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.


43rd Annual Convention; Denver, CO; 2017

Workshop Details

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Workshop #W97
CE Offered: PSY/BACB
Teaching Children With Autism to Talk About Private Events: Establishing the Verbal Behavior of Emotions, Inferences, and Perspective Taking
Friday, May 26, 2017
4:00 PM–7:00 PM
Hyatt Regency, Granite B
Area: VRB/AUT; Domain: Applied Research
CE Instructor: Francesca Degli Espinosa, Ph.D.
Description: Educational interventions based on Applied Behaviour Analysis have demonstrated to be most effective in establishing a range of social skills in children with autism. In considering the relationship between social interaction and autism, however, behaviour analysis, both conceptually and in application, has not yet provided a complete operational account of the variables that control the types of behaviour commonly held to denote Theory of Mind, a deficit that is held to be both syndrome-specific and universal to autism (e.g., Baron-Cohen, 2001). This presentation will firstly argue that Theory of Mind should not be viewed as an entity that is either present or absent, but rather as a developmental verbal process that begins in the establishment of tacting public and private events during social interactions in early childhood. Firmly based on such behavioural conceptual framework, the presentation will secondly attempt to provide an analysis of the controlling variables of the component verbal skills that may denote Theory of Mind and in so doing will illustrate a hierarchical sequence of instructional activities to establish: tacting of private events (i.e. emotions), predictions and inferencing (i.e. tacting the source of stimulus control for another person's actual and future behaviour) and, finally, perspective taking in children with autism.
Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the workshop, participants will be able to: (1) provide a behaviour analysis of Theory of Mind; (2) illustrate a sequence of instruction; (3) establish the verbal behaviour of private events; (4) illustrate a sequence of instruction to establish perspective taking.
Activities: Lecture and video demonstrations
Audience: Behaviour analysts interested in teaching advanced verbal skills
Content Area: Practice
Instruction Level: Advanced
Keyword(s): Inferences, Perspective taking, Private events



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