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.


36th Annual Convention; San Antonio, TX; 2010

Workshop Details

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Workshop #W14
CE Offered: BACB
Practical Applications of Relational Frame Theory to Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention Programs: Training Generative Verbal Behavior
Friday, May 28, 2010
10:00 AM–5:00 PM
Bowie C (Grand Hyatt)
Area: AUT/VRB; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
CE Instructor: Ruth DeBar, Ph.D.
IAN T. STEWART (National University of Ireland, Galway), JOHN D. MCELWEE (Pennsylvania Verbal Behavior Project), SIRI MORRIS MING (VB3)
Description: Generative verbal behavior (GVB)—the ability to understand and produce novel verbal behavior in the absence of direct instruction—is key to the flexibility and complexity of language and should, therefore, be a core goal of any language training program. However, achieving GVB has been extremely difficult for many children with autism spectrum disorders. Relational frame theory (RFT), which conceptualizes generalized or derived relational responding as the core process underlying language and cognition, may constitute an important resource for the training of GVB when designing early intensive behavioral intervention (EIBI) instructional programs. This theoretical approach also allows an important expansion of Skinner's influential analysis of verbal behavior. This workshop will demonstrate how RFT concepts can be incorporated into EIBI programs with the design of instructional program sequences for early to advanced learners. This workshop will discuss RFT as a behavior analytic account of GVB, and provide demonstration and discussion of specific instructional programs and their sequencing to facilitate GVB, including analysis of the correspondence between Skinnerian verbal behavior programs (specifically those using the Verbal Behavior Milestones Assessment and Placement Program) and core RFT skills, and an introduction to the Training and Assessment of Relational Precursors and Abilities (TARPA)—a computer-based protocol for systematic assessment and training of relational framing skills.
Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the workshop, participants will be able to do the following: 1. identify the core concepts of RFT's approach to language; 2. describe the key theoretical concepts of mutual entailment, combinatorial entailment, and transformation of stimulus function; 3. use and develop instructional programs to teach higher order operants; 4. describe several areas of basic RFT research and the implications for EIBI instructional design; 5. assess students using the TARPA; 6. design instructional programs to teach nonarbitrary derived relational responding; 7. design instructional programs to teach derived verbal operants (e.g., derived naming); 8. design instructional programs to teach intermediate to advanced derived verbal operants (e.g., spatial, comparative, and hierarchical relations)
Activities: Activities will include didactic instruction and demonstration, whole group exercises and discussion, and role play practice. All presentation materials, references, and a copy of the TARPA will be provided electronically prior to the workshop for participants who have pre-registered, or at the workshop for on-site registrants.
Audience: This workshop is targeted to behavior analysts with expertise in verbal behavior and designing instructional sequences for children in EIBI programs. A basic familiarity with RFT is suggested, though not required, and prospective audience members may wish to review the material and RFT tutorial at
Content Area: Methodology
Instruction Level: Intermediate



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