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.


45th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2019

Event Details

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Symposium #28
CE Offered: BACB
Teaching Complex Verbal Behavior to Individuals With Different Ability Levels
Saturday, May 25, 2019
10:00 AM–10:50 AM
Fairmont, Second Level, International Ballroom
Area: TBA/EDC; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Ashley Briggs Greer (The Faison School)
CE Instructor: Ashley Briggs Greer, Ph.D.

The papers in this symposium are about teaching complex verbal behavior to individuals with various ability levels. The first paper presents an instructional program aimed at teaching children with autism to understand metaphors. The second paper describes teaching children to mand for information via observational learning. The third paper involves teaching applied behavior analysis to non-ABA professionals.

Instruction Level: Basic
Target Audience:

ABA practitioners, graduate students, non-ABA professionals, academic researchers (applied researchers)


Teaching Children With Autism to Understand Metaphors

GABRIELLE T. LEE (Western University), Sheng Xu (Chongqing Normal University), Huiling Zou (Hainan Normal University), Lina Gilic (State University of New York at Old Westbury), Michelle Lee (Michigan State University)

The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of an instruction on the acquisition and generalization of metaphor understanding for children with autism spectrum disorder. Three students (two boys, one girl, 5 to 8 years old) participated in this study. A combination of a multiple probe design across two behaviors and three participants was used. The metaphors were categorized by topography: the metaphors involving physical features and the metaphors involving abstract properties. The instruction consisted of intraverbal training with picture prompts. The results indicated that the instruction was effective to establish the acquisition and generalization of metaphor understanding for the two students who completed the entire study. They also maintained the acquired metaphors up to 2 months following the completion of the instruction.

Teaching Preschoolers to Mand for Information
JEANNEMARIE SPECKMAN-KILROE (Fred S. Keller School), Lin Du (Teachers College Columbia University), R. Douglas Greer (Columbia University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences)
Abstract: The current research investigated whether students would emit mands for information as a function of observing of peers mand information (ask questions) about unfamiliar stimuli. We recruited preschool students with and without disabilities between the ages and 3 and 5 to participate in four different activities. These activities were designed to create opportunities for the students to mand information about unfamiliar pictures and objects. For students who did not emit mands for information, we use a multiple probe design across participants to test the effects of a Peer-Mediated Motivating Operation procedure (PMOP) on the emission of mands for information. In the first experiment, the participants observed the peers ask questions (e.g. What is that?”), receive information from the experimenter, and receive praise and tokens contingent on asking a question. The results show that PMOP increased the number of questions for participants outside of the training sessions in a return to baseline condition. In the second experiment, all conditions remained the same except that question asking only resulted in the inquired information. Results are discussed in terms of where the reinforcement exists for asking questions about unfamiliar things in one’s environment, and whether this truly measures the “need to know”.
Testing the Effectiveness of Teacher Training Lectures
LIN DU (Teachers College, Columbia University), Ginger Harms (Fred S. Keller School ), Susan Buttigieg (Manhattanville College)
Abstract: Fred S. Keller School is a behavior analytic EI program and preschool for children with and without developmental disabilities from 18 mon to 5 years old. At Keller school, we provided weekly professional training lecture series for our teachers, teacher assistants, and related service providers. The 30 plus lectures covered chapters in Applied Behavior Analysis textbooks (i.e., Cooper, Heron, & Heward, 2007; Greer, 2002; Greer & Ross, 2008) and verbal behavior developmental interventions (protocols) (i.e., auditory matching protocol, face conditioning protocol, voice conditioning protocol). The pre- and post-probes were presented in single-choice questions on Google form. The participants were asked to complete the questions on their smartphones or computers. Those who reached criterion in the first post-probe earned 10 bonus points that they could redeem for backup reinforcers (i.e., come to work late, leave work early, gift cards). We used a delayed pre- and post-intervention design across lecture series. The results so far were promising in that the weekly teacher training lectures improved teacher responses pertaining to behavior analysis.



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