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.


44th Annual Convention; San Diego, CA; 2018

Event Details

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Symposium #87
CE Offered: BACB
Applications of Matrix Training for Teaching Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder
Saturday, May 26, 2018
3:00 PM–3:50 PM
Manchester Grand Hyatt, Seaport Ballroom G
Area: AUT/VRB; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Corina Jimenez-Gomez (The Scott Center for Autism Treatment, Florida Institute of Technology)
CE Instructor: Corina Jimenez-Gomez, Ph.D.

Matrix training is a form of generative instruction that guides the manner in which teaching targets are selected. As a result of using this teaching approach, a subset of targets is directly taught and learned, while learning of other targets emerges without direct teaching, known as recombinative generalization. The studies presented in this symposium include a range of applications of matrix training to teach children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Jimenez-Gomez et al. present studies in which matrix training was employed to teach verbal operants and play skills to young children with ASD. The focus of these studies was to use matrix training to program for generalization within and across operant classes. Frampton et al. employed matrix training to teach color-shape tacts using known components. This work replicates and extends previous findings showing the usefulness of matrix training for teaching complex tact skills. Finally, Groskreutz et al. present a study of the application of matrix training to sociodramatic play behaviors and tacting objects and prepositions. They discuss the importance of understanding sources of stimulus control when considering expanding the learner's repertoire.

Instruction Level: Basic
Keyword(s): early intervention, matrix training, recombinative generalization, verbal operants
Target Audience:

RBTs, ABA Master's and PhD students, and BCBAs working with children with autism spectrum disorder

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) describe the use of matrix training in teaching children with ASD; (2) describe recombinative generalization; and (3) identify situations in which matrix training would be a useful teaching approach.

Matrix Training as an Early Intervention Tool for Expanding Verbal and Social Repertoires of Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder

CORINA JIMENEZ-GOMEZ (The Scott Center for Autism Treatment, Florida Institute of Technology), Sandhya Rajagopal (Florida Institute of Technology), Regina Nastri (Florida Institute of Technology), Jessebelle Pichardo (The Scott Center for Autism Treatment), Ivy M. Chong Crane (Florida Institute of Technology & The Scott Center for Autism Treatment)

Communication and play imitation deficits are common in children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Using generative instruction, such as matrix training, instructors teach a subset of skills and new skills emerge without direct teaching. Such an approach can result in a faster acquisition of functional skills in children with delays associated with ASD diagnosis. Matrix training has been used to teach preschool-aged children with ASD spelling, writing, receptive identification, and pretend play skills. We recently used matrix training as a generative instruction approach to expand the listener and tacting repertoires of toddlers with ASD (Exp. 1) and to obtain transfer across verbal operants (e.g., tacting to listener responding) and other operant classes (e.g., tacting to play; Exp. 2) in five-year-old boys with ASD. We will discuss the usefulness of matrix training as an instructional strategy for early intervention programming, specifically in the area of communication and play.


A Replication and Extension of Matrix Training to Teach Tacts to Children With Autism

GARET S. EDWARDS (Marcus Autism Center), Sarah Frampton (May Institute), Taylor Thompson (Marcus Autism Center), Brittany Lee Bartlett (Marcus Autism Center), Bethany Hansen (Marcus Autism Center), M. Alice Shillingsburg (May Institute)

Matrix training consists of pre-planning instruction by arranging components of desired skills across a minimum of two axes. The procedures are designed to promote efficiency in instruction and generally include assessment of untrained targets following intervention. The purpose of this study was to replicate and extend past research by incorporating an additional generalization matrix and targeting color-shape tacts with children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Matrix training was conducted with six males with ASD who were between the ages of 4 years 1 month and 5 years 4 months within a language clinic. Three matrices were developed for each participant (e.g., Matrix 1, Generalization Matrix 1, and Generalization Matrix 2) with known components (i.e., colors and shapes). Following baseline, diagonal training was conducted with Matrix 1 to teach participants to emit combined tacts (e.g., "red heart"). Results of post-tests were used to determine which, if any, remedial procedures were necessary. Results from all six participants indicated that mastery criteria were eventually met for Matrix 1. For five participants, mastery criteria were also eventually met with generalization matrices. Results replicate findings from prior studies and further demonstrate the utility of applying matrix training to complex tact skills.


Establishing Tact and Listener Responses Under the Control of Multiple Stimuli Using Matrix Training Procedures

NICOLE C GROSKREUTZ (University of Saint Joseph), Jessica Allen (University of Saint Joseph), Kathryn Falvey (University of Saint Joseph), Nicholas Cuff (University of Saint Joseph), Corina Jimenez-Gomez (The Scott Center for Autism Treatment, Florida Institute of Technology)

Matrix training procedures are an effective means of establishing various skills, including sociodramatic play and preliteracy listener responses, and tacts under control of multiple stimuli. When matrix training procedures are used, participants are systematically exposed to multiple pairings of stimuli, which come to exert stimulus control together in order for learners to produce correct responses. We are currently employing matrix training procedures to teach young children with autism to engage in sociodramatic play behaviors, and to teach elementary-aged children with autism to tact objects and prepositions (e.g., "The book is behind the box."). For one completed participant, matrix training procedures established sociodramatic play responses, which then generalized to unstructured play sessions, with novel toys, and a parent serving as play partner. In the matrix training literature, learned relations among stimuli are often discussed as either trained relations (i.e., those combinations of stimuli presented during training), or instances of recombinative generalization (i.e., responses to pairs of stimuli that were presented in training only as components of different combinations). We will discuss our results in consideration of the potential utility of clarifying the sources of stimulus control established through matrix training, to facilitate learners incorporating new information into previously acquired matrices.




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