It is a common misconception that applied behavior analysis (ABA) and discrete-trials instruction are synonymous. Although discrete-trials procedures often serve as a primary component of ABA programs, there are other procedures based in behavioral science that have significant therapeutic utility for the treatment of autism. Moreover, although discrete-trials procedures serve an important purpose in the establishment of early learning repertoires, these can prove to be quite limiting for the training of more complex behavioral repertoires. Furthermore, discrete-trials procedures measure behavior with respect to only accuracy of responding rather than fluency. Fluency – a measure of accuracy plus speed – has been demonstrated to be a more sensitive and reliable indicator of mastery than accuracy alone. In other words, the speed of correct responding serves as a critical predictor of desirable learning outcomes such as memory, resistance to distractions, and the ability to apply skills in novel and varied ways. In contrast, discrete-trial procedures with accuracy-only mastery criteria have a tendency to produce rigid, rote-responding, prompt dependency, inattentiveness, and inadequate generalization of skills. Such behavioral characteristics can interfere with a learner’s ability to develop meaningful social relationships and function successfully in traditional settings. The current presentation will introduce audience members to precision teaching and fluency-based training procedures for use with ASD learners. These procedures will be discussed with respect to their origins in behavioral science, their utility for more reliably evaluating learning and skill mastery, and their effectiveness in producing complex repertoires. Such repertoires include listening and attending, response flexibility, creativity, inferential language, critical thinking, problem solving, and comprehension. Video clips, clinical outcome data, and controlled research findings obtained with ASD learners who have received this type of training will be shared and discussed.
To learn more about Kimberly Nix Berens and her company, FIT Learning, please visit https://fitlearners.com/ and https://www.drkimberlyberens.com/
1. Identify the essential elements of PT and fluency-based instruction
2. Identify dimensional measures of behavior and describe the importance of standard measurement in clinical practice
3. Describe the differences between PT and discrete-trials instruction
4. Design fluency-based procedures for building complex repertoires