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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.

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43rd Annual Convention; Denver, CO; 2017

Event Details

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Poster Session #254
Sunday, May 28, 2017
12:00 PM–3:00 PM
Convention Center, Exhibit Hall D
Chair: Einar T. Ingvarsson (University of North Texas)
120. The Relationship between Derived Relational Responding and the Functions of Challenging Behavior in Children with Autism
Area: VRB; Domain: Applied Research
JORDAN BELISLE (Southern Illinois University), Caleb Stanley (Southern Illinois University), Mark R. Dixon (Southern Illinois University)
Discussant: Andrew R. Kieta (University of North Texas)
Abstract: The study evaluated the relationship between participants’ abilities to derive mutually entailed relations across arbitrary stimuli and the function of their challenging behavior as indicated in the Questions About Behavior Function (QABF) indirect assessment. Derived relational responding was assessed using the Promoting the Emergence of Advanced Knowledge Equivalence Pre-Assessment (Dixon, 2015), and assessments were conducted across 47 individuals with autism or a related developmental disability. The results indicated that overall scores generated by the QABF were significantly lower for participants who could derive mutually entailed and/or combinatorially entailed relations, and that in a greater proportion of cases, the QABF failed to isolate a single behavior function for individuals who could derive either mutually entailed or combinatorially entailed relations. The ability to derive entailed relations was not predictive of any specific challenging behavior topography, and the results have implications for the assessment and subsequent treatment of individuals with autism who have begun to develop meaningful language.
121. A Comparison of the Relationships between Skinnerian Verbal Operants and Derived Relational Abilities as Predictors of Intelligence in Children with Autism
Area: VRB; Domain: Applied Research
LINDSEY ELLENBERGER (Southern Illinois University), Jordan Belisle (Southern Illinois University), Caleb Stanley (Southern Illinois University), Mark R. Dixon (Southern Illinois University)
Discussant: Andrew R. Kieta (University of North Texas)
Abstract: Assessing the verbal operant behavioral repertoire of individuals with autism is crucial due to the language and cognitive deficits experienced by this population, and the need for data-driven and individualized treatment. Although several assessments of verbal behavior are available to behavior analysts, few have demonstrated evidence of validity or reliability, and fewer still go beyond elementary forms of verbal operant behavior (e.g., tacts and mands) to complex higher-order relational verbal behavior (e.g., frames of comparison and hierarchy) as described in stimulus equivalence and Relational Frame Theory. The PEAK Relational Training System contains two pre-assessments (PEAK-E-PA, PEAK-T-PA) that are used provide a metric for evaluating participants abilities to respond relationally to stimuli in their environment cross-modally, and across each of the relational frame families. Because of the apparent correspondence between relational verbal operants and skills a) demonstrated by typically developing peers, and b) evaluated in contemporary assessments of intellectual functioning, there is a need to evaluate the validity of the PEAK pre-assessments in terms of these common measures. We will present data correlating the PEAK-E-PA and the PEAK-T-PA with common assessments of IQ (e.g., WISC-V, WPPSI-IV) with 40 children and adolescents with autism, and compare this relationship to data correlating common verbal behavior measures (VB-MAPP, PEAK-DT, PEAK-G) and IQ.
