Antecedent Analysis to
Enhance Social Interactions in
Children with Autism
Spectrum Disorders
Taketo Nakao
Elizabeth L. W. McKenney
Glenn M. Sloman
Maureen A. Conroy
Jennifer M. Asmus
University of Florida
Supported by U.S. Department of Education
Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative
Services (#H324D020023)
Project GATORSS
• Goals:
– To develop a process for increasing the prosocial
behavior of young children with Autism Spectrum
Disorders (ASD) in early childhood settings.
• Development of functional and structural analysis
techniques designed to address social skill deficits
• Development of individualized social skill
interventions using assessment-based behavioral
intervention strategies
Objectives of Presentation
Presentation attendees will learn 3 steps to examine the
effects of antecedent interventions on the social
behavior of a student with autism :
1.
2.
3.
Descriptive observation to identify naturally occurring
antecedent events relevant to social interaction
A structural analysis to experimentally validate
antecedent events identified through the descriptive
observation process
A treatment plan generated from the results of the
structural analysis
Presentation Outline
• Overview of the literature on antecedent
interventions
• Review descriptive observation techniques
• Describe structural analysis techniques
• Present a case study and video examples to
illustrate procedures
Why Study the Social
Behavior of Children
with ASD?
•
Children with autism experience difficulty in
three areas:
1) Behavioral excesses and deficits observed as
restricted and repetitive behavior
2) Behavioral deficits in display of developmentally
and age-appropriate communication and social
behavior
3) **** Difficulty with social reciprocity is
considered the central and defining feature
of autism (NRC, 2001)
Why Study the Social
Behavior of Children
with ASD (cont’d)?
• Poor social skills and display of problem behavior often
interfere with successful inclusion in early childhood
programs (Odom et al., in prep)
• Placement in inclusive settings alone will not produce
positive and lasting changes in appropriate social
behavior by children with ASD (McConnell, 2002)
• There is a lack of evidence-based interventions to
address and remediate their social skill deficits
Antecedent
Interventions
• An antecedent intervention entails manipulating a
setting event or immediate antecedent previously found
to influence social behaviors.
• Setting events and antecedents often interact with each
other to increase the likelihood of social behavior.
• Antecedent interventions are often determined by the
outcomes of descriptive observation.
• Examples:
–
–
–
–
–
changes in activity type
the length of time spent in an activity
the individual working with the student
how statements are made to the student
peer group size
Why Do We Need More
Antecedent Interventions?
• Most antecedent intervention research has focused on
problem, transition, and academic behavior of children
with ASD (Pace, Dunn, Luiselli, Cochran, & Skowron 2005; Cote,
Thompson & McKerchar, 2005; Eckert, Ardoin, Daly III, Martens 2002).
• Research literature is missing systematic methods of
assessment that address the underlying functions and
examine the occurrence of social behavior (Stichter &
Conroy, 2005).
• Next steps are to address the individual needs of
children and develop functionally-linked interventions.
Method
• Descriptive Observation (DO) of Contextual
Factors
– Approximately 6 hours of direct, sequential
recording of behavior in a variety of natural
contextual factors within classroom setting
– Observation of peer and target child social behavior in
presence/absence of different contexts including:
activity type, play format, and level of adult
engagement
– Outcomes of social interactions
Method (cont’d)
• Experimental Analysis
– Structural Analysis (SA) (Cooper et al., 1990; Peck et al., 1997)
• Condition:
– High preferred social activity and materials
– Low preferred social activity and materials
– Neutrally preferred social activity and materials
• Interventions
– Utilization of contextual factors that increase
likelihood of appropriate social behavior
– Increase appropriate social behavior within identified
contexts
Case Study: Greg
• Participant
– Autism
– Communicates with simple sentences
– Academically precocious : Teachers report superior reading
skills
– 7 years old
– Caucasian
• Public Elementary School: Fully Included
– 21 typically developing peers and two peers exhibiting
developmental disabilities
• Identified Concern
– Social withdrawal
• Very limited interactions with peers across settings
Operational Definitions
of Social Behavior
• Social initiation:
– Target child or peer behavior that attempts to evoke a social response,
attention, or access to objects/activities.
