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Archive for May, 2007

Technology Feedback for Department of Education

Thursday, May 31st, 2007

If you would like to put in your 2 cents regarding the use of technology in education, here is your opportunity! 

It is very important for teachers, parents, and service providers working with the schools to give their input as this kind of feedback may affect future programs and funding!

You can fill-out the virtual roundtable comment form and your ideas will be read by Secretary Spellings and the Department of Education.  There are only a few very pertinent questions, this should only take about 5 minutes for you to complete and it could make a big difference!

 

ABA Conference - Memorial Day Weekend, 2007

Monday, May 21st, 2007

Coming up over Memorial Day weekend is the next ABA (Association for Behavior Analysis) conference in gorgeous San Diego, California!  This year there are more interesting presentations and opportunities for learning than ever before.  One of the most interesting things is seeing the advancement of ABA for treatment of children with autism and how even the most structured approaches are now realizing how critical generalization, creativity, and flexibilty are for the optimal treatment outcome!  This modern philosophy in ABA demonstrates that intervention can be extremely effective, scientific, and socially relevant.  I also am very interested to see the presentations on technology (although there are still only a few of these!!).

Here are some things that I recommend checking out if you plan to attend (workshops have an additional fee but are nice because they are more focused and detailed and you often have less crowds to deal with).  These suggestions are ones which would appeal to someone interested in autism and who holds a similar treatment philosophy to TeachTown (i.e. using sound principles of science, but realizing the importance of generalization and natural routines):

teachtown cloud background1.JPGTEACHTOWN EVENTS!!

***STOP BY OUR EXHIBIT BOOTH ANY TIME THROUGHOUT THE CONFERENCE FOR DEMOS, INFORMATION, OR JUST TO MEET OUR TEAM!!!****

*#218 Symposium—5/27/07—1:30-2:50pm—America’s Cup AB
BACB CE Offered. CE Instructor: Philip N. Chase, Ph.D.

Empirical Validation of Internet-Based Curriculum
Chair: Philip N. Chase (West Virginia University)
Discussant: Satoru Shimamune (Hosei University)

The current crisis in education recognized by a variety of reports, studies, and commentators could have serious long-term effects on children world wide. In response to this crisis a number of behavior analysts have targeted the empirical validation of curriculum for their research agenda. In particular, with recent advances in computer technology, there has been a strong interest in developing and evaluating internet curricula. Three examples are Headsprout, a program that teaches beginning reading, iLearn a middle school mathematics curriculum, and TeachTown, a program for autistic children. This symposium will present the current data and methods used to evaluate these programs. Emphasis will be given to descriptions of the how these programs have integrated single-subject methods with program evaluation methods, methods for evaluating teacher and other professional implementation, and more traditional random controlled studies to create a thorough method of empirical validation.

An Evaluation of the Effectiveness of iLearn Math in Improving Math Achievement in Middle School. ROBERT L. COLLINS (iLearn, Inc.)
Abstract: The effectiveness of iLearn Math in improving math achievement was evaluated in the sixth grade of a Title I middle school in a rural area of Georgia using a quasi-experimental design. The Experimental Group used iLearn Math as their only math instruction for the school year. The Control Group received their regularly-scheduled traditional classroom instruction. At the start of the year, there was no difference between the two groups on an experimenter-developed pretest. At the end of the school year, differences were assessed using scores on the Georgia Criterion Referenced Competency Test (CRCT) administered annually to all six-grade students in Georgia. For the iLearn Group, 87% of the students met or exceeded the standard on the CRCT vs. 65% for the Control Group. The state average was 74%. In addition, 28% of the iLearn Group exceeded the standard vs. 10% for the Control Group.

