Abstract: Decades of research in applied behavior analysis have produced a well-established technology for teaching basic verbal skills to individuals with autism spectrum disorders. Behavior analysts often struggle with the development of instructional protocols for teaching more sophisticated verbal and cognitive skills, however. Research in the area of relational responding has inspired such protocols in recent years, such that a technology for programming for complex repertoires of generative responding is now available. This symposium will feature four prominent researchers in the areas of verbal behavior and Relational Frame Theory who will describe their ongoing research programs on complex language and cognition in individuals with autism spectrum disorder. R. Douglas Greer of the CABAS Schools will discuss the relationship between verbal and social behavior, describing specifically the role of a hierarchy of acquired reinforcers. Dr. Mark Dixon of Southern Illinois University will present research on the assessment of relational learning deficiencies in children with autism spectrum disorder and the use of standard treatment protocols for the remediation of those deficits. Ian Stewart of the National University of Ireland, Galway will discuss his research on the assessment and treatment of derived relational responding deficits as a means of promoting adaptive behavior and generative responding. Jonathan Tarbox of First Steps for Kids will share his research on the assessment and treatment of executive functioning skills, with a special focus on problem solving and flexibility.
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