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.

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40th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2014

Event Details


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Poster Session #207
VRB Sun Noon
Sunday, May 25, 2014
12:00 PM–2:00 PM
W375a-d (McCormick Place Convention Center)
84. Mands for Information using 'How" under EO-absent and EO-present Conditions
Area: VRB; Domain: Applied Research
CRYSTAL N. BOWEN (Marcus Autism Center), M. Alice Shillingsburg (Marcus Autism Center, Emory University School of Medicine)
Abstract: Research on teaching mands for information have included mands using who, what, where, and which questions (Endicott & Higbee, 2007; Marion, Martin, Yu, Buhler, Kerr, & Claeys, 2012; Shillingsburg, Bowen, Valentino, & Pierce, in press). Successful procedures to teach these mands have employed methods such as manipulation of the establishing operations (EO), prompt fading, and differential reinforcement. Less is known about teaching mands using "How?", which provides some additional unique challenges when approaching intervention. Specifically, once the information regarding how to do something is provided once, the EO may no longer be present. Thus, identifying alternative teaching procedures is warranted. One male diagnosed with autism completed the current study. The study evaluated a procedure to teach mands for information using how to obtain information to complete various preferred activities. The results showed that the participant began to correctly use the mand for information under EO present conditions and did not mand when the information was not needed (EO absent conditions). The skill also generalized to untaught contexts. The results have implications for teaching the mand for information how while paying close attention to EO manipulation and subsequent generalization of the skill. The importance of multiple-exemplar training is also discussed.
 
85. Contriving Motivation to Request Information: Which and Who
Area: VRB; Domain: Applied Research
BRITTANY LEE (Marcus Autism Center), Cassondra M Gayman (Marcus Autism Center), Addie F. Andrus Findley (Marcus Autism Center), Crystal N. Bowen (Marcus Autism Center), Ari Mazer (Marcus Autism Center), Bethany Talmadge (Marcus Autism Center), M. Alice Shillingsburg (Marcus Autism Center, Emory University School of Medicine)
Abstract: Recent research on teaching mands for information to children with language deficits have focused on manipulating establishing operations (EOs). However, only a few of those studies have focused on programming both EO and abolishing operation (AO) conditions to ensure functional use of the mand for information. Shillingsburg, Bowen, Valentino, and Pierce (in press) provided a successful demonstration of differential responding between conditions in which information was needed (EO condition) versus when it was already provided (AO condition) demonstrating control of the response by the relevant EO. Two children with autism acquired mands for information who? and which? via echoic prompting. The current study sought to replicate the methods employed by Shillingsburg and colleagues for three children diagnosed with autism. For these three participants, though echoic prompting was an effective method for teaching, textual prompts were observed to be more efficient Therefore, textual prompts reading Which or Who were used with all participates during prompted trials. Procedures resulted in differential use of the mands for information during EO and AO conditions for all three participants. Results have implications for an alternative way to prompt mands for information. Participants use of information obtained via emitting mands for information is also discussed.
 
86. Increasing the Mand Repertoire of Children With Autism Through the Use of an Interrupted Chain Procedure
Area: VRB; Domain: Service Delivery
KRISTIN M. ALBERT (Carbone Clinic), Vincent Joseph Carbone (Carbone Clinic), Danielle D. Murray (Carbone Clinic), Margaret Murdoch Hagerty (Carbone Clinic), Emily Sweeney Kerwin (Carbone Clinic)
Abstract: Although the mand is generally the first verbal operant learned by most children, children with autism frequently do not learn to mand unless this skill is directly and intensively taught. In addition, because children with autism often have limited interests and reinforcers, this may complicate the mand training process. Therefore, it is important to identify mand training procedures that allow practitioners who are working with children with autism to establish a wider variety of reinforcers so as to increase opportunities to conduct mand training. This study addresses this important topic by replicating and extending the previous research on the use of an interrupted chain procedure to teach manding (Hall & Sundberg, 1987). There were 3 vocal participants in this study, all of whom were diagnosed with autism. The participants were between 5 and 8 years old. They all readily manded for a wide variety of desired items when those reinforcers were in sight, but rarely manded for missing items (i.e., items that were not in sight). The participants were first taught to independently complete 3 behavior chains (e.g., painting a picture, making a sandwich, listening to music). After they had mastered the chains, 1 item needed to complete each chain was removed to contrive motivation for that item, thereby momentarily establishing its reinforcing value. During baseline, participants did not mand for the missing items at the points in which those items were needed to complete the chains. Instructors then conducted vocal mand training for one chain at a time according to the conventions of a concurrent multiple baseline across activities design (Hersen & Barlow, 1976). During mand training, at the relevant parts of each chain the instructors used a 10-s prompt delay along with vocal prompting to teach the participants to mand for the missing item. Subsequently, all participants learned to mand for the missing items, at the appropriate points in the chains, solely under the control of a motivating operation (MO; i.e., when the items were out of sight and without teacher-provided prompts). They demonstrated these skills within both the trained chains and novel, untrained chains. Pre- and post-training probes also indicated that the participants learned to tact the missing items as a result of having been taught to mand for them.
 
