BAAM 2016 Convention Schedule

Scheduled to appear, but subject to modification
Please contact BAAM if you find errors or omissions.

Thursday Keynote

 9:00 a.m. - 10:20 a.m.
Ballroom A-B (2nd Floor)


 The Nurture Effect: How the Behavioral Science Can Improve Our Lives and Our World.
(1.0 BACB Type II CEU)


Anthony Biglan, Ph.D.

B. F. Skinner envisioned societies that would use the behavioral sciences to vastly improve human wellbeing. In this talk, I will give an overview of just how much we have learned about how to help families, schools, and communities to more effectively nurture wellbeing. I will describe progress at the level of programs to help families and schools become more nurturing. But I will also talk about the larger social systems within which families and schools are situated.


Thursday Breakout Sessions


10:30 a.m. - 11:20 a.m 310B  (1.0 BACB Type II CEU-Supervision)

Supervisors Toolbox: Treatment Fidelity and Team Building. Caitlyn Sorensen-Kowalski (Eastern Michigan University) & Holly Haslam (Novel Responses, Inc).


Supervising can be challenging and includes a number of responsibilities on the part of the supervising BCBA. Not only does the BCBA need to be fostering skills in the supervisees, but also attend to the treatment integrity, or the extent to which an intervention is implemented as expected. The skills and practices involved are often setting- or agency-specific, and it is common for behavior analysts to have difficulty adapting their general training to new or pre-established circumstances due to underdeveloped lines of communication. The literature on integrity practices is scarce, leaving few resources for behavior analysts to adopt a system commensurate with their practice. Common measurements include self-report measures, interviews, direct observation, and permanent products. Treatment integrity is particularly important when working with children with ASD, enrolled in home-based early intensive behavioral interventions (EIBI) that include multiple therapists. Several variables are ignored in the literature, specifically staff communication and treatment intensity. The purpose of this presentation is to identify several common deficits in treatment integrity reporting in emerging behavioral treatment settings (especially those with inherently less direct lines of communication, such as home-based or contract-based services), so that the behavior analyst and behavior analyst supervisors might adapt existing reporting systems to more accurately report actual treatment integrity, add contingency-based elements to reinforce reporting specificity, or develop alternative, contingency-based feedback systems within existing structures.


10:30 a.m. - 11:50 a.m 310A (1.5 BACB Type II CEU)
Staff Training Needs for Ethical Practice in a Variety of Settings.


Chair: Riley Brooks (Eastern Michigan University)

Discussant: Rachel Armstrong (Eastern Michigan University)


The role of the behavior analyst is becoming increasingly more comprehensive in the field of psychology, following the need for applications of behavior change tactics across a variety of clinical presentations and treatment settings (Folette, Bach, & Folette, 1993). As a result of the expanding role of the behavior analyst, our discipline often finds itself in the midst of ethical dilemmas requiring the knowledge and training of both the American Psychological Association (APA) and Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) ethical codes, as well as the legal statutes of the state of Michigan to ensure the safety and welfare of our clients. Our discussant will begin the series with an overview of of the ethical codes and legal statutes followed by a general model for using evidence-based practices for training staff in ethics. Each of the subsequent presentations will highlight key issues in ethical practice for a given population or setting and suggest the key elements of an ethics training curriculum for staff working in these areas.


Working with Children as a Mental Health Professional. Lauren Ostarello (Eastern Michigan University), Michelle Byrd (Eastern Michigan University), Ambreen Shahabuddin (Eastern Michigan University), Rachel Armstrong (Eastern Michigan University), Brenton Abadie (Eastern Michigan University), Riley Brooks (Eastern Michigan University), Matthew Dwyer (Eastern Michigan University) & Thomas J. Waltz (Eastern Michigan University)


With the establishment of organizations and governmental entities solidifying children’s rights during the second half of the twentieth century, many risks and uncertainties surround professionals working with children. As a mental health professional working with minors, awareness of legal as well as ethical parameters outlined by the American Psychological Association (APA) is necessary as well as the ability to navigate situations in which these parameters are unclear. The most critical considerations when working with children include the competence of the mental health professional in working effectively with minors, the legality of informed consent, the limits of confidentiality, and child abuse reporting. Although it is important to note that it is impossible to offer definitive actions that will successfully apply to every like situation, this presentation will aim to offer the following to mental health professionals working with children: 1) a rationale for why ethics training should be a vital aspect for clinicians working with children; 2) review the legal and ethical issues relevant to working with minors and how these issues can present troublesome dilemmas; 3) and, offer suggestions for evidence-based strategies to target ethics training for mental health professionals.


Outpatient Ethical Considerations in Behavioral Analysis. Matthew Dwyer (Eastern Michigan University), Riley Brooks (Eastern Michigan University), Brenton Abadie (Eastern Michigan University), Rachel Armstrong (Eastern Michigan University), Ambreen Shahabuddin (Eastern Michigan University), Lauren Ostarello (Eastern Michigan University), & Thomas J. Waltz (Eastern Michigan University)


Outpatient community and mental health centers that provide behavioral analytic services improve the lives of individuals with a variety of presentations (e.g. autism, intellectual and developmental disabilities, traumatic brain injury, Alzheimer’s disease, etc.). The focus of behavioral analysis is to identify and build adaptive behavior repertoires to improve a client’s functioning as much as possible. There are several ethical considerations that must be addressed in training programs for professional staff providing these services in an outpatient setting. This presentation will examine the ethical treatment standards required by entities such as the State of Michigan, SSI/Medicaid, the American Psychiatric Association, and the Behavioral Analysis Certification Board. This presentation will aim to discuss: 1) an explanation for how ethics training can be a vital aspect for staff working in ABA settings, 2) identify common ethical issues encountered by behavior technicians working in outpatient ABA settings, 3) and, offer suggestions for staff training using evidence-based strategies to target ethical issues encountered in outpatient settings.


Ethical Considerations Providing In-Home ABA Services. Rachel Armstrong (Eastern Michigan University), Ambreen Shahabuddin (Eastern Michigan University), Lauren Ostarello (Eastern Michigan University), Brenton Abadie (Eastern Michigan University), Riley Brooks (Eastern Michigan University), Matthew Dwyer (Eastern Michigan University), & Thomas J. Waltz (Eastern Michigan University)


Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) has been established as an effective treatment for autism spectrum disorders (ASD), with thousands of children receiving clinic and/or home based services. For service providers offering in-home based services, unique ethical challenges arise. When ethical challenges arise, skillful handling is required to ensure that the client’s well-being is maintained with minimal to no risk incurred. Despite the commonality of many ethical issues in the service delivery of in-home ABA services, ethics training remains lacking in the education of behavior technicians. This presentation will aim to offer the following to service providers: 1) a rationale for why ethics training should be a vital aspect for behavior technicians implementing ABA, 2) identify common ethical issues encountered by behavior technicians providing in home-based ABA service delivery, 3) and, offer suggestions for evidence-based staff training strategies to target ethics training for behavior technicians.


Behavior Analysis in Residential Treatment. Brenton Abadie, Rachel Armstrong (Eastern Michigan University), Riley Brooks (Eastern Michigan University), Matthew Dwyer (Eastern Michigan University), Lauren Ostarello (Eastern Michigan University), Ambreen Shahabuddin (Eastern Michigan University), Thomas J. Waltz (Eastern Michigan University)


Residential treatment settings provide community-based group living and semi-independent living programs to individuals with a variety of presentations (e.g. intellectual disabilities, developmental delays, brain injury, Alzheimer’s, etc.). A common aim of these settings is the utilization of behavior analysis to promote maintenance and acquisition of functional behaviors that will allow the individual to live the most independent life possible. In the pursuit of achieving optimal independence for the individual, whose capacity to determine and independently pursue these goals is frequently compromised, there is often a challenge of balancing the individual’s right to habilitation and personal liberties (Bannerman et al., 1990). This presentation will aim to offer the following for service providers: 1) Review of the core constitutional human rights of people under authority (Goldiamond, 1974/2002), 2) Link these rights to common ethical issues encountered by direct care staff, 3) and, offer suggestions for developing evidence-based staff training strategies to target ethics training for direct care staff.


11:00 a.m. - 11:50 a.m. Auditorium (1.0 BACB Type II CEU)
Aging and Cognitive Loss: The Role of Social Contingencies. Claudia Drossel (Eastern Michigan University), Megha Garg (Eastern Michigan University), & Rachel Armstrong (Eastern Michigan University)


Significant, life-interfering declines in thinking, reasoning, problem-solving, planning, or remembering are common. They can be due to acquired brain injuries (e.g., traumas, strokes), neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s or Lewy Body’s, infections, and a range of other conditions. Indeed, cognitive loss sooner or later affects all of us directly, or indirectly through friends or family members. The current presentation will provide a reconceptualization of cognitive losses from a behavior analytic perspective, taking a closer look at the role of social contingencies that might affect decline. With its individually tailored, collaborative, and innovative treatment strategies, behavior analysis is uniquely suited to promote a novel and implementable vision for improving the health, independence, and quality of life for the many individuals with neurocognitive losses and the people who care about them.


11:00 a.m. - 11:50 a.m. Room 352
Panel Discussion: Michigan Autism Spectrum Disorder Program Update. Lisa Grost (Michigan Department of Health and Human Services) & Brie Elsasser (Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS)


Chair: Brie Elsasser (Michigan Department of Health and Human Services)


The growing prevalence of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) has increased the demand for effective supports, resources, and services to address each child’s individual needs in the public Community Mental Health system. There are a wide range of challenges for children and adolescents with autism and their families, including transportation, peer relationships, behavioral and language barriers, and inclusion throughout their community and educational systems.Michigan continues to strive to be a leader in opportunities, services, and supports for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder. The presenters will emphasize the importance of system collaboration and coordination, and will provide updates on provider capacity for Behavioral Health Treatment, including ABA in the Medicaid system.


11:00 a.m. - 11:50 a.m. Room 320--Newly Added
Conversation Hour: Anthony Biglan


 Continue the conversation with our Keynote speaker, Tony Biglan, about his book and related  topics. Dr. Biglan will be available for polite, informal discussion and questions.


Lunch 12:00-1:30 pm (On your own)



Thur 1:00 p.m. - 3:50 p.m. Room 320 (3.0 BACB Type II CEU-Ethics)

Workshop: Ethics for Home-Based ABA Practitioners. Vicki Madaus Knapp, Ph.D., BCBA-D, LBA


Presentation Type: 3-hour workshop

Workshop Cost: $50

Workshop Attendance Limit: 50


Licensed and certified professionals are required to follow the ethical standards of their professions. Specifically, as of January 1, 2016, Board Certified Behavior Analysts, Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analysts, and Registered Behavioral Technicians are required to follow the new Professional and Ethical Compliance Code for Behavior Analysts (BACB, 2014). While these standards are clearly stated, the application of these standards into practice may be subjective, and often require skills and knowledge that go beyond what is typically taught in standard ethics courses. ABA practitioners are often faced with ethical challenges, which may be particularly difficult to navigate when they are practicing in a home-based setting with few opportunities for collaboration or supervision. The purpose of this workshop is to provide the historical context outlining the need for ethical standards, to provide an overview of the Professional and Ethical Compliance Code for Behavior Analysts and its foundations, to provide an opportunity to use the code to navigate complex ethical quandaries as they specifically relate to home-based ABA practitioners, and to create a process for ongoing evaluation of ethical home-based ABA practice.


Participants will:

1. Review the historical context outlining the need for ethical standards, and how those standards fit the home-based situtaion.

2. Identify and evaluate the literature that guides the ethical practice of ABA in homes.

3. Review the Professional and Ethical Compliance Code for Behavior Analysts and other relevant ethical standards.

4. Extend the application of these the ethical standards to unique challenges experienced by home-based ABA practitioners.

5. Outline a process for ongoing evaluation of ethical ABA practices, especially for atypical situations.


Thur 1:00 p.m. - 3:50 p.m. Room 300 (3.0 BACB Type II CEU)

A Workshop on Video Modeling for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Tiffany Stauch (Michigan State University) & Joshua Plavnick (Michigan State University)


Presentation Type: 3-hour workshop

Workshop Cost: $50 ($45 + $5 Materials)

Workshop Attendance Limit: 50


Video modeling is an evidence-based practice that is effective for teaching a wide range of skills to individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) of all ages and developmental levels. During this comprehensive workshop, participants will learn about: (a) research that supports the practice; (b) different types of video modeling; (c) skills that can be taught using video modeling with real-world examples, and (d) the steps to implement video modeling with fidelity. Participants will have opportunities to apply what they learn during hands-on activities that will involve selecting and operationally defining target behaviors, creating scripts for video models, filming video models, and viewing completed video modeling projects. This workshop is appropriate for professionals in any setting who are interested in implementing video modeling interventions with individuals with ASD. At the conclusion of the workshop, participants will have created materials necessary to implement a video modeling intervention with at least one individual with ASD and will be able to apply this knowledge to other clients. In addition, participants will receive a flash drive containing researcher created video models for a variety of behaviors, planning sheets, sample scripts, target behavior definitions, and data sheets that will allow them to apply video modeling to clients. Participants should come with a target student and behavior in mind, a laptop computer, tablet or other recording device (e.g., smartphone or video camera) and a USB cord to connect their recording device to their computer.


