BAAM 2020 Convention Program Listing
This program is tentative and subject to change.
Please contact BAAM if you find errors or omissions.

Most sessions and workshops will be eligible for BACB CEUs.
We will post specifics as the approvals are made.


Eventbrite BAAM Registration Link


Thursday Keynote

 1:00 p.m. - 1:50 p.m.
Ballroom (2nd Floor)


Young Skinner on Stimulus and Response Classes


David Palmer, Ph.D.

Smith College





In an unpublished letter to F. S. Keller (October, 1931), long before he formulated the concept of the operant, 27-year-old Skinner speculated at length about the difference between “learning curves” and “conditioning curves.”  Even at this early date he argued that conditioning occurs completely on a single trial. He interpreted the variability found in the early portions of cumulative records in terms of the conditioning of stimulus and response “elements.”  I follow the development of Skinner’s concepts of stimulus and response classes through his later work and conclude that he would be unhappy with the contemporary assumption that response classes can be defined solely by reference to common consequences.  Members of response classes must not only have the same effect, they must covary, a condition that is usually met when they share common elements and is seldom met when they do not.


Friday Keynote

 1:00 p.m. - 1:50 p.m.
Ballroom (2nd Floor)



The War on Science: The Invasion of ABA?

Kimberly A. Schreck, Ph.D., BCBA-D

Professor of Psychology Pennsylvania State Harrisburg




The war on science has invaded many areas of our lives. Conspiracy theorists and main stream Americans attack scientific results on many battle fronts (e.g., the shape of the earth, vaccines, climate change). Although during behavior analysis training we must learn the scientific foundations and applications of science, research supports that the war on science has invaded Applied Behavior Analysis. This presentation will provide the evidence on how the war on science has invaded our profession, the variables allowing the progression of the war, the ethical implications if you choose not to fight for science, and battle strategies as you fight on the clinical frontlines.




Dr. Kimberly Anne Schreck is a Professor of Psychology at Penn State Harrisburg. She studied Psychology at Capital University in Bexley, OH, and earned her doctorate at The Ohio State University – specializing in intellectual and developmental disabilities. Dr. Schreck is a licensed Psychologist and a Board Certified Behavior Analyst-Doctoral Level. After completion of her doctorate, Dr. Schreck held a Pediatric Psychology Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. While there, she specialized in assessment and treatment of children with intellectual and developmental disabilities and early intensive behavioral intervention in autism.


Dr. Schreck started as an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Penn State Harrisburg in 1999. In her first two years at Penn State, Dr. Schreck co-created the Applied Behavior Analysis Master’s degree at Penn State Harrisburg and served as the Professor in Charge of the program for approximately 13 years. She also served as the first Chair of the Social Science and Psychology Division at Penn State Harrisburg.


Dr. Schreck’s research and clinical interests include autism, intellectual and developmental disabilities, early intervention, children’s behavior problems, and childhood sleep disorders. Dr. Schreck has become increasingly interested in studying why people choose to use non-scientifically supported treatments for children with autism. She and her students have studied influences on treatment choice such as media, professional recommendations, and colleague persuasion that may convince parents and professionals to use these treatments. Dr. Schreck has published over 30 articles, reviews, and portions of books and given 100s of presentations in the areas of her research interests. While serving on several editorial review boards and as a guest reviewer for a variety of psychology and behavior analysis journals, Dr. Schreck also served as a past associate editor of Behavioral Interventions.


Paper Presentations


The ACT Hexaflex through the Lens of Traditional Behavior Analysis. Scott T. Gaynor (Western Michigan University)


The efficacy of acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) has been recognized in SAMHSA's National Registry of Evidence Based Programs and Practices and APA Division 12's listing of research supported treatments. Implementation of ACT is guided by the psychological flexibility model (i.e., the ACT Hexaflex): contact with the present moment, self-as-context, acceptance, cognitive defusion, values, and committed action. These "middle-level terms" (e.g., contact with the present moment) are viewed as clinically useful designations for complex functional relations that are ultimately reducible to basic behavioral principles and principles/processes from Relational Frame Theory. However, the links between fundamental principles and the middle level terms have not been fully established or articulated. The current presentation will attempt to interpret the ACT Hexaflex using only traditional conceptual tools -- basic behavioral principles and the verbal operants described by Skinner. Apart from the potential reinforcement associated with conceptual coherence, the ultimate utility of such an analysis will depend on whether it contributes to more effective intervention or clinically useful research.


Autoclitic Frames, Intraverbal Frames, and Relational Autoclitics of Order. Robert J. Dlouhy (Western Michigan University)


Autoclitic frames, intraverbal frames, and relational autoclitics of order were introduced by Skinner in Verbal Behavior (1957). Of these three, Skinner gave the autoclitic frame the most attention, although he interspersed mention of intraverbal frames into that discussion without defining the term. He introduced the relational autoclitic of order before autoclitic and intraverbal frames, but gave only one example and never mentioned it again. Skinner's sketchy treatment of these terms raises roadblocks for researchers who seek to develop behavior analytic interpretations of linguistic phenomena, particularly syntax. To remove some of these, this paper will argue that 1) the broad definition of the intraverbal response causes ambiguities in interpreting intraverbal frames; 2) use of the metaphorical term "frame" tends to reify the phenomenon of emission of regular sequences of responses; 3) autoclitic frames are a sub-type of relational autoclitics of order; and 4) relational autoclitics of order can account for syntactic structure and syntactic regularity.


The Development of the Simple Reaction Time Task in Rats. Lillian L. Skiba-Thayer (Central Michigan University), Eric J. French (Central Michigan University), Mark P. Reilly (Central Michigan University)


The goal of this project was to develop a simple discrete-trials procedure (Simple Reaction Time Task or SRTT) in order to study variables (e.g., drugs) affecting attention in rats. The procedure was designed to be a modified version of the five-choice serial-reaction time task (5-CSRTT) using standard operant chambers. Trials began with the onset of a stimulus light above the active lever. A single lever press on the active lever produced a food pellet. Trials were separated by inter-trial intervals (ITIs). In the first three experiments, reinforcement probability was evaluated using both single and two-lever procedures, where target lever presses produced a food pellet probabilistically (either 1.0 or 0.4). Latencies were invariant between the two probabilities across the between-subject (Experiment 1), between-group (Experiment 2) and within-session (Experiment 3) experiments. In light of these null findings, the procedure was modified in Experiment 4 to include a 5-s delay to reinforcement; moreover, choice probes were added to measure preference. In one condition, the left and right levers signaled 1.0 and 0.4 reinforcer probabilities, respectively. In another condition, a response on the active lever always produced a food pellet, but was followed by a 45-s or a 10-s ITI for left and right lever presses, respectively. The 5-s delay increased sensitivity to reinforcer probability in that latencies were longer on trials signaled with the 0.4 probability lever. Moreover, preference was near exclusive for the 1.0 probability lever. Latency and preference were relatively undifferentiated between the two ITI durations. Prior research has found that d-amphetamine decreased latency in the 5-CSRTT; therefore a follow-up study was undertaken using the SRTT to attempt to validate the newly developed procedure. These experiments represent the ongoing modification of the 5-CSRTT in our lab.


Digging Deeper: A Conceptual Look at the Underlying Principles Involved in the Treatment of Aberrant Behavior. Steven P. Sparks (Sparks Behavioral Services LLC)


A thought-provoking analysis of the theoretical and conceptual underpinnings of functional assessment. Many if not most behavior analysts have a general understanding of the functional assessment. Even if it is not one of their areas of competency, most BCBAs have a general idea of the process of functional assessment, but why do we do the things the way we do (beyond "it's what the literature tells us to do")? This presentation will discuss the roles of "the self", cultural norms, motivating operations, verbal behavior (in terms of stimulus equivalence), language, and other topics which affect problematic behavior. While this presentation will not teach behavior analysts to complete functional assessments, it will hopefully help them understand the factors which determine if a behavior will occur and what needs to be overcome for behavior change to take place.


The Effects of Digital Technology on Treatment Progress amongst Individuals Diagnosed with ASD. Tasfia Bari (Eastern Michigan University), Bilquis Ferdousi (Eastern Michigan University)


As technology continues to advance exponentially, its benefits have expanded to encompass users of diverse backgrounds (Moore's Law) that include people with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). ASD is diagnosed as disorders that may affect an individual's social, communication and cognitive abilities. Recent findings indicate that the prevalence of children diagnosed with ASD has increased to approximately one in 59 (Baio, Wiggins, Christensen, et al., 2018). Deficits brought forth by this diagnosis have been primarily been treated through behavioral therapy. Services such as behavioral therapy allow individuals diagnosed with ASD to approach daily and functional living skills through conditioning. Research review has suggested that technology can play an effective role in the growth and development of individuals with ASD. The usage of technological tools such as communication devices and/or applications can be adaptable and utilized amongst children with ASD for communication purpose. As society becomes increasingly familiarized with such tools, the communication gap with children with ASD can be diminished. Based on this notion, a pilot study has been designed to observe the effects of technology adoption amongst clinical patients and family's receiving ABA services and family-training in its relation to overall patient progress and growth. The research finding will be stepping stone for future broader research on this area.


