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

Workshop Details

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Workshop #W79
CE Offered: BACB
How to Teach "Learning How to Learn”: Curriculum Development in Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention
Friday, May 25, 2018
4:00 PM–7:00 PM
Manchester Grand Hyatt, Harbor Ballroom B
Area: AUT/EDC; Domain: Service Delivery
CE Instructor: Francesca Degli Espinosa, Ph.D.
Description: Following the publication of the Me book, the first textbook that outlined a behaviourally based instructional sequence for children with autism, numerous curriculum manuals have been published. Manuals have been invaluable in providing both parents and practitioners with sequences of objectives and behavioural procedures to establish verbal and nonverbal skills in children with autism. While some manuals have organised their objectives across traditional developmental areas, favouring a more structural approach to teach language skills, other have employed a functional approach to categorise language objectives. Regardless of their conceptual premise, all published manuals share common characteristics: they all provide a list of objectives that are operationally defined, for each objective they describe a prompt hierarchy, and a corresponding mastery criterion based on a number of specific responses to be demonstrated. In this presentation, I will attempt to illustrate a functional analysis of curriculum development and suggest an additional level of specificity in the design and implementation of behaviourally derived instructional sequences for children with autism. Firstly, I will suggest a way of organising skills based on whether they constitute a generalised operant class or cumulative/finite skills and how such classification necessarily induces a consideration of mastery criteria for each skill. Secondly, I will endeavour to demonstrate how when behavioural topographies are brought under the relevant sources of environmental control they lead to rapid and generalised learning, enabling the child to acquire novel responses with minimal teaching. This conceptual framework will be illustrated in relation to two pivotal skills that may lay the foundation for the development of multiply controlled generalised verbal behaviour: Simple and conditional discriminative learning and naming.
Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the workshop, participants will be able to: (1) discriminate between and identify generalised and cumulative skills; (2) describe the difference between simple and conditional discrimination; (3) describe the repertoires required for the emergence of tacting.
Activities: Lecture and video illustrations
Audience: Intermediate
Content Area: Practice
Instruction Level: Intermediate



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