122. An Evaluation of Single Reversals and Transformation of Stimulus Function of Deictic 'Here-There' Relational Frames in Children with Autism
Area: VRB; Domain: Applied Research
BECKY BARRON (Southern Illinois University), Leah Verkuylen (Southern Illinois University), Dana Paliliunas (Southern Illinois University), Jordan Belisle (Southern Illinois University), Mark R. Dixon (Southern Illinois University)
Discussant: Andrew R. Kieta (University of North Texas)
Abstract: Deictic relations are a relational frame family that are the basis of perspective-taking. Teaching deictic relations for children with autism is beneficial because children with autism often lack perspective taking skills. The current study examines the Here-There and Then-Later frames within the family of deictic relations in a multiple baseline across skills. Two children with autism were taught to correctly respond to single-reversal deictic relations given a set of stimuli (set 1) and demonstrated the transfer of the skill to untrained stimuli (set 2). Participants were able to respond to mutually entailed relations within the reversal phase for both the trained set of stimuli and the generalization set. The participants were also able to demonstrate a transformation of stimulus function when asked to perform a novel task. These tasks included writing where the participants would rather be and responding to a Here-There reversal with those locations. Additionally, participants were able to draw real life events that occurred “then” and “later” and demonstrated reversals with those events. The programs used in the study were adapted from the PEAK Relational Training System: Transformation module (PEAK-T) to aid in clinical replication in future research. The results of the study support the utility of relational training for teaching basic perspective-taking skills to children with autism.
123. Establishing Generalization of Tactile Discriminations in Children with Autism using Augmentative Communication through the PEAK Curriculum
Area: VRB; Domain: Applied Research
MEGAN GALLIFORD (Southern Illinois University), Jordan Belisle (Southern Illinois University), Caleb Stanley (Southern Illinois University), Amani Alholail (Southern Illinois University), Mark R. Dixon (Southern Illinois University)
Discussant: Andrew R. Kieta (University of North Texas)
Abstract: Individuals with autism lack skills in concept formation, which requires both discrimination and generalization skills. The purpose of this study was to teach 2 children with developmental disabilities the concepts of hard, soft, wet, and dry using tactile and not visual stimuli. Participants were taught to tact the correct tactile description after touching the object. All tactile objects were placed in a stimulus box so that participants were unable to see the stimulus for that trial. Participants were asked, “What did you feel?” and were trained correct responses through discrete trial training. Novel stimuli were utilized as test probes in order to assess the generalization of the skills. Both participants acquired the skill through discrimination training and were able to demonstrate generalization to the novel stimuli sets. A two-week maintenance probe was conducted for both participants. Following maintenance, both participants were still able to discriminate the tactile objects and demonstrate generalization of the skill. The results of the study support the use of discrete trial training for teaching abstract stimulus properties such as tactile descriptions, as well as the production of generalized responding. One of the participants in the study used the PECS system for communication correct responding. The results of the study also support the use of augmentative communication systems for producing abstract tact extensions.
124. Arbitrary Comparative Relations and the Transformation of Stimulus Functions in Terms of Non-Arbitrary Comparative Properties in Individuals with Autism
Area: VRB; Domain: Applied Research
AYLA SCHMICK (Southern Illinois University), Jordan Belisle (Southern Illinois University), Caleb Stanley (Southern Illinois University), Amani Alholail (Southern Illinois University), Megan Galliford (Southern Illinois University), Mark R. Dixon (Southern Illinois University)
Discussant: Andrew R. Kieta (University of North Texas)
Abstract: Relational Frame Theory provides a behavioral account of language development that emphasizes non-arbitrary and arbitrary relations among stimuli. Of the applied literature surrounding derived stimulus relations, approximately 73% has evaluated developing coordinated relations; however, comparatively fewer studies have evaluated facilitating the development of other relational frame families. Facilitating the development of derived stimulus relations can have important benefits for individuals with deficits in their verbal repertoires. Two multiple-baseline studies were conducted to evaluate a set of procedures taken from the PEAK-Transformation curriculum for determining if two adolescents with autism could demonstrate a transformation of stimulus function from non-arbitrary stimulus properties to arbitrary stimuli following comparative relational training. The percentage of correct responses during both studies baseline were below chance level of responding, but with successive training the participants were able to demonstrate the directly trained r𝑏𝑖𝑔𝑔𝑒𝑟 and r𝑓𝑎𝑠𝑡𝑒𝑟 relations, as well as the combinatorially entailed r𝑠𝑚𝑎𝑙𝑙𝑒𝑟 and r𝑠𝑙𝑜𝑤𝑒𝑟 relations. Additionally, both participants were able to match the arbitrary stimuli with non-arbitrary stimulus properties following training. The implications of the procedures in application to individuals with autism are discussed.
