedure where upon incorrectly touching the matching stimuli, the materials were re-presented up to three times or until the student selected the correct answer independently, whichever came first. When the student did not correctly select the matching stimuli, the correct answer was modeled for the student. Responses were differentially reinforced. The sessions were run in nine blocked trials. All three participants acquired the match-to-sample task in the intervention set.




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