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.


41st Annual Convention; San Antonio, TX; 2015

Event Details

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Symposium #73
Emergence of novel responses in teaching environments: Evaluations of teaching efficiency
Saturday, May 23, 2015
3:00 PM–4:50 PM
217A (CC)
Area: VRB/PRA; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Sarah J. Miller (Louisiana State University)
Discussant: Amanda Karsten (Western New England University)
Abstract: Efficiency in teaching is demonstrated by a decrease in the amount of instruction required to reach mastery, the emergence of untaught skills, increased amounts of learning over time, or a reduced cost to reach the same end result. Identifying efficient teaching procedures can likely decrease the amount of intervention necessary for each individual, thereby increasing access to services for more individuals. The current studies represent an evaluation of the teaching efficiency of various programming procedures for six different categories of verbal behavior: intraverbals, receptive identification, tacts, mands, textual responses, and transcriptive responses. Participants included children with Autism and typically-developing elementary school children. Results indicated either that the teaching methods utilized resulted in more rapid rates of mastery than other teaching methods or that the use of periodic probes identified when further teaching or prompting was no longer necessary. These findings can facilitate more efficient teaching procedures, and future research should continue to refine these methods.
Keyword(s): generalization, learning, teaching efficiency, verbal behavior
An Evaluation of the Emergence of Equivalence Relations Across Multiple Exemplars
STACY A. CLEVELAND (Marcus Autism Center), Sarah Dickman (Marcus Autism Center), Alice Alice Shillingsburg (Marcus Autism Center, Emory University School of Medicine)
Abstract: Strategies to promote the emergence of untrained verbal operants are of critical importance for learners with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). However, few procedures have been developed to program for and test for emergence of untrained skills. Additionally, few studies have addressed remediation strategies when emergence fails to occur. In the current study, sequential multiple-exemplar training was provided to two children with autism to assess for the emergence of untrained relations. Targets included RFFCs, TFFCs, Intraverbals, and reverse Intraverbals. These targets were grouped into sets of three and training and testing was conducted within and across these groups. Training was conducted for each target in the set according to the specific relation. Following training, all relations consistent with symmetry and equivalence were probed within the set. When mastery criteria were met through training or emergence within the set, all relations across all sets were probed. Emergence of untrained relations occurred for both participants suggesting that multiple exemplar training may facilitate derived relational responding.
Using Criterion-Level Probes to Evaluate Mastery when Teaching Intraverbal Conditional Discriminations to Children with Autism.
JENNIFER HAGGAR (University of North Texas), Einar T. Ingvarsson (University of North Texas), Emily Ferris (University of North Texas)
Abstract: Individuals with autism often have deficient intraverbal repertoires. Previous research has found success in using a blocked trials procedure to facilitate discrimination training (e.g., Saunders and Spradlin, 1990). A previous study (unpublished) from our laboratory extended this procedure to intraverbal training. The current study continued this line of research by exploring the outcomes of probing the criterion performance more frequently. Three children with autism, ages 7-13, participated. Eight question pairs were taught. One question was presented repeatedly until a specified number of consecutive correct responses occurred, then the other question was presented. Contingent on specific mastery criteria, the trial blocks were faded into smaller blocks until the questions were presented in quasi-random order. Between each step, a criterion probe was conducted to determine if further steps were necessary. The procedure has been successful for two of the three participants. Criterion probe performance showed that not all teaching steps were needed for each discrimination target. The procedure may have facilitated acquisition over time, because the number of trials to mastery generally decreased over successive targets. Overall interobserver agreement was 99% and treatment integrity 98-99%.
The Effects of Stimulus Control Transfer, Prompting on the Emergence of Pure Mands
MICHELE R. TRAUB (University of Florida), Lindsay Mehrkam (University of Florida), Timothy R. Vollmer (University of Florida)
Abstract: Skinner (1957) suggested that mands and tacts are functionally independent verbal operants, in which acquiring one does not automatically result in acquisition of the other. Although several researchers have shown that mands and tacts are functionally independent (e.g., Lamarre & Holland, 1985), more recent research has demonstrated that mands may emerge following tact training. The extent to which stimulus control – both in terms of the presence of reinforcers in the direct environment as well as prompts delivered by a therapist – influence the emergence of mands without prior tact training has not been systematically examined. In the present study, we evaluated the effects of stimulus control transfer (leisure items present and absent) and prompting levels on the emergence of pure and impure mands in two children with autism. An A-B-A design was used to first evaluate the relative levels of independent manding in the presence and absence of leisure items (Figure 1). Prompt fading was used once maintenance of independent manding was observed. The number of cumulative novel, pure mands emitted during 1-min breaks was also measured during immediate prompt phases and phases with a delayed prompt and lag-2 schedule for novel mands (Fig. 2). Further research will examine the generalization of novel mands to other settings and stimuli.
Evaluating Teaching Efficiency in Reading and Spelling Instruction
SARAH J. MILLER (Louisiana State University), George H. Noell (Louisiana State University), Elise Baker (Louisiana State University), Catherine Lark (Louisiana State University)
Abstract: The current literature on spelling instruction has utilized a variety of spelling modalities but has never directly compared written versus oral spelling for their relative rates of acquisition by learners. There are empirical indications and theoretical reasoning that either method may be superior to the other. Thus, study 1 directly compared written and oral spelling instruction for their relative rates of spelling acquisition as well as the emergence of reading. The results indicated that written spelling was superior to oral spelling in rates of acquisition of both spelling and reading accuracy (Figures 1 and 2). Study 2 was designed to further evaluate the conditions under which generalization between spelling and reading occurs most rapidly. Study 2 compared conditions containing reading instruction alone, spelling instruction alone, and combined reading and spelling instruction. Instructional time remained constant across conditions, allowing the number of trials to vary. The results indicated that combining instruction in reading and spelling led to the most rapid rates of acquisition of spelling and reading accuracy (Figures 3 and 4). The results of both studies are discussed in the light of concepts such as stimulus control, generalization, and a three-term contingency for learning.



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