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 #230
Establishment of Naming Skills in Preschool Children With Autism
Sunday, May 27, 2018
10:00 AM–10:50 AM
Manchester Grand Hyatt, Grand Hall B
Area: VRB/AUT; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Sigmund Eldevik (Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences)
Discussant: Anna I. Petursdottir (Texas Christian University)

Children without naming skills may have to learn new speaker and listener behavior through the direct reinforcement and/or corrections by other people. Naming allows children to learn these verbal functions from incidental experiences. Experiments trying to clarify the basic processes of how children acquire naming could both contribute to a greater understanding of determinants of language development, and to the development of effective procedures for use in applied settings. We present two research projects related to establishment of naming in preschool children with autism. The first paper reports using an operant discrimination procedure to condition social stimuli as reinforcers as intervention to acquire naming skills. Then, the operants included in naming were exposed for these consequences through singular exemplar instruction. The second paper reports the effects of a sufficient exemplar training procedure in establishing naming in three children. The results showed that training one exemplar at a time to mastery could be an effective procedure.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): Autism, Conditioned reinforcement, Naming, Sufficient exemplar
Establishment of Naming Through Conditioning of Reinforcers
HEIDI SKORGE OLAFF (Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences), Per Holth (Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences)
Abstract: Naming is a behavioral verbal cusp that involves the ability to learn new object-name relations from incidental experiences. Component naming skills comprise listener responses, echoics, and tacts. These skills are typically maintained by conditioned social reinforcers, such as smile, nods, acknowledgements, change of visual focus, and so on. Often, however, these social stimuli do not function as reinforcers for the behavior of children with autism. The purpose of the present study was to condition relevant social stimuli as reinforcers through operant discrimination training as the intervention to improve naming skills and, next to reinforce the operants included in naming with those conditioned reinforcers. The operant conditioning procedure of social reinforcers resulted in an increased frequency of responses upon which these stimuli were contingent. Through Singular Exemplar Training, using those conditioned social reinforcers, all participants acquired operants included in naming: Three of four preschool participants with autism demonstrated full naming after social stimuli were conditioned as reinforcers, whereas one participant showed only the listener part of naming. This study adds to the literature that shows the importance of establishing relevant social conditioned reinforcers to improve complex social behavior in children with autism, such as naming.

Effects of Sufficient Exemplar Training on Naming Skills in Children With Autism

ROY SALOMONSEN (University Hospital of North Norway), Sigmund Eldevik (Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences)

Naming is defined as a verbal capacity where a child will respond both as a listener and as a speaker after hearing and observing another person give name to a stimulus. A common way to teach naming is training sets of exemplars concurrently. The aim of the present study was to examine whether a sufficient exemplar procedure, training listener and speaker behavior for one item at a time, could result in naming. Naming probes were conducted prior to training of each untrained exemplars to see if generalization to new exemplars occurred. The probes consisted of the experimenter first tacting an item while the participants were observing, and then conducting listener and speaker probes to see if the participants could identify the item. Generalization probes were conducted to observe if generalization from training to other settings and people occurred. A non-concurrent multiple probe design was used to evaluate the effect of the intervention for three pre-school children with autism. Results showed that two out of three participants showed naming skills, and the third participant improved her performance. The results suggest that a sufficient exemplar training procedure is effective in establishing naming. Sufficient exemplar training seems especially suitable for monitoring generalization effects during intervention as it allows for a large degree of individualization.




Back to Top
Modifed by Eddie Soh