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.


43rd Annual Convention; Denver, CO; 2017

Event Details

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Symposium #188
Facilitating Communication in Individuals With Language Deficits Using Cross-Modal and Verbal Relational Training
Sunday, May 28, 2017
9:00 AM–9:50 AM
Convention Center Four Seasons Ballroom 2/3
Area: AUT/DDA; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Alysse A Cepeda (Southern Illinois University)
CE Instructor: Karl Gunnarsson, M.S.

Communicative delays are a challenge commonly experienced by individuals with disabilities that have deficits within their verbal repertoires. The increasing prevalence of individuals with disabilities has led to an increasing relevance for empirically based treatments designed to address deficient verbal repertories. Facilitating the development of complex verbal operants and the emergence of derived stimulus relations is a crucial consideration for this population that can produce significant gains toward a robust and sophisticated verbal repertoire. The present set of studies will discuss the application of procedures taken from the Promoting the Emergence of Advanced Knowledge (PEAK) curriculum to teach complex verbal operants to individuals with autism and traumatic brain injuries, two populations that frequently have delayed verbal repertories. The presenters will outline sets of procedures to teach abstraction of stimulus properties across sensory modalities using the Picture Exchange Communication System, as well as methods to promote the emergence of metonymical tacts of gustatory stimuli using stimulus equivalence in individuals with autism. In addition, the application of a set of procedures to teach complex verbal operants to individuals with traumatic brain injuries will be discussed.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): Cross-modal, PEAK, PECS, TBI

Abstraction of Tactile Properties by Individuals With Autism Using the Picture Exchange Communication System

CALEB STANLEY (Southern Illinois University), Jordan Belisle (Southern Illinois University), Amani Alholail (Southern Illinois University), Megan Galliford (Southern Illinois University), Mark R. Dixon (Southern Illinois University)

Gustatory, olfactory, and tactile properties are features of stimuli that are encountered on a daily basis. Much of the literature focuses on the development of responding to auditory and visual properties of stimuli, however, there is limited literature available on the development of responding to other sense modalities, such as taste, smell and touch. The present study evaluated the efficacy of a set of procedures described in the PEAK-Generalization curriculum for bringing tact extensions of abstracted tactile properties under stimulus control. A multiple baseline design across skills was implemented with two participants with disabilities, in which correctly tacting tactile properties of Wet/Dry and Hard/Soft stimuli was reinforced. Baseline accuracy for correct responses was below 50%, and all participants demonstrated mastery following training (5 consecutive trial blocks at 100%). Generalization probes of novel stimuli were conducted throughout the study, and both participants demonstrated generalization of stimulus control to novel stimuli with the same tactile properties. Mastery of trained and tested skills were maintained following a 2-week period. The results have implications for procedures that promote the abstraction of stimulus properties other than that of visual and auditory.


"Someone Call the Fire Department!": Evaluating the Establishment of Gustatory Equivalence Relations and Metonymical Tact Extensions in Children With Emotional Behavior Disorders

EMILY DZUGAN (Saint Louis University), Lindsey Freivogel (Saint Louis University), Alyssa N. Wilson (Saint Louis University), Tyler S Glassford (Saint Louis University), Sadie L. Lovett (Central Washington University)

Minimal research to date has explored the clinical utility of incorporating metonymical tact extentions into equivalence relations. The purpose of the current study was to extend previous research using the Promoting Emergence of Advanced Knowledge Relational Training System Equivalence Module (PEAK-E) to determine if stimulus equivalence with gustatory stimuli and metonymical tact extensions would emerge for three participants diagnosed with Emotional Behavior Disorder (EBD). A nonconcurrent multiple probe embedded within a multiple baseline across participant design was used. Participants were trained three, six-member stimulus classes (i.e., A-B, A-C, A-D, E-D, F-D) that included gustatory stimuli (A), images (B), spoken words (C), written words (D), metonymical tacts (E), and Greek letters (F) across flavor categories (sweet, sour, and spicy). Participant response selection and intraverbal vocal responses were collected across training and testing trials respectively. Two participants were tested on selection-based and intraverbal responses of novel metonymical tacts following training. During baseline probes, the mean percent of correct responding was 75%.Following training, all participants responded correctly on 90% of trials, and demonstrated acquisition of 25 untrained relations. Participants who completed testing for novel metonymical tacts did not demonstrate generalization of the tact extensions or an emergence of correct intraverbal responses.

Investigating the Utility of PEAK Relational Training System for Brain Injured Individuals
KARL GUNNARSSON (Southern Illinois University; Neurorestorative), Kristen Whiteford (Southern Illinois University), Ayla Schmick (Southern Illinois University), Kendra Hall (Southern Illinois University), Meghan Doherty (Southern Illinois University), Mark R. Dixon (Southern Illinois University)
Abstract: In the past few years there has been an increase in research studies on deficits in derived relational responding experienced by autistic individuals. The current experiments evaluated the feasibility of the PEAK to teach and establish complex verbal operants to individuals diagnosed with traumatic brain injury (TBI). Two experiments were conducted. In experiment 1 relationship between scores from the PEAK assessment, Ross Information Processing Assessment (RIPA-2), Glasgow Coma Scale scores, and pre-morbid education levels, and location of brain injury was analyzed. In experiment 2, a multiple baseline across three tasks within three participants was used to teach complex verbal operants. Results from experiment 1 identified significant relationships between PEAK and RIPA-2 scores and PEAK and number of years since injury. Results from experiment 2 demonstrated that complex verbal operants could be trained after a brain injury. Implications of these two experiments are that the PEAK relational training system shows preliminary feasibility with the TBI population. Limitations of the PEAK relational training system will be discussed as well as the utility of this system for rehabilitative purposes for the TBI population.



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