The core of NECC’s mission is to disseminate important studies and research methods that help broaden our understanding of how children with autism best learn and acquire the skills they need to thrive. Over the past year, behavior analysts and researchers at NECC have shared their critical research and findings through more than 25 presentations, including virtual symposia, panels, articles, workshops, tutorials and lectures. posters. At the first-ever ABA Symposium held at the NECC’s John and Diane Kim Autism Institute, NECC researchers reported on the results of their ongoing research project on children’s siblings and several other important topics.
NECC Research Department
William Ahearn, Ph.D., BCBA-D, LABA, Research Director, co-authored two chapters in Applied Behavior Analysis: A Comprehensive Handbook. The first chapter takes a deep dive into response interruption and redirection, while the second examines auto reinforcement.
Chata Dickson, Ph.D., BCBA-D, LABA, Associate Director of Research, delivered the keynote address at the inaugural Applied Behavior Analysis Conference at St. Joseph’s University in West Hartford, CT. His speech, titled “Promoting the Generality of Fundamental Skills in Children with Autism: the Educational Matrix Approach”, shared the approach developed by Dr. Dickson and his junior colleagues in his behavior analysis and research laboratory. apprenticeship at NECC. The research was conducted in Southborough and Abu Dhabi, and the approach is now in use on the ACE® ABA software system, which is used by more than 10,000 autistic learners around the world.
Dr Ahearn and Dr Dickson both delivered speeches at the 42nd annual conference of the Berkshire Association for Behavior Analysis and Therapy (BABAT) this month. Dr Ahearn presented the state of professional ABA practice in Massachusetts and beyond, while Dr Dickson presented the aforementioned educational matrix approach.
“The ability to conduct meaningful research in the same place where our students learn and live has led to many studies that have been shared with the scientific community in journals,” Dr. Dickson explained. “They also shape the lessons, assessments and other characteristics of ACE. It is a privilege to be part of an organization that contributes to the science of learning and behavior, and to share our work with other educators and researchers who, like us, are committed to helping people with autism. .
NECC ABA Symposium
Each spring, the NECC sends dozens of staff to the Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI) convention, where NECC researchers are often the main presenters. As the pandemic forces conferences to cancel or go virtual, Dr Ahearn of the NECC and Eileen Roscoe, Ph.D., BCBA-D, director of behavioral analytics research, have created a two-day symposium that will take place is held in person at the home of John and Diane of the NECC. Kim Autism Institute.
NECC clinicians and researchers shared their research during this two-day conference with live and virtual participants. Speakers discussed research spanning a range of topics including teaching verbal behavior, assessing early markers and treatment in infants, solving learning problems, assessing social interaction , improving the generality of treatment results, increasing cooperation with swallowing pills and other medical procedures, and automatically treating problematic behaviors reinforced.
Childhood Autism Research Results
During the NECC ABA Symposium, NECC researchers reported on the results of the ongoing Infant Sibling Research Project, a study aimed at identifying early signs of autism in infant siblings of children. autism and to develop interventional treatments. Started in 2019, the study is currently tracking 53 high-risk infants and 26 low-risk infants.
Kathryn Couger, BCBA, LABA, who worked as clinical research coordinator on the project, described a study that involved documenting early markers of autism using a specialized assessment tool. She explained that the team found the tool to be useful in identifying five key early markers of autism in infants.
In a second presentation, Victoria Weisser, BCBA, LABA, Infant Research Coordinator, shared research documenting the emergence of early markers and the results of early treatment in a sibling. Following an early intervention in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), the participant no longer met the requirements for an ASD diagnosis at 22 months. Meanwhile, Morgan Scully reviewed data on the treatment of motor stereotypy in an infant at risk for ASD. The non-physical redirection of stereotypy towards toy play and increased engagement in toys have been effective in reducing stereotypy to near zero levels.
The NECC also said it had developed a new assessment tool called the Early Marker of Autism (EMA), designed to assess participants aged from birth to 18 months. The objective of this early identification tool is that it be validated and then offered to pediatricians to help in the early detection of autism.
For more information and additional examples of the breadth and depth of research at NECC, read our Research News newsletter at https://www.flipsnack.com/thenewenglandcenterforchildreninsight/necc-research-news- fall-2021-vcj4mnhgvu.html
About the New England Center for Children
The New England Center for Children® (NECC®) is an award-winning autism education center and research institute. Committed to creating a world where autism is not a barrier to happiness, growth and independence, our community of educators, researchers and clinicians provide comprehensive services, including day and residential programs. , partner classrooms in public school systems, advisory services and the ACE ® ABA software system (www.acenecc.org).
NECC is committed to creating a fair work environment for our diverse team and providing professional development opportunities for top staff, especially with our on-campus graduate degree partnership programs. The result is a growing pool of autism educators and researchers who are impacting the lives of children with autism both at NECC and around the world. The New England Center for Children is based in Southborough, MA, and operates a center in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Learn more at www.necc.org.