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.


32nd Annual Convention; Atlanta, GA; 2006

Event Details

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Symposium #133
CE Offered: BACB
Training Echoic Repertoires in Autistic Children under Motivative and Joint Control
Sunday, May 28, 2006
10:30 AM–11:20 AM
Area: DEV; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Maricel Cigales (University of South Florida)
CE Instructor: Maricel Cigales, Ph.D.

Utilizing the language and theory outlined in Skinners Verbal Behavior (1957), language and learning interventions for children with autism will be explored. Empirical data from two experiments will be presented and analyzed with an emphasis on clinical first study demonstrates the effectiveness of combining motor echoic training and manipulating motivating operations to elicit generative and spontaneous verbal behavior across operant classes. The second study addresses the efficacy of training echoic rehearsal strategies to improve task performance and enable responding under joint control for autistic youth. Theoretical and process issues raised by each experiment will be addressed, particularly the superiority of topography-based, over selection-based language interventions. Additionally, the role of generalized imitation in higher order processes will be examined.

The Combined Effects of Motor Echoic Sign Language Training within the Context of a Motivating Operation.
KARELIX ALICEA (Florida International University)
Abstract: The significant effects that echoic, mand, and sign language training procedures have on the acquisition of verbal behavior have been widely demonstrated when employed individually. It still remains, however, that more efficient treatment strategies are still needed. The goal of this study was to combine all 3 treatment strategies into one treatment intervention in order to investigate the joint effects they may have on verbal behavior. A total of 6 subjects participated in the study, 5 whom received treatment and 1 who served as a control. Treatment intervention totaled 1 hour per day for 5 days per week until a mastery criterion for motor echoic behaviors was achieved. Despite the fact that motor echoic behaviors were the only ones targeted for skill acquisition, significant increases in spontaneous motor mands were noted in all treatment subjects. Additionally, 4 out of the 5 treatment subjects also demonstrated significant gains in vocal echoic and spontaneous vocal mand repertoires. No significant increases were noted in the responses of the control subject. This research suggests that, in comparison to conventional treatment strategies, motor echoic sign language training within a MO may provide more efficient results in teaching functional language repertoires to developmentally delayed children.
Training Echoic Rehearsal Strategies Improves Discriminated Responding Controlled Jointly by two Verbal Operants.
TARA M. SHEEHAN (Florida International University)
Abstract: To resolve the issue that stimulus control cannot explain generalized responding in selection-based behavior, Barry Lowenkron (1991) introduced the concept of joint control. Lownkron’s work on joint control explains the mechanism behind selection-based behavior utilizing operant principles rather than resorting to typically invoked cognitive or linguistic mechanisms. Lowenkron has demonstrated that without mediating verbal responses (echoic rehearsal), generalized responding is absent in matching to sample (1984), selection-based behavior (1991), and relational responding (1995, 2000). Examining the role of joint control in word-object relations obviates the need to rely on notions of semantics or symbolism, which are explanatory fictions characterized by circular reasoning. When two stimuli concurrently evoke a response of a single topography, that response is emitted under joint control. Typically, such a response is emitted under self-echoic/tact control jointly. This data-based presentation examines the strengthening of responding under joint control through an intervention in which young children with autism were taught to develop their own self-echoic repertoire. Participants were prompted to emit vocal echoic rehearsal responses that enabled them to complete complex discrimination tasks. The ability to use mediating verbal responses significantly improved participants’ receptive task performance.
Abstract: BLANK



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