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

Event Details

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Symposium #75
CE Offered: BACB
Assessing and Teaching Verbal Behavior in Children with Developmental Disabilities
Saturday, May 24, 2008
3:30 PM–4:50 PM
Stevens 4
Area: VRB/DDA; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Gracie Allen Beavers (Florida Institute of Technology)
Discussant: Ernest A. Vargas (B. F. Skinner Foundation)
CE Instructor: Matthew P. Normand, Ph.D.

The papers in this symposium will describe methods of assessing and teaching verbal operants to children with developmental disabilities.

A Functional Analysis of Non-Vocal Verbal Behavior of a Young Child with Autism.
GRACIE ALLEN BEAVERS (Florida Institute of Technology), Matthew P. Normand (University of the Pacific), Erica Severtson (Florida Institute of Technology)
Abstract: The functions of an American Sign Language response were experimentally evaluated with a young boy diagnosed with autism. A functional analysis procedure based on that reported by Lerman et al. (2005) was used to evaluate whether the target sign response would occur under mand, tact, mimetic, or control conditions. The target sign was observed most often in the mand and mimetic test conditions, very seldom in the tact test condition, and never in the control condition. These results support those reported by Lerman et al. and extend previous research by evaluating a non-vocal verbal response using a brief multielement arrangement with a single control condition. The implications for language assessment and suggestions for future research are discussed.
A Functional Analysis of Verbal Behavior in Children with Developmental Disabilities.
ERICA SEVERTSON (Florida Institute of Technology), Matthew P. Normand (University of the Pacific), Gracie Allen Beavers (Florida Institute of Technology)
Abstract: Two verbal operants (a mand and a tact) were taught to two young children with a developmental disability. The operants were taught systematically by providing a reinforcer contingent on correct responding. These operants were then assessed using a functional analysis similar to that of Lerman et al. (2005). Data yielded results affirming the validity of this assessment tool for identifying the function of language.
A Comparison of Tact and Echoic Prompts on the Acquisition of Intraverbal Behavior in Children Diagnosed with Autism.
CRYSTAL N. BOWEN (The Marcus Institute), Alice Shillingsburg (The Marcus Institute and Emory University School of Medicine)
Abstract: Children with autism often have significant communication delays. In fact, functional language does not develop for close to 50% of children with autism (Graziano, 2002). Although numerous studies have investigated acquisition of mand and tact repertoires, relatively little research has investigated intraverbal behavior (Sautter & LeBlanc, 2006). Intraverbal behavior may include answering “Wh” questions, filling in items in a list, or having a reciprocal conversation. Past studies have shown that tact (i.e., visual) prompts (Luciano, 1986; Miguel, Petursdottir, & Carr, 2005), textual prompts (Braam & Poling, 1983), and echoic prompts (Sundberg et al., 1990; Watkins et al., 1989) result in acquisition of intraverbal behavior. One study has directly compared teaching strategies to determine which is most effective for acquisition of intraverbal behavior (Finkel & Williams, 2001). The purpose of the present study was to demonstrate the effectiveness of tact prompts, echoic prompts, and a combination of the two for teaching intraverbal behavior to three children diagnosed with autism. A multiple baseline design across targets was used to demonstrate experimental control. A trials-to-criterion design was used to compare acquisition across prompt methods. Results were idiosyncratic and suggest the need to investigate effective prompt methods during intraverbal programming on an individual basis.



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