125. Teaching Metonymical Tacts to Children with Autism Using the PEAK Curriculum
Area: VRB; Domain: Applied Research
CALEB STANLEY (Southern Illinois University), Jordan Belisle (Southern Illinois University), Ayla Schmick (Southern Illinois University), Mark R. Dixon (Southern Illinois University)
Discussant: Laura L. Grow (California State University, Fresno)
Abstract: Since Skinner’s analysis of verbal behavior, much literature has emerged with methods to teach many of the elementary verbal operants, however, limited research has been devoted to the complex verbal operants discussed in the latter chapters of Verbal Behavior. The metonymical tact, for example, is a complex verbal operant with lacking empirical support for procedures to establish such responses in individuals’ repertoires. Currently, only a single applied study on metonymical tacts exists, which leaves clinicians with no empirical foundation to make treatment and intervention decisions. The current set of studies aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of two sets of procedures, taken from the PEAK curriculum, to teach metonymical tacts to children with autism. Study 1 utilized discrete trial training to teach children with autism to respond with metonymical tacts for two sets of novel stimuli. In study 2, we evaluated the effectiveness of stimulus equivalence training procedures in producing emergent, untrained metonymical tacts to a set of stimuli. The results suggest that both procedures were effective in establishing metonymical tacts with all participants. The implications of the applied utility of metonymical tacts for children with autism is discussed.
126. Relational Frame Theory in Practice: Producing Generative Language in Applied Settings
Area: VRB; Domain: Applied Research
ANNELLE KIRSTEN (Fit Learning & National University of Ireland, Galway), Kimberly Nix Berens (Fit Learning: New York), Nicholas M. Berens (Fit Learning)
Discussant: Laura L. Grow (California State University, Fresno)
Abstract: Relational Frame Theory proposes that derived relational responding is at the core of complex human language and cognition (Hayes, 2001). RFT embraces the simple idea that deriving stimulus relations is operant behavior; that is, it can be trained (Hayes et al., 2001). Language protocols based on Relational Frame Theory (RFT) have taught learners to derive relational responses, allowing them to emit flexible, generative language (Stewart et al., 2013). For the last decade, Fit Learning has been designing and analyzing RFT-based language training protocols to address language deficits. This paper provides an overview of Fit Learnings RFT-based language protocols, and examines the effects on language acquisition and participants derived relational responses. Six participants with autism spectrum disorder were trained on relational frames of coordination, distinction, and hierarchy. Probe results show that for all participants novel, untrained language emerged once training was implemented; relational framing enabled participants to emit flexible, generative language.
127. Teaching English to Korean Translation Using Stimulus Equivalence Generating Procedures Delivered by Powerpoint
Area: VRB; Domain: Applied Research
EMMA CHOI (George Mason University), Gino Douglas Binkert (George Mason University), Rekha Sharma (George Mason University), Theodore A. Hoch (George Mason University)
Discussant: Laura L. Grow (California State University, Fresno)
Abstract: Previous research has demonstrated establishment of equivalence relations that have resulted in participants learning to name depicted objects in languages other than their native languages, despite their having never been directly taught to do so. This study demonstrates emergence of equivalence relations, to include intraverbal relations, such that participants not only learned to name depicted items in a non-native language (e.g., Korean), but also learned to sight read Korean words, and to say Korean equivalents of heard English words, and English equivalents of heard Korean words. We discuss implications for making equivalence generating technology available through commonly used computer programs, as well as generalization of conditional stimulus control through the procedures used.
