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.


48th Annual Convention; Boston, MA; 2022

Event Details

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Symposium #177
CE Offered: BACB
Using Instructive Feedback to Teach Verbal Operants to Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder
Sunday, May 29, 2022
8:00 AM–8:50 AM
Meeting Level 2; Room 255
Area: AUT/VRB; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Samantha Bergmann (University of North Texas )
CE Instructor: Samantha Bergmann, Ph.D.

Autistic children/children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) often benefit from behavior-analytic interventions to teach verbal operants. Incorporating instructive feedback, which involves embedding additional targets, can increase the number of targets learned within teaching sessions. The instructive feedback targets, often referred to as secondary targets, are included in the antecedent or consequence portion of a primary target’s learning trial. Although the learner is exposed to the secondary target, there is no response requirement nor reinforcement of responding in the presence of the secondary targets. Acquisition of secondary targets is assessed in probes. This symposium includes three presentations that utilized instructive feedback with children with ASD. Aram et al. embedded secondary targets of play statements within discrete-trial instruction and assessed whether learners emitted play statements in a play context. Laddaga-Gavidia et al. embedded secondary targets of tacts of stimulus features and assessed whether secondary targets were acquired and if intraverbals emerged. Campbell et al. used a digital platform to deliver intervention with instructive feedback and assessed acquisition of primary and secondary targets. Descriptions of the studies and implications of the results will be included.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): emergence, generalization, instructive feedback, verbal behavior
Target Audience:

Intermediate: some familiarity with verbal behavior

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) describe how instructive feedback is arranged and incorporated in instruction, (2) identify whether instructive feedback led to acquisition, and (3) provide at least one example of instructive feedback used to teach verbal operants to children with ASD.

The Use of Instructive Feedback to Teach Play Responses to Children With Autism

LORI GAREEN ARAM (Alpine Learning Group), Janey Pulzello (Alpine Learning Group), Jaime DeQuinzio (Alpine Learning Group &The Chicago School of Professional Psychology ), Bridget A. Taylor (Alpine Learning Group)

We used an adapted alternating treatments design to determine the effects of embedding play statements as secondary targets into the primary instruction of tacts on the emergence of those play statements outside of tact instruction. We measured acquisition of tacts as primary targets and play statements as secondary targets presented in the consequence portion of discrete trial instruction. Data showed that Participant 1 learned both primary targets and secondary targets during discrete trial instruction with instructive feedback. Additionally, Participant 1 demonstrated those play statements outside of the discrete trial session during play session probes, replicating the results of Grow et al., (2017). Participant 2 did not learn the secondary targets and acquisition of primary targets was slow and required modifications. Results highlight the need for an individualized approach to incorporating secondary targets into play interactions.

Using Instructive Feedback to Promote Emergent Verbal Responses: A Replication
VALERIA LADDAGA GAVIDIA (University of North Texas; UNT Kristin Farmer Autism Center), Samantha Bergmann (University of North Texas ), Marla Baltazar (University of North Texas), Araceli Luna (University of North Texas), Haven Sierra Niland (University of North Texas), Marcus Daniel Strum (University of North Texas), Bonnie Yuen (University of North Texas), Karen A. Toussaint (University of North Texas)
Abstract: Previous studies have shown that instructive feedback (IF) is an effective and efficient procedure for increasing verbal behavior in children with developmental disabilities. Frampton and Shillingsburg (2020) incorporated IF within mastered listener-by-name trials with two children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Participants acquired the secondary targets and demonstrated emergent responding (i.e., listener-by-feature, tact-by-feature, intraverbal, and reverse intraverbal). The purpose of the current study was to replicate Frampton and Shillingsburg with two children with ASD. Therapists conducted a series of three sessions of mastered listener-by-name trials (e.g., “Show me otter,” and the participant selecting the picture of the otter) and provided IF statements for features of the target stimuli (e.g., “It lives in rivers.”). We evaluated acquisition of secondary targets and emergent responses using a concurrent multiple probe design across sets. We observed increased correct responding for secondary targets and emergent responses for the first set of stimuli with one participant and for all three sets with the second participant. Results suggest that related verbal operants emerge following IF, but the degree of emergence and repeated exposure to IF may vary across learners.
Instructive Feedback Applied Through a Digital Platform
VINCENT E. CAMPBELL (Utah State University), Thomas S. Higbee (Utah State University), Jessica Anna Osos (Utah State University), Lauren Cerisano (Utah State University ), Sara Nicole Jeppson (Utah State University)
Abstract: Language delays are commonly displayed by children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. Practitioners often apply intensive one-on-one, face-to-face instruction to facilitate the development of verbal behavior. However, the current pandemic has hindered typical methods for service delivery and caused practitioners to assess alternative approaches to facilitate a client's continued progress. In the current study, researchers implemented instructive feedback during learning trials (i.e., Discrete Trial Teaching) presented through a digital platform. Instructive feedback is a teaching approach that promotes the efficient acquisition of target behaviors by embedding models of untrained responses within typical instruction. For this study, researchers targeted the acquisition of verbal behavior for three children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. The results of this study suggest that instructive feedback provided through a digital platform (1) does not interfere with the acquisition of trained responses and (2) does not conclusively develop untrained responses.



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