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 #295
CE Offered: BACB
Recent Research on Caregiver Involvement in Teaching Early Social Communication Skills to Children With Autism
Sunday, May 26, 2024
3:00 PM–3:50 PM
Convention Center, 100 Level, 113 A
Area: AUT/DEV; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Daniel E Conine (Georgia State University)
CE Instructor: Daniel E Conine, Ph.D.

Many behavioral strategies have proven effective in teaching parents and caregivers to implement behavioral interventions with their children. Involving caregivers is critically important if interventions are to achieve generality across the full set of circumstances in a child’s life or maintain over time. This symposium will present data from three applied research studies that involve caregivers in behavioral interventions aimed at developing social communication skills for young children with autism. Topics include: (a) caregiver training as one component of a clinic-based screening-to-intervention model for response to name, (b) a telehealth training program teaching caregivers to practice response to name and joint attention skills at home with their children, and (c) a novel approach to collecting social validity data from families regarding early intervention outcomes through qualitative interviewing. Presentations will present empirical findings and will discuss their relevance to maximizing caregiver and family involvement in applied research and daily clinical practice.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): caregiver training, social communication, social validity, telehealth
Target Audience:

The target audience for this presentation is behavior-analytic researchers and practitioners at all certification levels. Prerequisite skills include a basic understanding of single-case experimental designs and measurement systems.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: 1) Summarize the extent to which generalization to caregivers can be expected when intervening to improve response to name with children, and what caregiver training strategies are effective in the absence of generalized responding. 2) Describe potential relationships between response to name and joint attention skills that may emerge throughout the course of behavioral intervention. 3) Define a process for obtaining caregiver ratings regarding the social validity of intervention outcomes via qualitative interviewing approaches.
Caregiver Training to Increase Response to Name as Part of a Screening-to-Intervention Model
DANIEL E CONINE (Georgia State University), Lera Dumas (Georgia State University), Sarah Allison Collum (Village Autism Center; Georgia State University), Lindsey Waddell (Georgia State University), Cassondra M Gayman (Village Autism Center), Videsha Marya (Endicott College), Chelsea Keller (A Daniel Company, LLC)
Abstract: Among the many developmental milestones related to language and communication in early childhood, one which has been the subject of a particularly large amount of research is response to name (RTN). During typical development, RTN emerges within the first year or two of life. Delayed or absent RTN in early childhood is a key diagnostic marker of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and also a target behavior in many early intervention curricula. Recent empirical studies have demonstrated increases in RTN among children with ASD after exposure to a series of behavioral interventions. However, to date none of these studies have involved caregivers in the intervention process. The current study evaluated whether generalized improvements in RTN with caregivers would occur after RTN intervention was completed by staff in a clinical setting. When generalization was not observed, or when generalized responding did not maintain, behavioral skills training was used to teach caregivers to implement RTN intervention at home. Results will be presented in terms of their relevance to clinical practice when intervening on RTN and when involving caregivers in delivering intervention.
The Effects of Caregiver Training via Telehealth on Response to Name and Joint Attention
SARAH GRACE HANSEN (30306), Daniel E Conine (Georgia State University), Lizbeth Espino Garcia (Georgia State University), Danesha Davis (Georgia State University), Bria Bembery (Georgia State University), Hannah M Etchison (Georgia State University)
Abstract: Response to name (RTN) and joint attention (JA) are two pivotal skills typically developed in infancy that are often delayed in young children with autism. Fortunately, there are effective interventions to promote RTN and JA. Although these interventions have also been tested to some degree with parent implementers (e.g., Hansen et al., 2018), there is less evidence for parent-implemented intervention, despite parent-mediated intervention on social communication skills more broadly being evidence-based. Additionally, telehealth service delivery has promise to increase the reach of evidence-based service delivery, but has not been tested for both these skills together. We conducted a non-concurrent multiple baseline single case research design across four parent-child dyads to evaluate the effects of intervention in sequence on RTN and JA delivered via telehealth. Parents received a virtual training video on each skill and individualized coaching via telehealth sessions. Parents were also interviewed by an outside observer at each decision point to allow for parent input on modifications made to the intervention for their child. Results of the intervention and parent perceptions are discussed.
Feasibility of Direct Interviews to Assess the Social Validity of Early Intervention Client Outcomes
JEANNE STEPHANIE GONZALEZ (University of Florida), Ciobha A. McKeown (California State University, Sacramento), Palani Te (University of Florida), Timothy R. Vollmer (University of Florida)
Abstract: Thousands of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders participate in frequent therapy sessions under the construct of applied behavior analysis (ABA). One common form of therapy is early intervention services, often delivered to children under the age of 7. Assessing social validity of those services is rarely done systematically or it is done with surveys. This study will describe the feasibility of an interview-based, social validity assessment to determine the perceived efficacy of applied behavior analysis (ABA) services from caregivers’ perspective. Qualitative, semi-structured interviews were held with families of clinic clients to explore their thoughts and opinions of the goals selected and current behavior of their children before and after ABA services were rendered for 6-months. We also conducted an interview with questions regarding outcomes. Interviews included videos of children’s baseline responding to treatment plan goals before and after 6-months of receiving ABA services. Results will be described in terms of responses of caregivers to interview questions and clinical outcomes for each client.



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