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.


34th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2008

Workshop Details

Previous Page


Workshop #W21
CE Offered: BACB
Incorporating Relational Frame Theory into EIBI Programs for Facilitating Generative Verbal Behaviour.
Friday, May 23, 2008
10:00 AM–5:00 PM
Williford C
Area: TPC; Domain: Applied Research
CE Instructor: John D. McElwee, M.S.
JOHN D. MCELWEE (HASD), IAN T. STEWART (National University of Ireland, Galway)
Description: Early Intensive Behavior Intervention (EIBI) is evidence based effective treatment for children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). EIBI is characterized by the application of basic principles of behavior change and a detailed sequence of instructional programs for the training of students. The ultimate outcome for a student is inclusive education placement with no supports. A key element in the facilitation of this outcome is that students should be able to demonstrate generative verbal behavior (GVB). However, achieving GVB has been extremely difficult for a large number of youngsters with ASD. Relational Frame Theory (RFT) may constitute an important resource for the training of GVB for individuals designing EIBI instructional programs. RFT is a behavior analytic approach to human language and cognition that conceptualizes generalized or derived relational responding as the core process underlying these phenomena. This theoretical approach also incorporates an important expansion of Skinner's influential analysis of verbal behavior. The purpose of the workshop is to demonstrate how RFT concepts can be brought to bear in the design of instructional program sequences for early to advanced learners. The first part of the workshop will involve a brief demonstration of the core concept of GVB. This will be followed by a prcis of Relational Frame Theory as a behavior analytic account of this phenomenon. The workshop will explain and provide examples of generalized operants and the learning history needed for their development. The crucial distinction between non-arbitrary and arbitrary relations will be emphasized using examples from EIBI curricula. The defining characteristics of an established relational frame, namely, mutual entailment, combinatorial entailment and transformation of stimulus functions, will be explained. This section will conclude with a review of the variety of patterns of derived relational responding or relational framing from coordination to hierarchy. The second part of the workshop will introduce participants to the TARPA (Training and Assessment of Relational Precursors and Abilities). The TARPA is a computer-based protocol designed to enable the systematic assessment and training of relational framing skills. The TARPA consists of several stages as follows: (i) basic discrimination; (ii) non-arbitrary relational responding; (iii) arbitrary relational responding; (iv) mutual entailed relational responding; (v) combinatorial entailed relational responding; (vi) transformation of functions; (vii) flexible contextually controlled SAME / DIFFERENT relational responding; (viii) multiple relational framing. Attendees will be provided with guided practice in the use of the TARPA and will also receive individual copies of the protocol on computer disk. In addition to the demonstration of the TARPA, the second half of the workshop will also provide (i) discussion of specific instructional programs, their sequencing to facilitate GVB plus means of assessing relevant learning outcomes and (ii) an analysis of intermediate to advanced relational framing.
Learning Objectives: (1) Be able to understand the core concepts of Relational Frame Theory's approach to language (2) Be able to understand the key theoretical concepts of Mutual Entailment, Combinatorial Entailment and Transformation of Stimulus Function (3) Be able to identify and develop instructional programs to teach higher order operants (4) Be familiar with several areas of basic RFT research and the implications for EIBI instructional design (5) Be able to assess and train students using the TARPA (6) Be able to design instructional programs to teach non-arbitrary derived relational responding (7) Be able to design instructional programs to teach derived verbal operants (e.g., derived naming) (8) Be able to design instructional programs to teach intermediate to advanced derived verbal operants (e.g., spatial, comparative and hierarchical relations)
Activities: -Didactic instruction -Audience participation exercises -Practice activities designing EIBI programs using the TARPA
Audience: The audience will be behavior analysts with expertise in the understanding of verbal behavior and designing instructional sequences for clients enrolled in EIBI. Prospective audience members are encouraged to bring their notebook computer as a download of the presentation and additional resources will be made available. Also, it is suggested for enrollees to consult the tutorial on RFT at the following URL:
Content Area: Practice
Instruction Level: Intermediate



Back to Top
Modifed by Eddie Soh