May Institute Clinicians Co-author Article in the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis


“Teaching children with autism to explain how: A case for problem solving?” was published in the Spring 2018 issue of the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis. The article was co-authored by Sarah Frampton, M.A., BCBA, Director of Skill Acquisition for May Institute, and Alice Shillingsburg, Ph.D., BCBA-D, Senior Vice President of Applied Verbal Behavior for May, and Assistant Director of the National Autism Center.

The Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis is a psychology journal that publishes research about applications of the experimental analysis of behavior to problems of social importance.

Authors’ Abstract
Few studies have applied Skinner's (1953) conceptualization of problem solving to teach socially significant behaviors to individuals with developmental disabilities. The current study used a multiple probe design across behavior (sets) to evaluate the effects of problem‐solving strategy training (PSST) on the target behavior of explaining how to complete familiar activities. During baseline, none of the three participants with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) could respond to the problems presented to them (i.e., explain how to do the activities). Tact training of the actions in each activity alone was ineffective; however, all participants demonstrated independent explaining‐how following PSST. Further, following PSST with Set 1, tact training alone was sufficient for at least one scenario in sets 2 and 3 for all 3 participants. Results have implications for generative responding for individuals with ASD and further the discussion regarding the role of problem solving in complex verbal behavior.

[Read Ms. Frampton’s bio.]

[Read Dr. Shillingsburg’s bio.]