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.


31st Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2005

Event Details

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Symposium #25
Teaching Social Behavior: Historical Setbacks and Current Progress
Saturday, May 28, 2005
1:00 PM–2:20 PM
Continental C (1st floor)
Area: AUT; Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: Jonathan J. Tarbox (University of Nevada, Reno)
Abstract: Social behavior is of central importance to psychology in general and continues to be one of the more challenging aspects of behavioral intervention for children with autism. This symposium will present a variety of behavior analytic work in the area of social behavior. The session will begin with a historical/conceptual analysis of the lack of work in the area of social behavior in the field of behavior analysis. The two subsequent papers will present recent work in the development of teaching programs for establishing social behavior in children with autism. The symposium will conclude with a presentation on a novel method of measuring and analyzing social interactions.
Why Behavior Analysis Has Ignored Complex Human Behavior
JONATHAN J. TARBOX (University of Nevada, Reno)
Abstract: The field of behavior analysis currently has very little to say regarding complex human behavior. Criticisms from both within and outside of the behavior analytic community rightly point to a grievous lack of development in behavioral work in complex human behavior. Human activities such as thinking, imagining, perspective taking, and complex social interactions have often received either cursory treatments consisting of nonhuman analogues or are ignored entirely. Consequently, psychological work in these areas is dominated almost entirely by cognitive psychology. It is time for the behavior analytic field to meet Skinner’s early 20th century goal of extending our science of psychology to complex human behavior, including that involved in social interaction. This paper will trace the historical and philosophical roots of our field’s inability and unwillingness to address complex human behavior, will outline some encouraging developments in recent decades, and will suggest potential directions for future work in this area.
Teaching Complex Social Behavior: The CARD Social Curriculum
LISA BROWNFIELD (Center for Autism and Related Disorders), Jonathan J. Tarbox (University of Nevada, Reno), Rachel S. F. Tarbox (Center for Autism and Related Disorders), Doreen Granpeesheh (Center for Autism and Related Disorders)
Abstract: The remediation of social impairment in autism remains one of the most challenging efforts in early intervention. While a variety of interventions have been successful in teaching specific social skills such as social greetings or turn-taking in play, instruction in more subtle and complex social skills, such as engaging in socially appropriate deception, has proven difficult. In an effort to address the breadth of human social behavior, we have identified a variety of social behaviors, based on developmental norms, as targets for teaching complex social behavior, and structured a curriculum into three core areas. The current presentation identifies and describes specific skill targets. Teaching methods will also be described within the context of a case presentation, demonstrating the training, acquisition, and generalization of new social skills.
Teaching Social Interaction/Play Skills to Children with Autism
Abstract: Teaching social and play skills to children with autism has often been accomplished by using peer models. Generalization and maintenance of skills learned often times are dependent upon the continued presence and intervention of the peer models. Two case studies will focus on teaching children with autism to play and socially interact without the use of peer models. The first case study will focus on teaching interactive toy play to young children with autism (ages 5-7 years). The second case study will focus on teaching other children with autism (ages 8-10 years) conflict resolution and/or problem solving during social interactions.
We All Know It When We See It, but What is Appropriate Child Social Behavior?
KENNETH MACALEESE (University of Nevada, Reno), Patrick M. Ghezzi (University of Nevada, Reno)
Abstract: Teaching appropriate child social behavior may one of the most difficult tasks parents, teachers, and other service providers are faced with in teaching children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders. The present talk will begin with a brief history of the origins of how social behavior has been defined, analyzed, and treated. Criticisms of the analyses of child social behavior will be offered leading to a review of one method of analyzing child social behavior developed by Bijou, Ghezzi, and colleagues (1986, 1987, 1988, 1991) which focuses on the referential interaction as the unit of analysis.



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