87. Teaching Two Individuals With Developmental Disabilities to Mand for Multiple Items by Contriving Establishing Operations
Area: VRB; Domain: Applied Research
AMARIE CARNETT (Victoria University of Wellington), Hannah Waddington (Victoria University of Wellington), Jeffrey S. Sigafoos (Victoria University of Wellington), Michelle Stevens (Victoria University of Wellington)
Abstract: Communication interventions that focus on mand training have been demonstrated to be effective in promoting behavior change for individuals with developmental disabilities. Children with developmental disabilities often require augmentative and alternative modes of communication (AAC) when spoken language does not develop. The present study evaluates procedures used to teach manding skills to two participants using a speech-generating device (SGD) across various establishing operations. A multiple baseline across phases (a. manding by item name with no distractors; b. distance to communication partner and item; c. discrimination of item on SGD screen; d. manding for multiple items) was used to evaluate the effectiveness of contriving the establishing operation (EO), brief preference assessment before each session, and most-to-least prompting procedures. This study extends previous research by demonstrating the importance of capturing the relevant EO to teach various phases of mand training (Michael, 2000). Preliminary results indicate an increase in manding skills for both participants.
 
88. Effects of PECS Phase III Application Training on Independent Mands in Young Children with Autism
Area: VRB; Domain: Applied Research
JESSICA LOVE (University of Nevada, Las Vegas), Peggy Schaefer Whitby (University of Arkansas), Susan Miller (University of Nevada, Las Vegas), Tom Pierce (University of Nevada, Las Vegas), Catherine Lyons (University of Nevada, Las Vegas)
Abstract: Portable tablet applications have expanded into augmentative/alternative communication purposes, yet little research exists on their efficacy. Previous studies on Picture Exchange Communication Training (PECS) evaluated only the use of paper icons. This study evaluated the effects of PECS phase III application training on independent mands in young children with autism. Participants were five children with autism (ages 2-4) with five or fewer spoken words. A multiple baseline across participants was used to evaluate independent, correct mands using the PECS Phase III iPadTM application. Participants used paper icons to mand for preferred items during PECS Phases I and II, and used the iPadTM application to mand in Phase III. Participants exhibited varying levels of evidence for a functional relationship. Results are discussed in the context of experimental design and participants pre-existing skills. All participants who completed the study exhibited generalization of mands (60% to 100%). Maintenance measures indicated moderate to high durability of treatment effects (70% to 100%). Mand preference assessments between paper icons and iPadTM indicated a clear preference for the iPadTM among all participants. Parent report indicated higher preference for continuing the PECS phase III iPadTM application over PECS paper icons. Implications for parents, researchers, and practitioners are discussed.
 
89. Teaching a Requesting and Social Communication Sequence to Three Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder Using Systematic Instruction and an iPad-Based Speech-Generating Device
Area: VRB; Domain: Applied Research
HANNAH WADDINGTON (Victoria University of Wellington), Amarie Carnett (Victoria University of Wellington), Jeffrey S. Sigafoos (Victoria University of Wellington)
Abstract: Many children with autism require augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) systems, such as speech-generating devices (SGDs), to enable them to communicate. The aim of this research was to teach three children with ASD to use an iPad-based SGD to ask for toys, choose between two specific preferred items, and then communicate a thank-you response when they had received the requested toy. A multiple-baseline across participants design was used to determine whether systematic instruction involving least-to-most-prompting, time delay, and error correction were effective in teaching these three children to successfully engage in the sequence. Generalisation and follow-up probes were also conducted for two of the three participants. With intervention, all three children showed improvement in following the steps of this sequence correctly. This improvement was maintained with an unfamiliar communication partner. During follow-up one participant made primarily two-step requests and the other primarily three-step requests. These findings suggest that systematic instruction was effective in teaching these three children to learn a multi-step communication sequence using an iPad-based SGD.
 
