University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire

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UW-Eau Claire Student Research on Autism
Wins Poster Competition at MABA Conference

 MAILED:  Oct. 20, 2004

EAU CLAIRE — Four University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire psychology students took top honors in a research poster competition at the Mid-American Association for Behavior Analysis Conference, held Oct. 1-2 in Indianapolis.

Sixteen UW-Eau Claire students, along with assistant professor of psychology Kevin Klatt and associate professor of psychology Gregory Madden, attended the conference.

The Outstanding Poster Award in the student research poster competition went to seniors Nicole Zeug, Shell Lake, and Sara Czekalski, Rice Lake, and juniors Julie Ackerlund, Colfax, and Sarah Tillman, Elk River, Minn., for their poster "Comparing Constant Time Delay and Simultaneous Prompting Procedures on Skill Acquisition for Children with Autism," which detailed research they conducted under the supervision of Klatt.

"We were not at all expecting to win the competition … we were competing mainly with graduate student research," said Zeug. "It was an incredible honor to win and be recognized for our work by prominent figures in the field so early in our careers."

The students' study compared two different teaching procedures for teaching children with autism. The first procedure, constant time delay, allows the child four seconds to respond correctly, after which he or she is prompted to give the correct answer. In the second procedure, simultaneous prompting, the child is prompted immediately to give the correct answer.

This research, which is still under way, is being conducted to assess which procedure is more effective and efficient for teaching children with autism and which procedure results in fewer errors made by the children. Two children are currently participating in the study. One receives in-home therapy and the other receives therapy at the Campus Autism Program at UW-Eau Claire.

"UW-Eau Claire is the only university that brings undergraduate students to this event," said Klatt. "Students in the UW-Eau Claire behavioral analysis emphasis have won the top poster award for three consecutive years."

Czekalski says she hopes the research continues to develop; she is looking forward to attending the Applied Behavior Analysis Conference in Chicago in May 2005 to present further research on the subject.

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 Judy Berthiaume, Director
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Updated: October 21, 2004