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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Invited Tutorial #333
2005 ABA Tutorial: “Verbal Behavior” and Autism: A Review and Call for Research
Monday, May 30, 2005
11:00 AM–11:50 AM
International North (2nd floor)
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Pamela H. Gorski (Reaching Potentials)
Presenting Authors: : GINA GREEN (San Diego State University)
Abstract: Intervention techniques derived from Skinner’s 1957 book Verbal Behavior are being promoted widely for learners with autism. Those techniques are often presented as if their effectiveness is well-established, and as if they are more effective than other techniques. In his book, however, Skinner presented conceptual analyses of the verbal behavior of typically developing humans, not a prescription for remediating deficient verbal repertoires in individuals with learning difficulties, nor even experimental analyses of typical verbal repertoires. Others have drawn implications from Skinner’s analysis for developing verbal behavior in learners with autism, but their interpretations need to be subjected to experimental testing to see if they are valid. This tutorial reviews some specific empirical questions that have been raised by those interpretations, and a number of claims that have been made about the “Verbal Behavior” approach to autism intervention. Peer-reviewed scientific studies addressing each question and claim are summarized. Questions that remain to be addressed through experimental research are discussed, and some suggestions regarding research methods are offered.
GINA GREEN (San Diego State University)
Gina Green received a PhD in Psychology (Analysis of Behavior) from Utah State University in 1986 following undergraduate and master’s degree studies at Michigan State University. She has been a faculty member in Behavior Analysis and Therapy at Southern Illinois University; Director of Research at the New England Center for Children in Southborough, Massachusetts; Associate Scientist at the E.K. Shriver Center for Mental Retardation in Waltham, Massachusetts; Research Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics, University of Massachusetts Medical School; and Director of Professional Training and Research at The Institute for Effective Education in San Diego, California. Dr. Green is currently in private practice in San Diego as a consultant and serving as an adjunct faculty member for the University of North Texas and San Diego State University. She has authored numerous publications on the treatment of individuals with developmental disabilities and brain injuries, as well as the experimental analysis of behavior. Dr. Green co-edited the books Behavioral Intervention for Young Children with Autism and Making a Difference: Behavioral Intervention for Autism. She serves or has served on the editorial boards of several professional journals in developmental disabilities and behavior analysis. Dr. Green also serves on the Board of Trustees and the Autism Advisory Group of the Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies, the Board of Directors of the Behavior Analyst Certification Board, the Board of Directors of the California Association for Behavior Analysis, and the advisory boards of several autism programs and organizations. She is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst, former president of the Association for Behavior Analysis, and a Fellow of the American Psychological Association and the Council for Scientific Medicine and Mental Health. Psychology Today named her “Mental Health Professional of the Year” in 2000. Dr. Green lectures and consults widely on autism and related disorders, behavioral research, and effective interventions for people with disabilities.



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