Effects of Schedule Modifications on Toilet Training Children with Disabilities. Nicole Hollins (Western Michigan University), Rebecca L. Kolb (University of Minnesota), Stephanie M. Peterson (Western Michigan University)


Independent toileting skills provide multiple benefits (e.g., access to a variety of settings and an increase in sanitation). Common procedures used to successfully train toileting skills include operant conditioning procedures with a positive practice component (LeBlanc, Carr, Bennett, & Detweiler, 2005). Given that positive practice is a form of punishment (Kroeger & Sorensen-Burnworth, 2009) and frequent exposures to punishment contingencies may increase the probability of evoking problem behaviors (Cicero & Pfadt, 2002; Post & Kirkpatrick, 2004), more research is needed to examine how punishment exposures within toilet training procedures can be reduced. The purposes of this study were to 1) replicate LeBlanc et al. (2005) for five children with autism, 2) evaluate the effects of schedule modifications designed to minimize the positive practice exposures during intensive toilet training for children who had accidents, and 3) after urine continence was achieved, evaluate generalization to bowel movements. The results of this study demonstrated that the toilet training procedures with schedule modifications were effective in training urinary and bowel movement continence across all children during intensive toilet training and follow-up. These results suggest that modifications to intensive toilet training procedures can be made to reduce the aversiveness of the procedure while still maintaining its effectiveness.


An Important Chapter in the Story of Behaviorism. Jay Moore (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee)


Classical S => R behaviorism developed in the first quarter of the 20th century. However, by early in the second quarter of the 20th century, classical behaviorism was judged to be inadequate. One particular problem was how to convincingly explain why behavior seemed to be more flexible than classical behaviorism allowed. As the second quarter progressed, traditional researchers and theorists then postulated a different form of behaviorism to replace classical behaviorism. This newer form of behaviorism was designated a neobehaviorism. According to neobehaviorism, organismic variables intervened between stimulus and response. These intervening, organismic variables were typically assumed to be mental in character, and to provide the basis for observed flexibility.  The intervening variables were then cast as theoretical terms, eventually of the type called hypothetical constructs, to serve as proxies for the mental variables. An interpretation of operationism that admitted "surplus meaning" for theoretical terms and designated them as hypothetical constructs was claimed to make this whole approach scientifically respectable. As an aside, this same general orientation continues in contemporary cognitive psychology. Skinner's radical behaviorism challenges the traditional approach to theories and explanations described above by arguing that it is merely a form of methodological behaviorism. At the heart of the radical behaviorist challenge is an operant, behavioral approach to behavior, including scientific verbal behavior, rather than a mentalistic approach that appeals to symbolic and referential processes.


Moving Towards a Functional Analysis of Skill Acquisition: Identification of Basic Behavioral Processes That May Enhance Transfer of Stimulus Control Procedures. Mark J. Rzeszutek (Western Michigan University), Lilith M. Reuter-Yuill (Comprehensive Speech & Therapy Center/Western Michigan University)


Giants in the field of behavior analysis have described the necessity of a working bidirectional relationship between basic researchers and applied practitioners (Mace & Critchfield, 2010; Poling, 2010; Sidman, 2011). One area that may substantially benefit from this partnership is the innovation and application of stimulus control technologies. The purpose of this presentation is to equip practitioners with some additional tools from the basic literature on Pavlovian and operant stimulus control that may improve their ability to diagnose and ameliorate common problems such as overselectivity and prompt dependency. Clinical examples will be used to review advanced topics such as stimulus control topography coherence (McIlvane & Dube, 2003) and related basic behavioral processes such as blocking (not to be confused with response blocking) and overshadowing. Implications for improving instructional programs and informing individualized stimulus control assessments will be discussed.



Practical Functional Analysis and Delay/Denial Tolerance Training: Tips for Implementation and Generalization. Kelti Owens (Autism Centers of Michigan).


The Practical Functional Assessment (PFA) created by Dr. Greg Hanley is becoming increasingly popular to use in the clinical setting. Some of the reasons for its increasing popularity include: it's quick, it's effective, and it's easy. Additionally, the Delay/Denial Tolerance Training protocol created by Dr. Greg Hanley is becoming popular for clinicians to use with children who demonstrate severe problem behavior or highly intense self-stimulatory behaviors. This antecedent-based strategy has been shown to be effective at decreasing problem behaviors without the utilization of an extinction procedure. The purpose of this study was to evaluate 5 demonstrations of the PFA. The PFA was completed with 5 children in a clinical study. This presentation will highlight the pros and cons for implementing this type of assessment. Additionally, the purpose of this study was to evaluate 5 demonstrations of Delay/Denial Tolerance training protocol. This presentation will show that this program is effective at decreasing problem behaviors. Also, it will show that problem behaviors maintain at a low-rate while increasing work demand. This presentation will provide clinicians with tips on implementing the PFA and Delay/Denial Tolerance Training. Additionally, this presentation will show data collection systems that can be used. Lastly, this presentation will provide clinicians with information for generalizing Delay/Denial Tolerance Training across settings and people (including parents and in-home).




A Consultation Model for Improving the Implementation of the Accept. Identify. Move. Curriculum in Applied Behavior Analysis Programs for Children Diagnosed with ASD.


Chair: Sarah Dunkel-Jackson (Centria Healthcare).


Accept. Identify. Move. (AIM) (Dixon & Paliliunas, 2019) is a curriculum that incorporates contemporary behavior analytic approaches to enhancing social-emotional development of individuals diagnosed with ASD. Using case studies and a multiple baseline across participants, the current study will explore the benefits of a group consultation model to help clinicians implement this new curriculum with individuals with ASD who have behavior treatment goals of decreasing challenging behavior and increasing social-emotional regulation skills. Results will include changes in observed challenging behavior rates and psychological flexibility as reported by parents and clients as well as participation in AIM sessions and use of AIM skills.


Consultation Model to Evaluate the Implementation of the AIM Curriculum. Sarah Dunkel-Jackson (Centria Healthcare)


Accept. Identify. Move. (AIM) (Dixon & Paliliunas, 2019) is a curriculum that incorporates contemporary behavior analytic approaches to enhancing social-emotional development of individuals diagnosed with ASD. This presentation will introduce attendees to the curriculum and its foundation in applied behavior analysis, acceptance and commitment training, and mindfulness strategies. A review of relational frame theory and verbal behavior will be included. This presentation will then review best practices in providing consultation to groups of clinicians interested in evaluating the implementation of new curriculum within their ABA practices.


AIM in ABA programs for individuals with ASD. DSarah Dunkel-Jackson (Centria Healthcare), Jennifer Reid (Centria Healthcare), KayLeah Crosby-Rowley (Centria Healthcare)


A majority (94%) of children diagnosed with ASD engage in some form of challenging behavior (Jang, Dixon, Tarbox, & Granpeesheh, 2011). A lack of "social-emotional regulation" skills can present as self-injury, aggression, property destruction, vocal protests, and other measurable topographies. Applied behavior analysis (ABA) assessments and interventions have proven the most successful in reducing challenging behaviors for individuals with ASD while enhancing socially significant replacement behaviors. Social-emotional regulation skills can be taught to individuals with ASD but more research on effective curricula is needed. Accept. Identify. Move. (AIM) (Dixon & Paliliunas, 2019) is a new curriculum that enhances social-emotional regulation skills. Using case studies and a multiple baseline across participants, the current study will demonstrate the effects of AIM with individuals with ASD who have treatment goals of decreasing challenging behavior and increasing social-emotional regulation skills. Results will include changes in observed challenging behavior rates and psychological flexibility as reported by parents and clients as well as participation in AIM sessions and use of AIM skills.



Behavioral Systems Approaches to Staff Training: Effective Orientation, Onboarding, and Training Systems.


Chair: Tiffany Stauch (Michigan State University).

Discussant: Tiffany Stauch (Michigan State University)


Behavior analysts work in diverse settings including clinics, centers, schools, hospitals, and other large, community-based "systems". Behavior analysts also work with a diverse population of clients (e.g., those with developmental disabilities, mental health disorders, comorbid diagnoses) and employees (e.g., direct care staff, nurses, doctors, teachers, behavior technicians, behavior analysts, administrators). Providing high-quality orientation, onboarding, and training experiences to employees with diverse experience and education requires significant development, implementation, and evaluation of these "staff training" systems to ensure the best outcomes for clients and their staff. Using a behavioral systems approach, each of the authors in this symposium will describe the orientation, onboarding, and/or training systems within their large, systems while discussing the evaluation required to further inform system development.


Evaluation of An Agency-Wide Training System to Enhance Functional Behavior Assessment Skills of Clinicians. Sarah Dunkel-Jackson (Centria Autism), Jessica Hynes (Centria Autism)


Functional Behavior Assessment is an evidence-based practice used within high-quality ABA therapy programs to assess and help treat challenging behaviors exhibited by individuals. The specific pinpoints associated with performing these skills require training and supervision of clinicians, especially in large, agencies providing geographically diverse applied behavior analysis services. Several effective staff training formats exist including behavioral skills training, video modeling, and performance feedback. The efficiency with which large agencies (and even educational institutions with geographically diverse learners) provide effective staff training opportunities is of great importance to our field and the clients we serve. Using a group experimental design, the current study will explore the effectiveness of various staff training formats on the functional behavior assessment skills of clinicians who provide ABA therapy to individuals with ASD. Results will include changes in observed performance of FBA skills across indirect assessments, descriptive assessments, functional analyses, data summarization and analysis, and reporting. Clinician feedback on preference for training formats and client data will also be discussed.