Education and Treatment of Children with Autism Using Computer-Assisted Programs from TeachTown. CHRISTINA WHALEN DALLAIRE (TeachTown)
Abstract: Because of the numerous education options available for children with autism, many of which are not supported by research, the use of evidence-based practices is particularly important for this population. With recent advances in computer technology, there has been a strong interest in the use of computer-assisted instruction (CAI). Due to the unique characteristics and learning styles of children with autism, the interest and need for CAI is especially strong. TeachTown: Basics utilizes not only computer instruction and data tracking, but provides off-computer generalization activities and a communication system for the child’s team. Several research studies have been or are being conducted to assess the efficacy and expand this product. In addition, research is underway for the design of future products. Data from these studies will be presented along with a discussion of the importance of developing evidence-based technology for children with autism and the implications for designers and researchers.

Headsprout Early Reading: Multi-Year, Multi-Site Measures of Effectiveness. Janet S. Twyman, T. V. Joe Layng, and DEBORAH HAAS (Headsprout)
Abstract: This presentation will first review the teaching routines used, the critical reading repertoires taught, and the formative evaluation data which shaped Headsprout Early ReadingR, a scientifically-based, empirically validated online early reading program. The presentation will then focus on data from the growing body of summative, or large scale, evaluations of the program. Data will be presented from empirically-based case studies, outcome measures from field use, multi-year evaluations, and perhaps of greatest importance, controlled research featuring unbiased group assignment.

 ***NEW TECHNOLOGY SPECIAL INTEREST GROUP***

5/27/07
7:00 PM - 7:50 PM
Gregory AB
Technology Special Interest Group
Chair: Christina Whalen (TeachTown)
This group will focus on using technology for the practice and research of ABA. ABA members with interest in video, computers, television and other technology are welcome. The purpose of this group is to better define best practices in the use of technology and identifying the significant research questions for the field.AbbyClarkBill.png

CAL-ABA RECEPTION!! Event #121a 5/26/07 !!!READY FOR A LITTLE DOWN-TIME??!!!
8:30 PM - 10:30 PM
Elizabeth A
Co-Chairs: Christina Whalen (TeachTown) and Terry Tibbetts

8:30 PM - 10:30 PMElizabeth ACo-Chairs: Christina Whalen (TeachTown) and Terry Tibbetts 

8:30 PM - 10:30 PMElizabeth ACo-Chairs: Christina Whalen (TeachTown) and Terry Tibbetts 000_108_Abby_pushing.pngFriday, May 25:

1) Workshop #18: Promoting the Generalization and Maintenance of Skills in Learners with Autism and Related Disorders (Celiberti)

2) Workshop #20: Social Skills: Assessment and Intervention Planning for Children with Autism (Carter)

3) Workshop #32: Enhancing Social Reciprocity of Children with Autism Within Everyday Routines (Leach)

4) Workshop #37: Introduction to Pivotal Response Training (Schreibman)

5) Workshop #41: We Know We Have to Do It, But How? Schools Searching for Social Skills (Davis)

6) Workshop #59: Intensive Early Intervention: Key Clinical Interventions That Lead to the Best Outcome (Larsson)

7) Workshop #62: Self-Management: Promoting Autonomy for Individuals with Autism and Other Developmental Disorders (Thompson)

8) Workshop #69: Using Curriculum Based Measurement to Track Responses to Intervention (Cautilli)

Saturday, May 26:

1) #7 Business Meeting - Autism Newcomers Meeting 10:30-11:20

2) #31 Symposium

1:00 PM - 2:20 PM
Elizabeth H

The Generalization of Effective Prompting Techniques by Paraprofessionals Educating Learners with Autism Spectrum Disorders
Chair: Laura J. Hall (San Diego State University)
Discussant: Beth Sulzer-Azaroff (Univerisity of Massachusetts, Amherst)

3) #34 Symposium
1:00 PM - 2:20 PM
Elizabeth F
BACB CE Offered. CE Instructor: Brooke Ingersoll, Ph.D., BCBA

Use of Behavioral Interventions in Community Early Intervention Programs for Children with Autism
Chair: Laura Schreibman (University of California, San Diego)
Discussant: Gail G. McGee (Emory University School of Medicine)

4) #49 Paper Session
2:30 PM - 3:20 PM
Douglas A

Teaching Critical Social Skills to Children with Autism
Chair: Lisa Stoddard

5) #51 International Paper Session
2:30 PM - 3:20 PM
Elizabeth G

Theory of Mind and Executive Function
Chair: Dawn Holman (Autism Spectrum Consultants, Inc.)