1:30 p.m. - 2:20 p.m. Ballroom A (1.0 BACB Type II CEU)
Guests from Uninhabited Worlds: ABA and the Eclectic Temptation. James T. Todd (Eastern Michigan University)


An apparently growing practice among behavioral treatment providers is to combine their offerings with those from other traditions. The most common version of this seems to be a combination of ABA and a so-called “developmental” approach: ABA and DIR/Floortime being a prime example. But, when we also discover ABA combined with homeopathy, and various forms of energy medicine, we realize that anything is possible. The rational often given when ABA is combined with something else is that we are “getting the best of both worlds.” The problem is that if we are speaking of autism treatment, we currently know of only one inhabited world, finding the rest barren of life. This is not to say that there are not useful practices out there that we have not thought of. But, if we are to find something useful on these other planets, more exploration is necessary, and hoping that our party will be substantially enhanced by interesting extraterrestrials is premature at best. (This is an slightly updated version of the same presentation given at the 2015 Michigan Autism Conference. It cannot be double-counted for CEUs)


1:30 p.m. - 2:20 p.m. Auditorium (1.0 BACB Type II CEU)
Assessing Parent Motivation as a Strategy to Reduce Barriers to Treatment in ABA. Krista Clancy (University Pediatricians Autism Center)


Parent participation is a necessary part of treatment for any successful ABA program. Evidence based literature for ABA in the treatment of ASD strongly recommends parent involvement as a pivotal part of treatment. However, there are situations when Behavior Analysts find themselves unable to engage parents in therapy as recommended in the plan. Assessing parent efficacy, treatment acceptability and the family system can assist a Behavior Analyst in developing effective intervention strategies to engage parents more in treatment. The family system and the larger community can influence the parent’s perceptions of their child, the therapy, and the ability for the therapy to make the changes the behavior analytic community claims it can. By operationalizing parent perceptions related to understanding and acceptance of the child’s diagnosis, the control a parent has over the child’s behavior and skill development, and the stability of those behaviors for the child; the behavior analyst can isolate and target them for change. These barriers to treatment can be reduced allowing greater compliance with treatment recommendations and ultimately better treatment outcomes for the client. Assessment tools, problem solving strategies, and common target areas impacting treatment outcome in relation to parent involvement will be discussed.


1:30 p.m. - 2:20 p.m. Room 310A (1.0 BACB Type II CEU)
What Did I Do? Understanding the Role of Treatment Integrity in Delivering Applied Behavior Analytic Interventions. Sean P. Field (Western Michigan University), Kimberly M. Peck (Western Michigan University), & Jessica E. Frieder (Western Michigan University)


Treatment integrity, as a measure of the degree to which the independent variable or treatment program is implemented as planned, is a critical component in the evaluation of the effects of an intervention. Despite this, research in the field of applied behavior analysis often falls short of our general, and broadly-defined guidelines for treatment integrity. Additionally, practitioners are often unaware of the potential impacts that can result from inadequate monitoring and management of treatment integrity in their daily practice. The purpose of this presentation is to discuss current trends in treatment integrity reporting in behavior analytic research. Finally, the presenters will provide a discussion of best practice approaches for monitoring and managing treatment integrity, including methods for integrating monitoring into practice and standards for assessment.


2:30 p.m. - 3:50 a.m. Ballroom A (1.5 BACB Type II CEU)
Symposium: Considering Discrimination Ability: Assessment of Stimulus Control in Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention.


Chair: Teryn Bruni (Central Michigan University)

Discussant: Michael Hixson (Central Michigan University)


Despite demonstrations of treatment efficacy, research suggests some learners fail to make significant gains in Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention (EIBI) programs, particularly in language acquisition. A possible explanation for insufficient progress is that some children do not have the prerequisite skills to effectively benefit from language and social skills instruction. Discrimination ability and assessment of stimulus control are often overlooked when assessing and choosing intervention targets, and the failure to identify these important foundational skills can lead to the introduction of beginning targets that are too difficult for the learner. The following symposium examines the impact of discrimination ability, as assessed by the Assessment of Basic Learning Abilities-Revised, on rate of learning in EIBI, focusing on the role of auditory discrimination in echoic acquisition. In light of the above findings and an examination of learning trajectories of typically developing children, preliminary treatment modifications for early learners in EIBI will be discussed, with a focus on identifying prerequisite skill areas that are critical for a child to master prior to teaching language. By attending to discrimination ability and prerequisite skill acquisition, we can better teach early learners in EIBI settings important language and social skill repertoires.


The Assessment of Basic Learning Abilities: Echoic Acquisition and Rate of Learning. Teryn Bruni (Central Michigan University) & Michael Hixson (Central Michigan University)


The Assessment of Basic Learning Abilities-Revised (ABLA-R) measures the ease or difficulty with which a learner acquires simple motor, visual, and auditory discrimination tasks in a limited number of learning trials. This study evaluated the ability of the ABLA-R and AAIM/AANM tasks to predict acquisition of echoic behavior and rate of progress in Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention (EIBI) programs among children with ASD. Participants included 34 children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder sampled from four EIBI providers across Michigan. Using prediction accuracy statistics, receiver operating characteristic curve, and correlation analysis, it was found that the ABLA-R was an excellent predictor of echoic responding in terms of sensitivity, specificity, positive prediction, classification accuracy, and AUC values. Data from participants? EIBI programs revealed better participant performance on tasks at or below their ABLA-R level than on tasks above. Similarly programming identified as appropriate by the ABLA-R was positively correlated with progress ratings by service providers. The results have implications regarding the possible role of auditory discrimination as an important component skill or even a behavioral cusp for more advanced language. Future research should further examine the role of auditory discrimination training in the acquisition of important listener repertoires.


The Effects of Auditory Matching Acquisition on Subsequent Echoic Performance: Two Case Studies. Jordan Boudreau (Autism Center of Northern/Central Michigan)


There are many children enrolled in EIBI programs who are missing important prerequisite skills, impacting their ability to learn even the most basic language skills. Some studies suggest that auditory discrimination ability could be a critical prerequisite skill for learning basic verbal repertoires including echoics and naming. The following case studies examine the relationship between teaching auditory discrimination and echoic acquisition for two children attending an EIBI program in Michigan. The children included in this case study demonstrated minimal or zero progress with current intervention strategies for teaching echoics and had missing auditory discrimination skills as identified by the Assessment of Basic Learning Abilities-Revised (ABLA-R). Auditory-auditory matching was then taught directly to each participant while still engaging in regular echoic programming. Consistent with research findings, both clients made marked progress with their concurrent echoic programing, following successful acquisition of auditory matching. Implications for an assessment that allows for more effective and efficient guidance when choosing intervention strategy will be discussed.


Focusing on Early Developmental Discrimination Skills to Improve Treatment Outcomes for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Krista Clancy (University Pediatricians Autism Center)


When implementing intensive intervention plans for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), we tend to see two profiles of children, those who are in the best outcome group and those who are not. The typical profile of a child in the best outcome group is one with some basic language, imitation and a multitude of available reinforcers. Auditory discrimination has been linked to the development of these early learning skills. By using the Assessment of Basic Learning Abilities ? Revised (ABLA-R) to assess a child’s ability to discriminate we can determine if they are likely to respond well to a typical ABA curriculum. If a child does not discriminate, it will be necessary to teach earlier developmental skills in visual and auditory discrimination, that when missing, are likely to hinder a child’s response to treatment. This presentation will focus on preliminary treatment modifications aimed to teach early discrimination skills identified from comparison studies between children with ASD and those that are typically developing between the ages of 0-1. If these early developmental discrimination skills are targeted in treatment before working on language, imitation and play skills, children with poor discrimination skills may more readily respond to intensive ABA treatment intervention techniques.

2:30 p.m. - 3:20 p.m. Auditorium (1.0 BACB Type II CEU)

Oo-Eei I'm Not The Witchdoctor: And Other Issues Related To The Practice Of Behavior Analysis. Lloyd Peterson


As an emerging field, there is much that needs to be clarified to other professionals and lay people alike for them to have a better understanding of what Behavior Analysts do and the science that drives our work. This discussion will address these issues and provide rationale why this is needed at this time and suggestions on how to begin educating others about our field.


1:30 p.m. - 2:50 p.m. Ballroom B (1.5 BACB Type II CEU)

Bridging the Gap Between Disciplines: Treatment Collaboration and Barriers.


Chair: Scott McPhee (University Pediatricians Autism Center)


Applied Behavior Analysis is a proven technique utilized with individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder and more. The breadth of individuals whom can benefit from intervention is vast, however the question arises how do we adapt these techniques to be effective with children who have medically complicated profiles? It is in out clients' best interest to establish an assisted collaborative relationship with other professionals. To start, we will discuss treatment considerations and modifications based on medically complex patients. Second, we will cover case examples that required communication and collaboration between medical professionals for coordination of care to facilitate a combination of medical and Applied Behavior Analysis treatment. Third, we will identify and provide examples of barriers to treatment concerning medically complex patients and working with insurance providers. Lastly, we will discuss the development of training processes for medical professionals to identify and refer patients for diagnosis and treatment based on the Wayne State University's, University Pediatricians Autism Center, Michigan AHEC, and the College of Education grant to expand autism initiatives in Michigan.


Modifications and Considerations Regarding Medically Complex Patients. Amber Navarro (University Pediatricians Autism Center), Erica Layer (University Pediatricians Autism Center) & Carly Bacinski (University Pediatricians Autism Center)


Several case studies will be presented with the goal of highlighting treatment strategies and modifications that were made based on the medical complexity of the individual. Profiles included rare seizure disorders, Hydrocephalus, ACC (Agenesis of Corpus Callosum), genetic diagnoses/Trisomy 18 and food refusal. Each case will describe initial case conceptualization, treatment modifications, communication with various professionals, and outcome measures to support progress made with each individual.


Barriers to Treatment Regarding Medically Complex Patients. Know their Rights! Amber Navarro (University Pediatricians Autism Center) & Carly Bacinski (University Pediatricians Autism Center).


Discussion will include case examples underlining struggles with collaborating with insurance providers. Specifically, strategies that proved effective and ineffective.


Developing Best Practices in Screening, Referral, and Behavioral Health Interventions. Scott McPhee (University Pediatricians Autism Center)


The University Pediatricians Autism Center (UPAC) in collaboration with Michigan AHEC and Wayne State University's College of Education recently received a grant to expand Autism Initiatives in Michigan. Part of that service is to provide training and education to health care professionals dealing with ASD. Discussion will introduce the initiative to improve quality of care by developing an inter-professional approach towards the treatment of ASD.


2:30 p.m. - 3:20 p.m. 310A (Multi-paper session) (1.0 BACB Type II CEU)
Teaching "Object-Substitution" Symbolic Play to Children with Autism. Gabrielle Lee (Michigan State University), Hua Feng (National ChangHua University of Education), & Sheng Xu (National Chongqing Normal University)


Children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) may not develop symbolic play skills naturally and need to be taught these skills. The purpose of the present study was to empirically verify the teaching procedure of “object substitution” symbolic play skills. Three children with ASD participated in this study. All children had basic verbal communications and demonstrated functional play with generalized imitation but did not show symbolic play skills. A multiple probe across behaviors design was used. After instruction, all children demonstrated object-substitution symbolic play skills and showed response generalization by providing novel responses.


Behavioral Support for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder in Conjunction with Computer-Delivered Reading Instruction. M. Y. Savana Bak (Michigan State University), Julie L. Thompson (Michigan State University), Hannah C. Goodell (Michigan State University), & Joshua B. Plavnick (Michigan State University)


Computer-delivered instruction is an evidence-based practice for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The systematic and consistent nature of computer-delivered instruction makes it ideal in teaching various skills to children with ASD. Headsprout Early Reading (HER) is a computer-delivered reading instruction program based on behavioral principles. Although intended for typically developing children, previous studies have shown that HER can be effective to teach children with ASD how to read. However, some children with ASD need additional individualized behavioral support with HER, such as a token economy system, to ensure sustained engagement and optimal learning. The investigators provided classroom support to implement HER for seven children with ASD between ages seven and eleven and analyzed the effects of individualized behavioral support on participants' progress in HER. Preliminary results show that a tiered behavioral support system may be needed to meet the various needs of children with ASD. Future implementation methods are also discussed.



Friday Keynote

 9:00 a.m. - 10:20 a.m.
Ballroom A - B (2nd Floor)



 Early Skills Assessment Tool
(1.0 BACB Type II CEU)


Rebecca MacDonald, Ph.D. BCBA-D
Program Director at the New England Center for Children

The Early Skills Assessment Tool (ESAT) includes measures of imitation, language, joint attention, play, and stereotypic behavior. Eighty-three children with autism (CWA), ages 1-, 2-, and 3- years old and 58 same-aged typically developing children were assessed using the ESAT. CWA were assessed at entry into an EIBI program and again after 1 year of treatment. While significant gains were seen in all children across all age groups, the greatest gains were seen in the children who entered treatment before their second birthday.


11:00 a.m. - 11:50 a.m. Auditorium

Collaborating Across Agencies Provides Continuum of Services


Chair: Christi Owens (Midland County Educational Service Agency),


Mary Schrier (Community Mental Health for Central Michigan), Katrina Rhymer (Department of Psychology), & Jennifer Woods (Midland County Educational Service Agency, Midland, Michigan) & Karen Wasson (Mid-Michigan Health)


A unique collaboration between Community Mental Health for Central Michigan (CMHCM), Department of Psychology at Central Michigan University (CMU), Midland County Educational Service Agency (MCESA), and MidMichigan Health has created a coordinated, comprehensive, family-centered service delivery model for families with children with Autism and other Neurodevelopmental Disorders. The Pediatric Center of Central Michigan provides medical, therapeutic, and educational services to children and families. Comprehensive services such as diagnostics, Applied Behavior Analysis, Occupational Therapy, Speech-Language Pathology, and social skills programs will be available. Parents are supported and guided through the treatment process, school transitions, medical appointments, and in community activities. The Support Team (family, school, mental health, and medical personnel) meet regularly to review treatment goals, analyze data, and problem-solve barriers. The Pediatric Center is temporarily housed within a Midland County ESA building and will move to a renovated ESA building following a fund development campaign.


The panel discussion will describe the process of the development of the Pediatric Center. The audience will learn how to begin similar collaborations in their own communities based on this model.


10:30 a.m. - 11:50 a.m. Ballroom A (1.5 BACB Type II CEU)

Teaching Imitation and Observational Learning to Children with Autism: Is More Research Needed?


Chair: Mindy Newhouse-Oisten (Western Michigan University)

Discussant: Jonathan C. Baker (Western Michigan University)


This symposium will provide a summary of the current research that has been conducted in the areas of teaching imitation and observational learning to children with autism. The efficacy of the procedures used in published studies on these topics, limitations of those studies, and suggestions for further research in these areas will be discussed. This symposium will end with a presentation describing one such study on observational learning.


A Review of Published Studies on Teaching Imitation to Children Diagnosed with Autism. Mindy Newhouse-Oisten(Western Michigan University) & Jessica E. Frieder (Western Michigan University)


Many children diagnosed with autism demonstrate deficits in imitation skills. Imitation is an important skill that allows individuals to learn through copying others, negating the need for more intrusive teaching procedures (e.g., physical prompts). Thus, need for effective interventions for teaching imitation to individuals with autism is crucial. This review examined articles describing empirical investigations of interventions attempting to teach imitation to children with autism lacking this repertoire. A brief summary of the research that has already been conducted in this area, and suggestions for future research, will be provided.