Melding Approaches: A Staff Training Model for Orienting Psychiatric Nursing and Support Staff to the Role of Applied Behavior Analysis on an Acute In-patient Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Unit. James W. Jackson (University of Michigan)


While much of the early research in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) focused on individuals with mental health disorders and individuals with developmental disabilities, more recent history in ABA with individuals with developmental disabilities has flourished while its active role with those with mental health diagnoses has diminished. Additionally, there is a proliferation of comorbid diagnosis of mental health conditions for individuals with developmental disabilities such as ASD. There is also a focus on utilizing psychotropic medication as either a primary or supplementary treatment component for behavioral excesses. The current paper describes an in-service staff training model aimed at orienting psychiatric nursing and support staff to the field of Applied Behavior Analysis, and how ABA can be an integral part of a multidisciplinary approach to assessment and treatment in an acute in-patient psychiatric unit for children and adolescents. Melding a psychiatric nursing model aimed at both acute behavioral stabilization and medication assessment and management with a functional behavioral approach and the resulting barriers to integration will be discussed.


Conceptual and Empirical Advancements in Data-Based Decision-Making.


Chair: Matthew T. Brodhead (Michigan State University).


Data-based decision-making is the cornerstone of effective behavioral intervention. However, there are a number of variables that may affect how a behavior analyst makes data-based decisions. This symposium will begin with a review of several of these barriers, and will then offer solutions to mitigating or removing them in practice. Then, data from a series of translational studies will be discussed that demonstrate the effects of data accuracy on decision-making during skill acquisition and behavior reduction programs. Overall, this symposium aims to enhance practitioner understanding of data- based decision-making in order to clients benefit from individualized, optimized, and efficacious treatments.


Evidence-Based Practice in Behavior Analysis: The Importance of Data-Based Decision Making in a Clinical Setting. Tania Purnomo (Eastern Michigan University), Adam M. Briggs (Eastern Michigan University)


Evidence-based practice is a framework for clinical decision-making in which behavior analysts integrate the best available evidence with client values, contextual variables, and their own expertise in order to provide behavioral services that are considered best practice for their clients (Slocum et al., 2014). In fact, the Professional and Ethical Compliance Code for Behavior Analysts of the Behavior Analyst Certification Board ® (BACB®, 2016) states that behavior analysts are obligated to rely on professionally derived knowledge based on the science of behavior analysis when making scientific judgements in clinical settings (1.01 - Reliance on Scientific Knowledge) and that clients have a right to effective treatment (2.09 - Treatment/Intervention Efficacy). Therefore, behavior analysts are expected to develop, implement, and evaluate the influence of behavioral interventions with their clients. Although not explicitly stated in the code, consistent and accurate data collection is necessary for determining whether behavior analysts' scientific judgements result in efficacious treatments for clients. However, we recognize that a number of variables can interfere with this obligation being carried out in a clinical setting. We discuss several barriers to data-based decision making that may arise in a clinical setting and offer solutions for eliminating them so that behavior analysts can ensure their clients are benefitting from individualized, optimized, and efficacious treatments.


Visual Analysis with Dynamic Data Sets and Changing Data Accuracy. Allison N. White (Michigan State University) Matthew T. Brodhead (Michigan State University), David J. Cox (Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine)


Practitioners often decide to continue or modify an intervention using visual analysis of data paths that lengthen from session-to-session. We used a novel, lengthening data path procedure to parametrically assess how reducing data accuracy changed decisions to continue or modify an intervention in 30 students of behavior-analytic graduate programs. Additionally, because of potential similarities between data accuracy and probability, we examined how one probability discounting equation described individual choice. We found that decreasing data accuracy systematically reduced the number of sessions participants waited to modify an intervention for 25 of the 30 participants. When data accuracy was 100%, most participants waited 9-10 sessions before intervening. When data accuracy was below 60%, most participants waited 4-6 sessions before intervening. Lastly, the probability discounting equation described patterns of choice well for 16 participants. Data accuracy influenced most participants' visual analyses in a systematic manner. However, the degree of influence differed between individuals.


Visual Analysis with Dynamic Data Sets and Changing Data Accuracy: Replication and Extension. Matthew T. Brodhead (Michigan State University) Allison N. White (Michigan State University) David J. Cox (Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine)


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of changing data-accuracy on decision-making during the visual analysis of decelerating data. The results indicate that parametric manipulations of data accuracy during visual analysis of decelerating data affect decision-making similar to when data are observed for skill acquisition programs. However, we observed some interaction with higher data accuracies (i.e, 80%, 100%) that affected participant results. Implications and future directions are discussed.


Establishing a Line of Behavioral Skills Training Research in a Clinical Setting: A Tutorial and Case Demonstration.


Chair: Adam M. Briggs (Eastern Michigan University).


Behavior analysts in clinical settings are expected to develop, implement, and evaluate evidence-based behavioral services with their clients. Additionally, behavior analysts are required to train behavioral technicians to implement behavioral procedures with high integrity. A common misconception is that clinical work and research are separate entities; however, we propose that high-quality clinical work and staff training should meet the rigorous standards we reserve for research, and as such, results of our in-house evaluations of clinical work and staff training should be ripe for dissemination. In this brief tutorial, we describe steps one might consider when establishing lines of research in their clinical setting, and then provide a demonstration of how we used information gathered from a literature review to inform the development of training procedures that we went on to evaluate in the context of a clinical setting.


Developing a Program of Research in a Clinical Setting. Adam M. Briggs (Eastern Michigan University)


Behavior analysts in clinical settings are expected to develop, implement, and evaluate evidence-based behavioral services with their clients. A common misconception is that clinical work and research are separate entities; however, we propose that high-quality clinical work and staff training should meet the rigorous standards we reserve for research, and as such, results of our in-house evaluations of clinical work and staff training should be ripe for dissemination. In this brief tutorial, we describe steps one might consider when developing a program of research in their clinical setting. Specifically, we review how one might (a) establish a basis for collaboration at a clinical site, (b) identify barriers to addressing site needs, (c) offer solutions to barriers, and (d) lead charge on initiatives.


Training Behavioral Technicians to Implement Discrete-Trial Teaching: Recent Advancements and Future Directions. Samantha J. Zohr (Eastern Michigan University), Adam M. Briggs (Eastern Michigan University), Olivia B. Harvey (Eastern Michigan University)


Early intensive behavioral intervention is an empirically-supported treatment that has the potential to mitigate core and associated features of autism. Although we have a powerful intervention for treating children diagnosed with autism, less is known about effectively training behavioral technicians to implement discrete-trial teaching (DTT). Research indicates behavioral skills training (BST) is an effective method for training behavioral technicians. Over the past decade, researchers have replicated and extended research in this area in an attempt to make it more effective while requiring fewer resources. This review summarizes recent advancements in the BST literature for training technicians to implement DTT.


Effectively Training Behavioral Technicians to Implement Discrete-Trial Teaching Efficiently: A Sequential Analysis. Olivia B. Harvey (Eastern Michigan University), Adam M. Briggs (Eastern Michigan University)


Behavioral skills training (BST) is an evidence-based training protocol that is most commonly comprised of (a) instructions, (b) modeling, (c) rehearsal, and (d) feedback. The purpose of the current study was to evaluate the influence of each BST component in a sequential manner to determine the most effective and efficient method for training behavioral technicians to implement discrete-trial teaching. Preliminary results suggest the feedback component was necessary for all participants to reach the mastery criterion (100% correct across three consecutive sessions). We discuss implications of these results and directions for future research.


Recent Research on Social and Play Skills in Children with Autism.


Chair: Emma S. Sipila-Thomas (Michigan State University).


Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) often have trouble engaging in appropriate social and play skills. This symposium seeks to address these problems by presenting three studies that evaluate social and play skill interventions with children with ASD. The first study implemented a manualized social-play intervention and evaluated student social and play skill outcomes. The second study evaluated the effectiveness of social stories for children with ASD. The third study assessed participants' preferences between a schedule that allowed them to choose their sequence of activities and one in which the sequence was predetermined by the researcher. All three studies for this symposium have important implications for increasing social and play skills with children with ASD.


An Evaluation of a Manualized Social-Play Intervention Using a Randomized Controlled Trial. Emma S. Sipila-Thomas (Michigan State University), Matthew T. Brodhead (Michigan State University), Joshua B. Plavnick (Michigan State University)


Play is an essential pivotal skill for children because it is both an important developmental outcome and a context for much of the curriculum presented in early learning environments. However, children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have a troubling developmental social trajectory due to their deficits in social behaviors and restricted interests that severely inhibit their ability to engage in appropriate play with their peers. Given the importance of social skill development in children with ASD, it is paramount that children with ASD receive access to social skills programs at an early age, alongside their typically developing peers, in order to fully benefit from future meaningful social experiences throughout their lifespan. To date, there are no carefully designed manualized procedures for educators to deliver social-play skills interventions to children with ASD within inclusive early-childhood special education settings. The purposes of the present study were to: (1) implement a manualized social-play curriculum, Play20, and (2) evaluate student social and play skill outcomes using a randomized controlled trial containing a treatment (i.e., Play20) and control group. Students in the Play20 group engaged in more and higher quality play actions than students in the control group. The findings and implications are discussed.


An Evaluation of the Effectiveness of Social Stories for Children With Autism. Kimberly Meister (Michigan State University), Matthew T. Brodhead (Michigan State University), Emma S. Sipila-Thomas (Michigan State University)


Social stories are a popular intervention technique utilized to teach appropriate social skills to individuals with autism spectrum disorder. The current study identifies three limitations of existing social story research, including: a lack of adherence to the social story guidelines published by Carol Gray, limited information reported on participants with predominant use of older and seemingly higher functioning participants, and the inability to exhibit a causal relationship. In order to address these limitations, a social story intervention aimed at increasing appropriate social behaviors was implemented using preschoolers with ASD, who exhibit different levels of academic and social functioning.