90. Replacing Generalized Non-Word Mand and Whine With One Word Specific Mand
Area: VRB; Domain: Basic Research
DRESDEN GOODWIN (Autism Behavior Network), Kerin Ann Weingarten (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee), Stephanie King (Autism Behavior Network)
Abstract: Mand training is a well established tool for developing and increasing functional verbal behavior (Lerman et al., 2005; Kodak & Clements, 2009). Because children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) do not develop language as their typically developing peers, training methods isolating verbal behavior (e.g., mands, tacts, intraverbals) are often necessary. The present study examined mand training with a 3 year old girl (SS) who at the time of this study did not emit functional or specific mands. As a toddler, SS emitted some verbal behavior (e.g., I love you, please, and thank you), which had been replaced by one non-word mand, "watchy." Training included a reinforcer assessment. Access to these preferred reinforcers was provided following SS's emittance of the specific mand in the presences of the item. The data showed an increase in unprompted mands for the specific items and a decrease in the one word mand "watchy."
 
91. Using an Auditory Conditioned Reinforcer to Increase the Complexity of Mands
Area: VRB; Domain: Applied Research
MELISSA ENGASSER (The Bedrock Clinic & Research Center), Sarah Cohen (The Bedrock Clinic & Research Center)
Abstract: The present research examines a novel technology for shaping vocal behavior. This study describes the use of an auditory conditioned reinforcer, in the form of a clicker to increase the complexity of mands. Expanding the complexity of mands focuses on having the learner apply autoclitic frames in conjunction with the mand. The participants included a 2-year-old and 10-year-old with a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder. An A-B-A multiple baseline design was used in the study. During treatment, a single click was administered across each word within the autoclitic frame upon emitting the vocal prompt modeled by the experimenter. Each click was provided as an intermediary reinforcer for each separate word leading up to the provision of the terminal reinforcer / motivating operation. The results concluded that the autoclitic frames in conjunction with a mand increased with the 2-year-old participants autoclitic frame and mand conjunction without other prompts other than the item in sight. The 10-year-old participant displayed an increase with the autoclitic frame and pure mand (specifying for listener to emit an action). Both participants rates of manding continued to increase upon withdrawal of treatment.
 
92. Choosing an Alternative Communication Mode for a Preschool Aged Child With Apraxia
Area: VRB; Domain: Applied Research
AMANDA STANSELL (Gonzaga University), Jennifer Neyman (Gonzaga University ), Thomas Ford McLaughlin (Gonzaga University), Sarah Mortensen (Spokane Public Schools )
Abstract: Communication is a vital skill for children to make their wants and needs known. Some children do not speak; therefore they must be given alternative means to communicate (Sundberg & Partington, 1998). This study examined communication preference between picture exchange and manual sign language. The participant, Erica, was a 3-year-ten-month old female with developmental delays and Apraxia. She had three intelligible spoken words at the beginning of the study, and communicated using unintelligible vocalizations and gestures. During the course of the study, Erica was presented with two communication choices at snack time: picture exchange or manual sign language. The results indicated a preference for picture exchange. The results of the study will be discussed in terms of communication choices, increasing verbal speech, and generalization across communication partners. The implications of this study include the brevity of the intervention and the ability to imbed this intervention within the regular classroom environment. Interobserver agreement was collected in 69% of sessions with an average agreement of 99%.
 
93. The Effects of Methylphenidate on Manding
Area: VRB; Domain: Applied Research
ADAM BRESSLER (The New England Center for Children), Kelly Alexandra Benhart (The New England Center for Children), Jonathan Seaver (The New England Center for Children), Jason C. Bourret (The New England Center for Children)
Abstract: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of methylphenidate on manding. An 18-year old female diagnosed with Kleeftstra syndrome and living in a residential facility participated. Individual edible, liquid and leisure MSWOs were conducted to identify a preference hierarchy for these items. The two highest preferred items from each category were then used in sessions. During baseline, all items were concurrently available for 30s each, contingent upon manding for each item. After baseline was completed, the participant was placed on 10mg of methylphenidate, a drug commonly used to treat symptoms correlated with ADHD. These sessions were identical to baseline sessions with the exception of the participant undergoing the medication trial at the time. In the 10mg methylphenidate condition, manding for all items was completely suppressed across all sessions. Following the return to baseline, manding immediately returned to similar rates observed during the initial baseline condition.
 
