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

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Symposium #223
CE Offered: BACB
Advancing the Sophistication of ABA Programs for Children With Autism
Monday, May 30, 2016
10:00 AM–11:50 AM
Roosevelt, Hyatt Regency, Bronze East
Area: AUT/VRB; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Rebecca Barron (Southern Illinois University- Carbondale)
Discussant: Jonathan J. Tarbox (FirstSteps for Kids)
CE Instructor: Jacob H. Daar, M.S.

Traditional accounts of human language have focused on elementary and complex verbal operants discussed by Skinner as verbal behavior. Although this account has led to application in teaching fundamental language skills such as tacts and mands, the same empirical advances have not been shown for more sophisticated language skills that are pivotal in speaking with meaning and listening with understanding. Recently, a series of assessment and curricula have been developed in the Promoting the Emergence of Advanced Knowledge Relational Training System (PEAK) that incorporate contemporary advances in a behavior analytic understanding of language and cognition that may have applications in teaching these more advanced language skills. The present set of studies will compare the PEAK assessment to existing behavior analytic verbal behavior assessments and demonstrate how, by incorporating advances in Stimulus Equivalence theory and Relational Frame Theory, practitioners can teach complex language skills across sensory modalities. In so doing, PEAK provides a comprehensive curriculum that may have application in use with a greater range of participants, populations, and target verbal behavior skills.

Keyword(s): Autism, Equivalence, PEAK, RFT

Incorporating Taste, Touch, and Smell Into ABA Programs Using the PEAK-Equivalence Module

JACOB H. DAAR (Southern Illinois University), Jordan Belisle (Southern Illinois University), Caleb Stanley (Southern Illinois University), Ryan C. Speelman (Southern Illinois University), Kyle E Rowsey (Southern Illinois University Carbondale), Mark R. Dixon (Southern Illinois University)

Sensations such as taste, smell, and texture are important features of the stimuli we encounter on a daily basis. Much attention in the literature on language instruction has been focused on the development of receptive and expressive responding to visual and auditory stimuli, however, few studies have sought to address deficits in responding to non-audio/visual sensations such as those found in gustatory, olfactory, and tactile stimuli. Furthermore, applied investigation of instructional methods designed to promote emergent relations between the various sensory features of stimuli and the arbitrary language functions we, as the verbal community, attribute to them has been lacking. The current presentation will review the applied literature on gustatory, olfactory, and tactile discriminations, and will provide discussion on the importance of promoting derived relational responding between various sensory features of stimuli and the arbitrary language functions used to refer to such features. Data will be presented on several applications of equivalence-based instruction, derived from the PEAK-Equivalence Module, which sought to teach language skills across several sensory modalities. Emphasis will be placed on the necessary procedures required to promote derived relations between sensory modalities and on program modification for when learners require extra support.


Utilizing PEAK Relational Training System: Equivalence to Demonstrate Equivalence Based Learning in Children With Low Verbal Language Skills

Autumn N. McKeel (Aurora University), MONICA SMILEY (Aurora University)

The present study evaluated the effectiveness of the implementation of multiple exemplar training using PEAK Relational Training System: Equivalence Module (PEAK-E), and its effects on teaching complex verbal relations in four children diagnosed with autism and displayed very low vocal language skills. A multiple probe design was implemented using programs from PEAK Relational Training System: Equivalence Module. Reflexivity, symmetry, and/or equivalence were trained while teaching Equivalence: Metonymical Tacts and Equivalence: Symbolism, separately. During training for Metonymical Tacts, children were taught through a series of training trials to match a sample related word to a picture, that was not previously directly trained. During training for Equivalence: Symbolism, children were taught to match a sample second written trait to a related picture item following training that previously did not directly train the relation. The results suggest that the participants were able to demonstrate mastery of all the trained and the corresponding untrained relations. The data extend previous research by demonstrating the effectiveness of stimulus equivalence in reducing the number of skills that need to be directly taught while still achieving skill mastery, as well as providing support for PEAK-E as an effective technology for promoting the emergence of equivalence class formation in clinical settings.


Applications of Derived Relational Responding to Train New Skills Using the PEAK Relational Training System

KYLE E ROWSEY (Southern Illinois University Carbondale), Jordan Belisle (Southern Illinois University), Jacob H. Daar (Southern Illinois University), Mark R. Dixon (Southern Illinois University)

While the technology of derived relational responding (DRR) has existed within the behavior analytic toolbox for over 45 years, the translation of this technology to applied usage has yet to take hold in a meaningful manner. Though prior research suggests that the utilization of DRR methods to train skills to individuals both with and without disabilities represents an effective and efficient mode of teaching, practitioners continue to primarily utilize discrete trial training of each skill they wish to increase in their clients repertoires. The PEAK Relational Training System is an assessment and curriculum tool designed to incorporate both traditional applied behavior analytic techniques as well as contemporary techniques using DRR as part of its instructional curriculum. The current talk describes several outcome studies on the effectiveness of programs within the PEAK curriculum which were designed to utilize DRR to train novel skills to individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities. The results indicated that novel skills were acquired in each of the participants instructed with DRR techniques.

The Relationship Between the PEAK Direct Training Assessment and the VB-MAPP and ABLLs Assessments
BRIDGET MUNOZ (Autism Home Support Services), Jordan Belisle (Southern Illinois University), Caleb Stanley (Southern Illinois University), Kyle E Rowsey (Southern Illinois University Carbondale), Jacob H. Daar (Southern Illinois University), Mark R. Dixon (Southern Illinois University)
Abstract: The increasing prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder and its resulting delays have produced a significant, longstanding relevance for continued progressive measures towards a systematic approach to the treatment of deficient language repertoires. Current behavior analytic language assessments, such as the Assessment of Basic Language and Learning Skills-Revised (ABLLS-R) and Verbal Behavior Milestones Assessment and Placement Program (VB-MAPP), have demonstrated utility in providing relative measures of an individual’s language and learner repertoire. The Promoting the Emergence of Advanced Knowledge Relational Training System (PEAK) is an additional technology that serves as a means to assess and identify language skills that may be lacking from an individual’s repertoire. In order to advance the literature and, ultimately, support guided treatment decisions, a comparison was conducted. The purpose of the present investigation was to examine the treatment utility and produced measures of the ABBLS-R, VB-MAPP, and PEAK by evaluating the relationship of their assessment scores and identification of language repertoires in individuals with Autism.



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