Assessing if Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder Prefer to have Choice Opportunities Embedded in Activity Schedules. Nikki Dee (Michigan State University), Matthew T. Brodhead (Michigan State University)


Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) often struggle to independently engage in activities. There remain questions as to how to increase child independence during activity schedule use-with one option of allowing children to choose their sequence of activities. The extent to which children with ASD may prefer to choose their own sequence is unknown, and is, therefore, the purpose of this study. A comparative design was used to assess participants' preferences between a schedule that allowed them to choose their sequence of activities and one in which the sequence was predetermined by the researcher.


Panel Discussions


Considering Issues of Multicultural Diversity in the Ethical Practice of Applied Behavior Analysis. Angela Capuno (University of Michigan-Dearborn), Kim Killu (University of Michigan-Dearborn), Danielle DeLong (Harbor)


In this panel discussion, the panelists will address real-life scenarios encountered in the professional practice of applied behavior analysis that present ethical challenges in a multicultural context. Each panelist will focus on a particular scenario that presented an ethical challenge with a multicultural focus and will present the implications for the Professional and Ethical Compliance Code (BACB, 2014) as well as a perspective on the multicultural issues present in each scenario. Current research relevant to issues of multicultural diversity in applied behavior analysis will be discussed. Resources for further information will also be given. Each panelist brings many years of professional experience, along with diversity in training and populations served. Panelists have worked in residential settings, inpatient, and outpatient, and have served clients with traumatic brain injury, autism, feeding disorders, mental health disorders, intellectual and developmental disabilities, and incarcerated individuals.




IEPs Informed by ABA. Kelly Rogers (Grand Valley State University)


Workshop Date and Time: Friday morning, 9:00 a.m. - 11:50 a.m

Workshop cost: $50

Workshop attendance limit: 100


This session will outline the legal requirements of the IEP process and identify ways to infuse ABA within specific sections of the IEP. The session will also include ideas for collaboration between ABA providers and school personnel to improve seamless access to services for students and families.



An Introduction to Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for ABA Practitioners


Workshop day and time:  Thursday morning, 9:00 a.m. - 11:50 a.m.

Workshop Cost: $50

Instructor:   Scott Gaynor, Ph.D., BCBA-D

Professor of Psychology, Western Michigan University


Practices from ACT have been increasingly offered as an adjunct to traditional ABA services and for parents of youth receiving services. Implementation of ACT is guided by the psychological flexibility model (i.e., the ACT Hexaflex): contact with the present moment, self-as-context, acceptance, cognitive defusion, values, and committed action. These “middle-level terms” are viewed as clinically useful designations for complex functional relations that are ultimately reducible to basic principles and processes from behavioral science. In this didactic and experiential introductory workshop each of these terms will be defined, the constituent behavioral repertoires described, the clinical functions identified, and some clinical implementation strategies reviewed and practiced.


Acting Out: Learning BACB Ethics and Problem-Solving Strategies through Interactive Team-Based Learning.


Workshop day and time:  Thursday afternoon, 2:00-5:00 PM

Workshop Cost: $50

Instructor:   Wayne Fuqua, Ph.D., BCBA-D, 1-01-0622

Professor of Psychology, Western Michigan University


Description: This workshop is designed for practitioners who have some familiarity with the Professional and Ethical Compliance Code from the Behavior Analysis Certification Board and wish to improve their skills to a) identify and analyze ethical challenges, (b) practice and refine strategies to tactfully and effectively resolve ethical challenges, (c) develop organizational level strategies to prevent ethical lapses 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, participants 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, and

(4) implement team-based learning strategies that can be used to promote BACB ethics in work and educational settings.


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.







An Adapted Alternating Treatment Design to Teach the Listener Response Skill using Paper and Electronic Stimuli. LaNae Williams (The Healing Haven), Julie Kopp (The Healing Haven), Batoul Dekmak (The Healing Haven), Jamie McGillivary (The Healing Haven), Jessica Osos (The Healing Haven, Michigan State), Jessica Osos (The Healing Haven, Michigan State),


With the increased use of iPads in classrooms, special education teachers need methods for preparing students with developmental disabilities to access and use this technology for a variety of academic purposes. A growing number of research studies have demonstrated the positive effects technology has on literacy skills, such as vocabulary acquisition, and has shown that technology can be used with prompting procedures to provide effective multicomponent interventions for students with developmental disabilities (Rivera, Hudson, Weiss, & Zambone, 2017). In the present investigation, paper stimuli and electronic stimuli are used to teach the listener response skill of selecting a non-preferred item from an array of 3. An adapted alternating treatment design was used for one participant to first compare skill acquisition rates and sessions to criterion across both paper stimuli and electronic stimuli and then to assess if the skill can then be generalized to the other mode of stimuli.


Applied Behavior Analysis for Individuals who are Blind and/or Deaf and Diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Sarah Dunkel-Jackson (Centria Autism), Sarah Layre (Centria Autism), Sheena Burgess (Centria Autism)


Individuals with ASD may be diagnosed with co-occurring conditions including hearing loss and vision impairments. Little research exists on how to best support individuals with complex special needs including those with ASD and co-occurring hearing loss and vision impairment. Applied behavior analysis is an effective intervention that uses a functional approach to increasing skills and decreasing challenging behaviors. By breaking down complex skills into manageable targets and goals and using functional assessments to identify the maintaining variables of challenging behaviors, behavior analysts are equipped to support children with complex special needs. The purpose of the current study is to demonstrate that through collaboration with vision and hearing specialists, behavior analysts can provide a whole-child treatment plan based on the principles and concepts of behavior analysis to increase skills and reduce challenging behaviors of individuals diagnosed with ASD and co-occurring hearing loss and/or vision impairment.


Behavior Analysis Training System (BATS).Erin Baum (Western Michigan University), Hannah Vandenboom (Western Michigan University), Richard W. Malott (Western Michigan University)


The purpose of BATS is to produce competent behavior analysts with foundations in the principles and concepts of behavior analysis and prepare students to become practitioners and Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA)


A Case Study of Tolerance Training in a High Functioning Individual with ASD. Amy Whitten Shaw (Central Michigan University), Matthew Dunnuck (Central Michigan University), Seth Whiting (Central Michigan University),


While Interview Informed Synthesized Contingency Analysis and functional communication training packages have been effective with a variety of clients, few studies have examined older clients who are meeting developmental targets. Thus, the purpose of the present case study was to investigate the efficacy of functional communication training and tolerance training procedures in this target population. An Interview Informed Synthesized Contingency Analysis was conducted on a 9-year-old boy with Autism Spectrum Disorder to determine the function of his increasingly long and aggressive tantrums. With situations of inequality determined to be the establishing operation, functional communication training began by introducing an omnibus mand ("my way") and fading in more difficult and age appropriate mands. Noncompliant tantrums which often lasted hours before treatment reduced to 0 incidents per day during treatment and functional communication increased to an average of 85% independent responding. Additionally, age appropriate demands that might be faced in school or play with peers were slowly faded in and compliance remained high. This replication was unique in utilizing functional communication training and tolerance training with a high functioning individual who did not need additional mand training. The participant had a wide verbal repertoire and occasionally protested the program, nonetheless the program was effective in increasing tolerance to delay and denial, as well as increasing contextually appropriate behaviors. The omnibus mand is still appropriate for use in clients with a sophisticated verbal repertoire, and demands can be modified to fit the individual's age and developmental levels.



A Comparison of Video Models and Live Models to Teach Echoics. Dana Waddell (Western Michigan University), Gina Chan (Western Michigan University), Kelly Kohler (Western Michigan University), Richard W. Malott (Western Michigan University)


Learning a language is not always an easy task for all children. Typically, language is a skill that comes naturally very young in a child's life, but for children with autism, the path to learning language is very different. The first stages of learning language involve many skills, one of which are called "echoic skills," because the child directly echoes a sound a person elicits. This is fundamental to learning language, especially in children with autism. The field of behavior analysis has conducted great amounts of research on this topic and has found that using technology in the therapy sessions has been very beneficial for the child's language skills. Previous research has shown higher results of using an iPad or a form of technology in a therapy session rather than a live or in person model. In this study, the effects of using a live model for an echoic response, or a video model for an echoic response will be examined. This study used a single subject design and took place over X weeks. The purpose of this study is to find out if using an iPad for a video model is more effective than using a live model in sessions conducted to elicit echoic responses.


A Comparison Study of Naming Tests. Kassidi Krzykwa (Western Michigan University), Sofia Peters (Western Michigan University), Katarina Rotta (Western Michigan University)


Bidirectional naming is the ability to acquire a listener response or tact for a stimulus and then emit the other operant without further training. Incidental naming refers to the ability to emit the listener response and tact for the item without direct reinforcement after just being exposed to the name of the item. The development of naming could allow a child to learn more readily from the natural environment. For this project, procedures outlined by Greer & Ross (2008) were used to test incidental naming while procedures outlined by Degli Espinosa (2011) were used to test bidirectional naming. At the start of the project, the child did not display either type of naming. A selection-echoic to tact procedure was used in an attempt to establish naming. After the child reached the mastery criteria for the procedure, each naming test was conducted again. Results and implications will be discussed.


