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.


40th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2014

Event Details

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Symposium #513
CE Offered: BACB
Instructional Procedures for Establishing Verbal Operant Repertoires for Children with Autism: Echoics, Mands, and Intraverbals
Tuesday, May 27, 2014
11:00 AM–12:50 PM
W185bc (McCormick Place Convention Center)
Area: AUT/EDC; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Fawna Stockwell (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology)
Discussant: Traci M. Cihon (University of North Texas)
CE Instructor: Fawna Stockwell, Ph.D.

Responses that serve a communicative function are critical in promoting the autonomy of an individual and enabling his or her access to reinforcers. Throughout the course of an individuals life, communication responses typically begin as basic vocalizations, such as echoics, and over time evolve to more complex types of responses, such as intraverbals. This symposium will review current research on instructional procedures used to establish verbal behavior repertoires for children with autism, with such tactics including acoustical markers, relational frame training, the use of multiple exemplars, transfer of stimulus control, and fluency timings. Results of these studies demonstrate how verbal operant responses can be strengthened through explicit training, and how they can also emerge in the absence of direct training, as seen in generalization probes and tests of derived relational responding.

Keyword(s): acoustical marker, derived manding, empathy, verbal behavior

The Effects of Using an Acoustical Marker on Teaching Words to Children with Autism

SHANT DEMIRJIAN (The Chicago School Of Professional Psychology), Jaclyn Gutierrez (BGF Performance Systems, LLC), Diana J. Walker (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology), John W. Eshleman (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology)

An acoustical marker contingent on target behavior has been shown to be an effective procedure for increasing adaptive behavior in children with autism (Khowaja, Malmquist, & Eshleman, 2011; Maendler, Eshleman, & Cihon, 2009; Morien, Eshleman, & Malmquist, 2010). The current study examined the use of a contingent acoustical marker on teaching new words (i.e., echoics) to children with autism with a limited vocal verbal repertoire. This study used a shaping procedure facilitated by an acoustical marker, which provided more immediate consequences for the behavior than typical reinforcers such as praise and tangible items. Two children diagnosed with autism ages 3 and 7 participated in this study. The data suggested that the shaping procedure facilitated by the use of the acoustical marker increased echoic vocalizations, including a full word for one participant and several successive approximations for both participants.

Effects of Minimal Versus Extensive Instructions on Derived Manding of Children with and without Autism
ASHLEY ANDERSON (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology), Fawna Stockwell (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology), Scott A. Herbst (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology)
Abstract: The current study examined the effects of extensive versus limited instructions on the derived transfer of mands of children with and without a diagnosis of Autism. Four participants, two with and two without a diagnosis of Autism took part in a Relational Frame Theory teaching procedure: once with extensive instructions and once with limited instructions using applied stimuli which included animals and the habitats that they lived in. The results showed that the number of trials required to meet criterion were reduced when extensive instructions were used regardless of which condition was conducted first. Additionally, tests were conducted to assess if the students were better able to tact the animal names and sort them into their habitats and to determine if the students had learned the mutual and combinatorial relations following training. Results for these tests found that responding was variable and no one condition produced higher correct responding.

Effects of Multiple Exemplar and Fluency Training on Intraverbal Empathy Responses of Children with Autism

HAILEY DELOYA (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology), Fawna Stockwell (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology), John W. Eshleman (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology)

This study evaluated the effects of a multiple exemplar training package with a fluency component on intraverbal empathy responses of four children with autism. This study extended the research from Schrandt, Townsend, and Poulson (2009). The experimenter presented a variety of role-play scenarios related to three different response categories (sad/hurt, happy/excited, and frustrated). Participants were initially provided with an echoic prompt for the correct empathetic response. For each response type, participants were trained to accuracy criterion, followed by training to a fluency criterion. Results indicated that all participants responded at accurate as well as fluent levels not only in training sessions, but also in discrimination sessions and during retention, endurance, stability, and application probes.

Using Transfer of Stimulus Control Procedures to Teach Children with Autism Intraverbal Responses to Wh-Questions
SASHA HALLAGAN (Otis Elementary School), Fawna Stockwell (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology), Diana J. Walker (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology)
Abstract: One of the diagnostic criteria of Autism Spectrum Disorder is a significant delay in communication and critical deficiencies in the ability to maintain a conversation. This lack of conversational skills is often defined as an inability to correctly answer questions embedded within conversations. In this study, the researcher used a transfer of stimulus control procedure with vocal prompts to determine its effects on correct responses to wh- questions for children with autism. The author used a multiple probe design across three different question forms for each participant. All participants in this study increased their correct responses towards wh- questions and maintained responding during generalization probes.



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