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.


42nd Annual Convention; Downtown Chicago, IL; 2016

Event Details

Previous Page


Symposium #178
CE Offered: BACB
Verbal Behavior Interventions With Older Adults
Monday, May 30, 2016
8:00 AM–8:50 AM
Michigan ABC, Hyatt Regency, Bronze East
Area: VRB/DEV; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Jonathan C. Baker (Western Michigan University)
Discussant: Mark L. Sundberg (Sundberg and Associates)
CE Instructor: Jonathan C. Baker, Ph.D.

The presence and impact of age-related language deficits have been acknowledged both the field within the field of behavior analysis (e.g., Gross, Fuqua, Merritt, 2013; Skinner, 1957; Sundberg 1991) as well as the broader field of gerontology (Cohen-Mansfield & Werner, 1997), though relatively little research has focused on remediation of those deficits. This dearth of intervention research is partly related to the notion that age-related language deficits are the result of biological processes, as well as the limited number of behavior analysts trained to work with older adults. However, there is growing support that environmental variables can and do play a role in language deficits among older adults. This talk symposium will include to empirical talks reviewing data from a studies aimed at the assessment and treatment of age-related language deficits among older adults.

Keyword(s): Aphasia, Dementia, Older Adult, Verbal Behavior

Transferring Stimulus Control in Teaching Mands to Older Adults With Dementia

TAYLOR SWEATT (University of Houston-Clear Lake), Sarah A. Lechago (University of Houston-Clear Lake)

Little is known about the functional deterioration of language in older adults with dementia and in particular, about the weakening of the mand repertoire. Skinner hypothesized that operants maintained by specific sources of reinforcement (i.e., the mand) might be less susceptible to deterioration, though it appears the opposite may be true (i.e., the mand is more susceptible to weakening and the most resilient operants are the echoic and textual) (Skinner, 1957; Gross, Fuqua, Mettitt, 2013). The current study employs a multiple-baseline across participants design to examine the effects of echoic and visual prompts, along with an interrupted-behavior chain procedure to teach mands to elders with dementia and aphasia, as well as a history of strokes. For one participant, visual and echoic prompts were faded completely and independent mands were emitted to the mastery criterion. Data will be collected on additional participants.


The Efficacy of Different Stimulus Fading Procedures to Teach Verbal Operants to an Older Adult With Aphasia

LILITH REUTER-YUILL (Western Michigan University), Hannah Ritchie (Southern Illinois University - Carbondale), Jonathan C. Baker (Western Michigan University)

Aphasia can severely impact an individual's ability to communicate. However, existing research on interventions is limited. The current study compared different stimulus fading procedures with an older adult diagnosed with aphasia. A multielement within a multiple baseline design across behaviors was used to measure the efficacy of each approach. Results showed that the time delay procedure was more efficient at fading prompts when teaching intraverbals.




Back to Top
Modifed by Eddie Soh