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The design and evaluation of a computer-based applied behavior analysis (ABA) skill training program for teachers of children with autism

Grant number: 12/19534-2
Support Opportunities:Regular Research Grants
Duration: March 01, 2013 - February 28, 2015
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Psychology - Experimental Psychology
Principal Investigator:Antonio Celso de Noronha Goyos
Grantee:Antonio Celso de Noronha Goyos
Host Institution: Centro de Educação e Ciências Humanas (CECH). Universidade Federal de São Carlos (UFSCAR). São Carlos , SP, Brazil
Associated researchers:Giovana Escobal ; Jonas Fernandes Gamba ; Nassim Chamel Elias ; Thomas Sean Higbee

Abstract

Autism is a severe developmental disability characterized by significant communication and social deficits and often accompanied by severe behavior problems. Autism is a worldwide problem with research studies around the globe showing that the disorder is on the rise with some prevalence estimates suggesting that as many as 1 in 80 children have some form of the disorder. Fortunately, researchers have shown that with intensive behavioral intervention, provided by qualified professionals, many of these children can make dramatic progress and can become productive members of society. The most successful treatment approaches are based on principles of applied behavior analysis (ABA). ABA-based techniques are most effective when they are intensive in nature (20-40 hours per week of individual instruction) and when they begin at an early age (by 3 years of age). These intensive ABA-based interventions often continue for two or more years. These ABA-based programs are designed and monitored by professionals with graduate training in behavior analysis who possess the Board Certified Behavior Analyst credential which is conferred by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) the international accrediting body of applied behavior analysis. Therapists or teachers who provide the instruction to the child with autism are trained in ABA-based teaching techniques and monitored frequently to ensure they are delivering ABA-based intervention with fidelity. Unfortunately, qualified teachers and credentialed supervisors are in short supply in many parts of the world. In fact, in Brazil, there is currently only one BACB-certified individual. Because of this shortage of expertise, it is important to develop new methods of training practitioners who will work with children with autism. Thus, the focus of this project will be to pilot a computer-based instructional program to train professionals to effectively use ABA-based techniques with children with autism. This will be accomplished in three stages: 1) Replicating a study currently underway at Utah State University where a computer-based instructional package is being developed to teach basic ABA-based techniques to university students, 2) Extending this research by designing and evaluating a computer based instructional package to teach advanced ABA-based teaching techniques to university students, and finally 3) An experiment where we will evaluate the effectiveness of these two computer-based instructional packages with teachers working with children with autism in an institution in Sao Paulo. (AU)

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Scientific publications
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
HIGBEE, THOMAS S.; APORTA, ANA PAULA; RESENDE, ALICE; NOGUEIRA, MATEUS; GOYOS, CELSO; POLLARD, JOY S.. INTERACTIVE COMPUTER TRAINING TO TEACH DISCRETE-TRIAL INSTRUCTION TO UNDERGRADUATES AND SPECIAL EDUCATORS IN BRAZIL: A REPLICATION AND EXTENSION. JOURNAL OF APPLIED BEHAVIOR ANALYSIS, v. 49, n. 4, p. 780-793, . (12/04267-9, 12/19534-2)

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