Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis InternationalĀ® (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.


42nd Annual Convention; Downtown Chicago, IL; 2016

Event Details

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Symposium #454
CE Offered: BACB
Expanding Verbal Behavior to Promote Prosocial Skills
Tuesday, May 31, 2016
10:00 AM–11:50 AM
Michigan ABC, Hyatt Regency, Bronze East
Area: VRB/AUT; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Andrea Clements (Munroe-Meyer Institute, University of Nebraska Medical Center)
Discussant: Thomas S. Higbee (Utah State University)
CE Instructor: Andrea Clements, M.A.

Core features of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) include both language and social deficits. A wealth of research has been dedicated to the study and acquisition of early vocal language with children and adults on the autism spectrum (e.g., manding, tacting, simple intraverbals). Although increasing vocalizations makes it possible for those with ASD to communicate with others, further training is often needed to teach more nuanced uses of vocal behavior. The talks in this symposia seek to teach individuals with ASD and other developmental delays these more directed skills. The topics in this symposia span a variety of topics including manipulating establishing and abolishing operations to promote requesting social information and missing items from peers, responding to stimulus cues to promote sharing of a common preferred items, and delivering and accepting compliments. The instructional techniques used across the studies span a variety of strategies including discrete trial training and behavioral skills training.

Keyword(s): autism, manding, prosocial behavior, sharing

Increasing Turn-Taking Behavior in Children With Autism Using Discriminative Stimuli

AMI J. KAMINSKI (Munroe-Meyer Institute, University of Nebraska Medical Center), Wayne W. Fisher (Munroe-Meyer Institute, University of Nebraska Medical Center), Jessica Niemeier (Munroe-Meyer Institute, University of Nebraska Medical Center)

Children diagnosed with autism are less likely than their typically developing peers to engage in positive social behaviors such as turn taking (Shabani et al., 2002). The purpose of the current evaluation was to evaluate whether a multiple schedule could be used to promote appropriate turn-taking behavior. Participants included two dyads of siblings and two dyads of non-related peers who were identified as having poor turn taking skills. One set of siblings included a 6-year-old diagnosed with autism and his typically developing sister. The other set included 4-year-old twins both diagnosed with autism. Two dyads of peers included a 3-year-old, 4-year-old, 5-year-old, and 7-year-old all diagnosed with autism. During sessions, an auditory and visual stimulus in the form of a PowerPoint presentation played in the background to signal each child's turn with the highly preferred item. Following baseline, a progressive prompt delay was used to teach the children to attend to and appropriately respond to the stimuli presented in the PowerPoint presentation. Preliminary findings suggest that an auditory and visual stimulus can be used to increase appropriate turn-taking behavior. We are currently continuing to implement this protocol and collect data for four dyads of participants.


Teaching Children With Autism to Emit Mands for Social Information

ROBIN K. LANDA (Western New England University), Sarah Frampton (Marcus Autism Center), Sarah Wymer (Marcus Autism Center), Stacy Cleveland (Marcus Autism Center), Brittany Lee Bartlett (Marcus Autism Center), M. Alice Shillingsburg (Marcus Autism Center, Emory University School of Medicine)

Several studies illustrate the efficacy of contrived establishing operations (EOs) to teach the mands for information, What? Who? Where? Which? and How? (Raulston, et al., 2013). Asking others questions regarding personal information is considered an important social conversational skill. The current study taught children with autism to emit differentiated mands for social information under conditions in which a contrived EO or abolishing operation (AO) was present. Participants were presented with intraverbal questions related to a partners social information such as, Whats Sarahs favorite color? Questions to which the answer was known or unknown were assigned to the AO or EO condition, respectively, based on prior assessment results. Following baseline, therapists prompted participants to orient toward a conversational partner and ask the appropriate question during EO trials (e.g., Sarah, whats your favorite color?). Primary and secondary data collectors scored cumulative (study 1) or percentage of (study 2) trials with mands for information. Results were analyzed using a multiple baseline design. All participants emitted mands for social information and demonstrated use of acquired information by subsequently answering the intraverbal question. This study extends prior research by demonstrating a novel procedure to teach children to mand for others personal information.


Manipulation of Establishing Operations to Evoke Mands to Peers in a Small Group Format

CASSONDRA M GAYMAN (Marcus Autism Center), Kelly Schleismann (Marcus Autism Center), Jamie Cohen (Marcus Autism Center), M. Alice Shillingsburg (Marcus Autism Center, Emory University School of Medicine)

Due to deficits in social communication children with autism often struggle to develop functional language skills. Specifically, language and social interaction skills often require intensive intervention that typically includes the manipulation of motivating operations (Wallace, Iwata, & Hanley 2006; Shillingsburg, Bowen, Valentino, and Pierce 2014). In addition, once language skills are acquired generalization to novel people, specifically peers, has been demonstrated to be an additional barrier to social communication development (Pellecchia & Hineline 2007). Therefore, the purpose of this study is to addresses social communication deficits for three children with autism and one child with developmental delays. A non-concurrent multiple baseline across participants is utilized to teach participants to request for missing items from peers, when those items are required to complete a preferred activity. All participants demonstrate an increase in spontaneous requests to peers during the targeted activity. A manipulation of Establishing Operations (EO) is utilized in this study and further extends pervious EO manipulation literature. Implications for generalization across peers as well as activities will also be discussed.


Increasing Giving and Accepting Compliments With High-Functioning Individuals With Developmental Disabilities

ATALIE OLSEN (Briar Cliff University), Stephanie A. Hood (Briar Cliff University ), Jessi Corrick (Briar Cliff University), Francesca Randle (Briar Cliff University)

Black and Hazen (1990) suggested that social status is dependent on competent and cohesive social interactions. The purpose of the present study was to improve social interactions by increasing giving and accepting compliments with three high-functioning individuals with developmental disabilities. Selection of the skills was based on direct observation of the individuals social-skill deficits and caregiver preferences. Initial teaching consisted of behavioral skills training in a trial-based format with a textual prompt, followed by teaching in a session-based format in which textual prompts were provided following incorrect responses. We assessed the effects of our teaching on stimulus generalization of giving and accepting compliments, and treatment extension across unfamiliar adults. We obtained stakeholder responses on the social acceptability of the improvement in social skills. A multiple baseline design across participants was used to demonstrate experimental control. The teaching procedures were effective at increasing giving and accepting a variety of compliments, as well as maintenance, and generalization. The results provide initial support of an intervention for increasing a variety of compliments given and accepted during unscripted conversations.




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