128. Establishing Arabic Textual, Tact, and Listener Behavior Using Equivalence Generating Procedures Delivered by Powerpoint
Area: VRB; Domain: Applied Research
MEHREZ SENDI (George Mason University), Theodore A. Hoch (George Mason University), Rekha Sharma (George Mason University), Jonathan C. Redding (QBC, LLC)
Discussant: Laura L. Grow (California State University, Fresno)
Abstract: Previous research has demonstrated emergence of tact, textual, and listener repertoires using stimulus equivalence generating procedures. We extend this line of work demonstrating emergence of Arabic tact and textual repertoires in non-Arabic speakers. A matching to sample procedure delivered through Microsoft Powerpoint macros established two listener repertoires. Examination pretest and posttest data indicate emergence of tact (e.g., see picture, say tact in Arabic) and Arabic tact repertoires. We discuss increasing accessibility to equivalence generating procedures by using commonly available computer programs, as well as generalization of conditional stimulus control.
129. On Skinner's Definition of Verbal Behavior
Area: VRB; Domain: Theory
CHELSEA R. FLECK (Western New England University and New England Center for Children), Jason C. Bourret (New England Center for Children)
Discussant: Laura L. Grow (California State University, Fresno)
Abstract: In 1957, Skinner described a functional definition of verbal responding in the publication of Verbal Behavior. While the definition began simply as behavior maintained by reinforcement mediated through other persons, throughout the book, Skinner further refines the definition by excluding some response classes maintained by socially mediated reinforcers for which a “verbal” specification would be inappropriate and including response classes maintained by the listener responding they occasion in the speaker herself. An emphasis on listener responding emerged, and the specific conditioning of listener responses by the verbal community became the forefront of what is unique about verbal behavior and its effect on others. In the present conceptual analysis, we attempt to (a) propose a simplistic and parsimonious, yet comprehensive, definition of verbal behavior, (b) functionally define listener responding as a subject matter to be studied in its own right, (c) and argue for the consideration of elicited emotional responses to verbal stimuli as uniquely important responses.
130. Establishing Books as Conditioned Reinforcers to Increase Reading Engagement for Secondary Students with Reading Delays
Area: VRB; Domain: Service Delivery
MARGARET UWAYO (Western Michigan University), Denise Ross (Western Michigan University )
Discussant: Laura L. Grow (California State University, Fresno)
Abstract: The current study tested the effects of establishing reading as a conditioned reinforcer for a middle school student with a reading delay. The participant was a sixth grade student who read at a fourth-grade level and for whom book selection did not function as a reinforcer during free read periods or as the consequence for an acquisition task. The dependent variables were the percentage of correct responses to reading comprehension tests and the number of intervals during which the participant selected and observed a book. A multiple probe design was used to observe changes in the dependent variables. Results showed that book conditioning with teacher attention was effective in increasing participant?s engagement with books to mastery criterion.
131. Reducing Stereotypical Behavior in Children With Autism Using a Self-Monitoring System
Area: VRB; Domain: Applied Research
KERRY UDO (Verbal Behavior Associates), Jana Goldberg (Verbal Behavior Associates), Matthew C. Howarth (Verbal Behavior Associates)
Discussant: Laura L. Grow (California State University, Fresno)
Abstract: To extend previous research, a delayed AB design across participants was utilized in this study to assess the effectiveness of the Self & Match intervention in reducing physical and vocal stereotypy and increasing self-management skills. The study was conducted in each participant's home environment within a major metropolitan area. Participants were selected after pre-intervention baseline measures indicated high rates of stereotypy and other maladaptive behaviors. Baseline measures included assessing the percent of accuracy in which participants were able to tact their own behavior during specified time intervals. Furthermore, participants were all assessed for and were found to have the Naming capability in repertoire. The dependent variable in this experiment was the frequency of stereotypical and other maladaptive behaviors. The independent variable in this study was the Self & Match intervention, a derivative of the differential reinforcement of other behavior procedure, which requires clients to respond to a series of individualized survey questions and compare Parent and/or Therapist responses. Each participant monitored an individualized set of behaviors that were incompatible with their targeted behavior selected for reduction.



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