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

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Symposium #40
CE Offered: BACB
Advancements in Emergent Responding Research for Children With Autism
Saturday, May 26, 2018
10:00 AM–11:50 AM
Manchester Grand Hyatt, Grand Hall B
Area: VRB/AUT; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Andresa De Souza (Marcus Autism Center, Emory University)
Discussant: David C. Palmer (Smith College)
CE Instructor: Andresa De Souza, Ph.D.

Understanding the conditions under which novel speaker and listener skills emerge without direct training is paramount for increasing efficiency of intervention programs for children with autism spectrum disorder. This symposium will explore procedures to promote the emergence of novel speaker (i.e., intraverbals) and listener (i.e., following instructions) responses in children with autism. First, Hanne Augland will present a study that evaluated the effects of listener training on the emergence of two types of intraverbal task. Next, Sarah Frampton will examine the effects of instructional feedback during listener training on the emergence of intraverbal relations. Third, Andresa DeSouza will present a study that demonstrated the emergence of multiply-controlled intraverbals after training on a sequence of prerequisite skills. The final presenter, Megan Vosters will discuss the effects of echoic rehearsals on the acquisition and emergence of completing action-object instructions. David Palmer will serve as discussant.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): emergent reponding, intraverbal, joint control, verbal behavior
Target Audience:

Graduate students in applied behavior analysis programs; practitioners working in early intervention settings; educators in special education and language delayed population.

Learning Objectives: - Attendees will be able to identify strategies to promote the emergence of intraverbal responses through listener training; - Attendees will be able to identify the prerequisite skills to promote acquisition and emergence of multiply-controlled intraverbals; - Attendees will be able to describe the role of joint control in the emergence of novel instruction following.

Establishment of Listener Behavior May Result in Emergent Intraverbal Behavior in Children With Developmental Delays

HANNE AUGLAND (Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences), Inger Karin Almas (Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences), Svein Eikeseth (Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences), Sigmund Eldevik (Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences)

This study examined the extent to which teaching listener behavior would facilitate the emergence of intraverbal responding in a preschool aged boy with autism. Two types of intraverbal classes were evaluated: Saying the correct category of targets (Study 1) and answering "when" questions (Study 2). We used a multiple-probe-design across three stimulus sets for Study 1 and a multiple-baseline design across three stimulus sets for Study 2. Before starting the study, the participant was able to tact all stimuli involved in the listener training. Listener training consisted of teaching the child to identify correct pictures in response to the same questions used to assess the emergence of intraverbal skills. That is, for category questions, an example of listener training was touching the picture of a hamburger in response to the question "What is food?" For "when" questions, an example of listener training consisted of touching the picture depicting night when asked "When do you go to bed?" Once listener behavior was established, we tested for transfer to intraverbal behavior. For both studies, the listener training resulted in some emergent intraverbal responding. The participant responded to criteria during intraverbal "when" questions but not during intraverbal category questions.

Promoting the Emergence of Untrained Intraverbals Using Instructive Feedback
SARAH FRAMPTON (Marcus Autism Center), M. Alice Shillingsburg (Marcus Autism Center; Emory School of Pediatric Medicine)
Abstract: Identifying procedures that lead to the emergence of untrained skills is a priority for clinicians serving individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The current study extended work by Shillingsburg, Frampton, Cleveland, and Cariveau (2017) by demonstrating the emergence of intraverbal relations following delivery of instructional feedback (IF). As in Shillingsburg et al. (2017), three sets of three classes of stimuli were developed for participants with ASD. The treatment, listener by name trials with IF related to the feature/function of the target stimulus, was provided for three sessions with set 1. Next, probes were conducted to assess emergence of untrained relations within set 1. If emergence of set 1 intraverbals was observed at mastery level, probes were conducted to evaluate relations across all sets (1–3). This process was repeated with the remaining sets. Results indicated that for both participants emergence of untrained intraverbal relations was observed following listener trials with IF alone. No additional relational training was required. These results highlight the possible efficiency of using a least restrictive procedure, such as IF, to produce untrained relations.

Facilitating the Emergence of Convergent Intraverbals in Children With Autism

ANDRESA DE SOUZA (Marcus Autism Center, Emory University), Wayne W. Fisher (University of Nebraska Medical Center's Munroe-Meyer Institute), Nicole M. Rodriguez (University of Nebraska Medical Center's Munroe-Meyer Institute)

Acquiring intraverbal relations under the control of multiple variables is critical to language, social, and academic development. Sundberg and Sundberg (2011) identified prerequisites that may engender the emergence of novel, multiply-controlled intraverbals. We used a multiple-probe design with both nonconcurrent (across participants) and concurrent (across sets of stimuli) components to evaluate the effects of training these prerequisite skills on the emergence of untrained intraverbals with four children with autism. Specifically, we taught participants to (a) tact multiple categories of stimuli (e.g., tact zebra as "mammal" and "from the desert"); (b) select stimuli when presented with category names (e.g., select zebra and gorilla upon hearing "Point to all mammals"); (c) provide exemplars belonging to categories (e.g., say "zebra and gorilla" after the instruction "Tell me some mammals"); and (d) select the target stimulus when presented with a instruction under multiple control (e.g., select zebra upon hearing "Point to the mammal from the savanna"). Participants showed the emergence of convergent intraverbals at mastery levels after they displayed mastery performance on all of the prerequisite skills identified by Sundberg and Sundberg. We will discuss these findings in terms of operant mechanisms that may facilitate the development of generative language.

Emergent Instruction Following via Joint Control
MEGAN E VOSTERS (University of Nebraska Medical Center's Munroe-Meyer Institute; University of Houston-Clear Lake), Kevin C. Luczynski (University of Nebraska Medical Center's Munroe-Meyer Institute)
Abstract: Teaching procedures that facilitate the emergence of novel responses allow for increased efficiency (Grow & Kodak, 2010), which is critical when providing early-intervention services to children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). We taught three children diagnosed with ASD, between 5 and 6 years old, to engage in echoic rehearsals (i.e., repeat the instruction aloud) over delays to simulate the time required when searching for objects in a room to complete an instruction. A multiple baseline across participants demonstrated experimental control over the effects of teaching echoic rehearsals on the acquisition and emergence of completing novel combinations of action-object instructions (e.g., “Take out book; Put the cup on the table”). Following teaching, we observed a high level of correct responding with novel instructions for all children. Next, an experimental analysis of the two sources of stimulus control facilitating joint control, the skills to rehearse the instructions and tact the objects, confirmed their necessity in producing correct instruction following. We then assessed generalization across setting and people, including the children’s caregivers. Implications for designing early intervention programming using a conceptual analysis of joint control is discussed.



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