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.


46th Annual Convention; Washington DC; 2020

Event Details

Previous Page


Symposium #574
CE Offered: BACB
Reasoning Skills: In the Clinic, Lab, Classroom, and Business Venture With Talk Aloud Problem Solving
Monday, May 25, 2020
3:00 PM–4:50 PM
Marriott Marquis, Level M4, Independence D
Area: EDC/OBM; Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: Joanne K. Robbins (Morningside Academy)
Discussant: Paul Thomas Andronis (Northern Michigan University)
CE Instructor: Paul Thomas Andronis, Ph.D.

TAPS (Talk Aloud Problem Solving) has evolved from Bloom’s critical observations of student thinking and reasoning skills at a top American university (1950) to Whimbey’s Cognitive Therapy (1970) that provided exercises to address the wide-ranging needs of students from elementary age to college preparation. Whimbey and Lochhead (1979) observed how great thinkers reasoned through their professional world and published a wide-range of exercises leading to graduate school success and notable medical school admission rates. Whether the “problem solver” is a scholar, a scientist, an artist, a writer, a child, a parent, or an entrepreneur, certain qualities are required to successfully tackle the problem solving environment. The repertoires have been named Problem Solver, Active Listener, and Observer (Robbins, 2011) and require talking aloud to reason through problems that otherwise may not have been solved. This process is akin to what Skinner (1969) described as an “inspection of reinforcement contingencies” such that behavior can be described that meets contingency requirements without direct contingency shaping or rules. This symposium shares recent modifications and new applications of TAPS instruction in a clinical setting, a behavior analysis research lab, teacher training sessions, and a business venture.

Instruction Level: Basic
Keyword(s): entrepreneur, Observational Learning, scientist-practitioner, TAPS autism
Target Audience:

Educators, entrepreneurs, those working with children with autism

From Pilot to Takeoff: Exploring a Talk Aloud Problem Solving Approach
LILLY ALEJANDRA FLORES-FIUMARA (Chicago School of Professional Psychology), Eric Carlson (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology ), Joanne K. Robbins (Morningside Academy)
Abstract: Many lessons are learned while navigating from behavior analyst to scientist-practitioner. The presenter will discuss the purpose, process, and utility of a conducting a pilot in the context of performing an empirical study on Learn to Reason with TAPS: A Talk Aloud Problem Solving Approach (Robbins, 2015) The program was run with two typically developing 3rd-grade students in an after school extracurricular program. The two repertoires, Problem Solver and Active Listener were taught using a scripted teacher program with student workbook and initially lead to children able to solve content-free logic problems. Analyzing and determining accuracy criteria as these repertoires developed was of particular value. The design of a pilot study will be reviewed and outline actionable steps for takeoff for future studies. In addition to those interested in TAPS, this talk hopes to inspire, and provide a framework for students and practicing behavior analysts to take flight and develop scientist-practitioner skills.

Teaching Problem Solving Skills to Children With Autism through Talk Aloud Problem Solving in One-On-One Settings

EMILY NORDLUND (South Sound Behavior Therapy ), Naomie Branson (South Sound Behavior Therapy)

Individuals require problem solving skills to navigate their environments. Academics, daily living skills, and social skills are just a few areas that require constant problem solving. Children with autism are taught verbal behavior skills specific to their deficits. The VBMAPP (Sundberg, 2014) and the ABLLS-R (Partington, 2010) are tools for assessing language skills in early learners and serve as curriculum guides for practitioners. Once learners progress beyond these assessments, complex language skills such as problem solving need to be assessed then systematically taught. The Early Behavioral Intervention curriculum (EBIC) (Degli Espinosa, 2011) measures the presence or absence of a variety of skills for advanced learners, such as problem solving, and may demonstrate if a learner needs explicit instruction in various content areas. Developed from problem solving pioneers, Talk Aloud Problem Solving (TAPS), is a program that promotes problem solving, analytical thinking, and reasoning skills. TAPS has been effective in teaching students in classroom settings (Robbins, 2011). Therefore, this presentation will discuss the procedures involved in assessing and systematically teaching problem solving to learners with autism diagnoses. Due to the nature of autism service delivery, some adaptations to the TAPS program were made to be applied in one-on-one settings.

Observe: The Training of TAPS Teachers
SEAN MICHAEL WILL (Florida Institute of Technology), Joanne K. Robbins (Morningside Academy)
Abstract: Before we can teach our learners how to reason, we need to become strong analytical thinkers ourselves. We need to be able to identify the qualities present and absent from a learner’s repertoire. This presentation will describe the role of the Observer required when teaching the TAPS (Talk Aloud Problem Solving) strategy. Various distinctions of observational learning as (Deguchi,1984; Greer, Dudek-Singer, Gautreaux, 2006) were analyzed to improve the instruction for teacher trainers. Observational skills that tact the qualities of the Problem Solver (PS) and Active Listener (AL) can be shaped with explicit instruction. One procedure employed is the use of Active Response Cards (Heward, 1994). A group response of an observation can demonstrate that participants can match the criteria set by the instructor. However, we know that group responses sometimes have “skaters” (Sudak et al, 2016), that is, a brief pause or hesitation occurs and a student imitates other members of the group. Whereas initially, imitation leads to correct responding, TAPS instruction, which occurs in phases, requires more complex observational learning. As TAPS phases change, the conditions are presented that expand the observational repertoire and require more complex forms of observational learning that lead to self-observation.

Case Study: Applying Talk Aloud Problem Solving With the Business Canvas Model

ELIZABETH A. LANG (Smart Spot Educational Services)

Are you thinking about starting a business in the field of ABA? The journey breathes excitement into your every cell and exhales all of your overwhelming thoughts for each moment you are planning this vision. Behavior Analysis has a tool for these novel situations and complex problems you will face, Talk Aloud Problem Solving (TAPS). Robbins’ (1996) instruction is based upon Bloom’s (1950) and Whimbey’s (1975) analyses of the covert behavior of problem solving. The component skills that expert problem solvers engage in to develop this systematic technology are made explicit. Learn about the steps to designing a business plan while integrating and leveraging TAPS. Specifically, the Business Canvas Model by Strategyzer serves as an excellent tool to break business planning into functional yet cohesive and comprehensive elements. At the same time, the steps of TAPS will be overlaid at each element of the Business Canvas Model to illustrate its power. My personal entrepreneurial experience will be used as your model while sharing tips of successful actions and lessons learned.




Back to Top
Modifed by Eddie Soh