6) #66 Symposium
2:30 PM - 3:50 PM
Elizabeth F
BACB CE Offered. CE Instructor: Jane Howard, Ph.D., BCBA

Using the Science of Applied Behavior Analysis to Develop Methodologies to Improve Language and Social Skills in Children with Autism
Chair: Jane S. Howard (California State University, Stanislaus)

7) #75 Symposium
3:30 PM - 4:50 PM
Douglas A
BACB CE Offered. CE Instructor: Tristram Smith, Ph.D.

Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention: Main Findings from the Multisite Young Autism Project
Chair: Tristram Smith (University of Rochestor Medical Center)

8) #95 Paper Session
4:00 PM - 4:50 PM
Elizabeth H

Social Stories
Chair: Heidi Hillman (Heritage University)

10) #102 Poster Session
6:00 PM - 7:30 PM
Manchester

11) #116a Panel Discussion
8:30 PM - 9:20 PM
Edward AB

Professional Development Series: An Introduction to Pivotal Response Treatment (PRT)
Chair: Candice Jostad (Western Michigan University)

LYNN KERN KOEGEL (University of California, Santa Barbara)
 

Sunday, May 27:

1) #133 B.F. Skinner Lecture Series
9:00 AM - 9:50 AM
Douglas C

Joint Attention and Symbolic Play: Active Ingredients of Effective Early Behavioral Intensive Intervention
Chair: William H. Ahearn (The New England Center for Children)

CONNIE KASARI (University of California, Los Angeles)

2) #139 Symposium
9:00 AM - 10:20 AM
Elizabeth G
BACB CE Offered. CE Instructor: Jennifer M. Gillis Mattson, Ph.D., BCBA

Behavioral Approaches to the Study of Social Interactions in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder
Chair: Jennifer Gillis Mattson (Auburn University)
Discussant: Raymond G. Romanczyk (Institute for Child Development)

3) #153 International Symposium
9:00 AM - 10:20 AM
Elizabeth H

Outcomes for Children in the Ontario IBI Program
Chair: Adrienne M. Perry (York University)

4) #161 Symposium
9:00 AM - 10:20 AM
Douglas A
BACB CE Offered. CE Instructor: Marjorie Charlop-Christy, Ph.D.

Treatment Outcome for Children with Autism: A 15-Year Longitudinal Study
Chair: Marjorie H. Charlop-Christy (Claremont McKenna College)

5) #200 Poster Session
12:00 PM - 1:30 PM
Manchester

6) #229 Symposium
1:30 PM - 2:50 PM
Elizabeth G
BACB CE Offered. CE Instructor: Nanette L. Perrin, M.A., BCBA

Strategies that Fit: Identifying Efficient Interventions to Support Children with Autism, Families, and Staff
Chair: Nanette L. Perrin (Early Childhood Autism Program - Community Living Opportunities)
Discussant: Shannon Kay (May Institute)
7) #243 Symposium
3:00 PM - 3:50 PM
Elizabeth G

Models of Service Delivery for Families with Children with Autism: From Early Identification to Parent Education
Chair: Daniel Adam Openden (University of California, Santa Barbara)
Discussant: Daniel Adam Openden (University of California, Santa Barbara)

8) #256 Panel Discussion
3:00 PM - 4:20 PM
Douglas A
BACB CE Offered. CE Instructor: Frank Cicero, MS, BCBA

Incorporating Research from Other Disciplines into the Behavioral Treatment of Learners with Autism
Chair: Joanne Gerenser (Eden II Programs)

9) #293 Poster Session
5:30 PM - 7:00 PM
Manchester

Monday, May 28:

1) #329 Paper Session
9:00 AM - 9:50 AM
Elizabeth F

Examining Social Skills Training with Autism and Asperger Syndrome
Chair: Debra Leach (Florida Atlantic University) 

