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.


10th Annual Autism Conference; New Orleans, LA; 2016

Event Details

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Invited Paper Session #5
CE Offered: PSY/BACB

Assessing and Programming for Emergence of Verbal Behavior in Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder and Language Delays

Tuesday, January 19, 2016
1:30 PM–2:20 PM
The Celestin Ballroom
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
CE Instructor: Alice Shillingsburg, Ph.D.
Chair: Henry S. Roane (State University of New York Upstate Medical University)
ALICE SHILLINGSBURG (Marcus Autism Center, Emory University School of Medicine)
Dr. Shillingsburg received her Ph.D. in clinical psychology at Auburn University. She is currently an assistant professor in the division of Autism and Related Disorders in the Department of Pediatrics at Emory University and the Program Director of the Language and Learning Clinic at the Marcus Autism Center. Dr. Shillingsburg is a licensed psychologist and Board Certified Behavior Analyst at the Doctoral level. Her clinical expertise includes developing language and behavioral programming to address a variety of behavioral difficulties and communication deficits associated with developmental disabilities and autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Dr. Shillingsburg is associate editor and editorial board member of The Analysis of Verbal Behavior and former editorial board member of Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis. Her current research interests include theoretical and practical applications of verbal behavior and the assessment and treatment of language deficits particularly strategies to promote language acquisition in children with autism.

Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) often exhibit deficits in language development. While typically developing children demonstrate adult-like language production by age 5 (Luinge, Post, Wit, & Goorhuis-Brouwer, 2006), expressing abstract and hypothetical ideas across a variety of topics (Tager-Flusberg et al, 2009), children with ASD often have difficulty with more complex language that has not been directly taught. Further, 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), pointing to a deficit in generative language. Strategies to promote the emergence of untrained verbal operants are of critical importance for learners with ASD. However, few procedures have been developed to program and test for emergence of untrained skills. Additionally, few studies have addressed remediation strategies when emergence fails to occur. The current presentation will present several lines of research focused on assessing emergence of untaught verbal behavior during treatment as well as strategies to promote emergence and generative language. Specific interventions to promote emergence of listener and tact skills as well as intraverbals will be presented.




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