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

Workshop Details

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Workshop #W12
CE Offered: PSY/BACB
Training Generative Verbal Behavior in Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention
Friday, May 26, 2006
10:00 AM–5:00 PM
Centennial Ballroom IV
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
CE Instructor: John D. McElwee, M.S.
JOHN D. MCELWEE (Step By Step Academy), IAN T. STEWART (National University of Ireland, Galway)
Description: Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention (EIBI) is an effective behavior analysis based approach to remediation of deficits for Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) where communication is the core deficit. Although evidence based outcomes support EIBI, one persistent difficulty in the case of some clients has been the inability to train generativity i.e., the capacity to understand and produce novel or untrained verbal responses. One possible solution to this problem may be provided by Relational Frame Theory (RFT), a modern behaviour analytic approach to human language and cognition. RFT extends Skinners analysis of verbal behavior by conceptualizing language as generalized relational responding, thus providing new directions for behavioral research and intervention. The purpose of this workshop is to demonstrate how insights and procedures generated by the RFT approach might be applied in the EIBI domain. The first part of the workshop will involve a brief review of the core concepts of RFT. Prospective audience members should consult the tutorial on RFT provided at the following URL: Core terms and concepts will also be provided in a handout. The workshop will first explain the history that gives rise to the core generalized operants which RFT sees as being essential to the development of language. It will explain how the analysis of verbal behavior in terms of what is known as relational framing can explain the extraordinary generativity characterizing language and will outline findings from RFT-based work that has used laboratory generated relational framing to model a diversity of linguistic and higher cognitive skills, with particular emphasis on those most obviously relevant to EIBI, such as derived naming, hierarchical relational responding and perspective taking. The second part of the workshop, which will involve greater participation by the audience than the first, will examine how RFT may be combined with EIBI to provide a comprehensive framework for teaching relational framing. It will examine existing EIBI curricula and show how Assessment of Basic Language and Learning Skills (ABLLS) might be reinterpreted and extended using Relational Frame Theory, putting particular emphasis on the importance of the RFT-based concepts of multiple exemplar training, contextual control and derived relational performance outcomes. A curricular sequence and an assessment of generative skills beginning with basic conditional discriminations and progressing through various stages of non-arbitrary and arbitrary relational responding will then be provided. Starting with simple non-arbitrary auditory and visual identity matching, the framework will progressively target auditory-to-visual matching-to-sample, mutually entailed sound-object / object-sound relations, contextually controlled (SAME versus DIFFERENT) non-arbitrary visual and auditory matching, flexibility of contextual control and combinatorial entailment. Methods of assessment presented will include a revised version of the Assessment of Basic Learning Abilities (ABLA). In addition, a customised computer program training and testing progressive stages of contextually controlled relational responding will also be available to members of the audience on a CD.
Learning Objectives: � Be able to understand how RFT approaches language � Be able to understand key theoretical concepts of RFT such as mutual and combinatorial entailment and transformation of function � Be familiar with several of the areas of the RFT empirical research programs that are relevant to Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention � Understand and use techniques designed to train relational framing from a basic level � Be knowledgeable of how existing EIBI curricula and core training protocols such as the ABLLS might be reinterpreted and extended using Relational Frame Theory � Be familiar with methods of assessment of generativity such as the revised ABLA � Be able to implement a Relational Frame based training protocol, using a CD-ROM based computer program that will be provided to all members of the audience
Activities: � Didactic Instruction � Small Group Work � Brief Exercises � Handouts � CD
Audience: The audience will be therapists with expertise in the analysis of verbal behavior and the implementation of EIBI programs that are interested in applying principles of Relational Frame Theory in the EIBI domain. Prospective audience members should consult the tutorial on RFT provided at the following URL:
Content Area: Practice
Instruction Level: Advanced



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