2) #333 Symposium
9:00 AM - 10:20 AM
Betsy A

A Low Budget Approach to Starting and Operating an Academic Day Center for Children with Autism
Chair: Morten Haugland (Haugland Learning Center)
Discussant: Kristine D. Haugland (Haugland Consulting) 

3) #334 Symposium
9:00 AM - 10:20 AM
Doulglas A
BACB CE Offered. CE Instructor: Philip N. Hineline, Ph.D., BCBA

Assessing Autism Interventions in Public Schools: Which Strategies, for Which Children, with What Resources?
Chair: Philip N. Hineline (Temple University)
Discussant: Gina Green (San Diego State University) 

4) #357 Panel Discussion
10:30 AM - 11:50 AM
Elizabeth G
BACB CE Offered. CE Instructor: Michael Weinberg, Ph.D., BCBA

A Panel Discussion for Sharing Materials and Ideas for Increasing Acceptance of ABA Worldwide
Chair: Michael Weinberg (Professional Education Resources and Conference Services)

5) #368 Paper Session
10:30 AM - 11:50 AM
Elizabeth H

Issues Related to Autism and Autism Treatment
Chair: Ronit Molko

6) #373 Symposium
10:30 AM - 11:50 AM
Douglas A
BACB CE Offered. CE Instructor: Rebecca MacDonald, Ph.D., BCBA

Teaching Joint Attention Skills to Children With Autism
Chair: Rebecca P. F. MacDonald (The New England Center for Children)
Discussant: William V. Dube (University of Massachusetts Medical School-Shriver Center)

7) #378 Poster Session
12:00 PM - 1:30 PM
Manchester

8) #445 Poster Session
6:00 PM - 7:30 PM
Manchester

Tuesday, May 29:

1) #480 International Paper Session
9:00 AM - 10:20 AM
Mohsen AB

Variables Affecting Instruction to Children with Autism
Chair: Kelly McKinnon 

2) #505 Symposium
12:00 PM - 1:20 PM
Mohsen AB
BACB CE Offered. CE Instructor: Gerald E. Harris, Ph.D., BCBA

Measuring Change: Assessment Issues in the Treatment of Autism
Chair: Gerald E. Harris (Texas Young Autism Project)

2) #506 Symposium
12:00 PM - 1:20 PM
Emma AB 

Motivational Strategies for Increasing Social Interaction between Children with Autism and Their Typically Developing Peers
Chair: Rosy Fredeen (University of California, Santa Barbara)
Discussant: Gerald E. Harris (Texas Young Autism Project)      

Meet Timo!

Thursday, May 3rd, 2007

timo.jpgTimo is a friendly animated tutor who helps children with autism, hearing impairments, developmental delays and other language problems to learn communication, conversation and reading in fun computer programs.  Animated Speech’s software is designed to give speech pathologists, educators and parents who work with these children an important new tool to build comprehension and vocabulary skills.

baldi.jpgThe initial concept for Timo was developed by Dr. Dom Massaro and Dr. Michael Cohen with a grant from the National Science Foundation.  Originally, Timo was called Baldi, and the once university lab project soon became a commercially available product.  Dan Feschbach, the company’s CEO, has grown the company and they now have 3 products available for varying levels of language learning. 

Team Up With Timo: Vocabulary teaches identification, comprehension, and expression of more than 650 woridScreenSection.jpgds including animals, human body, weather and much more.  The program offers pre and post tests for assessing progress and has 6 other levels of learning to teach the vocabulary.  The unique aspect of this program is Timo, who engages the child in conversation using the child’s own name!  The child’s voice can also be recorded so that the child’s parents and other team members can review it after the child’s session.  Rewards are given in response to correct answers and include a large variety of brief animations.  This program has many options for customization and is best for early language learners through about 4th grade vocabulary.

