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April 21st, 2006

Association for Behavior Analysis Conference, Atlanta, GA

When: May 26-30, 2006
Where: Hyatt Regency Atlanta

atlanta_image01_sm.gifWhat’s the latest in behavioral research?
Since 1974, ABA has been the primary professional organization for behavior analysts, dedicated to the enhancement and development of research, education, and practice, of behavior analysis. This conference is for those interested in the philosophy, science, education, and teaching of behavior analysis including researchers, speech pathologists, behavioral consultants, teachers, and parents.

TeachTown is very excited about our participation in the ABA conference this year. In addition to having an exhibit where we will hand out copies of our research paper, evaluation software, and give demonstrations to conference participants, we are also giving two presentations. We are particularly excited about the symposium with fellow researchers and clinicians from University of Washington and ASTAR.

Here are the presentations in which we’re involved:

#64a Symposium 
3:00 PM - 4:20 PM
Regency VII
AUT/EDC; Service Delivery
BACB CE (CE Instructor: Christina Whalen, Ph.D., BCBA)
TeachTown: A Comprehensive Computer-Assisted ABA Treatment Program for Children with Autism
Chair: Christina Whalen (TeachTown)
Discussant: Ilene S. Schwartz (University of Washington)
 Facilitating Language and Social Behaviors Using the TeachTown program. CHRISTINA WHALEN (TeachTown), Lars H. Liden (TeachTown), Brooke Ingersoll (Lewis & Clark College), Eric Dallaire (TeachTown), and Sven Liden (TeachTown)
 Abstract: Children with autism spectrum disorders often respond well to treatment programs that incorporate visual learning including pictures and videos. Recently, researchers have begun to study the effects of using computers to teach children with autism and have demonstrated some effectiveness. One of the biggest criticisms of using computers with this population is that it may impede two of the most critical learning areas for children with autism – language and social interaction. In a recent study, language and social behaviors of 4 children with autism and 4 children with other developmental disorders were measured in play and computer sessions with their parents. For the children with autism, inappropriate language and social behaviors decreased and appropriate language and social behaviors increased while on the computer compared to play sessions with the parent. A demonstration of the software will be presented along with research data.
 Comparing Teacher-Implemented Discrete Trials to Teach Town: Rate of Acquisition and Generalization. NANCY ROSENBERG (University of Washington ), Bonnie McBride (University of Washington), and Ilene S. Schwartz (University of Washington)
 Abstract: Four young children with ASD participated in this intervention. The purpose of this intervention was to compare the rate of acquisition and generalization of receptive vocabulary items taught using teacher-implemented discrete trials and a computer-generated discrete-trial program (i.e., Teach Town). The primary research questions were: (a) which intervention resulted in children learning the vocabulary items more quickly, (b) which intervention resulted in more generalization, and (c) during which intervention did children display more positive affect and behavior. A parallel treatment design was used to answer these questions. Results will be discussed in terms of trials to acquisition and percent of generalized responding. Social validity data will also be presented.
 Incorporating TeachTown into a Comprehensive Behavior Analytic Program for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. ELIZABETH J. WYMAN (ASTAR Center) and Susan K. Malmquist (ASTAR Center)
 Abstract: Empirical evidence supports the need for 25-40 hours per week of intensive behavioral intervention, for children with autism, most effectively begun at the age of diagnosis. Families often struggle with locating direct service providers to supply these hours, wait lists with ABA providers, and funding these services. Providing this intense number of behavioral therapy hours is a challenge. The utilization of a computer software program to provide discrete trials or to supplement an existing therapy program is one option for families. However there are some pre-requisite skills that must be in place before the computer software can be used as an effective teaching tool (e.g. the ability to remain seated in a chair, isolated pointing, visual scanning, attending). We examined and compared the skills required to utilize the TeachTown software effectively with children who demonstrated the basic prerequisite skills and those who demonstrated few or none. An analysis of these skills as well as the children’s skill acquisition and generalization rates were also considered and analyzed.
Workshop #90 BACB Continuing Education
8:00 AM - 11:00 AM
Regency VII
CE Instructor: Christina Whalen , Ph.D., BCBA
TeachTown: Incorporating ABA Best-Practices Into Computer-Assisted Treatment for Children with Autism
CHRISTINA WHALEN (TeachTown), Brad Mcguire (TeachTown ), and Manya Vaupel (TeachTown)
Description: The use of computers with children with autism is becoming increasingly prevalent yet this technology still seems relatively untapped with its potential. In this workshop, all of the essential elements of ABA for children with autism will be discussed including Sd’s, prompting, discrimination, aquisition, reinforcement, generalization, data-collection, information sharing, and research. These topics will be discussed in terms of how to incorporate the best-practices of ABA into computer technology. One example of a program that attempts to incorporate all of these essential elements, the TeachTown program, will be presented and attendees will receive free demo copies of the software. It is suggested that attendees bring laptop computers for a more hands-on experience.
1) What are ABA best-practices and how will we know when we are doing it?
2) How can we use computers to improve existing ABA practices?
3) How can we better manage data from ABA programs?
4) How important is generalization? What is the best approach for incorporating generalization into treatment? How can we measure generalization in ABA programs?
5) What research has been done on using computers with children with autism and what research still needs to be done?
6) What is the TeachTown program? How does this program incorporate ABA best-practices?
Activities: Review of ABA therapies available for children with autism; review of “best-practices” in ABA therapy; review of studies using computers for children with autism; discussion of advantages & disadvantages of using computers for children with autism; review and hands-on demonstration of TeachTown program along with discussion of “best-practices” in ABA; discussion of generalization and ideas for incorporating generalization into computer-assisted programs.
Audience: Parents, teachers, professionals, and researchers specializing in autism, language delays, or other special needs. Basic understanding of ABA and ABA principles (e.g. reinforcement, prompting, discrimination, etc.) - these terms will be reviewed briefly but workshop is ideal for those with basic understanding of these principles.
Level: Intermediate
Member: $75 Non-member: $90
After 3/10 Member: $100 Non-member: $115
If you are planning to attend the conference, Atlanta offers plenty of fun things for you and your family to do as well:


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