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 #305
The Formation of Generalized Response Classes in Children with Autism: Discussion, Analysis and Implications
Monday, May 30, 2005
9:00 AM–10:20 AM
Waldorf (3rd floor)
Area: TPC; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: John C. Barnard (Educational Services Unit, Burlington County Special Services School District)
Discussant: Nicholas M. Berens (Center for Advanced Learning)
Abstract: Curriculum development in early intensive behavioral intervention (EIBI) for young children with autism is a specialized area that requires careful analysis and sequencing in order to build a complex repertoire of language and cognitive skills. Given the complexity of some of these behavioral repertoires, an analysis of curriculum sequences within effective EIBI can occur at many levels. This symposium will approach this task by looking at the possible role of individual learning trials towards the development of higher order, or generalized, response classes. Established EIBI curriculum sequences will be reviewed in accordance with relational frame theory (RFT) with an emphasis on specifying potential controlling variables employed in the development of generalized response classes. Key elements of RFT will also be applied to proposed curricular sequences whereby the specific application of multiple exemplar training with an emphasis on derived relational responding may yield a greater understanding of hierarchical skill-building and the development of multiple concurrent repertoires. It will be proposed that this type of curricular analysis could allow for increased research opportunities for applied clinicians and potential research questions will be discussed.
Relational Frame Theory and Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention for Autistic Spectrum Disorder
JOHN D. MCELWEE (Step By Step Academy)
Abstract: Relational Frame Theory (RFT) is a modern behavior analytic account of verbal behavior and cognition. This presentation will introduce participants to the conceptual and procedural tools of this theory. Relational operants are viewed as central to the development of verbal behavior and the ability to derive relations between stimuli. And this higher order operant is proposed as the means by which this skill is developed with arbitrary relational responding hypothesized as the core competence involved in developing verbal behavior. This presentation will discuss the implications of RFT towards early intensive behavioral intervention (EIBI) with an analysis of the components needed to perform relational/conditional discriminations. A review of existing curricula employed during EIBI will be conducted, with an emphasis on the Assessment of Basic Language and Learner Skills (ABLLS), in order to identify overlaps with RFT. The implications towards performance standards for skills, instructional protocols, and curriculum development will be shown with specific examples of precision teaching tools highlighted throughout this presentation.
A Proposition Towards Improved Curriculum Design: Emphasizing Multiple Bi-Directional Relations Within Hierarchical Skill Acquisition
JOHN C. BARNARD (Educational Services Unit, Burlington County Special Services School District), Thomas J. Waltz (University of Nevada, Reno)
Abstract: Within many behavior analytic approaches to curriculum development there appears to be an emphasis on the development of smaller, discrete units of behavior sometimes at the expense of a detailed analysis of the creation of larger, higher order behavioral classes. These generalized response classes may be discussed “after the fact” but typically not in terms of planned programming and usually only in the explanatory terms of response or stimulus generalization. This presentation will break down specific repertoire assumptions within trained and derived relations and propose a coordinated curriculum sequence that better accounts for the development of higher order behavioral classes. Hierarchical program sequencing will be discussed in terms of the concurrent training of multiple repertoires via specific program sequences and an emphasis on multiple exemplar training from the onset of intervention. Mutually entailed derived relations will also be discussed along with the differences between the development of selection-based verses topography-based repertoires.
Developing a Research Program for Tracking the Acquisition of Relational and Other Large Operants
THOMAS J. WALTZ (University of Nevada, Reno), Claudia Cardinal (University of Nevada, Reno), John C. Barnard (Educational Services Unit, Burlington County Special Services School District), Philip L. Concors (Devereux Consultants)
Abstract: The number of 1:1 instructional hours involved in early intensive behavioral intervention (EIBI) for autism generates a significant amount of raw data. The individualized nature of these interventions, however, makes it difficult for applied clinicians in EIBI to utilize certain traditional experimental models for behavioral research. Multiple exemplar training, for example, generates data that could potentially clarify many of the fundamental questions regarding how relational and other large operants are acquired and how they are most efficiently trained. This presentation will focus on building an alliance between applied behavior analysts and basic researchers in order to better answer basic questions in applied settings. Suggestions will be made for a) selecting curriculum sequences for investigation, b) developing efficient data recording techniques to capture the larger units of behavior, c) establishing data analysis procedures, and d) maximizing collaborative efforts.



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