KGH Research

KGH is passionate about staying up-to-date on the latest research happening in our field. Our clinicians are committed to conducting internal research to contribute to the advancement of autism treatment and applied behavior analysis.

KGH's Institutional Review Board (IRB) is made up of six professionals from the community and KGH. The role of an IRB is to review and approve all research proposals to ensure ethical standards and human rights are upheld and to ensure that the proposed study will benefit society.

Research at KGH is overseen by Ariana Boutain, PhD, BCBA-D, VP Clinical Services and Elizabeth Fontaine, MA, BCBA, Research Coordinator.

For more information about past or present research studies at KGH, contact research@kghautismservices.com.

Featured ResearchEvaluation of a telehealth parent training program in teaching self-care skills to children with autism

Boutain, A. R., Sheldon, J. A., Sherman, J. A. (2020). Evaluation of a telehealth parent training program in teaching self-care skills to children with autism. 53 (3), 1259-1275.

The present study used synchronous video conferencing to remotely deliver a behavioral skills training-based (BST) parent training program to 3 parents of children with autism in the family home. Parents were taught to implement graduated guidance to teach their children several important self-care skills. Parents did not correctly implement graduated guidance after receiving detailed written instructions only. After parents received the BST parent training package, however, all parents implemented graduated guidance with near-perfect levels of fidelity, and all children completed the targeted self-care skills with substantially higher levels of accuracy and independence. Furthermore, parents reported high levels of satisfaction with graduated guidance, the telehealth BST training package, and their children’s ability to complete self-care skills.

Research Opportunities at KGH

Teaching Cooking Skills to Individuals with ASD Via Video Modeling and Self-Monitoring

KGH is currently studying the effects of video modeling and self-monitoring in teaching cooking skills to individuals diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). In the current study, the video model serves as the only prompt for cooking skills to help promote independence in daily living skills for individuals with ASD related to health and safety. This study is currently in the final stages of data collection and preliminary results suggest that video modeling has been effective in teaching independent cooking skills for the microwave, countertop, and stovetop/oven. Further, current data indicate that video models have been effective as the only prompt needed to prompt independent completion of cooking skills and, in turn, have decreased reliance on adult assistance and increased autonomy and independence with food preparation.  Future research at KGH will look at extending this study by generalizing procedures to videos found readily on the internet, such as YouTube, and extending procedures to teach other activities of daily living and vocational skills. The purpose of this exciting line of research is to address current gaps found within the research literature related to using a variety of technological modalities to teach important skills to adolescents and young adults with ASD.

External Research Opportunities

SPARK: Exploring Autism & Genetics
Rush University Medical Center invites you to learn more about SPARK, a new online research study sponsored by the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative. The mission of SPARK is clear: speed up research and advance understanding of autism by creating the nation’s largest autism study. Joining SPARK is simple – register online and provide a DNA sample via a saliva collection kit in the comfort of your own home. Register contacting by phone at 312-563-2765 or by email at spark@rush.edu  or visit www.sparkforautism.org/rush .

Recent Research at KGH

Teaching Social Interactions Via Text Messaging
Text messaging has become the new mode of communication among many adults and teens who have access to cellular phones. The ability to initiate and maintain conversations via text messaging has become an important skill for gaining and maintaining long term relationships. This study examines the efficacy of a behavioral skills training intervention on teaching both initiation and conversational skills via text message to three adolescent males diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.  All three of the participants attended middle school and had shown the ability to maintain conversations with peers in their school setting but had difficulty maintaining relationships with their peers via text messaging. Through behavior skills training, each participant was taught to appropriately initiate and end a conversation, maintain a conversation, and wait an appropriate amount of time to respond during a conversation. Prior to intervention, each of the three participants were demonstrating these skills less than 50% of the time. Following intervention, however, all three participants initiated and maintained conversations, appropriately ended conversation, and waited an appropriate amount of time for a response more 80% of the time. 

Publications

Boutain, A. R., Sheldon, J. A., Sherman, J. A. (2020). Evaluation of a telehealth parent training program in teaching self-care skills to children with autism. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 53 (3), 1259-1275.

Bayles, M. W., Boutain, A. R., Ackerlund Brandt, J. A., Call, N., Dracobly, J. D., Greer, B. D., Gureghian, D. L., Harper, A. M., Merritt, T. A., Miller, J. R., Payne, S. W., and Morris, E. K. (2011). On Critchfield’s Proposal: Student Concerns and Recommendations. The Behavior Analyst, 35 (1), 127-131.

Public Presentations

Boutain, A. R., Sheldon, J. B., & Sherman, J. A. (2013, May). A comparison of graduated guidance and simultaneous prompting in teaching receptive language skills to children with autism. Presentation at the Association for Behavior Analysis International in Minneapolis, MN.

Boutain, A. R., Sheldon, J. B., & Sherman, J. A. (2014, May). A telehealth parent training program to teach self-care skills to children with autism. Presentation at the Kansas Association for Behavior Analysis conference in Overland Park, KS.

Poster Presentations

Boutain, A. R., Sheldon, J. B., & Sherman, J. A. (2012, April). A comparison of graduated guidance and simultaneous prompting in teaching receptive language skills to children with autism. Poster presented at the graduate student poster fair for the Applied Behavioral Science Department at the University of Kansas.

Boutain, A. R., Sheldon, J. B., & Sherman, J. A. (2012, May). A comparison of graduated guidance and simultaneous prompting in teaching receptive language skills to children with autism. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the Association for Behavior Analysis International in Seattle, WA.

Reed, D., DiGennaro Reed, F., Boutain, A., Ackerland Brandt, J., Dracobly, J., Merritt, T., & Payne, S. (2012, May) University of Kansas: Graduate Training in Applied Behavioral Science. Presented at the 38th Annual Convention of the Association for Behavior Analysis International, Seattle, WA.

Reed, D., DiGennaro Reed, F., Merritt, T., Anderson-Carpenter, K., Boutain, A., Briggs, A., & Call, N. (2013, May) University of Kansas: Graduate Training in Applied Behavioral Science. Presented at the 39th Annual Convention of the Association for Behavior Analysis International, Minneapolis, MN.

Fontaine, E., Fialkowski-Crumrine, D., & Boutain, A. (February, 2018). Teaching Social Interactions Via Text Messaging. 12th Annual Autism Conference, Miami, FL.

Fontaine, E., Fialkowski-Crumrine, D., & Boutain, A. (October, 2018). Teaching Social Interactions Via Text Messaging. Mid-American Association for Behavior Analysis Annual Conference , Normal, IL.

Fontaine, E., Boutain, A., (January, 2019). Teaching Cooking Skills to Individuals With Autism Spectrum Disorder Via Video Modeling and Self-Monitoring. 13th Annual Autism Conference, San Francisco, CA.

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