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.


48th Annual Convention; Boston, MA; 2022

Event Details

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Symposium #233
CE Offered: BACB
Promoting Perspective-Taking Through Deictic Relational Training in Children With Autism
Sunday, May 29, 2022
11:00 AM–11:50 AM
Meeting Level 2; Room 254A
Area: AUT/VRB; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Claire Zuch (Missouri State University)
Discussant: Caleb Stanley (Utah Valley University)
CE Instructor: Caleb Stanley, Ph.D.

Perspective taking and theory of mind deficits are part of the symptomatic representation of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and related disabilities. Relational Frame Theory (RFT, Hayes, Barnes-Holmes, & Roche, 2001) offers a contemporary model of simple and complex language and cognitive learning that could have immediate implications for work with children with ASD. Deictic relational responding is a relational framing process that is most closely linked to perspective taking and theory of mind where people learn to respond to contextual cues of ‘I and You,’ ‘Here and There,’ and ‘Now and Then.’ Research with ASD samples has established that these relational framing patterns in singular (e.g., I versus you), reversed (e.g., If I were you and you were me), and combined forms (e.g., I-here-now versus I-there-then, perspective of self across time) are impacted even when intelligence test scores are in the normative range. This symposium will provide an overview of clinical research showing that relational training can establish deictic relational framing patterns with implications for teaching skills necessary for perspective taking and theory of mind. The first speaker will demonstrate the acquisition of I-You relations in young children with ASD. The second speaker will demonstrate the acquisition of multiple deictic relations within a single-case experimental design across deictic skills. Finally, the discussant will provide a topical overview of this work along with implications for our field and how we approach training if complex human behavior in ABA therapeutic and educational applications.

Instruction Level: Basic
Keyword(s): Autism, Perspective taking, Relational framing, ToM
Target Audience:

Behavior analysts, students, and faculty

Learning Objectives: (1) describe the role of deictic relating in perspective taking; (2) discuss the PEAK relational training system; (3) describe deictic relating within the broader experience of empathy
Establishing Perspective-Taking Skills in Young Children with Autism Using the PEAK-T Curriculum Simple “I-You” Relations
XIAOHAN CHEN (Emergent Learning Clinic), Autumn N. McKeel (Emergent Learning Clinic)
Abstract: Perspective-taking skills are critical for successful social interactions and children with autism often have difficulties in this area. Due to the lack of understanding of other’s perspective, they may struggle with emphasizing with other people and separating appearance from reality. The purpose of this study is to teach beginning perspective-taking skills to young children with autism by using the PEAK-T curriculum simple “I-You” frames. Three participants aged between 4 and 6 are included. A multiple baseline design is used to evaluate their improvement on simple “I-You” relations. Preliminary data show that all of the participants had no perspective-taking skills in baseline and when introduced to intervention, they demonstrated a significant increase in scores. Furthermore, pre- and post-PCA (PEAK Comprehensive Assessment) are conducted as an extra measure of their gains on the perspective-taking skills. Implications of the findings and future research will be discussed.

CANCELED: Promoting the Emergence of Deictic Relational Responding in Children With Autism Using the PEAK Curriculum

SHELBY BLECHA (Missouri State University), Meredith Matthews (Missouri State University), Jordan Belisle (Missouri State University), Lindsey Nicole Holtsman (Emergent Learning STL Center )

Deictic relational responding represents one of several relational frame families described within Relational Frame Theory and likely underlies the behavioral processes of perspective taking, theory of mind, and empathy. We evaluated the efficacy of weighted implementation of deictic programs taken from the PEAK Transformation module implemented across 2 individuals with autism in a multiple baseline across skills experimental design. Consistent with previous literature, results suggested that participants were able to master the directly trained, derived, and transformation relations across the multiple programs. Moreover, there appeared to be more rapid rates of acquisition in later programs within the multiple baseline design. In addition to targeting the programs, we evaluated changed in client empathy using the Empathy Questionnaire (EmQue), which consists of an 18 item self-report measure (Overgaauw et al., 2017). Inconsistent results were obtained in the empathy questionnaire, suggesting that additional programming may be needed to move beyond simple perspective taking to establishing evidence of increased empathetic responding in children with autism.




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