CTAC presents research at the Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI) Conference, Denver 2017

Kelle Wood Rich, M.Ed., BCBA

May 31, 2017

CTAC owner, Kelle Wood Rich, BCBA, Tess Gartenberg, BCBA and Dr. Aarti Thakore, BCBA-D presented their research poster presentation at the 43rd Annual Convention of ABAI in Denver over Memorial Day weekend. Co-author, Samantha Contreras was unable to attend. 

The research was conducted at CTAC and titled, An Evaluation of Pre-requisite Skills and Motivation in Teaching Social Skills to Children with Autism. An extensive review of the literature found that few studies on teaching play and social skills examined the role of motivation, shared interests or language skills as pre-requisite skills. In addition, few studies discussed any developmentally appropriate analysis of play and social skills used to target skill acquisition.  

Our research sought to show that without close attention to the children's naturally occurring or contrived motivation and without a developmentally appropriate hierarchy of play and social skills to guide therapist's decision, social skills training may not be effective and often times rote in nature. For example, if a child has a strong echoic repertoire, he can be taught to repeat back "Hi, do you want to play?" and may even be taught to do so in the presence of a peer. However, if the learner does not have motivation to play with the peer or with what the peer has and if the learner does not have the pre-requisite language skills, that phrase may just be a rote response in the presence of an Sd instead of an MO.  

Our study used the VB-MAPP's task analysis of social and play skills as an assessment tool to guide the developmentally appropriate target skills. Two pre-school aged CTAC clients participated in the study. Intervention was conducted and data were collected at the children's homes or in the community on scheduled play dates. Both children showed interest in the other child and shared interests prior to the study and both scored in the Level 2 range on the VBMAPP. Both children made great progress mastering each targeted objective from the VB-MAPP social and play task analysis. Parents were able to replicate the intervention easily and reported generalization across setting and children. We plan to present a longitudinal study as a symposium next year at ABAI to show long term results.

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Dr. VInce Carbone, BCBA-D visiting with Kelle Wood Rich, BCBA at CTAC's poster presentation at ABAI, Denver.

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