Observation Learning, Vicarious Reinforcement and Modeling in Individuals with Developmental Disabilities Including Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Review of Interventions. Ana Duenas (Michigan State University) & Joshua Plavnick (Michigan State University)


Observational Learning (OL) has implications for social skills learning and development across a variety of settings, especially in the educational inclusion setting. Despite a promising surge of OL interventions for individuals with developmental disabilities, there is little consistency in the use of terms for observation learning (Greer,D.R,Dudek-Singer, J. & Gautreaux, G., 2006). The literature for observational learning has often treated "observational learning," "modeling," "imitation," and "vicarious reinforcement" interchangeably. The lack of a definitive and operational definition of OL makes it difficult to assess progress in the intervention literature. There is an evident need for a systematic review of the literature in observational learning that can help determine high-quality standards of research in this area and provide an overall status of intervention outcomes (Plavnick & Hume, 2014). To date, only one systematic literature review exists that examines OL research in individuals with ASD (Townley-Cochran, Leaf, Taubman, Leaf & McEachin, 2015). The current systematic review is an extension of this review by broadening OL terms to vicarious reinforcement and modeling in order to develop a more comprehensive understanding of existing treatments for individuals with developmental disabilities including ASD. The aim of this literature review is to update and extend the findings of Townley-Cochran, Leaf, Taubman, Leaf & McEachin, 2015).


A Preliminary Assessment of Sensitivity to Observed Consequences Among Children with Autism. Tiffany Stauch (Michigan State University) & Joshua Plavnick (Michigan State University)


Behavioral and observational learning theories would both suggest the observed consequence is likely an important part of video modeling, though the impact of this variable has been minimally investigated in previous video modeling research. This study examined sensitivity to observed consequences among 3 children with autism spectrum disorders. A multi-element design was used to evaluate differential responding across three experimental conditions during a video modeling procedure. Conditions included no reinforcement, observed reinforcement, and observed and direct reinforcement. Results suggest intermittent presentation of the observed reinforcement condition can decrease the reliability of matched responding by participants. Conversely, responding of children with ASD was more reliable during a phase with only the no reinforcement or observed and direct reinforcement conditions.


10:30 a.m. - 11:50 a.m. 310B (1.5 BACB Type II CEU)

Teaching Children Who Do Not Demonstrate Repertories Critical for Academic Success


Chair: Katie Mahaffy (Western Michigan University)

Discussant: Richard W. Malott (Western Michigan University)


Applied behavior analysis has been rigorously demonstrated to be an effective approach to treating children with autism. A large number of studies have shown significant improvements in participants who received Discrete Trial Training (DTT). However, studies with many participants consistently report finding a group of students who fail to make much progress with the traditional Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention (EIBI) treatment package. A concern, therefore, of everyone providing early intervention should be to determine why these children do not make adequate progress. It is possible that the standard EIBI treatment package assumes that learners have prerequisite skills that some children do not demonstrate. Even the most basic skills require some level of environmental awareness and attending to relevant stimuli. For example, simple visual discrimination is a prerequisite skill for conditional visual discrimination. Simple and conditional discrimination repertoires are critical components of many skills necessary for daily functioning, including communication, academic, and daily-living skills. It is also crucial to be able to identify effective reinforcers for each learner. This presentation consists of four studies, each of which addressed one of the following areas of concern for lower functioning students with autism: teaching auditory and visual discriminations, teaching imitation, and promoting successful transitions to other classrooms.


Simple and Conditional Visual Discrimination Training for Children with Autism. Blaire Michelin (Michigan University) & Richard W. Malott (Western Michigan University)


Numerous everyday living skills rely on an individual having an extensive conditional discrimination repertoire. Some children with autism show difficulty in acquiring conditional discriminations, which can lead to delayed progress through classroom curricula. Green (2001) stated that it has been demonstrated that teaching simple visual discrimination tasks help cultivate the development of more complex visual discriminations. Even though some children with autism show difficulty in acquiring conditional discriminations, these individuals can acquire conditional discriminations after training on simple visual discriminations. The purpose of this study was to teach two individuals with autism simple and conditional visual discrimination tasks. Once the simple discrimination procedure was mastered, a conditional visual discrimination procedure was implemented. Both children had previously mastered classroom matching-to-sample procedures, but the skills failed to maintain. Simple and conditional visual discrimination were taught using trial-and-error and within-stimulus prompts.


Teaching Children with Autism Who Have Difficulty Mastering Auditory Discriminations. Sarah Lichtenberger (Western Michigan University) & Richard W. Malott (Western Michigan University)


Simple and conditional visual and auditory discrimination repertoires are critical components of many skills necessary for daily functioning, including communication, academic, and daily-living skills (Green, 2001). When auditory discrimination is not under instructional stimulus control it can result in delayed acquisition of new skills and limit academic progress. The purpose of this study was to teach auditory discrimination to children with autism who had little-to-no progress on classroom procedures that required auditory discrimination, such as selecting an object from an array when given the name of the object as the instruction. Auditory discrimination will be taught starting with teaching a particular motor response in the presence of an environmental sound, then slowly introducing other sound and response pairings. The procedure will use a variety of teaching methods based on the learner's? progress. Trial-and-error, shaping, and physical prompts will be used to aid in the acquisition of discrimination skills.


Using Shaping to Establish Imitative Repertoires. Jennifer Mrljak (Western Michigan University) & Richard W. Malott (Western Michigan University)


Some children with autism are unable to acquire imitation despite receiving applied behavior analysis therapy meant to teach that and other important repertoires. Many ABA programs utilize physical prompting hierarchies either as a component of the discriminative stimulus or the correction procedure after an error. But even after lengthy exposure to these teaching techniques some children still do not acquire imitative responses. This study evaluated the use of shaping as a method to establish imitative motor responses in children who were not demonstrating any imitative behaviors under the control of the model’s behavior. The primary differences from common teaching methods included reinforcing approximations to the target behavior and increasing the response requirements incrementally over time, in addition to increasing the duration of the model’s actions and fading that over time. Three participants acquired a variety of imitative responses.


Transitioning Children with Autism from 1-on-1 Settings to Full-Time Special Education Classrooms. Jennifer Freeman (Western Michigan University) & Richard W. Malott (Western Michigan University)


The goal of many early intensive behavioral intervention (EIBI) programs is to prepare children with autism to be successful in less restrictive environments. However, few studies have detailed the steps necessary to promote a successful transition to these educational settings. We two children who received 20 hours a week of 1:1 ABA treatment at the Kalamazoo Autism Center and were enrolled part-time in a special education pre-school classroom transitioned to a full-time educational setting. With the goal of aiding each child during their transition, this study involved periodic evaluations of each child’s progress. The data of past and current curricula were examined, and treatment goals were determined using the Verbal Behavior Milestones Assessment and Placement Program (VB-MAPP), especially the barriers and transitions assessments. We also collaborated with the child’s teachers to collect information on the criteria educators used to determine success in each classroom. Our intervention focused on increasing identified skills necessary for success in a less restrictive environment, reduction of specific barriers to learning and less on the acquisition of additional academic skills.


11:00 a.m. - 11:50 a.m. Room 352

Functional Behavior Assessment Panel Discussion. Stephanie Peterson (Western Michigan University), Wayne Fuqua (Western Michigan University), James T. Todd (Eastern Michigan University) & others TBA


Presentation and discussion of the creation of state-level guidelines and standards for the implementation of Functional Behavior Assessments. What is an FBA? Who is qualified to conduct and interpret FBAs?


11:00 a.m. - 11:50 a.m. 310A (1.0 BACB Type II CEU)
Application of Treatment Integrity Protocols Using a Train-to-Train Model in a Clinical Setting. Emily Morris (Spark Center for Autism), Reena Naami (Spark Center for Autism), & Elizabeth Speer (Spark Center for Autism)


Treatment integrity refers to the extent to which an independent variable is implemented as designed. Previous research on treatment integrity has explored the relation between different levels of integrity and effects on treatment outcome, Carroll et al (2013), and effects of different training procedures on levels of integrity, Koegel et. At (1977). The current research looks to expand on the existing body of literature by exploring the implementation of treatment integrity protocols for the purpose of staff training in a clinical setting. The current study applies a train to train model to explore skill acquisition using component based treatment integrity forms for implementing both discrete-trials and natural environment training for direct care staff. A multiple baseline across staff members was used to evaluate a training package used to train direct care staff on the implementation of Discrete-trials. A multiple component treatment design was used to evaluate three forms of instruction and their effects on skills acquisition for implementation of natural environment training. The importance of incorporating treatment integrity standards in practice will be discussed along with suggestions for future areas of research.


11:00 a.m. - 11:50 a.m. Room 320

What Behavior Analysts Should Know about IQ Testing in Children with Autism. Carol R. Freedman-Doan (Eastern Michigan Unviesrity) & Kira Boneff (Eastern Michigan University)


Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) show characteristic profiles on standardized measures of intelligence, characterized by strengths on certain indexes and subtests and weaknesses on others. These strengths and weaknesses have important implications for behavior analysts working with children with autism. This presentation provides an overview of the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC-V), the most widely used IQ battery, followed by typical WISC-V profiles seen in children with autism. Recent findings indicate that the subtests, Naming Speed Literacy and the Symbol Translation, are most consistently related to adaptive functioning and behavior symptoms in children with ASD and language deficits. ASD children with attention and social skills problems, as well as lack of resiliency, demonstrate problems in memory and fluency in language processing. Based on the IQ profiles of children with autism, we recommend steps behavior analysts can take to improve interventions for children with autism.


Lunch 12:00- 1:00 (On your own)


Friday 1:00 p.m. - 3:50 p.m. Room 300 (3.0 BACB Type II CEU)
Acting Out: Learning BACB Ethics and Problem-Solving Strategies through Interactive Team-based Learning. Wayne Fuqua, Ph.D., BCBA-D (Western Michigan University)


Presentation Type: 3-hour workshop

Workshop Cost: $50

Workshop Attendance Limit: 50


This workshop is designed primarily for practitioners who have some familiarity with the Professional and Ethical Compliance Code for Behavior Analysis from the Behavior Analysis Certification Board (BACB) and wish to improve their skills to (a) identify and analyze ethical challenges, (b) develop strategies to resolve ethical challenges, (c) refine their skills to tactfully and effectively resolve ethical challenges, and (d) obtain CEUs in the ethics domain as required for BACB recertification. Others, including licensed psychologists, who are interested in applying BACB ethical guidelines to real-world ethical challenges in practice and research are also encouraged to attend. Participants should be prepared to describe and discuss real world ethics cases in a manner that protects the identity of those individuals involved in the ethics cases.


Objectives: At the conclusion of the workshop, the participant will be able to: (1) identify and analyze ethical challenges; (2) identify and troubleshoot strategies to resolve ethical challenges; (3) refine their skills to tactfully and effectively resolve ethical challenges.

Activities: This workshop will include very limited lecture content. Emphasis will be placed on small group activities and discussion, role plays, guided practice and fluency building exercises.


Audience: Intermediate level. This workshop assumes some familiarity with the Professional and Ethical Compliance Code for Behavior Analysis from the Behavior Analysis Certification Board (BACB).


1:00 p.m. - 1:50 a.m. Room 352
Behavior Development Solutions-Open Meeting


This will be a meeting of current and prospective university ABA program directors and faculty who use the CBA Learning Module Series. The purpose of this meeting is to ensure that these program directors and faculty are getting the most out of the CBA Learning Module Series administrative features. The program has new features and reports that we believe are invaluable to student progress tracking and comparing cohort progress to everyone who uses the CBA Learning Module Series. We are also interested in receiving input from faculty on their ideas for features that could improve the program.


Contact Info:

Stephen E. Eversole (Behavior Development Solutions


1:00-1:50 p.m. Auditorium (1.0 BACB Type II CEU)

The Theoretical, Philosophical, and Conceptual Evolution of Psychology-I. Jay Moore (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee)


This two-hour presentation will adopt a historical orientation and review the theoretical, philosophical and conceptual evolution of psychology. The first hour begins with the traditional schools in the latter 19th and early 20th century, and progresses to the rise of cognitive psychology in the middle of the 20th century. Among the topics considered are classical behaviorism, methodological behaviorism, mediational neobehaviorism, mentalism, and the beginnings of Skinner’s radical behaviorism as an alternative. The second hour compares and contrasts the mentalism of traditional--cognitive psychology with radical behaviorism, particularly in the areas of scientific verbal behavior and scientific epistemology. The conclusion is that traditional behavioral science has not made a greater contribution to society because it remains dominated by mentalistic concerns, and that behavior analysis offers a pragmatic alternative.


1:00 p.m. -1:50 p.m. 310B (1.0 BACB Type II CEU)

The Worst Kept Secrets for Successful School-BCBA Collaboration. Stephanie Peterson (Western Michigan University), Rebecca Wiskirchen (Western Michigan University), & Denice Rios (Western Michigan University)


The majority of behavior analysts have degrees in education, however the second largest degree program producing behavior analysts is psychology. Thus, many behavior analysts who end up collaborating with classroom teachers may have little or no school experience. This lack of experience in schools could be problematic in effective collaboration between educators and behavior analysts. Researchers in organizational behavior management in the human service settings have provided the field with many good strategies for how to motivate staff. This presentation will review these strategies, focusing heavily on information from the work of Reid and Parsons (2006), and applying them to educational settings.