library.pngIf you are looking for more customization, ASC also offers Team Up With Timo: Lesson Creator.  In this program, teachers and professionals and create custom vocabulary and language lessons for the child to do on the computer.  You can use any pictures you want including the ones in the Timo vault, or upload your own.  This is an excellent way to build individualized, personalized lessons for your child.  index5_04.png

For older children or for children who have more language skills, they have Team Up With Timo: Stories, designed by Dr. Lauren Franke and Pamela Connors, speech-language experts.  This program teaches listening skills, comprehension, vocabulary, retelling stories, and reading skills.  Research has shown that being able to retell a story at age 4 is predictive of later success in school.  Storytelling also helps children participate in daily life with friends, family and school.  This program is based on research in language development and uses the Narrative-based language intervention (NBLI) approach that combines storytelling with skill-based activities.   

Timo products are available online and a free trial is provided.

 

 

Universal Usability Book

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2007

51hmkEvnARL__SS500_.jpgIn a new book from Wiley Publishers called Universal Usability: Designing Computer Interfaces for Diverse Populations (click on this link to order the book) by Jonathon Lazar, TeachTown has a chapter written by myself, Dr. Lars Liden (our CTO), Dr. Brooke Ingersoll (now with Michigan State University), and Sven Liden.  In Chapter 9, TeachTown highlights the development process and research for producing TeachTown: Basics.  The chapter briefly reviews the literature on treatments for autism and computer-assisted interventions, it also emphasizes the importance of using evidence-based practices and implications of computer instruction is discussed along with future research directions of TeachTown and other technology-based autism companies.

ABSTRACT FROM CHAPTER 9screen_monkey.jpg (Whalen, Liden, Ingersoll, & Liden)

EVIDENCE-BASED COMPUTER-ASSISTED INSTRUCTION FOR AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDERS

Current trends in treatment and education for children focus on the importance of using evidence-based practices (e.g. Reichart, 2001).  Because of the numerous treatment and education options available for children with autism, many of which are not supported by research, the use of evidence-based practices is particularly important (Perry & Condillac, 2003) and many schools are mandating these practices.  With recent advances Picture1.jpgin computer technology, there has been a strong interest in the use of computer-assisted instruction (CAI) in the treatment and education of children (Parkin, 2006).  Due to the unique characteristics and learning styles of children with autism, the interest and need for CAI is especially strong (e.g. Goldsmith & LeBlanc, 2004).  In this chapter, evidence-based practices for autism, particularly Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), will be reviewed as well as the research on technology and computers for this population.  The importance of developing evidence-based technology for children with autism and other special needs will be discussed along with the implications for designers and researchers.

Top Autism Treatments

Tuesday, May 1st, 2007

In a recent About: Autism Spectrum Disorders posting, the top 10 treatment approaches for autism were listed along with helpful links for each of these approaches.  The top 10 were determined by popularity, research, and most effective overall.

The top 10 listed were:100_0152.JPG

1) Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)

2) Speech Therapy

3) Occupational Therapy

4) Social Skills TherapyB and Trish.jpg

5) Physical Therapy

6) Play Therapy

7) Behavior Therapy/Positive Behavior Support

8) Developmental TherapiesEl 1.jpg

9) Visually-based Therapies

10) Biomedical Therapies

I would like to see a similar list, in order, of those that are the most research-based and have evidence of effectiveness with the largest number of children with autism.  Organizations such as the National Autism Center are dedicated to coming up with good ways to make these kinds of lists and to develop rankings for treatment approaches which will be based on research and effectiveness for ASD.  This project is called the National Standards Project and the expert panel and conceptual reviewers include a prestigious group of autism researchers including several of our TeachTown science advisory board members including Dr. Ilene Schwartz, Dr. William Frea, and Dr. Aubyn Stahmer.

J computer.jpgI would also like to see more studies on technology and which programs are effective and which ones are not.  It won’t be long before Computer-Assisted Instruction is added to the list above, I just hope that developers, and perhaps more importantly, university researchers continue to conduct the necessary research to keep improving these programs.

**Please see comments from the author of the ABOUT blog, she makes some excellent comments and I completely agree with her!**

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