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.


First International Conference; Italy, 2001

Event Details

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Paper Session #77
Verbal Behavior in Preschool and Autistic Children
Friday, November 30, 2001
10:00 AM–10:50 AM
Council Hall
Area: VRB
Chair: Paolo Moderato (University of Parma, Italy)
Induction of Imitative Behavior in Preschool Children through Contingent Imitation of Children's Verbal Responses
Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
SEBASTIAN FIGUEROA RODRÍGUEZ (n/a), Martha Pelaez (Florida International University), Teresa De Jesús Pomposa Luna Domínguez (n/a)
Abstract: Twenty preschool children with developmental delays participated in this study using a between groups repeated-measures-reversal design. The children vocal responses were followed by caregiver's imitative verbal responses as reinforcers. For the experimental group, (n=10) during the first phase (A1), the researcher modeled words and sentences to the children without any contingent feedback. During the following phase (B1), modeling plus contingent imitation of children vocalization was implemented as a treatment. During the third phase (A2) modeling alone was used, just as in phase A1, and finally, in the last phase (B2), modeling plus imitation of children vocalizations was provided again. For the second group or control group (n=10), during the first phase (A1) modeling was used, in the second phase (B1) modeling and contingent social praise were used; in the reversal phase (A2) modeling alone was presented, and finally, in the last phase (B2), modeling and contingent social praise were provided as treatment. Results showed that imitation of children imitated vocalizations was more effective in increasing their vocalizations than contingent social praise and than modeling alone. These results are discussed within the context of effective interventions for language acquisition with children showing language developmental delays.
Pronominal Mand with Autistic Children
Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
RENATO GENTILE (Universita di Parma), Olimpia Pino (Universita di Parma), Giovanbatista Presti (Aretre, Italy)
Abstract: Language in autistic children is often at very low operant level and under restricted environmental control. Their language is characterized by a production confined to the repetition of meaningless phrases or useless labels. The aim of this paper is to investigate the action of verbal operants, namely pronominal mands, in the development of human language in a context of establishing operations. This strategy seems particularly useful when mand repertoire is lacking and echoic is interfering with language learning. Consequences of verbal events specify and qualify verbal operants. If mands function for the benefit of the speaker, in practical applications, when language is delayed, the problem is making consequences more available to improve interactions with a listener and discriminative stimuli. Experimental procedures to increase mand behavior use intraverbal and echoic. However, particularly with autistic subjects, they do not allow for an adequate stimulus control, except in controlled settings. Results show that using pronominal mand procedures with autistic subjects overcomes the obstacles of echoics and increases mands. At the same time a decrease of disruptive and interfering behaviors has been observed.



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