1:00 p.m. - 1:50 a.m. 310A
Developing and Validating a Five-Item Screener to Sample Relevant Psychiatric Variables in a Clinical Sample. Prachi Mohile (University of Windsor), Jesse Baker (University of Windsor), Laszlo Erdodi (University of Windsor) & Robert Roth (Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth)


Monitoring mood states is a core measurement task in clinical settings. Assessing the level of depression and anxiety is an essential component during intake evaluations, comprehensive neuropsychological evaluations, diagnostic considerations and measuring treatment outcome. However, the cost of administering a gold standard instrument can be prohibitive or clinically counter-indicated. Further, many self-report inventories are subject to measurement artifacts such as scaling, choice of verbal anchors, idiosyncratic interpretation of items, etc. We developed a brief screening instrument (V-5) using a visual analogue scale to provide a quick measure of depression, anxiety, energy, pain and fatigue. The V-5 has simple instructions grounded in five key words and can be administered to most clinical patients in under one minute. Scoring can be completed in 20-30 seconds. Data suggest good convergent validity with established instruments as well as sensitivity to time-related fluctuations in the more volatile constructs. The V-5 has the potential to be used in clinical and research settings that require multiple, repeated, inexpensive brief measures of one or more of the five target constructs, while placing minimal demands on the examinees? reading ability. In the current health care climate of increasingly diverse patient populations and growing volume pressures, the V-5 could provide a practical solution to changing demands in mental health services by helping clinicians adapt to evolving systemic challenges in delivering high quality assessment in a variety of settings.


2:00-2:50 p.m. Auditorium (1.0 BACB Type II CEU)
The Theoretical, Philosophical, and Conceptual Evolution of Psychology-II. Jay Moore (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee)


This two-hour presentation will adopt a historical orientation and review the theoretical, philosophical and conceptual evolution of psychology. The first hour begins with the traditional schools in the latter 19th and early 20th century, and progresses to the rise of cognitive psychology in the middle of the 20th century. Among the topics considered are classical behaviorism, methodological behaviorism, mediational neobehaviorism, mentalism, and the beginnings of Skinner’s radical behaviorism as an alternative. The second hour compares and contrasts the mentalism of traditional--cognitive psychology with radical behaviorism, particularly in the areas of scientific verbal behavior and scientific epistemology. The conclusion is that traditional behavioral science has not made a greater contribution to society because it remains dominated by mentalistic concerns, and that behavior analysis offers a pragmatic alternative.


2:00 p.m. - 2:50 a.m. Room 310B (1.0 BACB Type II CEU)
Applications of Behavior Analysis in School Settings: Lessons Learned Through Collaboration. Jessica E. Frieder (Western Michigan University), Andrew Bulla (Western Michigan University), & Allaina Sheltrown (Western Michigan University)


The current presentation highlights the applications of behavior analysis in school settings. Specifically, this symposium will discuss a collaborative effort between a mid-western university and a local intermediate school district. First, an overview of how behavior analysis can be applied in school settings will be given. Next, several strategies and tips for how to effectively work with schools, classroom teachers, and ancillary staff will be discussed. Lastly, case studies will be highlighted demonstrating the outcomes for students who received behavior analytic services throughout the school year.


2:00 p.m. - 2:50 a.m. 310A

Is Language Proficiency a Necessary Construct to Explain Verbal Behavior? English as a Second Language Status as a Confound in the Interpretation of Verbal Tests during Neuropsychological Assessment. Meriam Issa (University of Windsor), Jesse Baker (University of Windsor), & Laszlo Erdodi (University of Windsor)


The fundamental difference in assumptions underlying Chomsky’s nativist view on language acquisition and Skinner’s focus on operant learning theory in defining verbal behavior has long been polarizing the discourse on the origin and development of language. Academic discussions tend to center around the fit between data and theoretical models. Philosophical debates rarely produce results that are directly relevant to applied settings. Nevertheless, the nature of language becomes a practical matter in certain contexts. For example, when standard neuropsychological tests designed for and normed on native speakers are administered to examinees who speak English as a second language (ESL), language proficiency is a major confound in the clinical interpretation of test data. Although they may be able to comprehend and follow test instructions and thus, engage in successful verbal behaviors, ESL examinees may be unable to demonstrate their true cognitive abilities the test is ultimately meant to measure due to subtle, but important limitations in their verbal skills. As a result, it is unclear whether low scores reflect incomplete language acquisition or acquired neurocognitive deficits, which is a key clinical question. The implications of this dilemma to diagnosing, managing and monitoring neurological impairments are far reaching. We present empirical data from a sample of English-Arabic bilinguals to model the effects of language proficiency on performance on neuropsychological tests, and discuss ways to enhance the diagnostic accuracy of verbally mediated cognitive tests in individuals with limited English proficiency.


2:30 p.m. - 2:50 p.m. Room 352

Parental Impact of Child-Focused Autism Treatment. Shelby Wilson (The University of Michigan-Dearborn), Nancy Howells Wrobel (The University of Michigan - Dearborn), & Justin W. Peer (The University of Michigan-Dearborn)


This study examined the association between aspects of treatment for children with autism spectrum disorder and parenting stress (PS). A sample of 71 caregivers was collected. Caregivers ranged in age from 23 to over 47 and their children were ages 2 to 18. The vast majority of caregivers were female (93%) and mothers (88.7%). The Parenting Stress Index-Short Form, Behavior Problems Inventory-Short Form, Therapeutic Alliance Scales for Caregivers and Parents, and Parent Improvement Scale (Child Improvement) were used to measure parenting stress, child problem behaviors, and treatment related factors. Correlations between all treatment variables were calculated. A hierarchical multiple regression was conducted to examine if treatment related variables, in addition to problem behaviors, contribute to parenting stress. Lastly, a stepwise multiple regression was conducted to determine which treatment factor best predicted parenting stress. As predicted, a strong, positive correlation was found between perceived improvement and therapeutic alliance. Regression analyses revealed that problem behavior is the best predictor of parenting stress, followed by perceived improvement. Practitioners should consider these factors when working with the parents of their clients, and child service agencies should strive to provide supports to help caregivers cope with the stress of bringing a child to treatment on a regular basis.


2:30-3:50 p.m. Ballroom A

Job and Practicum Fair


BAAM's annual Job and Practicum Fair will feature presentations by local and regional organizations and agencies that hire behavior analysts and sponsor practicum opportunities. Following the formal presentations, job seekers may meet with representatives of the agencies and organizations.


3:00 p.m. - 3:50 p.m. 352
Autoclitics of Order and Syntactic Constructions. Robert J. Dlouhy (Western Michigan University)


Among the various types of autoclitics Skinner introduced in Verbal Behavior, the relational autoclitic of order is possibly the most important for explaining the regularity of verbal responses. All languages depend on sequences of responses to some degree, and in many cases listeners appear to be affected not only by a speaker’s individual responses but by their order of emission as well. Skinner did not discuss this autoclitic at length, but a linguistically-informed reading of his passage on it can lead to a behavior-analytic account of the classes of phrases and clauses ? syntactic constructions ? in a language. It is argued here that syntactic constructions are response products of contingencies which sequence their constituent responses. Furthermore, as a verbal stimulus for the listener, the sequence of responses itself can act as a discriminative stimulus for the relations between the constituents. If these claims are true, a promising link might be developed with a recent movement in American syntactic theory called Construction Grammar. This theory holds that a language consists of a large set of phrasal and clausal patterns, each of which specifies the relations between its constituents. Since this is what relational autoclitics of order do, it seems that the two approaches can inform each other. Construction grammar can provide details about relations between the constituents, and hence controlling variables, while behavior analysis can provide an account of how such behaviors can be learned.


3:00 p.m. - 3:50 p.m. Auditorium (Multi-paper session) (1.0 BACB Type II CEU)
Expanding Functional Assessment of Obesity-Causing Eating Behavior - The Operant Cluster. Michael Reynolds (Western Michigan University) & R. Wayne Fuqua (Western Michigan University)


Obesity is a common medical condition associated with negative health and social outcomes. Obesity has a primary malleable behavioral cause, eating more calories than are metabolized. While metabolic rate is malleable with exercise, eating can more quickly add calories than exercising can subtract them. In the past, behavioral weight-loss treatment studies have shown reliable patterns of participant weight-loss during treatment and weight-regain in follow-up. Those findings could be conceptualized as an ABA withdrawal design, eating behavior returns to baseline after the prosthetic contingencies of the treatment study are withdrawn. The goal of behavioral treatments is to enable clients to be their own treatment providers, so we must develop ways to measure the behaviors that enable control of eating behavior. This project begins the development of a seven-term functional assessment screening tool geared towards measuring the four-term operant for eating behavior; and a novel expansion that include behaviors functionally related to the antecedents, consequences, and motivating operations of eating behavior. The functional assessment screening tool, the Behavioral Activation for Depression Scale - SF, and the Acceptance and Action Questionnaire - II were completed online by 299 participants. High-BMI and Low-BMI comparison groups responded significantly differently from one another in questions related to 5 of 7 terms. An “Eating for Joy” positive reinforcement group responded significantly differently than an ?Eating for Hunger Reduction? negative reinforcement group on 3 of 7 terms. These findings are consistent with expectations and encourage continued future development of the operant cluster functional assessment screening tool for obesity.

The Value of Percentile Schedules as a Shaping Procedure: Explanation, Empirical Validation, and Technology for Applied Implementation. Eric French (Central Michigan University), Robert D. Wyse (Central Michigan University), & Mark P. Reilly (Central Michigan University, Mt. Pleasant, Michigan)


Percentile schedules have been used within basic and applied settings as a technology to both study and generate response differentiation. Unlike traditional shaping procedures a percentile schedule determines reinforcement criteria based upon an ordinal rank of the current response compared to previous responses on any quantitative dimension of behavior. Reinforcement criteria is determined by establishing (1) the number of previous responses to compare against (m) and (2) the probability of reinforcement (w) prior to percentile schedule implementation. Selection of values for m and w is guided by the desired sensitivity to an organism’s recent performance and the intermittency of reinforcer deliveries. This talk will guide the audience through the reinforcement criteria calculations, present experimental data elucidating how the dual processes of reinforcement and extinction affect upcoming behavior, and present two programs designed to facilitate clinical use of percentile schedules. In the experiment, a percentile schedule was successfully used to increase inter-response times (IRTs) in rats. Conditional calculations dependent on whether the previous IRT was reinforced were used to determine the role of both reinforcement and extinction on the upcoming IRT duration. Notably, the IRTs were accompanied by a decrease in the overall rate of reinforcement, suggesting reinforcer immediacy controlled IRT durations. In tandem with the experiment, an excel workbook and an online platform were designed to assist with the use of percentile schedules in applied settings. The programs automatize reinforcer delivery decisions based upon user-inputted percentile variables (m and w) and quantifiable observations of an organism's behavior.



3:00-3:50 p.m. 310A

How to Get Into Graduate School. Alissa Huth-Bocks (Eastern Michigan University) & Caitlyn Sorensen (Eastern MIchigan University)


Advice, guidance, and hints about getting into graduate school. Will cover GRE, letters of recommendation, statement of purpose, selecting a school, masters versus doctorate, Psy.D. versus Ph.D., how many schools to apply to, meeting dates and deadlines, interviewing, and many more topics. Will include question-and-answer period.


Poster Session and Social Hour

Ballroom B
4:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.


Acceptability of ABA Training in a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Rehabilitation Center. Rachel Armstrong (Eastern Michigan University), Claudia Drossel, (Eastern Michigan University), Ted Allaire (Eastern Michigan University), & Matt Dwyer (Eastern Michigan University)


The present study evaluated the acceptability of a 90-minute, introductory Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) training by direct care staff employed at a residential rehabilitation center for individuals with moderate to severe Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). The first author (RA) had generated this introductory ABA training based on available modules for staff of individuals with developmental disabilities. Staff members provided ratings of interest, importance, and utility of the training, as well as preferences for content and presentation of the information. In summary, ratings suggest that staff perceived the training as very interesting, important, and useful. Staff members indicated that that they would utilize most of the information presented, but there was differential perceived utility per training domain and format. These data will be reviewed, and implications for future staff training and measurement-based care will be discussed.


Acquisition of Language for Learning Skills with a Young Child with Autism. Kourtney Bakalyar (Western Michigan University), Mindy Newhouse-Oisten (Western Michigan University), & Jessica E. Frieder (Western Michigan University)


The Language for Learning program was used to increase verbal communication for a four-year-old with an autism spectrum disorder. The child has been receiving early intervention for a year and has seen a decrease in problem behavior and increase in verbal communication; however, the most recent Verbal Behavior Milestones Assessment and Placement Program (VB-MAPP) presented the need for Direct Instruction for communication. The participant has been completing the Language for Learning lessons during his typically occurring intervention sessions, four to five days a week. For each lesson, trial-by-trial data were collected noting a correct or incorrect response to each trial requiring a verbal or physical response from the child. The child was presented with the next lesson when he responded to 90% of the trials correctly. Data will be displayed in both bar and line graphs showing sessions-to-criterion. Preliminary data demonstrate the participant needed a single lesson (example: Book A, Lesson 2) presented multiple days before reaching the mastery criterion. As the lessons progressed, fewer repeated lessons have been needed and many lessons only required one presentation.


Assessment and Treatment of Multiply Maintained Self-Injury with Protective Equipment in a Child with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Elizabeth Starrett (Judson Center), Audrey Torma (Judson Center), Jacob Papazian (Judson Center), & Sarah Bretz (Judson Center)


In this study an in-vivo functional analysis was utilized to determine the function of self-injury targeted towards the wrist and knees shown in a nine year old female diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. In previous functional assessments, Jane demonstrated significant reactivity when changing environments resulting in indistinguishable results making a traditional functional assessment unviable. An in vivo functional analysis was chosen based on the assessments ability to maintain structure of her day both in the environment and staffing. Staff were able to continue to run Jane’s normal programing with no loss of direct instruction. Interpretable results were collected indicating multiple functions in the form of attention from staff and escape from demands. Treatments implemented to decrease the self-injurious behavior included providing differential reinforcement for appropriate behaviors in the form of attention, and the application of protective equipment during escape extinction trials. Having Jane wear wrist and knee guards decreased the potential for injury and offered a practical alternative. We are extending the current literature by providing evidence for the use of in-vivo functional analyses to not only produce discriminable results but further aid in the reduction of challenging behavior.


Attempts to Reduce Elopement Using Blocking, a Time-Out Procedure, and Differential Reinforcement. Sydney Harbaugh (Western Michigan University), Allison Beveridge (Western Michigan University), Kelly Kohler (Western Michigan University), & Richard W. Malott (Western Michigan University)


The present study aimed to decrease elopement in a child diagnosed with autism to better prepare him for future classrooms and community events. After interviewing classroom teachers and staff at his special needs school, elopement was identified as the main concern for the teachers and his family. The participant is five years old and received 4 years of discrete trial training before recently transitioning to a special needs kindergarten classroom. The existing literature addressing elopement is limited, however some studies have found differential reinforcement and blocking to be effective interventions for decreasing elopement (Piazza, 1997) (Call, 2011). The interventions used in this study included social reinforcement, blocking, and a time-out procedure. Sessions were conducted at various locations in the community such as parks, grocery stores, and walking trails. Results showed that elopements could be decreased to near zero levels using the above-mentioned treatment package. After systematically removing praise from the intervention performance maintained suggesting the time-out procedure and blocking were the more crucial variables.


