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.


40th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2014

Event Details

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Symposium #255
More on the Emergence of Language Learning Capabilities and how to Induce them in the Educational Settings
Sunday, May 25, 2014
3:00 PM–4:50 PM
W185d (McCormick Place Convention Center)
Area: VRB/AUT; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Nirvana Pistoljevic (CABAS and Teachers College, Columbia University)
Discussant: Grant Gautreaux (Nicholls State University)

We present brief updates of research programs in verbal behavior development across different CABAS; component programs and language environments across the world. The work in verbal development has identified verbal developmental cusps, and cusps that are also new learning capabilities, that when present, or instantiated, allow children to: a) accelerate their rates of learning, (b) learn new operants that they could not learn prior to the instantiation of these cusps, and (c) learn in new ways (e.g., observational learning and incidental language learning or Naming). Papers will focus on strategies for inducing listener skills and expanding complex communication in children, through the evidence-based protocols used in classrooms. We will talk about how to induce important verbal capabilities, such as Naming (Incidental Language Acquisition Skill, Vocabulary Explosion) and Observational Learning (acquisition of new operants without direct contingencies) and their effect on the success of our students in general education settings.

Keyword(s): naming, language

Effects of Conditioning Voices as Reinforcers for Listener Responses on Rate of Learning, Awareness, and Preferences for Listening to Stories in Children with Autism

NIRVANA PISTOLJEVIC (CABAS and Teachers College, Columbia University), Eldin Dzanko (EDUS-Education for All), Lejla Buturovic (Special Education Institute "Mjedenica")

We used a delayed multiple probe design to test the effects of a voice conditioning protocol (VCP) for 6 students with autism (ages 6 -11) on: (a) selecting to listen to adults tell stories in free play setting, (b) rate of learning of listener curricular objectives, (c) observing voices and the presence of adults across 3-settings, and (d) intervals of stereotypy while listening to recordings of voices. The VCP involved conditioning voices as reinforcers for listening via stimulus-stimulus paring until the children chose listening to audio recordings of voices (90% of 5s whole intervals in 5-min.). After the VCP, children accelerated their learning rate significantly; increased observing responses in the 3-settings; selected to listen to stories and decreased intervals of stereotypy after achieving the stimulus-stimulus pairing criterion. The data suggest that reinforcement for observing responses is a verbal behavior developmental cusp that acts to accelerate the learning of children and that the cusp may be induced using the VCP with children like these.


The Importance of Observational Learning and Naming for Success in Mainstream Education

STANISLAVA MAJUSEVIC (Special Education Institute "Mjedenica"), Zumreta Jeina (Special Education Institute "Mjedenica"), Admira Kaljanac (EDUS-Education for All)

We report studies in which we tested the effects of a peer-yoked contingency game with several variations, on the acquisition of Observational Learning, Naming, and additional collateral gains for children ages 6 to 8 years old diagnosed with ASD and/or other developmental disorders. A total of 14 children who all attended special education kindergarten or elementary school classrooms in Bosnia and Herzegovina participated in the 3 separate studiesreported on. None of the students were able to learn through group instruction due to missing verbal capabilities. Also, due to the nature of their classrooms and the schools' government dictated curriculum, the use of known protocols while working 1:1 to induce the missing capabilities, was not practical. Through a delayed, multiple baseline design, we sought to demonstrate the effects of a combination of protocols and variations of the yoked-contingency game on the acquisition and advancement of missing verbal repertoires. The data suggest that the peer-yoked game board with different variations and components was effective at increasing or fully inducing Observational Learning, Naming and spontaneous speech in all 14 participants.


Let's Learn Together! Teaching New Operants through Peer-yoked Contingencies

Fabiola Casarini (Tice Learning Centre), VANESSA ARTONI (Universita degli Studi di Parma)

Learning through observation is unanimously considered a fundamental requisite for every individual to successfully face many different situations of everyday life. Rothstein and Gautreaux (2007) explained that Observational Learning repertoires may be evoked, if missing, in three principal ways: peer tutoring, monitoring and peer-yoked contingencies. Davies-Lackey (2005) and Stolfi (2005) tested the relationship between a peer-yoked contingency and the acquisition of an Observational Learning repertoire in children with autism. Yoked contingencies can be defined as conditions where subjects must work or learn together in order to receive reinforcement (Greer & Ross, 2008). The present study used a pre-probe post-probe design to test the effects of a peer-yoked contingency on the acquisition of new operants in 4 pre-school students with autism or other developmental delays. After the implementation of peer-yoked contingencies all participants showed an increase in the number of new operants learned through observation


Effects of the Paint the Music Now Program on Expanding the Community of Reinforcers of Students with Special Education Needs

JEREMY H. GREENBERG (The Children's Institute of Hong Kong)

Students with special education needs such as autism tend to have difficulty with appropriate play skills and leisure time skills. A lack of play may lead to inappropriate behaviors such aspassivity or stereotypy. Furthermore, having a limited community of reinforcers makes it difficult to find motivators to learn other skills such as language, social, and academics. The present study tested a treatment package in a small group format called Paint the Music Now on the on task painting behavior of four boys between 5 and 12 years old. The students were selected due to their lack of play, narrow community of reinforcers, and leisure time skills. Using a delayed multiple baseline across students with repeated reversal component experimental design, a functional relationship was demonstrated between the on task painting behavior of all four students and their participation in the Paint the Music Now. The treatment package consisted of verbal instruction, music and movement, presented in a small group format. Two maintenance probes were conducted after one month and two months after the second treatment condition to test for the generality of the treatment package. Limitations of the present study were also discussed.




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