Does Food Probability and Delay Modulate the Effect of d-Amphetamine on Lever-Press Latency in a Discrete-Trials Procedure? Lillian L. Skiba-Thayer (Central Michigan University), Eric J. French (Central Michigan University), Mark P. Reilly (Central Michigan University)


In prior experiments conducted in our lab, lever-press latencies on a lever associated with a 0.4 probability of reinforcement were higher than on a lever associated with a 1.0 probability of reinforcement, but only when a 5-s delay to food delivery was in effect. Differential latencies between the two levers were not seen under conditions of immediate food delivery. In the present study, the effect of d-amphetamine, which has been shown to decrease latencies in the five-choice serial reaction time task (5-CSRTT; Koffarnus & Katz, 2010), was investigated in a modified, single-lever version of our task. In Condition 1, a lever press at the start of the trial produced a food pellet with a 1.0 probability in the presence of a flashing stimulus light, and with a 0.4 probability in the presence of a solid stimulus light. A 45-s inter-trial interval separated each trial. In Condition 2, a 5-s delay was imposed between lever pressing and food delivery. We expect to see similar results in the single-lever procedure; latencies in the presence of the two stimuli signaling 0.4 and 1.0 food delivery probability will be differentiated only when a 5-s delay is present. d-Amphetamine will be investigated in both conditions; therefore, we will be able to ascertain whether d-amphetamine dose-dependently increases or decreases latencies in Condition 1 where baseline latencies are similar and in Condition 2 where latencies will be differentiated. The current procedure represents a simpler arrangement of the 5-CSRTT, and an effect of d-amphetamine on latencies similar to the published literature would demonstrate the potential of the task to serve as a valid modification of the 5-CSRTT.


Effects of Social Networks on Student Performance. Paula Odenigbo (University of Windsor)


This exploratory study examined the effect of social networks (family, friends, and romantic partners) on first year of university cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) as students transition from high school to university. The study participants (N = 77) were second-year University of Windsor students who came from high school directly into their first year in university. Data was collected during the winter semester (January to March, 2019). Findings showed a major decline in students' cumulative first-year GPA (M = 73.99) compared to their high school GPA (M = 82.26). High school GPA and first-year GPA were not significantly correlated. Structural Equation Modeling indicated a significant relationship between students' cumulative first-year university GPA and perceived social support, social and emotional loneliness, college self-efficacy, and depression. Overall, perceived social support appeared to significantly influence students' high school and university GPA. The present study provides insight into the significance of social support to students involved in the transition from high school to university.



Establishing Auditory Discrimination and Echoic Stimulus Control with an Auditory Matching Procedure.Marquin Evans (Western Michigan University), Clare Christe (Western Michigan University), Richard W. Malott (Western Michigan University)


Young learners with developmental disabilities often have a deficit in auditory discrimination and echoic stimulus control which typically presents as an inability to follow directions and attend other vocal cues. Responding to both sounds and words can be paramount for them to engage functionally with their environment. These learners will typically become dependent on visual or physical prompts to engage in appropriate behavior which can be restrictive and difficult to fade out. The purpose of this study was to use an iPad app to establish auditory discrimination and increase echoic responding in a three-year-old diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. The app's early phases focused on discriminating and matching environmental sounds with later phases targeting words that sound increasingly similar. The study used a multiple-probe design, which probed the ability to echo words and word sounds at the beginning of the study, again at the end, and between different phases of the intervention. After the intervention, it was shown that the participant increased accurate vocal imitation of the words and word-sounds. This should lead to an additional increase in listener responding and a general ability to respond to audio cues in the environment.


Evaluating the Effectiveness of Delay/Denial Tolerance Training Implementation and Generalization to a Parent and In-home Setting. Kelti Owens (Autism Centers of Michigan), Bailey Chapman (Autism Centers of Michigan)


Delay/Denial Tolerance Training has been shown to be an effective method of decreasing problem behaviors and increasing tolerating unpreferred activities and instructions. Delay/Denial Tolerance Training is a treatment protocol which involves systematically increasing functional communication responses, tolerance responses, and contextually appropriate behaviors. The purpose of the current study was to implement Delay/Denial Tolerance training with a 6 year-old boy to decrease problem behaviors and increase tolerating responses. Further, the current study aimed at generalizing the results of Delay/Denial Tolerance training to a parent and the in-home setting from the center. Delay/Denial Tolerance training successfully decreased problem behaviors when nonpreferred instructions and activities were presented without the use of extinction procedures. Further, this study is a successful demonstration of generalization of the procedure to a parent in the in-home setting. This was achieved through family training focused on Delay/Denial Tolerance training. This generalization was measured through the family's data collection on their use of Delay/Denial Tolerance training. Interobserver agreement and fidelity checks were completed on the parent's implementation skills.


Evaluating The Effectiveness of Delay/Denial Tolerance Training on increasing Skill Acquisition and Decreasing Intensive Physical Aggression In a Six Year Old Boy Kelti Owens (Autism Centers of Michigan), Jessica Bostick (Autism Centers of Michigan)


Functional behavior assessments can be time consuming which create delays to implementing behavior reduction strategies for reducing problem behaviors. However the Practical Functional Assessment (PFA) is an alternative assessment which allows the clinician to identify the contingencies maintaining the problem behavior quickly and implement treatment immediately after. Delay/Denial Tolerance Training is a treatment protocol which involves systematically increasing functional communication responses, tolerance responses, and contextually appropriate behaviors. The purpose of this was to implement the IISCA to assess the problem behavior and implement Delay/Denial Tolerance Training to increase toleration skills and decrease problem behaviors. The subject was a y6 year-old boy who demonstrated severe physical aggression, property destruction, and elopement. He received ABA services for 30 hours per week and we used 2:1 staffing. IISCA identified that tangible or escape to tangible contingencies were maintaining the problem behavior. Delay/Denial Tolerance Training was used in a center-based setting and was successful at increasing skill acquisition trials and decreasing problem behavior without experiencing an extinction burst. These findings were successfully generalized across skills and technicians.


Evaluating the Effects of Group Activity Schedules During Social Games on Delayed Social Interactions in the Natural Environment . Sydney MacAlpine (Total Education Solutions, Ball State University), Sophia Taylor (Total Education Solutions, University of Michigan-Flint), Stephanie Allor (Total Education Solutions, University of Michigan-Flint), Alesha Bove (Total Education Solutions), Darra Drosis (Total Education Solutions), Darra Drosis (Total Education Solutions)


Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) often have impairments in social behavior. Deficits such as these often lead to reduced social interactions with peers. Social skill trainings and interventions that target peer interactions and social skills are common practice with individuals with ASD and related disorders (Locke, et al., 2019) . The purpose of this study was to expand previous research that examined the use of activity schedules to facilitate complex social games between children with ASD. Akers, Higbee, Gerencser, and Pellegrino (2018)'s literature specifically investigated the facilitation of activity schedules while playing hide-and-seek. In the current study, we aim to continue research on the use of activity schedules to teach a complex social game, increase and expand social interactions with peers, fade prompts, and increase variations in social communication while playing the game.


Evaluating the Effects of Tact and Match-to-Sample Training on the Acquisition of LRFFC Categorization Skills. Brittany Bittenbender (Western Michigan University Kalamazoo Autism Center), Kelsey Saunders (Western Michigan University Kalamazoo Autism Center), Rebecca Eldridge (Western Michigan University Kalamazoo Autism Center)


Historically, early and intensive behavioral intervention (EIBI) programs teach receptive language skills (i.e., listener responding) before expressive language skills (i.e., vocal verbal behavior) to children who have autism (Petursdottir, Carr, Lechago, & Almason, 2008). Lovaas recommended this sequence because it is the sequence in which typically developing children have been observed to acquire receptive and expressive repertoires. However, some children struggle to acquire these listener responses. Lovaas suggests that a reverse sequencing may be more effective with these children (Lovaas, 1977, 2003; as cited in Petursdottir & Carr, 2011). In particular, if an individual shows difficulty attending to stimuli, then providing the opportunity to expressively emit a response first may aid in the process for learning a listener response. The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the effects of teaching expressive skills (such as tact and intraverbal) on performance of untrained categorization skills with a 5-year-old male with autism who shows difficulty attending during listener responding trials. Preliminary results are promising, and discussion points will include mechanisms of stimulus equivalence relations, and the future implications for this research.


Examining In-Situ Training of Preference Assessment using a Bluetooth Earpiece . Matthew Dunnuck (Central Michigan University), Seth Whiting (Central Michigan University)


In-situ behavioral skills training is an effective way of teaching skills across populations, but is associated with some weaknesses (e.g., difficulty fading out instructions and prompts, interruptions during trials, and other extraneous variables). The current study tested the efficacy of using a Bluetooth earpiece for training student clinicians to implement a paired choice preference assessment with in-situ training. In a pretest, student clinicians read a research article about paired choice preference assessments (Fisher et al., 1992) and took a quiz based on the reading. During baseline, student clinicians attempted to implement preference assessment procedures based on the reading. An intervention consisting of behavioral skills training (e.g., instructions, in-situ prompting, and feedback) delivered via Bluetooth earpiece during trials was implemented sequentially across clinicians. Results demonstrated an increase from an average of 50% of steps completed during baseline to mastery of 100% implementation following administration of the in-situ behavioral skills training. Overall, results suggest that in-situ training via Bluetooth earpiece is effective for training student clinicians to run paired choice preference assessments up to mastery criteria without interrupting the trials, introducing extraneous variables due to presence of researchers, or delayed feedback to the implementers.


Examining the Effects of Video Modeling and 3D Matrix Training on Pretend Play Skills in a Child with Autism. Alex Prappas (Judson Center)


Pretend play emerges early in typically developing children, generally appearing by the age of 18 months and becoming more elaborate over the preschool years. (MacManus, MacDonald and Ahearn, 2015).The purpose of the study was to increase pretend play skills in a child with autism using video modeling and 3D matrix training. The participant included in the study was a 5-year-old male diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder receiving 15 hours of intensive services at a center based ABA program. Research has shown that Matrix training is a generative instructional approach where stimulus pairings are taught with the goal of emergent responses occurring without direct instruction. (Hatzenbuhler Molteni, and Axe, 2019). Additionally Video modeling is a technique that uses videos rather than live scenarios for the child to observe. This allows the child to focus their attention on the stimulus tape. (Hermanson & McCoy 2007). Results show that using both video modeling and 3D matrix training resulted in faster skill acquisition through free learning without training.