Behavior Analysis Training System (BATS) Graduate Program at Western Michigan Universit. Richard W. Malott(Western Michigan University), Taylor Clements (Western Michigan University), Avery Blackburn (Western Michigan University)


The students in the BATS program are trained as practitioners and complete coursework to become competent Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA) in two years. Throughout the program our students acquire a solid foundation in the principles and concepts of behavior analysis through completion of two practical MA projects rather than an MA thesis. Our students also attain early, intensive, behavioral intervention skills, supervision experience, and time management skills.


A Behavioral Analytic Perspective Analysis of Non-Prescriptive Stimulant Use. Matthew Dwyer (Eastern Michigan University), Imani Byrd (Eastern Michigan University), & Claudia Drossel (Eastern Michigan University)


Within the last two decades, prescription use of stimulants in the U.S. has increased eleven-fold (NIDA, 2014). Behavior analysts are likely to encounter children, adolescents, and adults who are using stimulants obtained via prescription or illicitly (e.g., as ?cognitive enhancers?). The poster will provide a brief overview of stimulants, describe common effects, and summarize results from experimental pharmacology, including operant self-administration, drug discrimination, and behavioral economic and choice procedures. Based on the range of effects produced by stimulants, we will suggest that stimulant use should be approached from a single subject experimental perspective, with a focus on the function of use.


Compounded Discriminative Stimuli Fail to Generate Higher Response Rates than Either Alone when Discrimination Training Involves Intersession Component Alternations of a Multiple Schedule. Courtney E. Hannula (Central Michigan University), Michael A. Brooks (Central Michigan University), & Mark P. Reilly (Central Michigan University)


One form of stimulus compounding involves the simultaneous presentation of two independently established discriminative stimuli. A common effect of such manipulations is that the compound stimulus produces higher rates of responding compared to the rates produced by the separately presented stimuli. This increase in responding, known as additive summation, has been demonstrated in previous stimulus-compounding research using traditional multiple schedules in which components alternate within the same session every few minutes. The goal of the present study was to develop a procedure that would allow testing of compounded interoceptive stimuli such as drugs. Due to the prolonged stimulus duration of drugs, the use of traditional multiple schedules is not feasible. Therefore, lever-pressing in rats was brought under stimulus control using a 3-ply multiple schedule in which components alternated daily. Light and tone stimuli each separately signaled the availability of food under random-interval 60-s schedules. Extinction was signaled by the absence of those stimuli. These three components alternated across (i.e. daily) rather than within sessions. Following acquisition, light and tone were presented simultaneously during probes to evaluate compounding effects. No evidence of additive summation, characterized by greater responding in the presence of the compound, was observed during probes. The separation of the stimulus components across sessions seems to be the reason summation effects were not observed in our study, given that additive summation is reliably demonstrated in studies using within-session procedures. It could be that close temporal juxtaposition of the stimulus components during training is necessary for producing additive summation effects.


Decreasing Problem Behavior During Transitions to Different Activities. Melanie Pomaville (Western Michigan University), Britney DeYoung (Western Michigan University), Blaire Michelin (Western Michigan University), & Richard W. Malott (Western Michigan University)


Studies have shown that noncompliance while transitioning from one activity to another decreases the amount of time that can be spent engaging in academic learning. Transitions from high-preferred to low-preferred activities have reported to demonstrate a high prevalence of problem behaviors. The introduction of an intervening activity between high-preferred and low-preferred activities has shown to result in shorter pauses during transitions with fewer problem behaviors (Steimer, 2012). The purpose of this study was to decrease noncompliant behaviors exhibited during transitions through the implementation of an intervening activity. The intervention was implemented in a preschool special education classroom with a child that was diagnosed with autism. The child displayed frequent noncompliance while transitioning between high-preferred activities and low-preferred activities. The intervention began with a preference assessment to determine the student’s highest and lowest preferred activities in the classroom. The intervening activity served as a moderately preferred activity to interrupt a typical transition from a high-preferred activity to a low-preferred activity. This study assessed two different conditions: high-to-low preferred activities and high-to-moderate-to-low preferred activities. We expect to see a decrease in the frequency of problem behavior and an increase in compliant behavior as a result of the intervening activity. This intervention may provide the behavior analytic community with a procedure to decrease noncompliant behavior during transitions between activities, so that more appropriate and functional skills can be learned.


Decreasing Unsafe Lifting Techniques to Reduce Back Injuries in the Workplace. Alexis Robinson (Spark Center for Autism) & Emily Morris (Spark Center for Autism)


Back injuries are the number one cause of injury in the workplace nationwide ("Back Safety Course Menu", n.d.). At the Spark Center for Autism, three employees have reported back injuries in the past year that were severe enough to result in time away from work. A number of safety training resources have identified behaviors that may increase the risk of a back injury in a workplace ("Back Safety-Introduction", n.d.). Positive practice and overcorrection contingencies have been used in the field of applied behavior analysis to decrease target behaviors (Caery & Bucher, 1983). The purpose of the current study is to evaluate the effect of positive practice and overcorrection in combination with the differential reinforcement of alternative behaviors (DRA) to decrease the occurrence of behaviors that often precede back injuries and the increase appropriate bending and lifting behaviors.


Degraded Performance During Stimulus-Stimulus Pairing as a Possible Indicator of Developmental Apraxia. Jason Majchrzak (Henry Ford Health Systems) & Christy Schweitzer (Henry Ford Health Systems)


Developmental Apraxia of speech (DAS) is a disorder of motor planning and motor control for speech. The primary deficit for children with this disorder is a reduced ability to convert abstract phonological information to motor speech commands (Murray et al, 2015). These deficits are present from the earliest stages of speech development and can continue through school-age. In severe cases, or in cases with other concomitant developmental disorders, the effects be can life-long. There is currently no single diagnostic marker (either neurological or behavioral) for DAS. A diagnosis is generally made based on inconsistent speech features, coarticulation errors, impaired prosody, and nonspeech oral motor skills (Murray et al, 2015). In the present case study, a stimulus-stimulus intervention package; based on Sundberg, Michael, Partington, and Sundberg (1996); was used to increase the number of vocalizations made by a 3-year-old boy with Autism and suspected DAS. In an ABAB reversal design, 5 minutes of baseline data was collected, separating target from non-target sounds. After 5 days, each consisting of three, 5-minute stimulus-stimulus training procedures, a 5 minute post-pairing procedure was performed to measure the effect of training. Results indicated a reduction in vocalizations from baseline to post-pairing of at least 55% (first AB: baseline average of 13.5 vocalizations to post-pairing of 6 vocalizations; second AB: baseline average of 48.5 vocalizations to post-pairing of 6 vocalizations). Implications may include using stimulus-stimulus intervention in order to diagnose or further substantiate a DAS diagnosis in children with Autism Spectrum Disorders.


Differential prediction of Alcohol versus Drug Use Problems by Urgency and (Lack of) Premeditation. Amy V. Paggeot (Eastern Michigan University), Renee A. Romer (Eastern Michigan University), Erica Szkody (Eastern Michigan University), E. Julia Bush (Eastern Michigan University)


Impulsivity has long been hypothesized to predispose individuals to alcohol and drug abuse. However, impulsivity has been difficult to define, and appears to consist of multiple different latent traits. While a number of methods have been proposed to better assess the set of traits comprising impulsivity, some of the most often correlated with alcohol and drug abuse include monetary delay discounting and the UPPS self-report scales. Previous studies have shown that there may also be distinctions in the relationship between various factors of impulsivity and alcohol use problems, and between impulsivity and some illegal drug use problems. The purpose of the present study is to compare the relative predictive power of the four UPPS self-report impulsivity scales (Urgency, [lack of] Premeditation, [lack of] Perseverance, and Sensation Seeking) and a monetary delay discounting task in predicting self-reported alcohol and drug use problem scores in a large sample of college students (N = 1108). Our findings suggest that Urgency and Premeditation are significant and unique predictors of alcohol use problems when all UPPS subscales and log k values from the delay discounting task are included in a regression equation. When examining drug use problems, only Urgency is a significant predictor. Study implications and limitations will be discussed.


Drooling Reduction: The Implementation of a Variable Time Schedule. Allura Malcolm (Central Autism Assessment and Treatment Center), Alesha Bove (Autism Assessment and Treatment Center), Christie Nutkins (Central Autism Assessment and Treatment Center), & Michael Palmer (Central Autism Assessment and Treatment Center)


Drooling seems to be more frequent among children with ASD when compared to typically developing peers. Excluding medical exceptions, it is theorized that this increase in frequency is due to the behavior being automatically maintained. In this intervention, a variable time schedule was used to decrease instances of drooling in a four-year-old child with ASD. Drooling consisted of saliva collecting on the lower lip or chin; during the intervention phase, a combination of verbal and modeling prompts to swallow were utilized to increase the child's self-awareness of drooling. Utilizing a withdrawal design, undergraduate and graduate clinicians collected baseline and intervention data during earned play times. The data collected presented a significant decrease in instances of drooling. The results of this intervention suggest that the benefits derived from this intervention warrant further exploration and research.


The Effects of Auditory Stimulation Through Music and Stereotypy Recording on Vocal Stereotypy in a Child with Autism. Lauren Phillips (Judson Center Autism Connections), Jennifer Whorl (Judson Center Autism Connections), Madeleine Levin (Judson Center Autism Connections), Maija Graudins (Judson Center Autism Connections), & Emily Besecker (Judson Center Autism Connections)


This study examines the effects of non-contingent auditory stimulation (music and a recording of the child’s own vocal stereotypy) on vocal stereotypy in a child with autism spectrum disorder. The participant engages in high rates of stereotypy that occurs in all environments and has been reported as disruptive. A reversal design with multiple interventions will be used. Immediate data on the vocal stereotypy during the intervention will be taken, along with data throughout work and reinforcement time. This study replicates the work of Saylor, Sidener, Reeve, Fetherston, and Progar (2012), but also expands because we are taking data outside of the intervention environment.


Effects of Error Correction Procedures on Skill Acquisition. Kelsey Murphy (Judson Center), Sarah Gulino (Judson Center), Alina Green (Judson Center), Shelley Gudobba (Judson Center), & Sydnee Stinnett (Judson Center)


The purpose of this study was to compare the effectiveness of two different error correction procedures on skill acquisition. This study was conducted as a replication of McGhan and Lerman (2013), which determined the least intrusive and most efficient strategies of error correction. The participants in the current study consisted of six students with autism attending intensive ABA services in a clinical setting. The two error correction procedures utilized were least-to-most and most-to-least during skill acquisition trials that were not already established in the child’s repertoire. The findings will determine which error correction procedure will be applied in future treatment planning for skill acquisition.


The Effectiveness of Self-Management Interventions for Individuals with Autism? Literature Review. Elian Aljadeff-Abergel (University of Haifa), Yannick A. Schenk (Western Michigan University), Christopher Walmsley (Western Michigan University), Stephanie M. Peterson (Western Michigan University), Jessica E. Frieder (Western Michigan University), Nick S. Acker (The Right Door for Hope Recovery and Wellness, Ionia, Michigan)


In 2009 the National Autism Center published its initial National Standards Project (NSP) report detailing a list of existing treatments for individuals with autism. Recently, the report was updated and was made available to the public in April 2015. The 2015 report divided treatments into three categories: established, emerging, and unestablished. Among the 11 treatments identified as established, self-management interventions for children with autism were included. Although self-management was found to be effective, the NSP did not evaluate the extent to which this treatment has been studied in natural settings versus clinical/laboratory and mixed settings, nor the social validity of the treatments. Having knowledge on the effectiveness of a treatment in the natural setting and its social validity can assist teachers and parents in making better decisions regarding the adoption of a treatment. The purpose of this review is to extend the NSP report by evaluating the social validity of self-management interventions for individuals with autism, evaluate the extent to which these interventions have been conducted in the natural setting (as opposed to a clinical setting), and to provide a second evaluation of the methodological quality of these studies. Results of this review suggest that, self-management interventions for individuals with autism are effective in natural, clinical, and mixed settings. However, few studies have provided a formal evaluation of social validity. There are also some limitations to the methodological quality of the studies that should be considered for future research.


Effects of Multiple Exemplar Instruction on Reading Comprehension and Fluency. Brandi Fontenot (Western Michigan University), Denise Ross (Western Michigan University), Reilly Chabie (Western Michigan University), Blaire Michelin (Western Michigan University), & Richard W. Malott (Western Michigan University)


This study tested the effects of multiple exemplar instruction (MEI) on reading comprehension and fluency for a middle school student with a reading delay. The dependent variable was the number of correctly read words per minute and the number of correct responses to comprehension questions. The independent variable was the rotation of opportunities to read a passage aloud, read a passage silently, and listen to a passage read by a teacher as an intervention. A multiple probe design was used to observe changes in the dependent variables. The effect of MEI on reading comprehension and fluency for this participant as well as limitations to the study will be discussed.


Effects of Multiple Exemplar Instruction on Word Recognition and Spelling. Danielle Prentice (Western Michigan University) & Denise Ross (Western Michigan University)


Multiple exemplar instruction (MEI) is an instructional procedure that teaches learners to emit different responses to a single stimulus. In the current study, MEI was used to teach a middle school student how to read and write PSAT vocabulary. The participant was a seventh-grade student who read at a fourth-grade level. The dependent variable was the number of words that the student read and wrote correctly and the number of trials-to-criterion. The independent variable was MEI, which consisted of an opportunity to read and write the target words. A multiple probe design consisting of both single and multiple exemplar instruction was used to observe changes in the dependent variables. Results of multiple exemplar instruction, as well as the limitations of this study for older students with reading delays, are discussed.


