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.


46th Annual Convention; Washington DC; 2020

Workshop Details

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Workshop #W62
CE Offered: BACB
Using Relational Frame Theory to Promote Generative Language
Friday, May 22, 2020
8:00 AM–3:00 PM
To Be Determined
Area: VRB/AUT; Domain: Service Delivery
CE Instructor: Siri Ming, Ph.D.
SIRI MING (VB3; Private Practice), IAN T. STEWART (National University of Ireland, Galway), JOHN D. MCELWEE (Private Practice; VB3)
Description: Relational Frame Theory (RFT) sees generalized derived relational responding—relational framing—as the core skill involved in human language, essential for flexible, fluent conversational skills and academic progress. Relational responding repertoires have been highly correlated with language and IQ measures, relational training programs have shown powerful effects on both academic skills and IQ, and a key domain for the application of RFT has recently been in teaching children with language and academic deficits. Our approach integrates theory and research on the assessment and training of derived relational responding skills with strategies developed by programs which follow a Skinnerian analysis of verbal behavior, including an emphasis on analyzing motivational variables, training mands, and conducting training in the natural environment. In this highly interactive workshop, we identify relational responding repertoires along with other critical behavioral cusps to teach towards an ultimate aim of establishing generative language, and present a powerful framework for approaching early intervention, based on RFT and informed by decades of research and practice. For participants who are using curricula based on an RFT approach already, we invite a deeper exploration of the underlying theory, and introduce a framework for problem-solving when lesson plans are not producing desired outcomes.
Learning Objectives: 1. Using an assessment and programming flowchart and case review template, describe the priorities for assessment and intervention for learners at early and more advanced skill levels with an emphasis on behavioral cusps for generative language. 2. Describe the defining features of relational frames, distinguishing between derived, generalized, and taught responses and between arbitrary and nonarbitrary relational responding. 3. Demonstrate how to assess and teach early derived relational responding skills in relations of coordination and how to use equivalence-based teaching to efficiently teach new content.  4. Demonstrate how to assess and teach nonarbitrary and arbitrary relational responding skills in relations of distinction. 5. Describe how to assess and teach early relational responding skills in a variety of patterns including opposition, comparison, spatial and temporal relations. 6. Distinguish between teaching categorization from an equivalence perspective and teaching hierarchical categorization; describe how to assess and teach class inclusion. 7. Describe the early foundational repertoires for developing a sense of “self” and perspective-taking.
Activities: The workshop combines lecture, video demonstration, small and large group discussion, and role play.
Audience: Behavior analysts charged with assessing and designing programming for teaching language in early intervention and early elementary level programs for children with autism.
Content Area: Methodology
Instruction Level: Intermediate



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