NECC-AD conducts applied research on best practices in autism treatment. The goal of all NECC-AD research projects is to improve the efficacy of our treatment programs. Some examples of current or proposed projects are:
Effect of Massed vs. Interspersed Trials on Acquisition. This project will compare the effectiveness of two teaching strategies: (1) multiple consecutive trials of a single teaching program followed by multiple consecutive trials of a different teaching program; versus (2) interspersed trials of each teaching program within a single block of trials.
Cross-Cultural Validation of the NECC Direct Core Skills Assessment. This study will involve (1) collecting survey data from parents, professionals, and other consumers of ABA services; (2) summarizing and analyzing the results; and (3) preparing a report comparing the Abu Dhabi results to the US results.
Program Evaluation: Procedural Integrity and Staff Training at NECC-Abu Dhabi. This study will involve direct observation and measurement of staff behavior while they are implementing standard NECC-AD procedures. The data from this study will be used as part of the NECC-AD program evaluation. Training topics may include: session behavior and MTS procedures, task analysis, incidental teaching, joint attention, video modeling and ACE® program summary.
Establishing Social and Non-Social Stimuli as Conditioned Reinforcers: Ephemeral versus Tangible Stimuli. This study will examine the effects of different stimulus types on the establishment of social and non-social conditioned reinforcers. Brief (“ephemeral”) versus prolonged (“tangible”) social- and non-social stimuli will be conditioned as reinforcers using standard procedures. The effectiveness of each stimulus will then be evaluated using reinforcer assessment.
Audience Control and Emergent Verbal Relations. This study will examine conditional control by “audience” (Skinner, 1957) over repertoire selection in bilingual children with autism. Standard stimulus equivalence procedures will be used to establish English and Arabic repertoires, and then the repertoires will be brought under the control of second-order conditional stimuli. Effects of generalization of second-order conditional control to other stimuli will then be assessed.