Effects of a Repeated Readings Intervention on Reading Passage Fluency. Margaret Uwayo (Western Michigan University) & Denise Ross (Western Michigan University)


Fluent reading, a level of reading in which a learner reads words automatically while attending to the meaning of words, is an important component of successful reading comprehension. Repeated reading is an intervention that can increase reading fluency when it is occurring at a low rate. Repeated reading is implemented by having a student repeatedly read short passages until a desired fluency criterion is met. The current study tested the effects of repeated reading on the reading fluency of a high school student with below-grade level reading performance. The participant was a 17-year old high school student with a reading delay. The dependent variable was the number of words read correctly per minute after each reading. The independent variable was a repeated reading procedure in which the participant read each of three passages four times during a 30-minute session. An A-B-C design was used to observe changes in the dependent variable. Results indicate that the participant read significantly more words correctly after the intervention when compared to baseline. Results are discussed in the context of the existing literature on repeated readings.


Effects of Multiple Exemplar Instruction on Acquisition of GED Vocabulary. Sarah Byrne (Western Michigan University), Gaige Johnson (Western Michigan University), & Denise Ross (Western Michigan University)


The purpose of this study was to use multiple exemplar instruction to teach GED words to a high school-aged student with a reading delay. The participant in this study was a 15-year old male who read at a sixth-grade level. The dependent variable was the number of correctly read GED words. The independent variable was multiple exemplar instruction, which consisted of rapidly rotating opportunities to match, point to, or read a GED word. An A-B-C design was used to observe changes in the dependent variable. During baseline, the participant read approximately 45% of target GED words. During intervention, the participant correctly read 83% of targeted GED words. During the third condition, when the intervention was removed, results were maintained. Limitations and implications of the study are discussed.


The Effects of the ‘self & Match? System on Vocal Stereotypy Maintained by Attention and Automatic Reinforcement During Independent Work Time. Sarah Schmitt (Western Michigan University), Andrew Bulla (Western Michigan University), & Jessica Frieder (Western Michigan University)


The current intervention was designed to help reduce vocal stereotypy maintained by automatic reinforcement and attention. The ‘self & Match? system (Salter & Croce, 2013), a self-monitoring intervention, was utilized to address both functions. After a specified length of independent work time, both the participant and the researcher would mark whether target behavior occurred, and the student could receive a preferred item if enough matches were recorded. Intervention was eventually faded out, and the behavior remained at low levels during normal classroom management practices.


Evaluating Methods to Teach Generalized Motor Imitation. Nicole Pantano (Western Michigan University), Brandon Farrand (Western Michigan University), Jennifer Mrljak (Western Michigan University), Sarah Lichtenberger (Western Michigan University), & Richard W. Malott (Western Michigan University)


Generalized imitation is necessary for children to acquire skills such as vocal behavior, play skills, and observational learning. There is minimal research evaluating teaching techniques to establish a generalized imitation repertoire for children with autism. One method for teaching includes a discriminative stimulus ?do this? with a model of the target response (Lovaas, 1981). Error correction involves immediate physical prompting or least-to-most physical prompting. This study evaluated different ways to teach generalized motor imitation to children with autism in an Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) preschool classroom who failed to succeed in a model and least-to-most error correction procedure. Three experiments were implemented: Experiment 1 used variable-outcome shaping, Experiment 2 included within-session prompt fading, and Experiment 3 utilized a mirror to teach imitative responses. Three children who did not acquire imitative responses following implementation of the classroom procedure participated in the study. Two children acquired a generalized motor imitation repertoire following exposure to a combination of the three experiments. The third child demonstrated progress in the acquisition of imitative responses. These experiments provide additional methods for teaching generalized motor imitation. Although designed for this classroom setting, these procedures can be used in other environments.


Examining the Effectiveness of an iPad Application to Promote Listener Responding for Young Children with Autism. Nicole Neil (Michigan State University/DOCTRID International Research Institute) , Laura West (Early Learning Institute, Michigan State University), Shantinique Jones (Early Learning Institute, Michigan State University), Addam Wawrzonek (Early Learning Institute, Michigan State University), & Joshua Plavnick (Early Learning Institute, Michigan State University)


There is a growing number of applications designed for teaching individuals with autism using handheld multipurpose electronic devices (e.g., iPad, tablet); few have been evaluated for their effectiveness. The primary purpose of this study was to examine the effects of using an iPad application (DTT Pro), prompting, and reinforcement to teach two young children with autism to receptively identify pictures of objects. A multiple probe design across three sets of target images, replicated with two students, was used. During intervention, instructions, target stimuli, and feedback on correct or incorrect responding were provided by the iPad application. Physical prompting was faded within session, from most-to-least, and interventionists delivered tangible reinforcers for prompted and independent correct responses. We measured the percentage of unprompted correct receptive identification of target pictures, generalization to picture cards, and generalization to novel exemplars. The effectiveness of the intervention package and considerations for the use of iPad applications within clinical settings will be discussed.


An Evaluation of Two Tact Training Procedures on Tact Acquisition. Kate LaLonde (Michigan State University), Ana Duenas (Michigan State University), Kate Fitzpatrick (Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan), Kailie Kipfmiller (Michigan State University), & Ricky Price (Michigan State University)


Tact training is a common procedure in early intervention programs for children with autism. Previous research has compared tact training with and without a supplemental question (e.g., “What is it?”) on the number of tacts acquired and has found that results are idiosyncratic across individuals with autism. The current study replicates previous research by comparing two tact training interventions and extends the literature by including a naturalistic pre and post probe to determine if the different procedures have an effect on tacts emitted in a naturalistic setting (i.e., during play). A repeated acquisition design was used to evaluate two instructional procedures on percentage of correct tacts during discrete trial training. In addition, each participant completed discrete trial and naturalistic pre and post probes for sets of stimuli to determine if the instructional procedures had an effect on rates of spontaneous tacts during a play condition with a therapist. Implication for clinical practice and potential collateral effects of different procedures to teach tacts will be discussed.


Experimenter and Other Participant Presence in Human Laboratory studies in Behavior Analysis Journal Articles. Michael Palmer (Central Michigan University), Luke Lubbers (Central Michigan University), & Carl Johnson (Central Michigan University)


Methods of scientific works must be precise and thorough. However, when attempting to replicate experiments researchers may find details in published studies missing, such as whether experimenters or other participants were in the lab room during sessions. Social psychology research has demonstrated that these variables can influence outcomes of human lab studies. Reviews of three behavior analytic journals, The Psychological Record, Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, and Journal of Organizational Behavior Management, were conducted over 30 years. A total of 692 articles were reviewed from these three journals. Approximately 70% of articles across these three peer-reviewed journals did not specify experimenter presence. Additionally, 49% of articles that were reviewed did not specify the number of participants run at a time. Implications of these finding, in the context of both group and single-subject research, will be discussed. It is suggested, due to strong evidence from the social psychology research, that authors of human behavior analytic research begin to specify these variables in their publications to facilitate both direct and systematic replications.


Increasing Food Acceptance in Children with Food Refusal. Laura Plassey (Spark Center for Autism), Victoria Schmidt (Spark Center for Autism), Reena Naami (Spark Center for Autism), & Emily Morris (Spark Center for Autism)


We compared the results of escape extinction with positive reinforcement and graduated exposure to reintroduce previously refused foods and novel foods to children with food selectivity and problem behavior associated with food presentation. Data indicated that both interventions had initial success. Escape extinction increased acceptance of novel food and simultaneously produced high rates of problem behavior throughout the intervention. Graduated exposure produced similar acceptance of novel foods, however produced near zero rates of problem behavior. Escape extinction was terminated due to parent request. Graduated exposure is continuing with different target objectives.


Increasing the Mand Repertoire of Children with Autism by Contriving Motivation for Missing Items. Onon Batchuluun (Western Michigan University), Jayla Anderson (Western Michigan University), Sarah Lichtenberger (Western Michigan University), & Richard W. Malott (Western Michigan University)


Manding is a crucial verbal skill that many kids with autism have difficulty acquiring. It benefits the speaker directly and may increase the acquisition of verbal behavior (Sundberg & Michael, 2001). The purpose of the study was to evaluate the effect of mand training on the acquisition of independent mands with children with autism by contriving a motivating operation. The motivating operation was established by the researcher withholding a part of the reinforcer and asking “What do you want?”. A time-delay model prompt was used. The study was conducted with a 3-year-old child diagnosed with autism in an Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) preschool classroom. A multiple baseline design across participants was used. Data were collected on both functional impure and pure mands emitted by child after part of the reinforcer was removed. The predicted results are that mands will increase after training. This study will extend present research by combining the question prompt “What do you want?” and contriving motivation.


Increasing Reading Comprehension for a Child with Autism. Alyssa Darrah (Western Michigan University), Jonathan Miceli (Western Michigan University), Jennifer Freeman (Western Michigan University), & Richard W. Malott (Western Michigan University)


Children with autism often have trouble with reading comprehension. In this study, a 9-year-old boy diagnosed with autism was taught how to use a graphic organizer to sort information in a story. He was then asked a series of WH-questions about the story, and was able to use the organizer while answering the questions. Previous research has indicated that tools similar to this have increased children’s abilities to correctly answer WH-questions after reading a story (Bethune & Wood, 2013, Browder et al., 2013). The goal of the study was to provide him with a tool he could use in a variety of settings to help him answer WH-questions and increase his skills with answering these questions. All sessions were conducted at the Kalamazoo Autism Center, a classroom that uses behavioral teaching methods to teach children with autism and other developmental disabilities various skills. The participant of this study attended a public school during the day, and then attended the center for two hours a day, four days a week after school. This study will help expand the field of behavior analysis? knowledge of reading comprehension techniques for children with autism and other developmental disabilities. It will provide an empirical analysis of a previously researched technique for teaching reading comprehension, and evaluate whether or not this is an effective method for teaching this skill.


Increasing Appropriate Tacts While Decreasing Vocal Stereotypy During Independent Play. Tiffany Crum (Western Michigan University), Megan Young (Western Michigan University), Sarah Lichtenberger (Western Michigan), & Richard W. Malott (Western Michigan University)


Two defining characteristics often associated with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are low rates of appropriate communication and social interactions with peers. A lack of appropriate vocal verbal behavior may be affected by vocal stereotypy, which may lead to interference of learning new skills, social interactions with others, and may lead to stigmas (Shawler and Miguel, 2015). Past research has looked at video modeling, matrix training, and activity schedules to teach children play skills (D?Ateno, Mangpanello, & Taylor, 2003; Dauphin, Kinney, & Stromer, 2004; Betz, Higbee, & Reagon, 2008). The current study examined the effects of teaching a four-year-old boy diagnosed with ASD appropriate tacts to increase functional play skills while decreasing vocal stereotypy during independent play. This included the researchers conducting tact-training sessions that included labeling objects and actions of the toys along with providing reinforcement during independent play. Testing sessions were conducted to measure the rate of appropriate tacts during independent play by measuring the rate of object and actions tacts. Throughout each session the researchers measured the rate of vocal stereotypy. The researchers saw an increase in appropriate tacts and a decrease in vocal stereotypy during independent play when the tact-training sessions were implemented. This study could help future research to identify how effective tact-training sessions are to increase appropriate tacts while decreasing vocal stereotypy during independent play.


Increasing Organizational Behavior Management Performance in a Clinic Setting. Erin Donahue (Spark Center for Autism), Laura Price (Spark Center for Autism), Vicky Schmidt (Spark Center for Autism), & Reena Naami (Spark Center for Autism).


A small clinic that provides ABA therapy to children with autism utilized organizational behavior management contingencies to improve various aspects of staff behavior and performance. Contingencies were designed to decrease the amount of time spent transitioning between activities and to increase the integrity of Circle Time procedures. In a clinic setting, spending excessive amounts of time on transitions can take away time allocated for programming and intervention, possibly leading to decreased productivity and skill acquisition. The goal for the Circle Time intervention was to ensure that the social play and circle time activities were spent targeting the appropriate skills from the Social and Group Skill Areas from the VB-MAPP. Group contingencies using edible reinforcement were successful at decreasing transition times. Similar contingencies are being utilized to increase the integrity of circle time procedures. These results indicate that the same behavioral principles used to improve clients' skills can be applied to improve the skills of the clinicians who work with them.


Increasing Vocalizations in Children with Autism. Anna Woodhams (Western Michigan University), Nicholette Christodoulou (Western Michigan University), & Joseph Shane (Western Michigan University)


The goal of the present study was to increase vocalizations and to establish an echoic repertoire for students with autism. Previous research has suggested that targeting the mand repertoire prior to teaching echoic behavior may help to increase vocalizations and establish an echoic repertoire (Drash and Tudor, 1999). The procedure used in this intervention will offer an alternative method to teaching echoics to students who lack an echoic repertoire in the classroom setting. Students were selected from a discrete-trial classroom based on a lack of an echoic repertoire and low instances of vocalizations. The goal of the first part of the procedure was to increase the number of overall vocalizations that the student was engaging in. All sounds made by the student within a five-minute session were reinforced. The goal of the second part of the procedure was to increase the variety of the sounds that the child was engaging in during our five-minute sessions. The student’s dominate sounds were extinguished for portions of the session and only other sounds were reinforced. The final part of the procedure consisted of echoic training. Targets for echoic training were chosen based on the student’s dominate sounds from both part one and part two of the procedure. An echoic repertoire was successfully established in one of the participants, while the procedure is still in progress for the second participant. This research can help future research evaluate alternative methods for increasing vocalizations and establishing echoic repertoires in children with autism.


Informed Consent from a Behavior Analytic Perspective. Ted Allaire (Eastern Michigan University), Chris Schrimscher (Eastern Michigan University), Michael Vriesman B.A. (Eastern Michigan University), & Claudia Drossel (Eastern Michigan University)


Before behavior analysts provide clinical services or conduct research, they obtain informed consent from clients and participants or their legally authorized representatives if surrogate consent is permitted by law. This poster will provide basic terminology applicable to the informed consent process and describe the four behavioral anchors of informed consent, understanding facts, appreciating them in terms of one’s own situation, weighing risks and benefits, and consistent choice (adapted from Grisso & Appelbaum, 1998). The goal of the poster is to initiate a conversation about developing or adopting standardized procedures to evaluate the capacity of an individual to understand the consent process and sign an informed consent form, particularly in unexpected cases that do not require informed consent by a legally authorized representative but raise questions about capacity, to protect the wellbeing of adults with neurodevelopmental or neurocognitive disorders.


