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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Paper Session #264
CE Offered: BACB
Evaluation of Various Models for Autism Treatment
Sunday, May 26, 2024
11:00 AM–12:50 PM
Convention Center, 100 Level, 103 B
Area: AUT
Instruction Level: Intermediate
Chair: Lindsey Sneed (Catalight Research Institute)
CE Instructor: Tiffany Kristin Mrla, Ph.D.

Evaluating the Effectiveness of Two Models of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) in a Community-Based Setting for Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder

Domain: Basic Research
LINDSEY SNEED (Catalight Research Institute )

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a complex and heterogenous, neurodevelopmental disorder. Interventions based in applied behavior analysis (ABA) are common for children with ASD with marked improvements demonstrated in communication, social, and adaptive functioning. Two common models of ABA are parent-mediated and paraprofessional-mediated, both of which have strong empirical support. With all 50 States requiring insurance coverage for people with ASD, it is important to evaluate and understand the effectiveness of ABA in community-based settings. The current study evaluated the effectiveness of two models of ABA, paraprofessional-mediated and parent-mediated, in a community-based setting across 106 participants ages 3-7 with a diagnosis of ASD. Results revealed both models of ABA to produce significant and positive improvements in adaptive and communicative functioning on two outcome measures, the Vineland and VB-MAPP. Additionally, significant differences were observed between parent-mediated ABA and paraprofessional-mediated ABA with those in parent-mediated ABA having greater improvement in the Socialization domain of the Vineland. With the most recent prevalence rates of ASD being one in 36, it is vital to have options for families when considering various supports and interventions for their child with ASD that are effective. This research underscores the effectiveness of ABA in community-based settings for young children with ASD.


A Systematic Review on Supports for Transitioning Autistic Individuals to Adult Life

Domain: Theory
ARLENE KELY ALVES DE AMORIM (Grupo Conduzir), Adriano Barboza (Conduzir Behavioral Health Services), Raissa Silva (Grupo Conduzir)

The journey to adulthood can be an especially challenging experience for individuals on the autism spectrum. They might face greater obstacles than their neurotypical peers when it comes to academic and professional education, social skills, self-awareness, and independence. These challenges can make it harder for them to succeed in traditional educational settings and find meaningful employment opportunities. Additionally, these individuals may have limited social skills, which can impact their ability to form and maintain relationships, both personally and professionally. To better understand the challenges that come with this transition, a systematic review of articles published in Applied Behavior Analysis to support this population is in progress. So far, out of the 325 found in the final screening, 12 were experiments. Out of the 12 experiments found so far, 7 were randomized controlled trials, 3 used a multiple-baseline design, and 2 were quasi-experimental studies. The current findings suggest that it is crucial to develop resources that cater to each individual's unique needs and preferences throughout the transition process. It is also important to create personalized resources that support their independence and reduce the amount of assistance needed to achieve their goals, as well as provide resources for them to be able to advocate for themselves and recognize their own strengths and weaknesses.


Implementing Early Start Denver Model-Informed Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Therapy in Community Practice: Replicating Research Quality Results Through Insurance Funded Models

Domain: Applied Research
WILL MARTIN (Soar Autism Center), Ally Dillenburg (Soar Autism Center), Amanda Ariza (Soar Autism Center)

The Early Start Denver Model (ESDM) is an evidence based, naturalistic developmental behavioral intervention designed for children 1-5 years old. Research supporting ESDM therapy has been conducted through typical grant funded mechanisms, and carried out at universities and academic medical centers. These studies have shown ESDM therapy achieving equal or superior outcomes to other styles of autism therapy, including Discrete Trial Training (Rogers SJ, Yoder P, Estes A, et al., 2020). Soar Autism Center is focused on implementing ESDM-informed ABA therapy in community based settings, through typical insurance funded modalities. Duration and intensity of intervention are individualized based on clinician judgement and client needs. An analysis of Soar’s client outcomes data show similar outcomes to those reported in academic literature (Devescovi, R., Colonna, V., Dissegna, et al. 2021). These data have implications for best practices when serving young children with autism, engaging with therapy funders, and bridging the research-to-practice gap.


Developing Integrative Models of Care Through Community Partnerships

Domain: Service Delivery
TIFFANY KRISTIN MRLA (Learning & Behavior Consulting, Integrative Learning Consultants, Bridging Autism Services)

Early intervention models often result in disconnected programs and services, removing children from their natural environments during a critical developmental period. This results in disconnected learning experiences, frequent changes in placement, unnecessary burdens placed on families and caregivers, and extended days for children receiving a range of intervention services. Coupled with unnecessary restrictions and a shortage of professionals able to dedicate the time and resources to conducting a comprehensive neurodevelopmental diagnosis, this further delays accessing early intervention services. Integrated behavioral health models have shown an increase in overall outcomes for children with developmental delays and disabilities, to include autism spectrum disorder as well as other mental and behavioral health disorders. A variety of models have been developed in recent years, focusing on the medical model. A different model is proposed, developing integrated behavioral health models within existing early childhood and educational programs through community partnerships. This model utilizes a range of existing, underutilized funding streams to bring medical professionals, mental and behavioral health professionals, therapists, and educators together, embedded within existing educational centers. Access to care is available to a wider population, removing a multitude of barriers that children, families, caregivers, and educators face.




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