Increasing Peer- Directed Mands Using Video Modeling and Picture Exchange Communication System. Alexa Slater (Judson Center), Elise Hester (Judson Center), Kelsey Murphy (Judson Center)


The purpose of this research is to increase the number of peer-directed mands using Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) and video modeling. This is modeled after research by Cannella-Malone, Fant, and Tullis (2010), which found that peer-directed PECS requests and responses both increased after training with an adult. The two participants have received a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder and are receiving a minimum of 30 hours of intensive applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy, weekly. The procedure includes video modeling to train participants as responders to a PECS mand from an adult by accepting a PECS icon and providing the requested item to the speaker. After mastery criteria is met, this PECS response skill is transferred from adult speaker to peer speaker. A weekly preference assessment determines participants' highly preferred items. After PECS listener responding skill is acquired by participants, researchers hope to transfer the skill to other environments including the classroom and home.


Increasing the echoic repertoire of child with autism using an imitation and echoic sequence. Rose Bridges (Western Michigan University), Brittany O'Grady (Western Michigan University), Kelly Kohler (Western Michigan University), Richard W. Malott (Western Michigan University),


A prerequisite to many things in life is the ability to communicate. Although this may mean many different things from verbal language, to sign language, written language and even icons used as language tools, there must be some form of communication that may be utilized to get needs across. Many young children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are non-verbal, however there are also many children with ASD who have the ability to say words but are still not independently speaking. Reinforcing approximations to word sounds has been previously seen as an effective way of increasing the child's verbal repertoire (Shane, 2017). The present study is set to evaluate whether Ross and Greer (2003)'s method of using imitation to build momentum and then presenting an echoic will be an effective form of increasing verbal responses among a preschool aged child diagnosed with ASD. The study is a changing criterion design, where the target words will change as the participant retains previous targets. Prior to this study the participant had a high rate of imitation and utilized few coherent words; however, he did not respond to any echoic probes during baseline. The current expectation is that the intervention will increase the participant's rate of echoics, resulting in an increase in spoken language.


Matching with a Tablet Using Most-to-Least Prompting. Karina Salazar Ponce (Western Michigan University), Hannah E. Betz (Western Michigan University), Kelly T. Kohler (Western Michigan University), Richard W. Malott (Western Michigan University),


Kids with autism tend to have a difficult time with one-to-one correspondence matching. Matching to sample is the process of pairing an identical stimulus to its corresponding stimulus, for example, matching a physical object to its corresponding picture. This is an important skill since it is the first step in teaching individuals with developmental delays visual discrimination skills and generalization of matching. The purpose of this study was to implement an intervention to reteach matching-to-sample using a tablet. Sammy is 3 years old, diagnosed with early childhood developmental delay and was selected from a classroom in the Kalamazoo Regional Educational Service Agency center. The participant had the skill but lost it over time. We taught the skill a different way using a tablet and using most-to-least prompting to test if this was a more effective way. The intervention consisted of a tablet screen being presented and displayed an array of items with the target item above the array. Using technology is beneficial since it helps with attending in instructional learning. Technology is also becoming more advanced and is being used more in classrooms. We used Most-to-Least prompting to fade the prompts as quickly as possible. To test for generalized matching we probed for matching using physical pictures and objects. Results and implications will be discussed later.


Matrix Training Used to Teach Generative Language . Chelsey Harmon (Judson Center), Melissa Wilson (Judson Center)


The purpose of this research study is to teach generative language skills through tacting noun-verb combinations. Matrix Training is teaching a set of skills through diagonal training resulting in a set of untrained skills being learned (Axe & Sainato, 2010). Three participants, all diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) who attended Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) Therapy were included in this delayed multiple probe across participants study. Two of the participants were vocal-verbal and the third participant used an Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) device. Probe trials were used prior to intervention to determine known noun and verb. Each matrix included 3 animal figurines on one axis and 3 actions on the other. Intervention included training diagonal targets. Once mastery criteria was met for the diagonal targets, probe sessions were implemented to see if untrained skills had been learned.


Measuring Motor Networks in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Systematic Review of EEG Techniques and Research Designs.. Frantzy Acluche (Eastern Michigan Univervisity), Alyssa Augustiniak (Eastern Michigan Univervisity), Noelle Ditchfield (Eastern Michigan Univervisity), Jin Bo (Eastern Michigan Univervisity), Eleah Sunde (Eastern Michigan Univervisity), Eleah Sunde (Eastern Michigan Univervisity),


Motor deficits (e.g odd gait, clumsiness, rigidity) and delays in fine and gross motor skills have been observed in children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Impairments in the motor domain have been documented as impacting the diagnostic features of ASD, such as language acquisition. As the use of electroencephalography (EEG) in research with this population increases, to better understand behavioral and neural correlates of the motor network, so does the need for research guidelines that: 1) are specialized for the complex symptomology in this population and; 2) inform methodological approaches of future studies. Thus, we conducted a systematic review of studies comparing motor network activity in this population using EEG techniques. The review aimed to describe and compare EEG techniques and research methods implemented; and describe and compare reported brain activity associated with the motor network in children diagnosed with ASD. Searches were conducted via PubMed, PsychInfo, and Web of Science, for the terms electroencephalography OR eeg ; autis* OR ASD ; motor; and child OR childhood OR children. Inclusion criteria: English-language articles, use of EEG technique, indirect or direct discussion of the motor network; and participant age 5-12 years old diagnosed with ASD. 154 articles were reviewed in total. 13 articles were included in the full text analysis.18 domains were identified as pertinent factors to consider when determining relevant study designs for examining the motor network in children diagnosed with ASD. The domains are displayed in tables. Although there were commonalities in study designs among articles that used the same analytical approach to characterize the motor network EEG activity, future studies would benefit from study development that accounts for information captured in the 18 domains. Further literature reviews should be conducted to refine the domains and determine its generalizability to other imaging techniques.


A Methodological Review of Preference Displacement Research. Isaac J. Melanson (Michigan State University), Allison N. White (Michigan State University), Emma S. Sipila-Thomas (Michigan State University), Matthew T. Brodhead (Michigan State University),


Preference displacement refers to the disproportional selection of one stimulus category over another stimulus category. When both highly preferred edible and leisure stimuli are simultaneously available for selection in a preference assessment, results from previous research suggest that participants generally select edible stimuli more often than leisure stimuli. As a result, researchers recommend conducting separate assessments for edible and leisure stimuli, because edible stimuli may artificially offset the relative preference of leisure stimuli. However, recent findings in preference displacement research suggest displacement may not be as ubiquitous as once thought. Therefore, the purpose of this review was to examine methodological differences and similarities in previous preference displacement research and examine if any similarities or differences may account for at least some of the differences in obtained results. Results and implications are discussed.


Replication of Establishing Auditory Discrimination and Echoic Stimulus Control with an Auditory Matching Procedure. Chelsie Morgan (Western Michigan University)


Many children diagnosed with autism and other developmental delays lack the skill of vocalizations. Vocalizations are considered a precursor skill to mand and echo, which is crucial in children's development and will advance the child's skill set while helping them with other programs in the future. Despite the many successful vocalization programs, many children with autism or developmental delays never successfully make vocalizations. The purpose of this study is to establish auditory discrimination and echoic stimulus control with an auditory matching procedure leading to vocalizations and echoics. The study was replicated to establish auditory discrimination as well as fine tune vocalizations in a 4 year-old boy and a 3 year-old boy diagnosed with autism. This replication used a multiple probe design across participants. The intervention broke down each step significantly starting with pairing sounds a conditioned reinforcer. The intervention will end when the participant has reached mastery on the generalization probe. This intervention significantly increased vocalizations and established auditory discrimination in two preschool aged boys repertoire.


Scheduled toileting with a resetting schedule for deviant elimination with a preadolescent . Lauren Bauer (Gateway Pediatric Therapy), Thomas Waltz (Eastern Michigan University), Christina Vestevich (Gateway Pediatric Therapy)


Enuresis and encopresis are observed more often in those with autism spectrum disorder or attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder than typically developing children. Positive behavior strategies such as regularly scheduled toilet sits and positive reinforcement are often effective in treating inappropriate elimination for these individuals. However, these strategies do not always fully eliminate inappropriate voids. This case example involves a previously toilet trained preadolescent with multiple diagnoses including autism spectrum disorder and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. Inappropriate eliminations were occurring in multiple locations within the family home six to ten times per day. The use of positive reinforcement, regularly scheduled toilet sits, and an overcorrection procedure reduced but did not eliminate deviant elimination. Subsequently, a progressive toileting schedule with a reset contingency was introduced. The toileting schedule was reset to every 30 minutes whenever daytime passage of urine or feces outside of the toilet was discovered. Deviant elimination was drastically reduced following a verbal description of this contingency and long-term cessation of deviant elimination has been maintained.


