Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


35th Annual Convention; Phoenix, AZ; 2009

Workshop Details

Previous Page


Workshop #W69
CE Offered: BACB
Teaching the language of emotions: How Skinner's analysis can help
Saturday, May 23, 2009
8:00 AM–11:00 AM
North 125
Area: AUT/DDA; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
CE Instructor: Lauren C. Wasano, M.A., BCBA, M.A.
LORI A. FROST (Pyramid Educational Consultants)
Description: B.F. Skinner provided an important guide to the analysis of language in his book, Verbal Behavior. In this book, he stresses the critical value to focusing on the function of various aspects of communication. His analysis includes a very interesting section on what he termed ‘private events’- that is, how do we learn to talk about things that happen inside of us? His insights into this process can be very helpful in designing effective lessons to help those with autism and related disabilities to describe their emotions as well as better respond to the emotional language of others. This talk will focus on Skinner’s analysis, review common strategies currently in use to teach these complex skills, and suggest ways to improve these lessons. Attendees will be given the opportunity to review their current lessons regarding emotions and plan revisions based upon Skinner’s analysis.
Learning Objectives: Objectives: 1. Define verbal behavior according to Skinner. 2. Distinguish between requests (mands) and comments (tacts) 3. Describe how children typically learn to comment about ‘private events’ 4. What type of information do adults respond to when teaching children to tell us about their emotions? What may be missing for children with autism? 5. What are some common approaches to teaching ‘the language of emotions.’ 6. How would these compare with Skinner’s description? 7. Can we create emotions? 8. Why is it not really easy to teach ‘really?’
Activities: Review Skinner's definition of critical terms. Review traditional ABA and non-ABA approaches to teaching children language related to emotions. Review their own current lessons regarding emotions. Plan revisions of current lessons to incorporate Skinner's analysis.
Audience: Practitioners who work with children with autism and related language disabilities and aim at teaching these individuals to learn to 'express their emotions' and use subtle aspects of language.
Content Area: Practice
Instruction Level: Basic



Back to Top
Modifed by Eddie Soh