• Response to social initiation:
– Target child or peer behavior that acknowledges an initiation within 3
seconds.
• No response:
– Target child or peer ignores the initiation, and/or continues to engage in
the same play behavior (may not have heard/seen initiation).
• Interaction:
– Sequence of 3 social behaviors between a target child and peer
(initiation-response-interaction). The interaction begins with the third
behavior in the sequence.
Descriptive Observation
1. Approximately 6 hours of videotaped,
classroom-based observation
2. Across a variety of contextual factors:
-activities (art, snack, computer, books, games,
dance/music)
-group size (large, small, one-on-one)
-level of adult participation (active, passive, or no adult
engagement)
-amount of adult direction (child or adult-directed
activity).
3. Approximately 30 min. of videotaped data for
each contextual factor.
Descriptive Observation
Results
• Greg rarely initiated to peers regardless of group size, adult
participation, or amount of adult direction.
• Initiated the most during structured games (.10 per minute) that had
clear rules and expectations, and involved a small group of peers (three).
• A similar rate of initiations was found during computer time (.08)
• Highest rates of responding to peer initiations during structured games
(.43).
• Was more likely to respond during small group (.20) or one-on-one
activities (.21), and if the activity was child (.27) instead of adult directed
(.10).
• Was most likely to engage in social interactions (a series of initiations
and responses) during structured games.
Next Steps for Greg
• Conduct an experimental
assessment
– Structural Analysis (SA)
• To determine additional contextual factors that
affect the occurrence of social behavior
• Link experimental assessment
results to intervention
SA Procedures
• Activity type appeared to affect Greg’s
social behavior in the DO
• Three activities were chosen for
comparison:
– Books
– Computer
– Bingo
• Greg played 1 on 1 in each activity with a
typically developing peer for 5 minutes
SA Procedures
Cont’d
• The peer student did not initiate to Greg,
but responded to all of Greg’s initiations
• Two variables were measured: Greg’s rate
of initiation and the duration of
interactions (sequence of 3 or more social
behaviors)
Structural Analysis
Results
Positive Initiations
1.6
1.4
Rate per Minute
1.2
1
computer
0.8
bingo
book
0.6
0.4
0.2
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
Session Number
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
Structural Analysis –
Results (Cont’d)
Total Percentage of Social Interaction
100.0
90.0
80.0
70.0
60.0
50.0
Positive Interaction
40.0
30.0
20.0
10.0
0.0
Computer
Bingo
Condition
Book
SA: Interobserver
Agreement
• IOA (IOA collected during 30% of experimental
sessions)
– Frequency behaviors (initiations)
• Mean: 90%; Range: 75-100%
– Duration behaviors (interactions)
• Mean 99.8%; Range: 99-100%
Antecedent Interventions
• Based on the results of the DO and SA, we
recommend the following interventions for
Greg:
– Provide small, structured play groups
– Include socially-skilled peers to respond to Greg’s
initiations, and/or initiate toward him
– Play structured and cooperative games
– Allow Greg time in preferred activities, such as
computer or Bingo, to increase appropriate social
behavior
Summary
• Antecedent intervention research has not focused on appropriate
social behavior
• Need instruments that provide information for experimental analysis
of social behavior
• DO and SA gave information about contextual factors affecting Greg’s
social behavior
• Used to link assessment information to intervention efforts
• Findings can lead to the development of more effective interventions
to increase social interactions in inclusive settings for young children
with ASD
For More Information
• Contact us at [email protected]
• Check our project website:
http://www.coe.ufl.edu/centers/Autism/gatorss
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Social initiation - University of Florida