Statement Accuracy Affects Ethical Decision-Making. Alexandria Thomas (Michigan State University), David Ray Miranda (Michigan State University), Allison N. White (Michigan State University), Emma S. Sipila-Thomas (Michigan State University), Matthew T. Brodhead (Michigan State University), Matthew T. Brodhead (Michigan State University),


The purpose of this translational study was to evaluate the effects of statement accuracy on ethics-related decision-making. Specifically, 20 participants with a BCBA® or BCaBA® credential were exposed to statements that depicted ethical violations of the BACB Code. Using a model similar to that commonly found in probability discounting literature, we manipulated the probability of statement accuracy to evaluate the point at which participants changed their decisions. A majority of participants were sensitive to manipulations in statement accuracy. Results and implications are discussed.


Teaching Auditory Discrimination. Anne Nanninga (Western Michigan University), Kaylee Tomak (Western Michigan University), Clare Christe (Western Michigan University), Kelly Kohler (Western Michigan University), Richard W. Malott (Western Michigan University), Richard W. Malott (Western Michigan University),


Auditory discrimination is the ability to attend to, and tell the difference between, different words and is a prerequisite for receptive language. The purpose of this study was to teach auditory discrimination to a 4-year-old boy who exhibited language delays and was not identifying common objects when they were labeled, indicating a lack of auditory-visual discrimination skills. Different prompting methods were compared to teach the student to receptively identify pictures of common objects. These prompting methods included an antecedent picture prompt, a consequence picture prompt, and least-to-most physical guidance. Due to a lack of progress across all teaching methods, the procedures were discontinued, and an auditory matching procedure was implemented to focus on teaching auditory, not auditory-visual, discrimination. The procedures involved presenting a sample sound to the student and then presenting two comparison stimuli, one of which matched the original, sample sound. The student was taught to select the sound that corresponded to the sample sound. After teaching the student to attend to and tell the difference between different auditory stimuli, more advanced forms of auditory discrimination will be taught. The current study is expected to teach auditory discrimination to a student with language delays.


Teaching Echoics: A Comparison Between Facial Imitation and Rapid Motor Imitation. Elizabeth Carey (Western Michigan University), Clare Christe (Western Michigan University), Kelly Kohler (Western Michigan University)


The ability to echo early speech sounds is an important first step for further language development. This is often referred to as vocal imitation or echoic behavior. For children on the autism spectrum, this skill is often difficult to acquire. One of the most popular behavior analytic methods used to teach vocal imitation is Rapid Motor Imitation. Rapid Motor Imitation consists of presenting a number of motor imitation targets in rapid succession and then presenting a novel echoic or vocal imitation target at the end (Greer & Ross, 2008). Ideally, in order for this method to be effective, the learner would have generalized imitation. The researchers theorized that the ability to imitate facial movements is a crucial variable in generalized imitation. The goal of the current study is to investigate whether facial imitation, Rapid Motor Imitation, or a combination of both methods, is most effective for teaching echoics to a four-year-old child diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. This study utilized a parallel treatments research design. A total of six different early echoic sounds were taught under three different conditions. The first condition shaped the facial/oral movements that are associated with the assigned echoic targets/sounds. Once the facial movements were learned, the echoic targets were taught using Rapid Motor Imitation. For the second condition, the facial/oral movements were taught in the same way and then the echoic targets were trained using basic reinforcement procedures. The third condition did not include teaching facial movements; it consisted of using only Rapid Motor Imitation to teach the assigned echoic targets. This project is still ongoing; final results are to be determined.


Teaching Generalized Mands with a Time-Delay Echoic-To-Mand Procedure. Gina Chan (Western Michigan University), Michael Tomak (Western Michigan University), Kelly Kohler (Western Michigan University), Richard W. Malott (Western Michigan University),


Verbal language is an essential part of learning. It allows us to communicate our needs, how we feel, and create social bonds. The inability to verbally communicate can cause problem behaviors and a lower quality of life. Students with development disabilities may have difficulties acquiring this skill, which leads to even more problems learning. The objective of this study was to increase a student's independent vocal requests by using delayed echoic prompts in their natural environment. This study focused on a three-year-old student with autism, who had a strong echoic repertoire and many tangible reinforcers. After participating in this study, the student had gained generalized mands and was able to request new items once she learned the correct vocalization.


Teaching Independent Lotion Application to a Child with Autism and Chronic Eczema. Brittany O'Grady (Western Michigan University), Michael Tomak (Western Michigan University), Kelly Kohler (Western Michigan University), Richard W. Malott (Western Michigan University),


This study involves systematic desensitization of lotion for a 3-year-old diagnosed with autism and chronic eczema in order to help in the treatment of his skin. The amount of lotion and duration of time the lotion was applied were gradually increased as the client's tolerance increased. The client was then taught to apply the lotion to his own skin when given the instruction "put on lotion." As a result, the client now applies lotion independently on a daily basis.


Teaching Joint Attention to a Child with Autism: Observing Adults and Gaze Following. Hannah Betz (Western Michigan University), Sofia Peters (Western Michigan University), Richard W. Malott (Western Michigan University)


Many children with autism display a deficit in joint attention skills. Joint attention occurs when two individuals share the same experience simultaneously. This skill is important for many reasons. These reasons include helping children with attending, learning to seek approval and observational learning. In addition, joint attention helps with social and communication development. The purpose of this study is to teach a child with autism two different joint attention skills: monitoring adults and gaze following. The participant was a three year old boy with autism who did not observe adults or follow the direction they were looking in. The first half of the study taught the child to observe adults as they put a highly preferred item in a cup and the child had to retrieve the item. The second half of the study taught the child to follow an adult's gaze to an interesting stimulus in the environment. The child had to establish eye contact with the adult and then look where the adult was looking. Monitoring adults helps with observational learning whereas gaze following helps with attending and gaining attention from another person. The results and implications are discussed.


Teaching Receptive ID Using Antecedent Picture Prompt Stimulus Fading. Robin Luo (Wester Michigan University), Kaylee Tomak (Western Michigan University), Richard W. Malott (Western Michigan University)


"Receptive language refers to responding appropriately to another person's spoken language" (Grow & LeBlanc, 2013). Traditional curriculum dedicates a portion of early intervention techniques to teaching receptive language skills. Typical prompting methods include the use of least-to-most (LTM) or most-to-least (MTL) prompting. There is often a risk of prompt dependence or failure to transfer stimulus control to the desired stimuli when using LTM prompting methods. Children with autism spectrum disorder may require a different approach in developing a receptive language repertoire. The present paper will detail a procedure involving the use of an antecedent picture prompt involving stimulus fading to teach a young child with autism spectrum disorder to receptively identify pictures after he did not make progress with the traditional prompting method. The picture prompts started at 100% intensity and were systematically faded to 1% intensity. A training set was taught and then tested with a generalization probe afterwards. The intervention was successful in teaching the child to receptively identify pictures, which then generalized to novel pictures, and then maintained at the 1-month follow-up.


Teaching Vocal Mands Through Echoic-to-Mand Training. Patrick Tolley (Western Michigan University), Alex Mentzer (Western Michigan University), Kelly Kohler (Western Michigan University), Richard W. Malott (Western Michigan University),


A common challenge for children with autism is a deficit in vocal behavior, which is seen as an underlying assumption for many problem behaviors that children may engage in. B.F. Skinner has described the vocal mand to be the most advantageous verbal operant for the speaker (Palvnick & Vitale, 2014). Mand training is often used as a starting point in early intervention for children with autism. The present study tested the effectiveness of a specified target echoic-to-mand protocol, implemented on a 3-year-old boy diagnosed with autism. The experiment was conducted using a multiple baseline experimental design. Baseline data was collected on the percentage of independent vocal mands emitted from the child before intervention for target specific manding. Data was then collected on verbal manding for multiple targets. Prior to the intervention, the participant had a relatively small number of echoics in his repertoire, and the goal was to pair the echoics to the reinforcer to use as vocal mands. The echoic to mand training was significant, showing an increase in the usage of vocal mand responses during intervention. These findings are backed by prior research, and proved to be significant in improving the child's quality of life.


Time to Check Out! The Effects of Behavioral Skills Training on Cashier Social Skill Acquisition for Young Adults Diagnosed with ASD.  Angela F. Nummerdor (Western Michigan University), Christian A. Post (Western Michigan University), Raquel Rice (Western Michigan University), Kayla J. Jenssen (Western Michigan University), Jessica E. Frieder (Western Michigan University), Ryan T. Glasgow (Western Michigan University)


Individuals with disabilities often struggle with social and other job-related skills, which may impact their marketability when applying for employment positions (Tomblin & Haring, 2000). The PROMOTES (Providing Realistic Opportunities to Mentor On-site Training for Employment Skills) Employment Project was established by the WMU Department of Psychology in collaboration with an intermediate school district in southwest Michigan, to increase and sustain paid employment opportunities for individuals with ASD and other developmental disabilities.

PROMOTES supports are rooted in behavior analysis with a focus on Behavioral Skills Training (BST). Instruction is delivered in individual and group formats, and in simulated and naturalistic work settings. BST has been effectively used to teach a variety of skills relevant to employment including job-related social skills (Grobe et al., 2019). As part of this project, BST was applied to three cashier skills (customer service, cash handling, and checking drivers’ licenses) for four individuals with varying skill levels and prior experience in retail settings. A multiple baseline design across skills was used to evaluate the impact of BST on the percentage of steps correctly completed for each skill. Results of the intervention will be displayed and will include treatment integrity and interobserver agreement. Considerations for future directions and implications of the intervention will be discussed.


