Behavior Analysis and Autism Spectrum Disorder
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Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) - Background Autism is a brain disorder that begins in childhood and is characterized by deficits in social interaction, communication, and repetitive behaviors. In addition to the defining features, individuals with ASD usually also have intellectual disabilities, physical health issues, difficulties with motor skills and problems of attention. A diagnosis of autism is not always entirely clear. There is no medical test that can diagnose autism. Instead, trained psychologists and physicians use behavioral measures and follow criteria established in the DSM by the American Psychiatric Association. In some cases, individuals with ASD excel in math, art, music, or visual skills. It is unclear exactly what causes ASD. The most recent research points to a combination of factors including genetic markers and environmental stressors. Assignment Imagine you are a behavior analyst tasked with designing a behavioral intervention for an 8-year old male child with an ASD diagnosis. The child is in a special education classroom with an assistant. He is verbal, although his language skills are impaired, and he has moderate intellectual impairment. He often has difficulty staying on task. In addition, he has trouble with aggressive behaviors and social interaction (verbal and physical). How would you design an intervention for the child that can be used by both the classroom assistant and the teacher? Your goals are to engage the child in learning, reduce aggressive behaviors, and improve social interaction, both verbal and physical. Be sure to mention all of the following terms and techniques in your plan (even if you choose not to use them all): behavioral ABC’s, reinforcement (differential reinforcement of alternative behavior - DRA, differential reinforcement of other behavior - DRO, and differential reinforcement of incompatible behavior - DRI), punishment, extinction, stimulus generalization, stimulus discrimination, continuous reinforcement, intermittent reinforcement, and shaping. Your paper should: • Be three to five pages (3–5 pages) in length, not including title page and reference page. • Include references. You may use your textbook and/or any other academic sources as references. Do not use dictionaries, encyclopedias, general information websites or other non-academic sources.