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.


38th Annual Convention; Seattle, WA; 2012

Event Details

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Symposium #323
Effective Methods for Teaching Mands to Individuals With Autism
Monday, May 28, 2012
10:30 AM–11:50 AM
302 (TCC)
Area: AUT/VRB; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Melissa Nissen (University of Houston-Clear Lake)

The mand is critical for obtaining preferred items and getting needs met and as such, should be the initial verbal operant targeted when working with individuals with autism (Sundberg & Michael, 2001). Therefore, it behooves researchers to continue to investigate ways to refine mand training methodology. This symposium includes four studies that have systematically assessed procedures for training both mands and mands for information. In the first study, the investigators examined a method for replacing generalized mands with mands for specific items. In the second study, the investigators evaluated the effects of manipulating themotivating operationon tact to mand transfer after tact training. In the third study, the investigators evaluated the effects of multiple exemplar instruction in conjunction with extinction-induced variability to produce variability in mand production. In the fourth study, the investigators examined a method to teach mand-for-information frames, targeting two frames for the “How?” mand (“How do I _____?” and “How many _____?”).


An Explicit Technology to Teach Item-Specific Replacement Mands to Children With Developmental Delays

KELLY MCCARTHY (Carbone Clinic)

The development of verbal behavior is a crucial step in gaining access to a variety of preferred items and activities. Children with developmental delays sometimes initially learn what has been termed generalized mands (e.g., "more," pointing). These responses may lead to access when items are present, but are not specific enough to lead to access when items are not present. The current study extended previous research on replacing generalized mands by (a) conducting a response class analysis to determine the participant's current manding repertoire, (b) teaching item-specific mands in the form of vocal or sign language, (c) assessing manding when items were and were not accessible, and (d) programming for and assessing stimulus generalization. All participants learned at least six new item-specific mands that occurred under appropriate stimulus control.


Manipulating Motivating Operations to Facilitate Emergence of Mands

BARBARA JANINE DAVIS (University of Maryland, Baltimore County)

The form of a tact and mand may be identical; however, they involve separate functional relations, which can only be explained by separate controlling variables (Skinner, 1957). Research on functional independence of verbal operants has demonstrated inconsistent findings. One explanation may be that these studies may not have manipulated the motivating operation (MO) to facilitate the emergence of mands (Hall & Sundberg, 1987; Lamarre & Holland, 1985). The current study evaluated the effect of MO manipulations on tact to mand transfer following tact training. One individual, diagnosed with autism, participated. He followed simple instructions to imitate caregivers when asked, "What is this?" He did not independently request items. The participant was taught to tact preferred and low preferred leisure items, and acquisition of mands was tested under varying MO conditions. Results suggested that in a state of deprivation, transfer of stimulus control from discriminative to motivational conditions may occur in the absence of formalized mand training.


Assessing the Effects of Extinction and Antecedent Interventions on Mand Variability in Preschool Children With Autism

TYRA P. SELLERS (STE Consultants)

Language development and the ability to access reinforcement in young children with autism may be impeded by lack of behavioral variability in verbal behavior. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of simultaneously teaching multiple responses and extinction of repetition on producing varied verbal behavior in young children with autism. In particular, we examined the effects of these procedures on increasing the behavioral variability of mands used to request edibles in preschool children with autism. For all3 participants, neither increasing mand repertoires via teaching multiple responses, nor extinction of repetition, by themselves or in combination were effective at producing stable behavioral variability. However, antecedent strategies (presence of visual cues) were effective at producing varied manding for all3 participants.


Teaching Children With Autism Two Response Topographies for the "How?" Mand for Information

SARAH A. LECHAGO (University of Houston - Clear Lake)

The current study extends the mand-for-information literature by examining a method to teach mand-for-information frames, targeting2 frames for the "How?" mand ("How do I _____?" and "How many _____?"). Additionally, assessments were conducted to determine whether the mands for information generalized across motivating operations (MO) and response topographies. Two children with autism were taught to emit the mands for information using both frames ("How do I _____?" and "How many ____?") using one behavior chain, and generalization probes were conducted with the remaining behavior chains. Separate behavior chains were used to target the2 frames. Behavior chains the participants were unable to perform independently and that produced a desirable outcome for the participant (e.g., tornado water) were used to contrive the relevant MO. For both participants, there was generalization of the mands for information across MOs and response topographies.




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