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 #191
Advancements in Parent- and Staff-Training Practices Addressing Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder
Sunday, May 26, 2024
8:00 AM–9:50 AM
Convention Center, 100 Level, 113 B
Area: AUT/CBM; Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: Angeliki Gena (University of Athens, Greece)
Discussant: Mary Jane Weiss (Endicott College)

Difficulties in social relatedness are among the most prevalent, debilitating, and robust difficulties associated with autism. This symposium addresses this complex set of skills, not from the perspective of direct child instruction, but from the training-the-trainer or the-parent perspective since teachers and parents may promote generalized and resilient outcomes in social relatedness in multiple contexts. The first study proposes a parent-training model that aims to improve parent-child relatedness in multiple ways and as a means of improving the parent-child attachment. The second study addresses social relatedness of children with autism with their peers by providing training to teachers on a culturally adapted version of the Autism Program Environment Rating Scale (APERS) which leaded to benefits on the socialization of students with autism. The third presentation aims to provide a thorough description of the Princeton Child Development Institute home programming which is a parent-training model designed for parents of children with ASD, with an emphasis on using visual stimuli in the form of activity schedules. The final presentation addresses the important issue of training college students in evidence-based practices, such as data collection, with the ultimate purpose of improving the quality of the relationships established among family members.

Instruction Level: Intermediate

A Naturalistic, Systemic, Behavior-Analytic Parent-Training Intervention to Improve Attachment in Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder

ANGELIKI GENA (University of Athens, Greece), Areti Stefanaki (National and Kapodistrian University of Athens)

The present study aims to assess and improve behavior classes associated with attachment established between young children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and their parents, since secure attachment is considered critical for child development. It has been demonstrated that children with ASD are significantly less securely attached to their parents compared to neurotypical children. The purpose of the present study was to develop a parent training protocol, based on naturalistic, systemic, behavior-analytic principles, that focuses on the amelioration of communication difficulties during parent-child interactions as a means of improving the quality of the participating children’s attachment to their parents. Specifically, a multiple-baseline-across-response-categories experimental design was used to assess the effectiveness of didactic procedures in combination with direct parental training that included modeling and other behavior-analytic techniques. All four families (total of 8 parent-child dyads) who participated in the present study demonstrated considerable improvement in the targeted responses which generalized to novel responses and across time. In conclusion, the present study demonstrated that response classes associated with attachment may be treated as operant bahavior and therefore improve with systematic intervention.


Adapting the Preschool Learning Environment for Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD): Perspectives of Parents and Pre-School Staff

LISE RENAT ROLL-PETTERSSON (Stockholm University), Hampus Erik Bejnö (Stocholm University), Sven Bolte (Karolinska Institutet), Nina Linder (Autism Center for young children), Ulrika Langh (Habilitation and Health Stockholm), Samuel Odom (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)

Previous research in Sweden has noted shortcomings in community based inclusive learning environments impeding opportunities for learning, and implementation of high-quality interventions involving children with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The purpose of this presentation is to present findings from a quasi-randomized study involving 17 inclusive preschool classes implementing EIBI with autistic students that also received in-service training and coaching to employ the culturally adapted version of the Autism Program Environment Rating Scale (APERS) with standard EIBI. A brief description of the Swedish support system will be provided. Five parents and six preschool staff in the APERS enriched group were interviewed at the end of the school year using thematic analysis. Parents described experiencing increased collaboration with preschool staff, as well as, more engagement, and less burden on themselves to make sure their child gets needed supports. Preschool staff mirrored these findings, reporting greater confidence in working with their autistic student, improved knowledge and skills about goal setting, and increasing the child’s engagement in activities with typically developing peers. On-site coaching being instrumental. In conclusion, findings highlight the importance of systematically improving learning environment quality, thereby increasing learning opportunities for the child, indirectly affecting parental well-being and staff confidence

Parental Support and Mentoring Under Any Conditions and Anywhere
BINYAMIN BIRKAN (Biruni University)
Abstract: The presence of a children with autism spectrum disorder often leads parents to a vulnerable position. Since parents are often on their own in various family and social circumstances, without the support of professionals, it is imperative to receive support, mentoring, and education to ensure that they can manage the challenges of dealing with the complex needs of their child with ASD. Effective home programming is suggested to be the route toward empowering parents to undertake such challenges. Developing strategies to promote skill generalization from intervention settings to children’s homes and community settings is critical to producing positive outcomes for children with autism. The purpose of this presentation is to provide a thorough description of the home programming model developed by Drs. Patricia J. Krantz and Lynn E. McClannahan at the Princeton Child Development Institute and its dissemination sites and reviews the rationales for delivering services at home. In addition, the rationale for selecting photographic and written activity schedules as the framework for home-programing practices will be discussed.

Teaching Graduate Students to Be Caring and Responsive in Parent Collaborations: Reflections on Data Practices

SHAHLA SUSAN ALA'I (University of North Texas)

Evidence-based practice is the foundation of our effective, responsive and caring approaches to supporting families. In graduate training programs we focus on how to teach students to understand, deliver and improve evidence-based services. Data collection is a critical part of advising, teaching and practice. It helps us identify importance, patterns and directions; it is an essential feature of our wise decision making and effectiveness. The purpose of this presentation is to briefly describe a parenting program with a two-fold mission: to enhance the quality of family relationships and to train students as caring clinicians skilled in evidence- based practice. Specifically, the presentation will review contextual considerations for teaching and for measurement selection. This includes the component skills of clinicians-in-training as well as measures of child and parent relationships, affect and progress. The presentation will include examples of data procedures and outcomes over the course of 30 years of working with graduate students learning to effectively and lovingly collaborate with families. The benefits and limitations of various methods will be discussed in the framework of research, honor and integrity in meeting the complex and interwoven needs children, families, and graduate students.




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