Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Auditory Conditioning / Operant Audiometry

I asked Kat to explain the Auditory Conditioning System that we are trying with Carver, and this is how she explained it...

We are teaching Carver to discriminate both the absence and presence of 4 combined tones. Once he learns to press the switch to indicate he hears a tone and does not press the switch when there is silence. The end goal is to get him to press the switch to at least 4 different tones at 65 dB presented individually, so that we can then take the switch to the audiologists so that they can get a behavioral audiogram, and hopefully, have more information with which to map the implants/ or a hearing aid. We are hearing more and more how many children with multiple needs cannot simply hold up their hand or drop a block in a bucket when they hear. At first, Carver wanted to press the switch to get the reinforcer, but he didn't do that this week...we were impressed that he did smile sometimes when he heard the tone and put his hand back to the place on the tray. However, he waited to be prompted. Melinda and Tara will see if we need to position his hand differently to encourage him to hit the switch. We might need an adaptive elbow holder so it is simplified. The following parameters are factors for individualizing for any child.

1. Determining a strong, consistent contingencies or multiple positive contingencies.
2. Determining the best body positioning and type of response for each child.
3. Determining the best environment (no one talking, lights down for better visual or more contract for some children).
4. Developing a program so that the tones can be presented consistently (sound meter and downloading apps).
5. Determining the easiest motor response for the individual child.
6. Determining the timing features and types of prompts to be used.
7. Developing an interrupter so that the child does not get the contingencies without a tone first & delaying the tone as long as the child is activating the switch.
8. Securing the switch on a tray so the child does not try to mouth or pick up the switch...and being able to connect the interrupter switch so it can't be pulled.
9. Collect and analyze data on prompted and unprompted responses.
10. Giving the child a consistent program across time so that they can learn the task.

We will look at the data to determine if the program needs to be changed. We go by the philosophy that it isn't a child learning or not, but if the program is working or not. We will discuss how it can be made more simple if we don't see Carver responding without, I am not sure how long it might take.

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