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

Previous Page


Symposium #111
CE Offered: BACB
Advances in Verbal Behavior Research and Practice
Saturday, May 26, 2018
3:00 PM–4:50 PM
Manchester Grand Hyatt, Grand Hall B
Area: VRB/AUT; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Mary Halbur (University of Wisconsin Milwaukee)
Discussant: Judah B. Axe (Simmons College)
CE Instructor: Mary Halbur, M.S.

Children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder often have deficits in vocal verbal behavior. Therefore, developing verbal operants is frequently a goal within behavioral treatment, and identifying the most efficient and efficacious way to teach more complex repertoires is of crucial importance. The purpose of this symposium is to provide resources and information on recent advances in verbal behavior research. In the first paper, Pellegrino and Higbee used an interrupted-behavior chain to teach mands for information (i.e., "where"). The remaining papers in the symposium evaluated strategies to teach complex intraverbal responses. In the second paper, Smothermon, Lechago, and Jackson evaluated the effects of modifications to motivating operations and echoic prompts when teaching children to answer questions about private events (i.e., various states of deprivation). In the third paper, Van Den Elzen et al. compared within-stimulus prompts (e.g., elongation, emphasis) to teach compound intraverbal discriminations. In the final paper, Silberman et al. investigated the utility of multiple procedures (i.e., blocked-trials, differential observing responses) for teaching multiply controlled intraverbals. The discussant will describe the contributions of these studies to the extant literature on verbal behavior and suggest clinical implications and avenues for future research.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): Autism, Intraverbals, Mands, Motivating operations
Target Audience:

Researchers and Clinicians in Behavior Analysis

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) Discuss the role of contriving motivating operations when teaching mands/intraverbals; (2) Identify various procedural modifications that may assist with teaching complex verbal behavior; (3) Evaluate and summarize updates on recent advances in verbal behavior research and clinical implications for children with autism spectrum disorder.

The Effects of a Procedure to Generalize Manding "Where?" in Children With Autism

AZURE PELLEGRINO (Utah State University), Thomas S. Higbee (Utah State University), Katelin Hobson (Utah State University)

Manding for information is a skill often taught to children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) by contriving motivating operations such that the information functions as a reinforcer, although it does not always generalize to other appropriate situations (Lechago & Low, 2015). One way of contriving motivating operations to teach manding for information is using interrupted-behavior chain procedures. We used multiple exemplars of interrupted-behavior chains and objects within each chain to teach manding "where?" to two preschoolers with ASD, and tested for generalization to novel objects in novel chains, as well as novel objects with different instructional agents. Both participants learned to mand for information during training, which generalized to novel objects and novel chains for one participant, and to novel objects with different instructional agents for the other participant. Direct training led to manding for information to the situations in which generalized responding did not occur. Potential reasons to some form of context-specific responding and their relevance to clinical practice are discussed.


Teaching Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder to Talk About Private Events

STEPHANIE SMOTHERMON (Texana Center), Sarah A. Lechago (University of Houston-Clear Lake), Rachel Jackson (University of Houston-Clear Lake)

There is a dearth of research related to teaching individuals how to talk about private events. Learning to talk about private events affords multiple benefits to the social and physical health of an individual. A non-concurrent multiple baseline design across MOs and participants is employed to investigate the effects of MO manipulations and echoic prompts to answer yes/no questions about specific states of deprivation in children diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The three private events targeted are food deprivation, water-deprivation, and lack of stimulation. Echoic prompts are used to teach the responses to the questions. Offering choices of food, drink, and an activity via picture card selection after answering the questions is used to verify the presence of the putative relevant MO. Control conditions in the form of states of satiation are interspersed to ensure responding under the influence of the relevant MO. The results thus far demonstrate that the MO manipulations and echoic prompts are effective for teaching the participant to answer the yes/no questions correctly during EO conditions, and to select the appropriate picture card 100% of the time.

Comparing Within-Stimulus Prompts to Teach Intraverbal Conditional Discriminations of Function
GABRIELLA RACHAL VAN DEN ELZEN (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee), Tiffany Kodak (University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee), Samantha Bergmann (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee ), Sophie Knutson (University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee), Ella M Gorgan (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee), Miranda May Olsen (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee), Mike Harman (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee), Brittany Benitez (University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee)
Abstract: Intraverbal behavior is controlled by a verbal stimulus that lacks point-to-point correspondence (Skinner, 1957) and can range from simple to complex. Individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) may have difficulty acquiring complex intraverbal behavior, especially those that require a conditional discrimination (Axe, 2008). Responding to complex verbal stimuli requires the speaker to attend to multiple components of the stimulus. To increase the likelihood that the participants’ verbal behavior was controlled by relevant antecedent verbal stimuli, we evaluated the use of within-stimulus prompts (i.e., emphasis, elongation) to teach complex intraverbals which required conditional discrimination (e.g., “You drink [juice]” and “You drink from [cup]”) to two participants diagnosed with ASD. We used an adapted alternating treatments design to compare the efficacy and efficiency of elongated, emphasized, and unmodified prepositions within complex intraverbals. The emphasis condition was the most efficacious and efficient. Future research on how to maintain these discriminations in the natural (i.e., unmodified) environment is warranted.

Evaluation of a Blocked-Trials Procedure to Teach Multiply Controlled Intraverbals to Children With Autism

ASHLEY E. SILBERMAN (Caldwell University), April N. Kisamore (Caldwell University), Laura L. Grow (California State University, Fresno), Jason C. Vladescu (Caldwell University), Lauren Goodwyn (Caldwell University), Catherine Taylor-Santa (Caldwell University)

Multiply controlled intraverbals commonly occur in social interactions and are important for the acquisition of academic skills. Research on the effectiveness of strategies for teaching multiply controlled intraverbals to children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is limited. It has been suggested that multiply controlled intraverbals involve conditional or compound stimulus control. Procedures involving prompt delays have resulted in acquisition of multiply controlled intraverbals for some children with autism spectrum disorder. Blocked-trials procedures (BTP) have also been effective for teaching responses to auditory-visual and visual-visual stimuli involving conditional and compound stimulus control. The purpose of the present study was to extend the literature on teaching multiply controlled intraverbals by evaluating (a) the effects of a constant prompt delay on the acquisition of multiply controlled intraverbals by children with ASD, (b) a BTP on the acquisition of multiply controlled intraverbals if a prompt delay was not effective, (c) the addition of a differential observing response (DOR) if the BTP alone was not effective, (d) control by all relevant antecedent stimuli by constructing sets of stimuli with overlapping components, (e) effectiveness of these procedures on Wh-questions, and (f) maintenance of the multiply controlled intraverbals via two- and four-week probes.




Back to Top
Modifed by Eddie Soh