The Classification Accuracy of the Forced Choice Recognition Trial for the Rey Complex Figure Test in a Clinical Sample. Kaitlyn Abeare (University of Windsor), Christina Sirianni (University of Windsor), Laszlo A Erdodi (University of Windsor)


Rai et al. (2019) recently introduced a newly developed Forced Choice Recognition (FCR) trial for the Rey Complex Figure Test (RCFT) based on a student sample of research volunteers. This study was designed to determine the generalizability of their findings to a clinical sample. Archival data were collected from 53 patients referred for neuropsychological assessment. As expected, the classification of the FCR was attenuated in the presence of genuine neuropsychiatric symptoms and deficits. However, the FCR produced a similar signal detection profile to other embedded validity indicators within the RCFT.


Using a Classroom Wide Waiting Procedure to Increase Compliance . Charles Sims (Western Michigan University), Alicia Hartranft (Western Michigan University), Clare Christe (Western Michigan University), Richard W. Malott (Western Michigan University),


Students with autism who engage in problem behavior may elope from an area of instruction, engage in object aggression, self-injurious behavior, or aggress against others. This can result in less time being spent on instruction and poses a possible risk to the student and any staff working with them. This is a problem in educational settings where there are fewer teachers and less support from others to manage these behaviors. The goal of this intervention was to increase student's compliance while waiting for instruction or attention from staff. This was done using a changing criteria design to increase waiting intervals and differential reinforcing alternative responses to problem behavior. The procedure was also carried out across different environments and situations. There is little research on this topic and this project contributes to this area. The participants were benefited by this experiment as they were able to wait for longer intervals without engaging in problem behaviors and are better prepared to enter future classroom settings.


Using a Mirror to Teach Motor Imitation to a Preschool-Aged Child. Emilee Bucci (Western Michigan University), Kaylee Tomak (Western Michigan University), Richard W. Malott (Western Michigan University)


Imitation is a critical skill because it facilitates the acquisition of a variety of other skills. Ruiz and Baer (1997), described a generalized imitative repertoire as a behavioral cusp because it can lead to a sudden expansion of skills by simply providing a modeled response. Without having an imitative repertoire, a child cannot learn new responses through watching others perform those responses. They require more restrictive teaching methods, such as physical prompting, to teach new skills. The purpose of the present study was to use a mirror to teach motor imitation to a three-year-old boy in an early intervention classroom who displayed minimal imitative responses and a high interest in his reflection. Four imitative responses were targeted: clap hands, tap tummy, tap ground, and tap wall. A progressive prompting strategy was used to fade prompts from a 0-second delay to full physical to a 4-second delay to full physical. The study is expected to teach a three-year-old child to imitate.


Using a Progressive Time Delay to Increase Mands in a child with Autism. Brielle Babcock (Western Michigan University), Ashley Ballard (Western Michigan University), Richard W. Malott (Western Michigan University), Kelly Kohler (Western Michigan University),


Mands are a building block for all communication and are therefore important to teach to individuals who do not consistently use mands. Skinner defined a mand as a verbal operant in which the response is reinforced by a characteristic consequence and is under the control of relevant conditions of deprivation or aversive stimulation (Hall & Sundberg 1987). By providing individuals with a way to express their desires and needs, individuals display less problem behaviors. A functional form of communication is imperative to typically developing children and children with ASD alike. The target of the current study was to increase the rate of manding as well as the variety of mands in a naturalistic teaching format. Through the manipulation of the environment, and the implementation of prompts, researchers were able to train an echo into a mand, and generalize those mands to a more natural environment. The study began by teaching mands in a discrete setting, and after consistency was implemented in a naturalistic process. By the end of the study the individual showed significant differences than the baseline data.


Using a Treatment Package for the Reduction of Rapid Eating. Madison Kyro (Western Michigan University), Marquin Evans (Western Michigan University), Kohler (Western Michigan University), Malott (Western Michigan university),


A treatment package was used to intervene on a 3-year-old boy with autism spectrum disorder to reduce his rapid eating habits. There is little literature on Differential Reinforcement of low rate behavior (DRL) schedules to reduce rapid eating for people with disabilities, especially the younger population. Rapid eating is a problem that is commonly seen in people with disabilities. It can lead to many current and long term health issues such as stomach problems, obesity, and regurgitation. The treatment package used included: Following directions such as "wait" or "stop", reinforcement of instances of "waiting" or "stopping", response interruption such as blocking the next bite if reaching too early, prompting using picture and vocal prompts, and starting the intervals over if the participant failed to wait the whole interval. The baseline data showed that the participant roughly took a bite of food every 1 second. We started the intervention using intervals of 3 seconds then worked our way up to 5 seconds, 7 seconds, 10 seconds, and eventually 15 seconds. If the participant met the interval criteria two times consecutively, then we moved on to the next interval until it was mastered. After the intervention, the participant showed great progress in eating habits and was able to sit and wait 15 seconds between bites of food and respond to simple directions such as "stop" and "wait" in a generalized setting.


Using a Treatment Package to Reduce Problem Behavior . Ashley Ballard (Western Michigan University), Sofia Peters (Western Michigan University), Richard W. Malott (Western Michigan University)


It is common for individuals diagnosed with developmental disabilities to engage in challenging behaviors. Challenging behaviors may occur to remove an aversive condition, access a desired tangible or location, or gain attention. The purpose of the current project was to decrease a variety of challenging behaviors with a preschool-aged child diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Target behaviors were elopement, flopping, disrobing, aggression, throwing objects, and urinating on the floor. The intervention was a treatment package that included mand training, differential reinforcement, providing choices as an antecedent strategy, natural environment training (NET), and extinction.


Using Behavior Skills Training to Teach Parents Implementation of Visual Schedules during Parent Training Sessions. Sydney Koehl (Judson Center)


Using Behavior Skills Training to Teach Parents Implementation of Visual Schedules during Parent Training Sessions Abstract The purpose of this study is to evaluate the effects of the use of BST during family training sessions to teach a parent of a 6-year-old child with ASD to implement an intervention that will increase the child's independence with daily living skills. Behavioral skills training (BST) is an evidence based treatment package that utilizes instruction, modeling, rehearsal, and feedback (Horner and Sturmey, 2008). Research has shown BST to be an effective method in training parents of children with ASD to implement a variety of interventions such as social skills training, food shaping procedures and even teaching sports (Thomas, Lafasakis, and Spector, 2016), ( Dogan, King, Fischetti, Lake, Mathews, & Warzak, 2017), ( Seiverling, 2010). An AB design is used to evaluate the independence of a child completing a bedtime routine with a visual schedule when the intervention was taught by the parent in its entirety. This study extends current literature on BST and also provides behavior analysts and parents an efficient and timely way to help parents address behavioral concerns in the home setting.


Using Peer Feedback to Improve Procedural Fidelity in Natural Environment Training. Kara Shawbitz (Northern Michigan University), Jacob Daar (Northern Michigan University), Ashley Shayter (Northern Michigan University)


For treatment to be effective, it must be implemented with high procedural fidelity. One method commonly used to increase procedural fidelity is performance feedback. Performance feedback is typically provided to paraprofessional staff by a supervisor following the performance of the target behavior. However, supervisors often have limited time to provide feedback. Peers often work in close proximity to each other and may be able to provide more frequent feedback. Additionally, recent research has evaluated the temporal placement of feedback to determine when feedback should be provided. The present study evaluated the use of peers as a source of feedback to increase procedural fidelity scores in natural environment training. In the present study, feedback was provided either immediately following a session or immediately preceding a session. For all participants, procedural fidelity scores increased when peer feedback was provided and maintained when it was withdrawn. However, procedural fidelity scores were higher for all participants when peer feedback was provided ten minutes prior to a natural environment training session.


Using Pivotal Response Training to teach Social Interactions. John Marcon (Judson Center), Melissa Wilson (Judson Center), Kelsey Murphy (Judson Center)


Using Pivotal Response Training to teach Social Interactions The purpose of this research study was to examine the effectiveness of Pivotal Response Training (PRT) on teaching appropriate social interactions with peers. Research indicates that children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) exhibit severe deficits in play skills as well as pro social behavior. Pivotal response training is an evidence-based behavioral training procedure that has proven to be an effective method of teaching a variety of social communication skills to individuals with autism (Lei & Ventola, 2017). Key components of PRT are clear instructions, interspersed maintenance tasks, child choice, direct reinforcement, reinforcement of attempts, and turn taking (Stahmer, 1999). Treatment was implemented with one individual diagnosed with ASD who attends a center based ABA program for 30 hours a week. This research project utilized a single participant case study focused on an AB design.


Using Sign-Language to Teach Functional Words to a Child with Autism. Madeline Hough (Western Michigan University)


Communication difficulties are one of the most common deficits of children diagnosed with autism. An inability to communicate can result in children using other, inappropriate means to communicate such as crying, hitting, flopping to the floor, etc., and barriers for both the child and the caregiver. The low functioning of vocal communication that is often seen in individuals with autism are major obstacles that are difficult for a clinician to teach. The use of sign-language is a great alternative for communication as it has been proven to promote the development of vocal language. Verbal behavior cannot be evoked and prompted easily but encouraging and teaching other forms of communication such as sign-language will benefit the child by increasing communication skills and decreasing problem behaviors. Although existing research provides support for the use of sign language and its facilitation of vocal language development, there is not a lot of literature focused on the most effective ways of training this communication method. Some research provides information that says physical prompting of sign-language followed by reinforcement results in faster acquisition as opposed to training using visual modeling (Kreimeyer, 1984). The current study employs the use of delayed prompting to teach sign-language to a child with autism with no vocal repertoire. The participant scored 0 on the EESA and scored 0 in level 1 of the vocal section on the VB-MAPP. Using an AB design, the prompting will be faded out by gradually increasing a time-delay, which will promote independent responding. Sign-language acquisition will assist the child and their caregivers in developing a more effective way of communicating wants and needs.













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