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.


49th Annual Convention; Denver, CO; 2023

Event Details

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Symposium #102
CE Offered: BACB
Investigating Instructional Practices to Support the Joining of Listener and Speaker Repertoires
Saturday, May 27, 2023
5:00 PM–5:50 PM
Convention Center Mile High Ballroom 3B
Area: VRB/DEV; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Dolleen-Day Keohane (Nicholls State University, Touchstone)
CE Instructor: Dolleen-Day Keohane, Ph.D.

In this symposium we present three papers designed in an effort to expand our current understanding of Verbal Behavior Development. We present research on the procedures utilized to test for the presence of target listener, speaker, and social learning cusps, and results of the tests indicated which learners required the implementation of verbal behavior protocols to establish those missing verbal developmental cusps. The Comprehensive Application of Behavior Analysis to Schooling (CABAS®) model established a system to train teachers and staff utilizing the CABAS® Ranks and was applied as the training matrix to ensure implementors acquired the necessary repertoires and competencies to carry out the procedures. Following the completion of the training, implementors ran protocols to induce cusps and results of those procedures are examined and further areas of research are suggested. Collectively, the three papers discuss the complexity of addressing verbal behavior deficits and emphasizes the need for continued analyses at all levels of an intervention.

Instruction Level: Basic
Target Audience:

Verbal Behavior, Developmental Behavior

Learning Objectives: 1. Demonstrate foundational understanding of verbal behavior development 2. Identify pre-requisite cusps to induce the joining of listener and speaker repertoires. 3. Identify effective procedures to train professionals to implement developmental protocols.

Verbal Behavior Analysis and the Development of Skills Necessary to Support the Joining of the Listener and Speaker Repertoires

DANICA SAVOIE (Touchstone Center), Tricia Clement (LaBAA), Dolleen-Day Keohane (Nicholls State University; Touchstone)

Verbal behavior is the basis of human learning (Greer & Ross, 2008). When verbal behavior does not develop as expected, additional interventions may be warranted. Years of research have provided a means to not only analyze verbal behavior but to also establish those missing in children through the implementation of verbal behavior and social developmental cusps and protocols. We investigated the research related to protocols used to induce new verbal cusps and capabilities, as a means to increase speaker and listener repertoires, support the necessary skills to further develop joining of listener and speaker repertoires, and thus facilitate growth in social development. This first study was conducted to determine whether children with autism or related developmental disabilities had certain listener, speaker, and social learning cusps in repertoire. Results of the initial tests were analyzed to identify the absences of critical missing cusps and capabilities needed to support the joining of listener and speaker repertoires.

The Effects of Verbal Developmental Protocols on the Joining of Listener and Speaker Repertoires
FRANCIS HWANG (Touchstone ABA), Tricia Clement (LaBAA), Jayven J. Encarnacion (Touchstone Applied Behavior Analysis; Thrive Center for Success), Grant Gautreaux (Nicholls State University)
Abstract: Behavior analysis has long demonstrated the need for effective procedures to remediate deficits related to social and communication repertoires due to the frequent the absence of a robust communication and social repertoire in children with autism and related developmental disabilities. This study investigates the effects of verbal developmental protocols on the joining of listener and speaker repertoires across children with an autism or related developmental diagnosis. Additional results of several protocols targeting social verbal behavior and social learning cusps are also evaluated. The goal of the research was to not only teach the necessary operants but to also determine if participants would contact reinforcement from environmental social contingences in that they would essentially “learn a reinforcer” (Greer, 2020).The use of listener, speaker, and social reinforcement protocols were used to increase responding across target operants and subsequent tests for the induction of social learning cusps. Results suggests further discussions concerning the source of reinforcement for the target cusps.
A Comprehensive Approach to Training Staff and the Effects on Learner Progress
JAYVEN J. ENCARNACION (Touchstone Applied Behavior Analysis; Thrive Center for Success), Jennifer Weber (Teachers College, Columbia University & Nicholls State University ), Dolleen-Day Keohane (Nicholls State University; Touchstone), Grant Gautreaux (Nicholls State University)
Abstract: The search for effective training and mentorship procedures to support staff in behavior analytic services is a critical area for continued research. We utilized strategic teaching procedures to train teachers, paraprofessionals, and clinicians to test for the presence of verbal behavior listener, speaker, and social developmental cusps and then implement verbal behavior protocols to induce those cusps that were identified as missing. The training procedures were implemented with professionals who taught children that demonstrated language delays in public schools and private clinical settings. The teaching procedures utilized the CABAS (Comprehensive Application of Behavior Analysis to Schooling) ranks which address three specific areas of expertise: acquisition of the scientific vocabulary, in-situ tactical applications, and progressive acquisition of rule-governed behavior. Following the training, the trainees demonstrated the skills to successfully identify the presence or absence of target cusps and implement listener, speaker and social reinforcement protocols to induce it with the children at their sites. N/A



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