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

Previous Page


Symposium #33
CE Offered: BACB
Recent Advancements in Evaluating Teaching Procedures for Increasing Verbal Behavior
Saturday, May 26, 2012
1:00 PM–2:20 PM
101 (TCC)
Area: VRB; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Amy S. Polick (Florida State University at Panama City)
CE Instructor: Amy S. Polick, Ph.D.

Because language underlies most learning in the typical child and is a core deficit in children with autism, developing language skills is often a major goal of behavioral treatment (Sundberg & Michael, 2001). Additionally, research has shown that traditional operant behavioral procedures have been effective in enhancing language performance with children (Eikeseth, 2009). One behavioral approach to teaching language pays particular attention to targeting verbal operants for intervention, which upon acquisition, provide a foundation for building more advanced verbal behavior (Sundberg & Michael). The purpose of the symposium is to discuss recent advancements in evaluating teaching procedures for increasing verbal behavior of children with and without autism spectrum disorders. The first paper compared the effects of presenting the discriminative stimulus once versus re-presenting it when using least-to-most prompting to teach intraverbal behavior. The second study compared successive and simultaneous tact training on the emergence of listener skills. The third paper compared the efficiency of play-based learning and discrete-trial instruction on the acquisition of receptive discriminations. Finally, the fourth paper evaluated the effects of programmed treatment integrity errors on the acquisition of tacts and auditory-visual conditional discriminations during discrete trial instruction.

Keyword(s): Autism, Discrete-trial Instruction, Treatment Evaluations, Verbal Behavior

An Investigation of the Presentation of the Discriminative Stimulus When Using Least-to-Most Prompting to Teach Intraverbal Behavior

TIFFANY HUMPHREYS (Florida State University at Panama City), Amy S. Polick (Florida State University at Panama City), Laura Reisdorf (Florida State University at Panama City), Alison Parker Ivancic (Florida State University at Panama City), Jackie Thaxton (Florida State University at Panama City)

A common procedure used in skill acquisition with individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) is least-to-most prompting (MacDuff, Krantz, & McClannahan, 2001). While a common recommendation is to re-present the discriminative stimulus (SD) when providing prompts (Cooper, Herron, & Heward, 2007; Lovass, 2003), few studies have evaluated the effectiveness of this recommendation in teaching language to children with ASDs. Westand Billingsley (2005) evaluated the traditional (SD was repeated) vs. revised (SD given once) least-to-most prompting and found that both methods were successful in teaching a chained response. The purpose of the present study was to further assess the effects of re-presenting the SD when using least-to-most prompting to teach intraverbal behaviors to children with autism. Results showed no reliable and consistent benefit of re-presenting the SD. Out of 6 comparisons that produced acquisition, 33% produced faster learning with the SD repeat condition, 33% faster with the SD once condition, and 33% showed no difference between the two conditions. Follow-up data also showed no difference in strength of maintenance across conditions. The presentation will further discuss these data and the implications for implementing language intervention strategies with children diagnosed with ASDs.


The Effects of Successive and Simultaneous Tact Training on Listener Behavior

Daniela M. Ribeiro (Universidade Federal de Sao Carlos), KATHRYN LEE (California State University, Sacramento), Caio F. Miguel (California State University, Sacramento), Danielle LaFrance (B.E.S.T. Consulting, Inc.)

Besides being of theoretical interest, research on functional independence among speaker and listener behaviors could aid in the development of efficient procedures to teach verbal behavior to children with and without language delay. The current study compared two procedures to teach tacts, namely successive and simultaneous training using a multiple treatment design. During the successive tact training,1 set of 3 stimuli was taught with1 picture presented in each trial. During the simultaneous tact training, another set was trained with all3 pictures presented in each trial. Four typically developing children were exposed to both teaching conditions and sets were counterbalanced across participants. After training, listener relations' tests were conducted. Results show that the4 participants reached criterion in4 to8 sessions with each set. Corresponding listener relations emerged for both sets. In summary, there was no difference between the2 procedures in terms of trials to criterion, and emergence of untrained listener relations. Future studies should replicate the procedures with children with language delays to determine if differences during tact training and listener testing are observed


A Comparison of Structured versus Play-Based Interventions to Teach Receptive Discriminations to Children With Autism

KANEEN B. GEIGER (Auburn University), James E. Carr (Behavior Analyst Certification Board), Linda A. LeBlanc (Auburn University), Nicole M. Hanney (Auburn University), Amy S. Polick (Florida State University at Panama City), Megan Rae Heinicke (Auburn University)

Research has shown that discrete trial teaching (DTT), has been effective in teaching language to children with autism. Discrete trial teaching uses a highly structured, fast-paced, format with skills that are selected by the teacher are taught in a one-to-one situation at a desk or table. Play-based instruction (PBI) embeds DTT procedures in the context of a game, such that language skills are targeted in a more naturalistic, play-type environment. However, all of the other characteristics of DTT (e.g., fast-paced, targets selected by the teacher) are still in place during PBI. The purpose of this study was to compare the effectiveness of DTT to PBI. Additionally, measures were collected on affect to determine if PBI was perceived as "more fun" than DTT by the participants. Finally, a concurrent-chains evaluation of preference was used to determine which teaching procedure was more preferred. Two 4-year-old boys with autism, participated in this study. Receptive discriminations were taught in either DTT or PBI. Results showed that for both boys, PBI and DTT were equally effective. For one boy, the2 procedures produced similar affect and were equally preferred. For the other boy, PBI produced more positive affect and was more preferred.


An Evaluation of Programmed Treatment Integrity Errors During Discrete Trial Instruction

REGINA A. CARROLL (University of Nebraska Medical Center), Tiffany Kodak (University of Oregon), Wayne W. Fisher (University of Nebraska Medical Center)

In the present study, we evaluated the effects of programmed treatment integrity errors on skill acquisition, for children with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), during discrete trial instruction (DTI). In Study 1, we observed5 children with ASD during academic instructions in the school to identify teaching practices that may influence skill acquisition. The results of Study 1 showed that teachers working with children with ASD do not consistently implement all components of academic instruction with a high degree of integrity. In Study 2, we simultaneously manipulated the3 most common integrity errors observed in Study 1 during DTI. Specifically, we compared skill acquisition during a high-integrity condition and a low-integrity condition, with3 programmed integrity errors, for5 children with an ASD. All participants in Study 2 showed either delayed acquisition or did not acquire target stimuli when DTI was implemented with low integrity. In Study 3, we evaluated the extent to which one or more specific integrity errors influenced skill acquisition for2 participants from Study 2. We will describe important areas of feature research related to teaching children with an ASD in an academic setting.




Back to Top
Modifed by Eddie Soh