Leaf, J.B., Dotson, W., Oppenheim-Leaf, M. L., Sheldon, J.B., Sherman, J.A. (2012).
A programmatic description of a social skills group for young children with autism._ Topics in Early Childhood Special Education_, 32, 111-121
In this paper we described a social skills group which was implemented to young children whom were diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. The paper provides information about how children were recruited, how staff were trained, the skills that were taught, and the teaching strategies that were utilized. The paper also provides some preliminary findings on the groups effectiveness as well as parents satisfaction with the group. The paper will hopefully help other clinicians and parents find ways to better set up and run social skills groups for children diagnosed with autism.
Leaf, J. B., Tsuji, K. H., Griggs, B., Edwards, A., Taubman, M., McEachin, J., Leaf, R.,
& Oppenheim-Leaf, M. L. (2012). Teaching social skills to children with autism using the cool versus not cool procedure. Education and Training in Autism and Developmental Disabilities, 47, 165-175.
This study evaluated the effects of the cool versus not cool procedure for teaching 3 children diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder eight different social skills. The cool versus not cool procedure is an intervention used to increase children’s ability to display appropriate social behaviors. In this study, the cool versus not cool procedure consisted of the children observing the researcher demonstrating a social behavior either appropriately or inappropriately, followed by the participants discriminating whether the researcher demonstration was “cool” (appropriate) or “not cool” (inappropriate). For some social skills the child had the opportunity to practice the social behavior with the researcher. The children learned 50% of the skills by just watching and rating the researcher and an additional 37.5% of the skills when given the opportunity to practice. Thus the procedure was highly effective and could be used to a wide variety of individuals diagnosed with autism.
Leaf, J. B., Oppenheim-Leaf, M. L., Call, N. A., Sheldon, J. B., & Sherman, J. A.,
Taubman, M., McEachin, J., Dayharash, J., & Leaf, R. (2012). Comparison of the teaching interaction procedure to social stories for people with Autism. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 45, 281-298.
This study compared social stories and the teaching interaction procedure for teaching social skills to 6 children and adolescents diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. Researchers taught 18 social skills with social stories and 18 social skills with the teaching interaction procedure. Social stories consisted of the researcher reading a short story about a specific social skill to one of the children and having the child answer questions about the story. While the teaching interaction procedure consists of the teacher stating what skill was going to be learned, when the student can use the skill, why it is important to display the social skill, demonstrating the social skill, and having the child display the skill. Results show that participants learned all 18 skills taught with the teaching interaction and only 4 skills with social stories. Thus, the teaching interaction procedure (the one commonly used at Autism Partnership) was more effective than social stories.
Oppenheim-Leaf, M. L., Leaf, J.B., Dozier, C., Sheldon, J. B., & Sherman, J.A. (2012).
Teaching Typically Developing Children to Promote Social Play with their siblings with Autism. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 6, 777-791.
Siblings are important “peers” for children. Unfortunately, children with autism often do not play or interact often with their typically developing siblings. The purpose of this study was to teach three typically developing children (ages 4-6) skills that were likely to increase the amount and quality of social play interactions with their brothers who have autism. A teacher used the teaching interaction procedure to teach typically developing children to provide clear instructions and prompt and reinforce appropriate play behavior such as joining into a play activity, sharing toys, and engaging in appropriate toy play. All three typically developing children learned the targeted skills during role-plays with a teacher and, to a large part, generalized the skills when they played with their brothers with autism. In addition, some children who learned these skills increased their positive interactions and decreased negative interactions during a free-play period with their sibling with autism.
Leaf, J. B., Oppenheim-Leaf, M. L., Leaf, R. B., Courtermanche, A.B., Taubman, M.,
McEachin, J., Sheldon, J. B., & Sherman, J. A. (2012). Observational effects on preference for three children on the autism spectrum. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 45, 473-483.
Children with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) may play with limited objects or toys, making it difficult for teachers to identify reinforcers to use in teaching new skills. The goal of the study was to alter children’s preferences from highly preferred toy to a toy that was not originally preferred. A child observed a preferred adult playing with toys that were initially less preferred. The adult would play with the toy in fun and exciting way. This intervention resulted in a shift in preference toward the item manipulated by the adult. Results suggest a procedure for expanding the range of items that students with ASD will select.
Oppenheim-Leaf, M. L., Leaf, J.B., & Call, N. A. (2012). Teaching Board Games to
Two Children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. Journal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities, 24, 347-358
Children with autism spectrum disorder often have reduced play skills, interfering with their ability to interact with same-age peers. One way that children interact is to play structured games; thus, teaching children with ASD to play structured games may give them additional opportunities to interact with peers. The purpose of this study was to teach 2 children diagnosed with ASD 3 different age-appropriate structured board and card games. The teaching procedure was implemented in a group and participants’ behavior was measured in a one-to-one setting with the researcher. The steps/rules of the games were taught using the teaching interaction procedure. Participants were able to learn all three games during these naturalistic probes.
Leaf, J. B. (2012). An experimental approach for selecting a response-prompting strategy
for children with developmental disabilities: A reply to Gast. Evidence-Based Communication Assessment and Intervention.
David Gast wrote a paper critiquing an earlier study that we conducted comparing error correction to errorless learning. In the original paper we showed that letting students make errors and providing feedback when they made errors was more effective than not allowing children to make errors. Dr. Gast had some concerns about the original study, its findings, and possible implications and thus wrote a paper expressing these concerns. This paper was used to address these concerns, clarify and misconceptions/misunderstandings that Dr. Gast may have had, and state our position on the debate of error correction compared to errorless learning. The paper has influenced us in several current studies some which are being done in collaboration with Rutgers University.
Leaf, J. B., Tsuji, K. H., Lentell, A., McEachin, J. J., Taubman, M., Leaf, R. B., & Oppenheim-Leaf, M. (in press). A comparative analysis of one-to-one instruction to group instruction for children diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. Behavioral Interventions
Discrete trial teaching (DTT) is a systematic form of intervention commonly implemented with children and adolescents diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). DTT has been implemented in both one-to-one teaching and in group teaching to teach a wide variety of skills to children and adolescents diagnosed with ASD. The purpose of this study was to compare DTT implemented in a one-to-one teaching to DTT implemented in group teaching in order to determine which format was more effective, efficient, resulted in higher observational learning, and resulted in better maintenance when teaching a variety of expressive skills. The results indicated that both instructional formats were equally effective, there were mixed results in terms of maintenance and efficiency, and that group instruction resulted in observational learning.
Leaf, J. B., Oppenheim-Leaf, M. L., Streff, T. (2012). The effects of the time-in
procedure on decreasing stereotypic behavior: A clinical case study. Clinical Case Studies, 11, 152-164.
This case study evaluated the effects of a time-in procedure for decreasing aberrant behavior for one adolescent diagnosed with autism. The time-in procedure consists of having the learner wear a visual stimulus and providing reinforcement for the absence of aberrant behavior. If the learner, however, engaged in the aberrant behavior the visual stimulus was removed and a consequence was provided. We compared rates of aberrant behavior during periods of time when the time-in procedure was being implemented and periods of time when the time-in procedure was not being implemented. Results of this study indicate that the participant engaged in less aberrant behavior when the time-in procedure was being implemented, as compared to times when the time-in procedure was not being implemented.