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 #29
Identifying Empirically Supported Treatment and Assessment for Individuals Diagnosed With Autism Spectrum Disorder
Saturday, May 25, 2024
10:00 AM–10:50 AM
Marriott Downtown, Level 5, Grand Ballroom Salon F
Area: AUT/EDC; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Anna Budzinska (Institute for Child Development in Gdansk)
Discussant: Sigmund Eldevik (Oslo Metropolitan University)

The growing number of children diagnosed with autism has resulted in an increased demand for effective treatments and evaluation. In the study we evaluated the effects of a center-based Intensive Behavioral Intervention (IBI) model for preschool aged children with autism. Outcomes of 25 children receiving IBI was compared to the outcome of 14 children receiving autism specific, eclectic, special education. Results suggest that preschool aged children with autism may make large gains in intellectual and adaptive functioning and improvement in autism severity with IBI, and that effects of IBI may be similar to that of EIBI. Persistent deficits in social referencing may interfere with the development of essential abilities such as language, symbolic abilities, and general social-cognitive processes in children. The Social Referencing Observational Scale (SoROS) was developed to assess deficits in social referencing skills in children between 2.6 and 5.0 years of age. The SoROS may have an advantage comparing to existing screening instruments in that it is based on direct observation. Other advantages of the SoROS are that it is quick (4-5 minutes) and that it can be conducted by preschool teachers.

Instruction Level: Intermediate

A Comparison Controlled Study Examining Outcome for Children With Autism Receiving Intensive Behavioral Intervention (IBI)

MARTA WOJCIK (Institute for Child Development, Gdansk), Anna Budzinska (Institute for Child Development in Gdansk)

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is characterized by persistent deficits in social communication, social interaction, and restricted, repetitive patterns of behaviors (World Health Organization, 2018). Research has shown that early intensive behavioral intervention (EIBI) has the best empirical support and may be effective in increasing intellectual and adaptive functioning. Meta-analyses studies have found a positive effect of EIBI compared to control conditions Furthermore, research has shown that eclectic interventions of the same intensity as ABA treatment may produce lower gains. In the current study we evaluated the effects of a center-based Intensive Behavioral Intervention (IBI) model. We examined whether IBI was more effective than an eclectic autism specific intervention for preschool aged children with ASD. Participants were 25 children receiving IBI and 14 children receiving eclectic autism specific intervention. A quasi-experimental design was employed, where participants were assigned to either the IBI group or to the eclectic autism specific group based on parental preferences. After 14 months of treatment, children from the IBI group improved significantly on standard scores in intellectual functioning and adaptive behavior and had a significant reduction in autism severity compared to the children in the autism specific, eclectic, special education group.

The Development and Validation of the Social Referencing Observation Scale as a Screening Instrument for Autism Spectrum Disorder
ANNA LUBOMIRSKA (Institute for Child Development, Gdańsk, Poland), Anna Budzinska (Institute for Child Development in Gdansk)
Abstract: Social referencing behavior is described as “a process in which one person utilizes another person's interpretation of the situation to formulate his or her own interpretation of it”. Deficits in social referencing may be an early sign of more comprehensive developmental abnormalities such as ASD. The Social Referencing Observation Scale (SoROS; Lubomirska et al., 2021) is a behavior observation checklist developed to detect deficits in social referencing behavior in children aged between 2.6 and 5 years. The SoROS is a systematic behavioral assessment, based on direct observations during three scenarios, where the child observes three emotional expressions fear, pain, and joy. First we evaluated 204 typically developing children aged between 2.6 and 5 years. Our main finding was that all children showed social referencing in that they first looked for cues in another person as for how to behave, and second behaved accordingly. Then, 56 children with autism aged between 2.6 and 5 years were assessed. Their results were significantly different to those of children of typical development. Inter-rater reliability for individual scoring behaviors was good to high. Moreover, SoROS predicted an ASD diagnosis with excellent sensitivity and specificity.



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