94. The Effects of Daily Tact Instruction on the Emission of Pure Mands and Tacts
Area: VRB; Domain: Basic Research
Nicole Piechowicz (Hawthorne Country Day School), KILEY COLE (Hawthorne Foundation)
Abstract:

This study examined the effects of intensive tact training on two elementary school student's pure tacts and mands in non-instructional settings. Participant one was a seven-year-old male diagnosed with autism. He had beginning speaker and listener levels of verbal behavior. Participant two was an eight-year-old male diagnosed with autism. He also had beginning speaker and listener levels of verbal behavior. This study was a delayed multiple probe design across participants. Both participants attend a private not-for-profit school that practices Applied Behavior Analysis methods and services children with Autism and other developmental delays. The school is located outside of the metropolitan area. The purpose of this research was to show the effects of the intensive tact protocol across two participants with Autism. The intensive tact protocol instructed the teachers to increase the number of tacts taught to the students daily, while maintaining other instruction at the same level. The results showed that there is a functional relationship between intensive tact training and the increase of pure mands and tacts in non-instructional settings.

 
95. Enhancing Tact Capabilities by Increasing "Wh" Questions in an Individual With High-funtioning Autism
Area: VRB; Domain: Service Delivery
SHAWN PATRICK QUIGLEY (Western Michigan University), Jamie Hirsh (Western Michigan University), Jennifer Freeman (Western Michigan University), Kris Bodine (Western Michigan University), Jessica E. Frieder (Western Michigan University)
Abstract: Greer and Ross (2007) suggest individuals can enhance their tact repertoire by expanding certain capabilities. One of the suggested areas of enhancement is the ability to recruit tacts by asking wh questions. The purpose of this study was to evaluate a procedure, suggested by Greer and Ross, for teaching a 10-year-old boy with autism to use What is it? when presented with an item he did not know. Specifically, What is it? was taught across visual, tactile and olfactory senses. Results suggest the procedure was effective in increasing the use of What is it? questions for the participant.
 
96. Teaching Children with Social-Communication Delays to Label Actions Using Videos
Area: VRB; Domain: Applied Research
COLLIN SHEPLEY (Oconee County Schools), Justin Lane (University of Georgia), Sally Bereznak Shepley (University of Georgia)
Abstract: Teaching young children with social-communication delays to comment on common actions they may encounter at home, school, and the community may require direct instruction in preschool classrooms. Traditionally, direct instruction on action labels involved pictures or photographs of actions. Static examples of actions may decrease the saliency of recognizing actions in natural contexts. To address this issue, this study examined acquisition of action labels using video examples of persons engaging in target actions. A multiple baseline design across participants replicated across behaviors was used to evaluate the effectiveness of a progressive time delay (PTD) procedure, using video examples of actions, to teach action labels to three preschool-aged children eligible for special education services (i.e., autism spectrum disorder, significant developmental delay, or speech-language impairments). In addition, data were collected on participants use of language expansions, as well as generalization of target actions and language expansions to novel videos and pictures. Results show that all participants acquired action labels, maintained at least 50% of action labels, and expanded their responses during intervention. Two of the three participants maintained expanded responses and generalized expanded responses to novel videos and pictures. Research limitations and implications for the future are presented.
 
97. Matrix Training to Teach Expressive Labeling of Noun-Verb Combinations
Area: VRB; Domain: Applied Research
SARAH WYMER (Marcus Autism Center), Sarah Frampton (Marcus Autism Center), Cassondra M Gayman (Marcus Autism Center), M. Alice Shillingsburg (Marcus Autism Center, Emory University School of Medicine)
Abstract: Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) often exhibit delays and deficits in language development. Studies have found that some children with autism do not combine known words at the same time as typically developing peers (Paul, Chawarska, Klin, and Volkmar, 2007; Weismer et al., 2011). Matrix training is a procedure that has been used with developmentally delayed individuals to produce novel responses through recombinative generalization, a process by which an individual is able to respond to and produce novel combinations of known component words (Goldstein & Mousetis, 1989). Five males diagnosed with ASD participated in the current study. Nouns and verbs currently in each participants repertoire were arranged in a matrix to facilitate expressive noun-verb combinations. Echoic prompts were used to teach diagonal combinations. Four out of five participants demonstrated recombinative generalization following the intervention. The results indicate that matrix training was an effective intervention to teach children with ASD to combine known words and can be used to assess whether participants are able to demonstrate recombinative generalization.
 