The Michigan State University Early Learning Institute. Ashleigh Doop (Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan), Kenzie Gatewood (Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan), Kassaundra Richardson (Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan), Katherine La Londe (Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan), & Joshua Plavnick (Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan)


The Early Learning Institute (ELI) is an early intensive and inclusive behavioral intervention program for children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) between 2 and 5 years of age. The ELI is housed at Michigan State University within the Child Development Laboratory Preschool. The core components include delivery of intensive behavioral therapy, inclusive behavioral therapy, family support and training, and consultation for transition to subsequent settings. The ELI delivers intensive one-to-one programming, dyadic or small group instruction, and inclusive behavior analytic instruction, where children with ASD can learn and generalize skills among their neurotypical peers. Eight children with ASD and their families are currently served at the ELI. This poster will present a visual overview of the ELI program and preliminary outcome data for children enrolled. The potential for program sustainability and model replication will be discussed.


A Novel Approach to Investigating the Development of Stimulus Control in Rats Using an Eight-Component Multiple Schedule. Noell N. Jankowski (Central Michigan University), Eric J. French (Central Michigan University), & Mark P. Reilly (Central Michigan University)


Stimulus control is often evaluated using multiple schedules, where in one component a stimulus that signals a schedule of reinforcement is present (SD) and in an alternative component a stimulus signaling extinction is present (S∆;). Stimulus control is achieved when more target behavior occurs in the SD component relative to the S∆; component. The goal of the current experiment was to investigate the development of stimulus control along a single stimulus dimension using one SD component and seven different S∆; components. Lever pressing in four rats intermittently produced food pellets in the presence of a slow flashing light (0.5 Hz) but did not produce pellets when one of seven faster flashing lights ranging between 0.69 and 5 Hz was present. Within each session, fourteen SD components and two of each S∆; components were presented. All components lasted 2 minutes and were separated by a 10-s inter-component interval. Stimulus control increased as a function of the disparity between SD and S∆; flash rates, number of training sessions, and the time within each component. Furthermore, stimulus control was greater if the previous component was an S∆;. This study advances a novel evaluation of the development of stimulus control as a function of several variables. The long-term goal of this research is to refine the procedure and analyses in order to study factors (e.g., drugs, animal models) hypothesized to effect stimulus control.


The Nagging Effect of Prior Reinforcement: The Powerful Influence of Temporal Contiguity on Response Perseveration. Jordan Moore (Central Michigan University), Eric J. French (Central Michigan University), & Mark P. Reilly (Central Michigan University)


It is well established that the degree of temporal contiguity between behavior and a reinforcer determines the future probability of that behavior. The purpose of the current study was to develop a procedure to study response-reinforcement contiguity using response perseveration as a dependent variable. Each session consisted of 25 three-component trials. In the first component, stimulus lights above two levers illuminated. Following 30 s, three responses on the first target lever produced a pellet and transitioned to the second component, which was a 1-s DRO on both levers where stimulus lights were extinguished. In the third component, the stimulus above the second target lever illuminated, and three responses on that lever produced a pellet. The two target lever locations were randomized across sessions to one of four configurations: Left-Left, Right-Right, Left-Right, Right-Left. If the two target levers were identical in both components, responding on that lever during the initial 30 s of the first component was almost exclusive. However, if the target levers were different, responding on the just-reinforced lever perseverated, but steadily decreased throughout the 30-s time period. The resiliency of perseveration for the second target despite the first target producing upcoming reinforcement is evidence for the role of temporal contiguity in producing perseveration.


Preference Assessments: Comparing the Relative Contribution of Video and Paper Instruction on Performance and Skill Acquisition. Randi Hodge (Western Michigan University), Wayne Fuqua (Western Michigan University), Lilith Reuter-Yuill (Western Michigan University), & Alissa Conway (Western Michigan University)


Preference assessments (PA) are a direct assessment measure used to identify stimuli preferred by a client or subject. They are a crucial tool in creating and utilizing effective interventions in applied behavior analysis. Without preference assessments, we have no way of determining which stimuli may function as potentially reinforcing items. If we don’t know which stimuli are most preferred, we have no way of knowing whether the stimuli we present to the client or subject after a behavior will result in behavior change. There are three common preference assessments: Multiple Stimulus without Replacement (MSWO), Paired Choice (PC), and Free Operant (FO). It is for this reason that practitioners must know how to conduct preference assessments, and applied behavior analysis as a field must find effective techniques to train them to do so.


Preparing Students with Autism for the College Transition: A Pilot Study. Hugo Curiel (Western Michigan University), Kourtney K. Bakalyar (Western Michigan University), Alan Poling (Western Michigan University), & Jessica Frieder (Western Michigan University)


The demands accompanying the transition from high school to college are high and supports are warranted for college students with autism spectrum disorder (Mitchell & Beresford, 2014). Glennon (2001) has proposed that the transition process should be addressed prior to beginning the college experience. In this pilot project we developed and provided to five students with autism spectrum disorder a one-day workshop focused on transitioning to college. The workshop targeted five areas of transitioning: completing a college application, comparison of support services, self-awareness, self-advocacy, and interview skills. Content was presented through lectures, interactive participation, small group interactions, and in-vivo practice. Some lessons were presented using parallel teaching of small groups to allow for more individualized instruction. Pre- and post-workshop data regarding each participant’s knowledge in each area were collected on all but one content area, completing a college application. Data were collected by having participants answer the same three to eight questions (open-ended and multiple-choice) about each content area prior to and immediately following the workshop and are expressed as the percentage of questions answered correctly. Group results show that for each content area the percentage of questions answered correctly was higher after than before attending the workshop, suggesting that further work to develop and deliver such training is merited.


Regulating Bowel Movements. Kelsey Laursen (Western Michigan University), Sarah Pichler (Western Michigan University), Jennifer Freeman (Western Michigan University), & Richard W. Malott (Western Michigan University)


Parents have reported the need for their child to independently use the bathroom in order to increases the child’s overall level of independence and to decrease any potential medical problems that could arise as a result. Extensive research has shown scheduled bathroom sits were effective for potty training children with developmental disabilities (LeBlanc, Carr, Crossett, Bennett, & Detweiler). The goal of the current study was to use this method in order to teach one child to independently evacuate is bowels. The study was conducted with one 5-year-old boy in a discrete trial classroom. Before intervention, the child had never had a natural bowel movement without the use of an enema. Additionally, baseline data were collected on the frequency of accidents and successes that occurred throughout the child’s day. A treatment package was used to help increase the number of successful bowel movements and decrease the number of accidents. The intervention used a multi-element changing criterion design in which multiple token economies were used as well as scheduled sits in order to decrease accidents and increase successes. Not only will this intervention contribute to the development of knowledge and practice of ABA as it applied to intensive potty training (since there is not much research in this area), but it will also significantly improve the child’s overall quality of life.


Sensor-Enabled Stereotypy-Contingent Punishment by Prevention of a Reinforcer. Michael Jones (Western Michigan University), Sarah Lichtenberger (Western Michigan University), Aaron Brzezinski (Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI), & Richard W. Malott (Western Michigan University)


The goal of this study was to implement an intervention to reduce stereotypic behavior in a 4-year-old child with autism. Prior research suggests that stereotypy is often automatically reinforced by the proprioceptive stimuli it produces (Rincover, Cook, Peoples & Packard, 1979). Current treatment for stereotypy generally consists of response interruption and redirection (Casella, 2011), differential reinforcement, and/or penalty contingencies have been shown to be effective for reducing stereotypical behaviors (Korneder, 2014). The participant was selected based on the level hand-flapping and body rocking. Using a Microsoft KinectSÿ, a differential reinforcement of other behavior procedure was implemented; a reinforcer followed each interval wherein the target behavior did not occur. It is expected that the intervention will result in a decreased frequency of the target behavior. This study will demonstrate the potential for automated implementation of a behavior plan to reduce stereotypical responses in children diagnosed with autism. In addition, this treatment package will aid the classroom staff in implementing DRO procedures.


Simple and Conditional Visual Discrimination Training for Children with Autism. Siqi Xie (Western Michigan University), Blaire Michelin (Western Michigan University) & Richard W. Malott (Western Michigan University)


An extensive conditional discrimination repertoire is important for various everyday skills. Critical prerequisite skills to acquiring conditional discriminations are simple visual discriminations (Graff & Green, 2004). However, many children with developmental disabilities display difficulty acquiring simple visual discriminations with the standard differential reinforcement procedure. Errorless training methods systematically designed to minimize errors (e.g., time delay, stimulus fading) may be effective in teaching visual discrimination with this population (Graff & Green, 2004; Moore & Goldiamond, 1968; Terrace, 1963). Many studies indicated that differences in the rate of learning a discrimination by children are significantly influenced by the dimensionality of the stimuli. Harlow (1945) found that stereometric objects (e.g., cubes) were discriminated more rapidly than were patterns (e.g., flat figures). Therefore, instead of teaching visual discrimination of 2-dimensional stimuli, 3-D stereometric objects will be used in this study. The purpose of this study was to teach simple visual discrimination of 3-D sterometric objects to a child diagnosed with autism in a preschool special education classroom. The simple visual discrimination procedure was taught via a size fading procedure. Once the simple visual discrimination procedure was mastered, a conditional visual discrimination (matching-to-sample) was implemented.


Teaching Direction Following and Receptive Identification to a Child with Autism. Amelia Fonger, B.A. (Western Michigan University), Sarah Lichtenberger (Western Michigan University), Blaire Michelin, M.A., BCBA (Western Michigan University), Abigail Trotz (Western Michigan University), & Richard W. Malott (Western Michigan University)


Within early special education curricula, a variety of skills are commonly targeted including direction following and receptive identification. Although research has investigated standard interventions, limited research has focused on teaching the essential prerequisite skills for direction following and receptive identification (e.g., auditory discriminations). Even fewer studies have investigated methods for teaching auditory discriminations when standard methods are unsuccessful despite research suggesting that a small percentage of children do not respond to standard methods of teaching (Grow & LeBlanc, 2013; Lovaas, 1987). This study focused on designing an assessment to more accurately identify early-learner skill deficits. Based on deficits identified from the assessment, methods were developed to teach the missing skills. This study was implemented in a special education preschool classroom for children with autism. The participant demonstrated difficulty with direction following and receptive identification procedures despite intensive teaching in these areas. A direction following procedure was implemented utilizing imitative prompts with a time delay. A receptive identification procedure involving preferred visual stimuli and auditory stimuli were simultaneously implemented. These procedures increased the number of functional directions the child would follow in his classroom and generalized to his home and other untrained responses. The results of this study were used to develop appropriate procedures for future students. This study begins to create a body of research on teaching essential early-learner skills to children with autism who are unsuccessful with standard procedures.


Transitioning From a Discrete Trial Classroom to a Group Classroom. Rachel Ferbezar (Western Michigan University), Alexandra Ennis (Western Michigan University), Blaire Michelin (Western Michigan University), & Richard W. Malott (Western Michigan University)


Independence in an academic setting is an imperative skill for children when entering a group learner environment. Discrete trial training is effective in developing early learner skills and pre-academic skills for children diagnosed with autism. It could be further utilized to teach skills that are necessary in a group setting without one-on-one instruction. Decreased proximity from the teacher to the student in a group environment is often a difficult transition. Past research demonstrated that increasing the distance between the teacher and student negatively affects the behavior of 50% of children (Conroy et al., 2004). Another study demonstrated that the closer the teacher was to the student, the more the student was on task (Werts et al., 2001). This study focuses on utilizing discrete trial procedures to develop the skills necessary for a child to work without close proximity to an instructor. The main focus is decreasing the proximity of a teacher to a child during instructional time. This procedure is being utilized with three children in a preschool special education classroom as part of their daily curriculum to prepare them for a transition to a group skills classroom. We expect that increasing the distance of the teacher to the child and fading out the prompter will increase the children’s attending and decrease problem behavior. This research is beneficial to the field of behavior analysis as it demonstrates how necessary skills for transitioning to a group setting can be taught in an early intervention discrete trial classroom.


Transitioning Children with Autism from 1-on-1 Settings to Special Education Classrooms. Jennifer L. Freeman (Western Michigan University) & Richard W. Malott (Western Michigan University)


The goal of many early intensive behavioral intervention (EIBI) programs is to prepare children with autism to be successful in less restrictive environments. However, few studies have detailed the steps necessary to promote a successful transition to these educational settings. We have two children who are currently receiving 20 hours a week of 1:1 ABA treatment at the Kalamazoo Autism Center and are enrolled part-time in a special education pre-school classroom. Both children have also been assigned to attend a full-time educational setting starting in the either the summer or fall of 2015. With the goal of aiding each child during their transition, this study will involve periodic evaluations of each child’s progress. The data of past and current curricula will be examined, and treatment goals will be determined using the Verbal Behavior Milestones Assessment and Placement Program (VB-MAPP), especially the barriers and transitions assessments. We will also collaborate with the child’s teachers collect information on the criteria educators use to determine success in each classroom. Our intervention will focus on teaching these children the necessary skills for success in a less restrictive environment, and less on the acquisition of additional academic skills.


A Treatment Package to Reduce the Frequency of Food Stealing. Nicole Bell (Western Michigan University), Michelle Dawes (Western Michigan University), Jennifer Freeman (Western Michigan University), & Richard W. Malott (Western Michigan University)


This study examined the effects of a treatment package to decrease food stealing behavior in a child with autism. Food stealing was defined as attempting to, or successfully taking food in another person’s possession without permission. Currently there is very limited research on food stealing, especially for children who are not rule governed. As Vollemer and colleagues (1999) suggested behaviors match the rates of reinforcement available. If food stealing results in quicker delivery of the food than waiting, the child will be more likely to food steal than to wait. However, other research has found that children are more likely to wait when given a concurrent activity to engage in (Dixon & Cummings, 2001). The purpose of this study was to use a treatment package to reduce food stealing by increasing mands for food items and increasing the probability of waiting behaviors. The intervention package consisted of three parts: functional communication training, a wait-training procedure, thinning schedule of permission to access of food to an intermittent schedule. The participant was a ten-year-old boy diagnosed with autism who had a history of food stealing. All sessions were conducted in a one on one setting in a discrete trial classroom. As a result of intervention package there was an increase in mands and a decrease in food stealing.


