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 #468
CE Offered: BACB
Procedures for Evaluating and Facilitating Generalization During Verbal Behavior Training
Tuesday, May 29, 2012
10:30 AM–11:50 AM
LL03 (TCC)
Area: VRB/AUT; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Caitlin H. Delfs (Marcus Autism Center)
Discussant: Einar T. Ingvarsson (University of North Texas)
CE Instructor: Caitlin H. Delfs, Ph.D.
Abstract: In Stokes and Baer’s seminal 1977 article An Implicit Technology of Generalization, the authors highlight the importance of programming for generalization. In teaching verbal behavior, the identification and implementation of strategies to promote generalization both within and across verbal operants may result in more efficient teaching. Therefore, the investigation of procedures that promote generalized behavior change and result in more efficient teaching methods is needed. This symposium presents data from three studies which investigated such procedures. Valentino, Conine, Holcombe, & Rogers evaluated the degree to which a backwards chaining procedure to teach children with autism to recall short stories resulted in generalized improvements in story recall and reading comprehension. Delfs, Conine, Shillingsburg, & Adams utilized a parallel treatments design to evaluate the occurrence of generalization between receptive and tact modalities. Finally, Delfs & Conine examined whether targets could be acquired during small group instruction through explicit teaching, incidental information, observational learning, and observation of incidental information. Results are presented in terms of implications for clinicians and educators who are involved in teaching verbal behavior to students with language delays.
Keyword(s): Efficiency, Generalization, Verbal Operants

Teaching Intraverbal Storytelling Behavior Using Textual Prompts and Backward Chaining

DANIEL CONINE (Marcus Autism Center), Amber L. Valentino (Marcus Autism Center), Jade Holcombe (Marcus Autism Center), Amanda Rogers (Marcus Autism Center)

Recalling a story is an advanced intraverbal skill that many typically developing children may be called upon to do (e.g., tell me the story about the three little pigs or paraphrase the book you read last week). Children with autism may struggle with the acquisition of intraverbal behavior of this complexity and thus may require specific teaching techniques. Studies have shown textual prompts (Finkel & Williams, 2001) and tact prompts (Goldsmith, LeBlanc, & Sautter, 2007) to be effective in teaching intraverbal behavior to individuals with autism. However, complex intraverbal skills such as recalling stories may prove difficult to teach using basic tact and textual prompts. The current study aimed to determine the effectiveness of text prompts and backward chaining on intraverbal story telling behavior, and to assess generalization of behavior change to the recall of novel stories. Participants included two children, ages seven and four, both diagnosed with autism. Results demonstrated an increase in storytelling behavior under treatment conditions and a generalized increase in recall of stories read but not specifically targeted in treatment. Responses to basic reading comprehension questions were assessed with one participant, and results indicated an increase in correct responses following implementation of treatment.\

Evaluating Generalization and Efficient Teaching Sequences for Receptive Identification and Tacting
MEIGHAN ADAMS (Marcus Autism Center), Caitlin H. Delfs (Marcus Autism Center), M. Alice Shillingsburg (Marcus Autism Center), Daniel Conine (Marcus Autism Center)
Abstract: In a review of the existing literature, Goldstein (1993) noted the need to better understand the relationships that exist between language modalities in order to better facilitate learning across these modalities, which is important for efficient teaching. Most previous research on generalization across verbal operants has focused on the tact-mand relationship (e.g., Lamarre et al., 1985, Wallace et al., 2006) and to a lesser extent, tact-intraverbal (e.g., Goldsmith et al., 2006). The current study is an assessment of cross-modal generalization from receptive to expressive and the reverse, similar to that of Wynn and Smith (2003). The acquisition of receptive identification and tact targets, through either direct instruction or generalization, was evaluated in a modified parallel treatments design across language modalities. Participants included two children, ages fifteen and eight, diagnosed with autism. Current results indicate greater cross-modal generalization during tact treatment conditions, resulting in fewer trials to acquisition of both modalities when targets are taught in the tact modality first. Concurrently, data was collected on all response topographies to determine if additional responding moderates generalization. Implications for clinicians and educators, as well as areas of future research, are also included.
Efficient Strategies for Teaching Students with Autism: Observational Learning and Incidental
CAITLIN H. DELFS (Marcus Autism Center), Daniel Conine (Marcus Autism Center)
Abstract: Observational learning within the autism population has been a focus of research for over 30 years (Varni, Lovaas, Koegel, & Everett, 1979; Egel, Richman, & Koegel, 1981; Tryon & Kean, 1986). Previous research has shown that students diagnosed with developmental disabilities can acquire new skills through observation of peer learning (Schuster, Gast, & Wolery, 1988). One-on-one instruction is commonly recommended for children with autism; however, this instructional format does not provide opportunities for observational learning of peers. Another potentially efficient teaching strategy is the incorporation of incidental information into structured, empirically-supported teaching strategies, such as time delay prompting procedures. Incidental learning is the acquisition of nontarget information present in the instructional context, but for which there are no programmed contingencies to aid in acquisition (Stevenson, 1972). The current study examined whether tact language skills were acquired via four methods of instruction within a small group format: explicit teaching, observational learning, incidental teaching, and observation of incidental teaching. Participants include two children, ages five and nine, diagnosed with autism. Current results indicate varied rates of acquisition across participants and across the four teaching methods evaluated. Implications for clinicians and educators, as well as areas of future research, are also included.



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