98. Assessing Recombinative Generalization Following Matrix Training for Two-Step Receptive Instructions
Area: VRB; Domain: Applied Research
BETHANY JORDAHL (Marcus Autism Center), Sarah Frampton (Marcus Autism Center), Sarah Wymer (Marcus Autism Center), M. Alice Shillingsburg (Marcus Autism Center, Emory University School of Medicine)
Abstract: Some studies suggest that learners with developmental disabilities may benefit from interventions which promote recombinative generalization (Goldstein & Mousetis, 1989; Striefel et al., 1976; Axe & Sainto, 2010). Matrix training is a strategy used to facilitate the interaction of component skills in order to produce novel responses through recombinative generalization. Matrix training consists of pre-planning intervention by identifying the components of desired responses and arranging them across two axes. The diagonal targets would be selected for intervention, as together they contain all combinations of the component skills. After learning these targets, the individual may demonstrate correct responses to the non-diagonal targets. Two males diagnosed with autism participated in the study. Both participants had mastered multiple one step instructions, but failed to respond when these instructions were combined. They were directly taught to respond to two-step receptive instructions that fell on the diagonal of a matrix. Upon completion of training, both participants acquired the targets directly taught and the untaught, non-diagonal, targets. The results indicate that matrix training was an effective intervention to teach children with autism spectrum disorder to follow two-step instructions composed of known single step instructions and can be used to assess whether participants demonstrate recombinative generalization.
 
99. Implementing a Lag Schedule of Reinforcement to Increase Intraverbal Responding for a Student with Autism: Answering "What did you do at Group Today?" with Variable Responses
Area: VRB; Domain: Applied Research
MELISSA FAGAN (The Aurora School), Kendra McDonald (The Aurora School)
Abstract: Teaching students with autism to answer social questions such as "How are you?" often results in rote intraverbal responding. As Susa & Schlinger (2012) reported, these invariable responses are often stereotypical and stigmatizing. Students with autism often fail to generalize varied responses to intraverbal questions and programming for generalization is often a necessary part of verbal behavior programs. Increased variable intraverbal responding can come under the control of operant conditioning through various methods including Lag Schedules of Reinforcement. Lag schedules of reinforcement contingently reinforces responses that are different than the previous response or a number of specified previous responses. We will be extending current research on lag schedules using changing criterion to increase variable responding to the question “What did you do today at group?” for a 19 year old student with autism.
 
100. Acquisition of Intraverbal Responses: Verbal Prompt vs. Verbal Prompt Paired with American Sign Language
Area: VRB; Domain: Applied Research
RENEE MARIE TERRASI (Peace by Piece), Kurtis Shrewsberry (Peace by Piece), Daniel Zink (Peace by Piece)
Abstract: The purpose of this study was to compare the efficacy of echoic prompts and manual sign language prompts to teach interverbal responding in 4 boys with autism. An ABABA reversal was conducted and observers measured the number of trials to criteria for acquisition in each condition. The results indicate that the use of a verbal prompt paired with a manual sign lead to faster acquisition rates.Interobserver agreement was conducted for 100% of the sessions. Mean agreement was 97.5%.
 
101. Tiered Narrative Intervention With Preschoolers: An Efficacy and Implementation Study
Area: VRB; Domain: Applied Research
SARAH WEDDLE (Northen Arizona University), Mandana Kajian (Building Blocs), Levi Zitting (Northern Arizona University), Trina Spencer (Northern Arizona University)
Abstract: Narrative language is critical for academic and social development. Many Head Start eligible students experience impoverished home language environments and are at risk of developing language-related literacy problems. We conducted a quasi-experimental control group design to investigate the effect of a narrative intervention on preschoolers language skills when Head Start teachers served as intervention agents. This was an implementation study in addition to an efficacy study. Participants included 105 preschoolers enrolled in Head Start. Three Head Start teachers implemented the verbal behavior interventions in their classroom using large group, small group, and individual arrangements based on the language needs of the students. Storytelling and the complexity (e.g., autoclitics) of the language used to tell stories was the focus of the intervention. Skinners analysis of verbal behavior and transfer of stimulus control technology served as the foundation for the interventions. After 6 months of intervention, the treatment classroom outperformed the control classroom on measures of narrative retell and comprehension questions.
 