Treatment Preference Between Dosed and Prolonged Exposure Among Participants With Social Anxiety. Chelsea Sage-Germain (Western Michigan University), Andrew Hale (Western Michigan University), & C. Richard Spates (Western Michigan University)


While studies suggest that matching clients to their preferred treatment can enhance retention and outcomes, little research to date has investigated treatment preference specifically among those with social anxiety. Exposure therapy is one effective treatment for social anxiety, yet many who could benefit from treatment drop out prematurely. One alternative to the standard prolonged format for exposure involves engaging clients in several shortened dosed exposure practices. Several studies show dosed exposure to be as effective as prolonged exposure, while being better tolerated by clients. Matching clients with a preference for dosed exposure to this treatment type could enhance the benefits clients receive from treating social anxiety. The current study utilized a survey format to investigate whether those with symptoms of social anxiety have a preference between exposure therapy delivered in a dosed or prolonged format. Survey respondents were assessed for preferences before and after being shown informational videos about both treatment types. Initial outcomes and implications for preferences between these two effective exposure treatments will be discussed.


Trial-Based Function Analysis with a Student Exhibiting Aberrant Behaviors. Elisa Murray (Judson Center, Royal Oak, Michigan) & Kirsten Rudd (Judson Center)


Trial based functional analyses are an emerging method to determine function of severe challenging behavior. This form of FA was used to determine the function of environmental destruction in a 10 year old male diagnosed with autism in a day time outpatient facility specializing in applied behavior analysis. Due to the magnitude of the client’s challenging behavior, a trial-based functional analysis was chosen as an alternative to a traditional functional analysis. The study examined environmental destruction and screaming as they were hypothesized to be in the same response class. The participant was exposed to a series of trials, which were interspersed throughout his typical daily activities. Results of these trails were compared to other studies. To control for gender bias, the same trial-based functional analysis was run concurrently with two male and two female staff as parental and maternal reports indicated significant gender based reactivity. It was determined that the participant’s behaviors were multiply controlled by escape from demands and attention from staff. Following analysis, an intervention was implemented utilizing restitutional overcorrection and functional communication training. The primary purpose of this paper is to extend the research on trial-based functional analyses as a viable assessment option when the magnitude of challenging behavior renders traditional methods unethical. The secondary purpose is to extend the current literature base regarding potential treatment interventions for environmental destruction when multiply maintained.


Using Differing Reinforcement Schedules to Break a Response Chain That Resulted in Self-Injurious Behavior During Independent Tasks. Allaina S Sheltrown (Western Michigan University), Andrew Bulla (Western Michigan University), Jessica Frieder (Western Michigan University), & Thomas Ratkos (Western Michigan University)


In 2014, Western Michigan University began collaborating with the Van Buren Intermediate School District, and worked with teachers in different classrooms to identify students in need of services. The student, whose data are represented on the graph, was selected because of self-injurious behavior (SIB) during independent tasks. Assessment determined that the behavior was part of a response chain. Systematically, the Western Michigan University team faded from a dense schedule of blocking and delivery of praise to a time-based schedule. Results of the intervention indicated that it was effective at reducing the rate of SIB from 275 to zero per hour.


Using a Modified Version of BRT to Teach Relaxation to Children with Autism. Carita Niemann (The Healing Haven, Berkley, MI) & Jamie McGillivary (The Healing Haven, Berkley, MI)


Anxiety is often comorbid with a diagnosis of autism, with a prevalence rate of 11-84% of the population. There is minimal research regarding behavioral intervention to address this issue among children with autism. The Behavioral Relaxation Training protocol has been used to treat individuals with intellectual disabilities in the past. Since children with autism are often unable to communicate covert levels of anxiety, we measured overt levels of behavior to assess their current level of anxiety. We relied on rate of breath as a measure of relaxation. We modified the current BRT protocol to meet the needs of children with autism. Through the use of video models, systematically defined relaxation techniques and reinforcement we successfully shaped the relaxation behavior of a child with autism and lowered breathing rates from pre to post intervention. Additionally, we emphasized generalization to help bridge the gap between a therapeutic setting and the natural environment. When attempting to use this technique to meet the needs of additional children in the clinic, we found that we had to customize the programs to fit each child’s set of strengths and weaknesses.


Using Multiple Exemplar Instruction to Teach Word Recognition and Spelling. Danielle Prentice (Western Michigan University)


Multiple exemplar instruction (MEI) is used to teach verbal behavior by rotating different response topographies to a single stimulus, or in this case a single word. MEI has been demonstrated to obtain successful results under a variety of different topographies. When teaching words, there are three essential aspects that become instrumental in learning, they include: phonological, sound representation, orthographic, visual representation, and the semantic, meaning representation of the word. In the experiment, students were probed on the orthographic representation of words following instruction in the phonological representation and MEI including both the phonological and orthographic representation of the words. The phonological representation is represented by instruction the student to “write the word ___.” and the orthographical representation by “read the word.” Following instruction in one topography, the opposite was tested. Similarly, that topography was also probed for following MEI. Results are expected to show an increase in performance following MEI instruction for both topographies in subsequent probes.


Using Video Prompting to Teach Leisure Skills. Mya Hernandez (Western Michigan University), Christina O'Brien (Western Michigan University), Rachel Johnson (Western Michigan University), Jennifer Freeman (Western Michigan University), & Richard W. Malott (Western Michigan University)


The use of video prompting as an aid for skill acquisition has become more prevalent in the field of behavior analysis. The present study used a multiple baseline across behaviors design to assess whether leisure skills could be taught using a video prompt to a child diagnosed with autism in a discrete-trial classroom. Each leisure skill was broken down into a task analysis and video prompts were recorded corresponding to the individual steps. During the training phase the video prompts were introduced, and after mastery criteria was met they were no longer presented. Generalization and maintenance probes were also conducted. The results indicated that video prompting was a successful intervention to teach leisure skills. The child was able to perform the three target leisure skills reliably and independently by the end of the intervention. Moreover, generalization and maintenance probes were positive. Implications are that video prompting may be used to teach complex skills to developmentally disabled populations.


The Use of a Tablet Application to Establish Auditory-Visual Matching. Jennifer Petree (Western Michigan University), Sarah Lichtenberger (Western Michigan University), Melanie Coon (Western Michigan University), & Richard W. Malott (Western Michigan University)


A small percentage of children are unsuccessful with the standard method for teaching receptive language skills, which include least-to-most prompting and lack consistent stimulus conditions and measurements for faulty stimulus control. The conditional auditory-visual discriminations that should develop during these training procedures would facilitate learning of skills that are functionally necessary in both the child’s everyday environment and in a less intrusive academic classroom. An additional training procedure is necessary to establish the missing prerequisite skills for auditory-visual discrimination. Current research has shown the effectiveness of using iPadz« as an augmented communication system for individuals with autism, however little research has been done to evaluate the effectiveness of its use in an academic domain (Kagohara et. al, 2013). The current study evaluated the effectiveness of the use of reinforcing stimuli in an auditory-visual matching iPadz« application. The participant for this study was a three-year-old girl diagnosed with an Early Childhood Developmental Delay who received services in a discrete-trial training (DTT) classroom. The participant demonstrated instruction following to five previously trained instructions however displayed prompt dependency, scrolling of previously reinforced behaviors contingent on a verbal discriminative stimulus (SD), lack of attending to auditory stimuli and responding under faulty stimulus control. The expected results are that the participant will not demonstrate auditory-visual matching until the presentation of the application with reinforcing stimuli. This study extends future research evaluating the rate of acquisition when using reinforcing stimuli in matching to sample procedures and the use of this iPadz« application in teaching receptive language.


Using Noncontingent Reinforcement to Reduce Self-Injurious Hand Mouthing. Shannon McLaughlin (Judson Center Autism Connections), Jasmine Watson (Judson Center Autism Connections), Maija Graudins (Judson Center Autism Connections), & Emily Besecker (Judson Center Autism Connections)


Self-injurious behavior is one of the most devastating behaviors observed in individuals with developmental disabilities and can be defined as forceful, intentional infliction of bodily harm to one’s self. In past and present studies, it was concluded that self-injurious behaviors (SIB), in a large number of individuals, was maintained by automatic reinforcement. In this particular study, hand mouthing (HM) is the behavior of focus. A functional analysis (FA) was performed to determine the function of the SIB displayed by the participant. We also conducted a leisure-item and food-item preference assessment to determine the most highly preferred activities and edibles for the participant. Previous research has examined the effects of overcorrection, object manipulation, water mist, verbal reprimand, as well as other interventions on the occurrence of HM with some promising results. We, however, will replicate an experiment completed in 2013 by Roscoe, Iwata, and Zhou. We will evaluate the use of: a) noncontingent reinforcement (NCR) and b) NCR plus response blocking. The following conditions will be introduced, if desired results are not obtained: c) NCR plus differential reinforcement of alternative behavior (DRA) plus response blocking, and d) NCR plus brief manual restraint on HM behaviors.


Western Michigan University's Graduate Program in Behavior Analysis. Cynthia Pietras (Western Michigan University), Jessica Frieder (Western Michigan University), Denise Ross (Western Michigan University), & Stephanie Peterson (Western Michigan University)


Western Michigan University's Psychology Department offers two degree programs in Behavior Analysis: a MA and a Ph.D. The MA program allows students to emphasize either experimental or applied behavior analysis and complete either a thesis or project. The MA program prepares students for doctoral study or for applied work with a variety of individuals and organizations in areas such as developmental disabilities, substance abuse, community mental health, gerontology, education, government, business, and industry. The doctoral program prepares students for positions as a teacher/researcher in an academic setting and for systems-oriented applied positions in human services. The program’s primary specialty areas are developmental disabilities, behavioral pharmacology, behavioral medicine, and basic operant research. Students are trained in the areas of applied behavior analysis, the experimental analysis of behavior, and conceptual and theoretical issues.


Western Michigan University's Hybrid MA Program in Behavior Analysis. Denise Ross (Western Michigan University), Cynthia Pietras (Western Michigan University), Stephanie Peterson (Western Michigan University), Wayne Fuqua (Western Michigan University), Kelly Kohler (Western Michigan University), & Jonathan Baker (Western Michigan University)


The behavior analysis master of arts (MA) degree at Western Michigan University (Western Michigan University) is nationally known as an exceptional program for individuals working with people with autism and other developmental disabilities. The new hybrid MA program at Western Michigan University is comprised of face-to-face and online courses designed to support individuals who work full-time and want to become Board Certified Behavior Analysts while earning an MA in psychology. In a two-year course sequence, students in the hybrid program complete 36 credit hours of course work, a supervised practicum, and a capstone project in behavior analysis. In 2015, Western Michigan University expanded its hybrid program to the Detroit Metro area to meet the growing demand for certified professionals in the state of Michigan. The program, now in its third year, is accepting applications.



Commercial Displays
(More to come; See them at BAAM)


Behavior Development Solutions


Behavior Development Solutions makes available the premium BCBA curriculum supplement and exam prep resource--the CBA Learning Module Series. In a recent survey, users of the CBA Learning Module Series who completed the entire program and were first time BCBA exam takers had a 97% pass rate. We also have CE courses for BCBAs/BCaBAs and Psychologists. In addition, our online "Books for Behavior Analysts" store boasts over 150 titles. Please visit our web site at


Centria Healthcare


Centria Healthcare Autism Services provides services to children and families who have Autism. This includes ABA therapy for children, parent training, workshops and community events.


Gateway Pediatric Therapy


At Gateway Pediatric Therapy, we utilize the fundamental principles of Applied Behavior Analysis in order to develop language, social, academic, and daily living skills in children ages 0-18 with autism and related conditions. We offer best in class assessment, treatment, and intervention services, which are conducted at our incredible clinics or in the convenience of clients' home. Using evidence-based ABA therapy as the foundation of our therapeutic philosophy, the team at Gateway is single minded in its commitment to providing quality care at the highest possible level.


Judson Center Autism Connections


Judson Center Autism Connections offers a comprehensive approach, designed to embrace the individual needs of individuals with a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and their families from age two through early adulthood. We offer a comprehensive array of individual and group services designed to enhance the lives of children, teens and young adults with ASD and their families Our Services include: Applied Behavior Analysis, Counseling, Social Skill Groups, Facilitated Playdates, Sibshops, Parent Support Groups, Summer Programs, and Family Events. There is truly something for every member of the family.


We have a well-rounded staff including BCBAs, Behavior Tutors, and Licensed Social Workers. Each staff member provides high-quality goal and data driven services in their specialty area. All services are individualized to meet the needs of the client. Our evidence practices include: ABA, CBT, Typical Peer Interactions, and more.


Michigan State University


The special education program at Michigan State University offers a Graduate Certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis, an online, six-course sequence that can be completed as part of master's or doctoral program, and will introduce a Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis, a hybrid program in Fall 2016.


Michigan State University’s Early Learning Institute provides Applied Behavior Analytic programming for children ages 2-5.


QBS, Inc


QBS Inc., a leading national behavioral training company, offers Safety-Care™ Behavioral Safety Training. Much more than the typical “crisis prevention course”, Safety-Care is founded upon the principles and procedure of Applied Behavior Analysis and Positive Behavioral Supports and trains staff in evidence-based practices toward the prevention, minimization, and management of behavioral challenges. QBS offers a variety of other behaviorally-based training and consulting.


University Pediatricians Autism Center



There will be a new Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) pre-approved course sequence offered for May 2016 spring semester and Fall 2016 through the College of Education at Wayne State University. The College of Education will offer evening courses and field experience opportunities between 4:30PM - 9PM. This course sequence will develop students extensively in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) focusing on the treatment of Autism. To earn a BCBA credential, a master's degree in psychology or a related field is required, plus a sequence of 5 classes (18 credits) and a practicum. The practicum will involve a supervised extensive one-on-one training option available through our clinical partnership with University Pediatricians Autism Center with sites in Novi, Detroit and Clinton Township. The course sequence has received full approval by the Behavior Analytic Certification Board (BACB). This BCBA certification course sequence can either be part of a master's program or a post master's set of courses that will meet the requirements for students to sit for the BCBA exam. Students who successfully complete the courses are eligible to sit for the BCBA examination, which, upon passing, would lead to the BCBA credential.



Behavior Analysis Association of Michigan, Department of Psychology, Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, MI 48197