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

Event Details

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Symposium #102
CE Offered: BACB
Teaching Children With Autism to Mand Using Speech-Generating Devices
Saturday, May 27, 2017
4:00 PM–5:50 PM
Convention Center Mile High Ballroom 4E/F
Area: AUT/VRB; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Amarie Carnett (University of North Texas)
Discussant: Tracy Raulston (University of Oregon)
CE Instructor: Amarie Carnett, Ph.D.

Skinner (1957) classifies communication responses in terms of functional properties rather than in terms of its form. A mand is a type of communication behavior that is controlled by deprivation or aversive stimulation and reinforced by characteristic consequences. Approximately 25-30% of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder do not develop speech. As a result they may benefit from interventions that teach the use speech-generating devices to establish manding repertoires. This symposium will present empirical data related to teaching manding skills to children using speech-generating devices. The first single case study evaluates teaching procedures used to target increasing targeted vocalization along with speech-generating devices during mand training. The second single case study replicates the procedures from Ingvarsson and Hollobaugh (2010) to teach a child who used a speech-generating device to mand for answers to unknown questions. The third single case study replicates the procedures from Shillingsburg et al. (2014) to teach children with autism to mand for information using speech-generating devices. The final single case study evaluated procedures for teaching children with autism to use a speech-generating device to mand for information using Where question frames. Tracy Raulston will sever as the discussant.

Instruction Level: Basic
Keyword(s): manding, motivating operation, speech-generated devices, systematic instruction

Increasing Target Vocalizations Used Along With Speech-Generating Device Mands

CINDY GEVARTER (Manhattanville College), Keri Horan (Manhattanville College)

Six preschool-age children with autism and limited echoic abilities were taught to mand for preferred items using a speech-generating device (SGD) during a vocalization baseline that included least-to-most prompting and reinforcement for SGD mands, and no programmed consequences for vocalizations. Participants emitted target vocalizations during 0-40% of trials (M= 5%). An SGD-vocalization intervention was introduced across two implementations of a multiple baseline design. Intervention phase I included a delay to reinforcement and differential reinforcement (i.e., SGD-only on extinction; SGD plus target vocalizations reinforced). During this phase, three participants increased target vocal approximations (M= 81%), and one began using the full vocal target word (M=97%). A fifth participant required the addition of an instructors echoic model (phase II of intervention), and reached a mean of 100% in a return to phase I. The sixth participant appeared to have satiated on the preferred item and intervention was discontinued. Phase II was introduced to shape closer approximations and/or higher rates of target vocalizations for participants who showed phase I success (with a second word introduced for the participant who mastered a full target word). Shaping procedures had mixed success. Participants generalized vocalizations when the SGD was absent, and maintained responding.


Teaching a Child With Autism to Mand for Answers to Questions Using a Speech-Generating Device

Amarie Carnett (University of North Texas), EINAR T. INGVARSSON (University of North Texas)

The current study systematically replicates and extends the findings of Ingvarsson and Hollobaugh (2010) by teaching a boy with autism who used a speech-generating device to mand for answers to unknown questions. The effects of the intervention were evaluated via a multiple baseline across stimulus sets. The intervention resulted in acquisition of both the mand for information and intraverbal responses (i.e., correct answers to previously unknown questions). However, generalization of the mand for information was limited.


Mands for Information Using "Who" and "Which" Using Speech-Generated Devices

BRITTANY LEE BARTLETT (Marcus Autism Center), Taylor Thompson (Marcus Autism Center ), Videsha Marya (Marcus Autism Center), M. Alice Shillingsburg (Marcus Autism Center, Emory University School of Medicine)

Some children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have difficulty acquiring spoken language even after receiving intensive intervention. For these individuals, alternative and augmentative communication systems can be helpful. With the ubiquitous use of tablets and mobile devices, the use of speech generated devices has increased. Children with limited functional communication require targeted mand training to increase social communication skills and the mand repertoire is often one of the first skills targeted for children with ASD who use devices (van der Meer & Rispoli, 2010). Advanced manding repertoires may also be taught using communication devices. Shillingsburg, Bowen, Valentino and Pierce (2014) demonstrated an intervention to teach mands for information using prompting and differential reinforcement under establishing operation (EO) and abolishing operation (AO) conditions to children using vocal responses. The current study replicates the procedures from Shillingsburg et al. (2014) to teach two children diagnosed with ASD to mand for information using a speech generated device on a tablet. Both participants learned to mand for information using who and which and used the information provided to access a preferred item. Procedural details and modifications will be discussed.


Teaching Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder to Ask "Where" Questions With a Speech-Generating Device

AMARIE CARNETT (University of North Texas), Einar T. Ingvarsson (University of North Texas), Alicia Marie Bravo (Victoria University of Wellington), Jeffrey S. Sigafoos (Victoria University of Wellington)

Children with autism spectrum disorder who have limited spoken communication skills are often taught to use a speech-generating device for basic mands, such as requesting preferred objects. Fewer studies have focused on teaching mands for information. We report on the results of two experiments that aimed to evaluate procedures for teaching three children with autism spectrum disorder to use a speech-generating device to mand for information (i.e., Where is [item]?). Teaching procedures involved systematic instruction (i.e., time delay, response prompting, and differential reinforcement) and a behavior chain interruption strategy. Results of the first experiment showed that all three participants acquired the target mand, however, generalization to a novel stimulus did not occur until direct training was provided. For the second experiment, each participant was taught to approach a second communication partner when the first partner did not provide the requested information. Results point to a potentially useful approach for teaching mand for information to children with autism spectrum disorder.




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