102. Teaching Pronoun Use ToA Participant With English AsA Second Language
Area: VRB; Domain: Applied Research
NICOLE SULLIVAN (Bancroft), Lindsay K. Prause (Bancroft), Erin Ullmann (Bancroft), Kimberly Borgmann-Hayes (Bancroft)
Abstract: Many children with Autism require detailed training for specific areas of language use. Studies by Albert et al. (2013), Endicott & Higbee (2007), and Sundberg et al. (2002) examined the use of contrived motivating operations (MOs) to evoke mands in children with Autism. In addition to contrived MOs, the studies used prompts and prompt-fading procedures to successfully teach mands. In the current study, manipulation of MOs, prompts, and prompt fading procedures were used to teach English pronouns to an individual for whom English was a second language. The participant in the current study was a 16 year-old male living in a residential facility for the treatment of severe problem behavior. The study employed a multiple baseline design to teach three English pronouns. At the start of each trial the therapist contrived an MO and then used most-to-least verbal prompts to prompt the individual to emit the target pronoun. The participant mastered all three pronouns, which appropriately generalized during maintenance. This study demonstrates that the use of Functional Communication Training with a contrived MO procedure may also be used to teach pronoun use.
 
103. Teaching Complex Grammatical Structures to Individual With Autism Spectrum Disorder and Severe Speech Delays
Area: VRB; Domain: Applied Research
MICHAEL SCHEIB (University of Southern Maine), Erin Conley (Woodfords Family Services), Lindsay Payeur (Providence Service Corporation of Maine)
Abstract: Speech delays are one of the defining features of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Because many of the individuals with ASD have deficits in functional communication, the focus of teaching is usually on short 2-3 word phrases that are rarely grammatically correct (e.g., I want Ipad instead of I want the Ipad). While the teaching methods are appropriate and justifiable, the teaching of language does not usually go beyond these simple, grammatically incorrect sentences. This can lead to socially stigmatizing speech and the inability to ever fully command the English language. The current study evaluates a 5 year old male with little spontaneous language who was receiving in-home Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) services. The study focuses on teaching the participant the use of the conjunction and and the indefinite article the with Discrete Trial Training (DTT) methods (Lovas, 1987). The DTT sessions were all conducted within contrived tact training over many weeks. The tact training sessions added a visual placeholder for the words and and the. The words were taught in succession and once mastered with visual placeholders, the visual placeholder was removed to evaluate learning. Lovaas, O. I. (1987). Behavioral treatment and normal educational and intellectual functioning in young autistic children. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 55(1), 3-9. doi:10.1037/0022 006X.55.1.3
 
104. The Effects of a Conditioning Faces Procedure to Increase Observing Skills Among Individuals With Language Delays
Area: VRB; Domain: Applied Research
Matthew C. Howarth (Verbal Behavior Associates), CATHERINE E. POPE (Verbal Behavior Associates), Kerry Udo (Verbal Behavior Associates)
Abstract: A delayed pre and post probe design across participants was used to determine the effectiveness of a stimulus-stimulus pairing procedure for attending to the faces of adult speakers. Children ranging from ages 3-15 years old with language delays participated in the study. Pre-intervention probes for observing responses were conducted to determine if the individuals were able to attend to the face of the speaker during play, when the learner’s name was spoken, when another individual entered the room, and while at the table with the instructor and moving materials around. The independent variable for the study consisted of pairing positive reinforcement in the form of vocal praise, singing songs, gentle touches, and/or edibles while the participant attended to the face of the adult speaker. Once all participants met criterion for the independent variable, participants were then post-probed to determine if there was an increase from pre-intervention probes. Results of the study support prior research that individuals with language delays can acquire observing responses through stimulus-stimulus pairing procedures.
 
105. The Effects of a Stimulus-Stimulus Pairing Procedure on the Acquisition of Conditioned Reinforcement for Attending to Faces in Children with Language and Developmental Delays
Area: VRB; Domain: Applied Research
Matthew C. Howarth (Verbal Behavior Associates), KERRY UDO (Verbal Behavior Associates), Catherine E. Pope (Verbal Behavior Associates)
Abstract: A delayed pre- and post-probe design across participants was utilized in this study to assess the effectiveness of a stimulus-stimulus pairing procedure on the acquisition of adult faces as conditioned reinforcers in four students diagnosed with language and developmental delays. The study was conducted in each participant’s home environment within a major metropolitan area. Participants were selected following the completion of pre-intervention probes, which indicated low levels of attending to the faces of speakers. The independent variable in this study was the delivery of a continuous stimulus-stimulus pairing procedure in the form of vocal praise, singing songs, edibles, tickling and gentle touch. The mastery criterion for the intervention was 240 seconds total attending during each 5 minute session. The dependent variable in this experiment was the total duration of appropriate attending to adult faces in seconds. The results for Participants A, B, C, and D are pending completion of the continuous stimulus-stimulus pairing procedure intervention.
 
 
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