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 #298
CE Offered: BACB
Learning How to Learn: Moving Beyond Direct-Contingency Instruction Through Verbal Relational Training and Testing Strategies With Individuals With Disabilities
Sunday, May 28, 2017
4:00 PM–5:50 PM
Convention Center Mile High Ballroom 3C
Area: AUT/DDA; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Lindsey Renee Ellenberger (Southern Illinois University)
Discussant: Autumn N. McKeel (Aurora University)
CE Instructor: Jordan Belisle, M.S.

Traditional approaches to behavior analytic assessment and subsequent treatment of language-limitations have been grounded in Skinnerian Verbal Operant theory. A limitation of Skinners approach was a reliance on exposure to direct contingencies to promote the development of verbal repertoires. Recent advances in Relational Frame Theory provide an alternative approach to language development that does not rely on exposure to direct contingencies for each skill topography, rather a history of reinforcement for relational verbal response classes (e.g., sameness, comparison, etc.). The symposium will compare the convergent validity of assessments based on Skinnerian verbal operant development with those based on Relational Frame Theory and conventional tests of intelligence. As well, we will compare procedures based on a direct-contingency approach to those based in relational training procedures, as described in the PEAK relational training system. Finally, we will showcase psychometric scoring properties associated with the PEAK scoring system and compare this metric to conventional scoring strategies.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): Language Development, PEAK, RFT

Evaluating the Relationship Between Higher-Order Relational Verbal Behavior and Common Assessments of Intellectual Functioning

JORDAN BELISLE (Southern Illinois University), Caleb Stanley (Southern Illinois University), Dana Paliliunas (Southern Illinois University), Mark R. Dixon (Southern Illinois University)

Assessing the verbal operant repertoire of individuals with autism is crucial due to the language deficits experienced by this population, and the need for data-driven and individualized treatment. Although several assessments of verbal behavior are available to behavior analysts, few have demonstrated evidence of validity or reliability, and fewer still go beyond elementary forms of verbal operant behavior to complex relational verbal behavior. The PEAK Relational Training System contains two pre-assessments (PEAK-E-PA, PEAK-T-PA) that are used to provide a metric for evaluating participants? abilities to respond relationally to stimuli in their environment cross-modally, and across each of the relational frame families. We will present data correlating the PEAK-E-PA and the PEAK-T-PA with common assessments of IQ (e.g., WISC-V, WPPSI-IV) with 40 children and adolescents with autism, and will provide comparisons in terms of more traditional verbal behavior assessments (e.g., PEAK-Direct Training, PEAK-Generalization, VB-MAPP). The results have implications for the assessment and subsequent treatment of individuals with autism.

Derived Relational Responding and Contingency Shaped Learning: Evaluating the Effectiveness and Efficiency Through Randomized Control Trials and Single Subject Research
MEGAN GALLIFORD (Southern Illinois University), Jordan Belisle (Southern Illinois University), Caleb Stanley (Southern Illinois University), Amani Alholail (Southern Illinois University ), Lindsey Renee Ellenberger (Southern Illinois University), Mark R. Dixon (Southern Illinois University)
Abstract: The present talk covers the relative effectiveness and efficiency of derived relational responding (DRR) and contingency shaped responding through typical discrete trial training (DTT). Both methods have shown to be effective and efficient in teaching a wide variety of skills, including arbitrary and non-arbitrary skills, to a diverse population. The benefits of DRR and contingency shaped training as well as the importance of increasing the understanding and implementation of DRR within the field of behavior analysis are discussed. Potential disadvantages of both DRR and contingency shaped applied behavior analysis (ABA) are also discussed with possible limitations in the skill repertoires we are able to teach with each method. Multiple exemplars of the effectiveness of these methods are shown through the use of the Promoting the Emergence of Advanced Knowledge (PEAK) curriculum, which uses both contingency shaped responding and DRR to build an advanced verbal repertoire in children with autism and related disabilities.
A Comparison of Typical Percent Correct Scoring Systems and the PEAK Scoring System
MICHAEL BROOKS (Central Michigan Univeristy), Brian Davis (Central Michigan University), Seth W. Whiting (Central Michigan University)
Abstract: Common measures of response accuracy, such as percent correct responses, are often simple to train and implement but fail to reveal smaller but important advances in learning. The scoring system of the PEAK Relational Training System allows for tracking of prompt level and may be more sensitive to progress with little added effort. The goal of the current study was to examine differences in utility of the PEAK scoring system over the common percent-correct scoring system. Study 1 assessed the reliability of the PEAK scoring system by examining inter-observer agreement on PEAK scores following minimal training of the observers. Study 2 examined differences in data analysis by clinicians following visual inspection of graphs generated using the PEAK system and the percent-correct system. Finally, Study 3 involved examining the usefulness of the PEAK system in depicting acquisition of new skills by collecting data on the acquisition of a new behavioral skill program with both the PEAK scoring system and the common percent-correct system, and comparing the graphs of the resulting data. Results from our studies suggest that the use of the PEAK scoring system offers considerable benefits over the typical percent-correct scoring system with minimal added training cost.

An Evaluation of a Normative Sample and a Sample With Autism on the Ability to Derive Relations Using the PEAK Equivalence Module

KYLE E ROWSEY (University of Southern Mississippi), Jordan Belisle (Southern Illinois University), Caleb Stanley (Southern Illinois University), Mark R. Dixon (Southern Illinois University)

Behavior analysts researching language and learning skills in individuals both with and without disabilities have focused primarily on how to establish and increase derived relational responding. Although previous research has indicated that the ability to derive relations may begin before the age of 2 years, little research to date has looked at how the ability to derive relations develops. That is, the ages at which children might be expected to exhibit the ability to derive symmetrical or transitive relations or identify more complex derived relations such as class mergers is unknown. Recently, a curriculum and assessment tool titled the PEAK Relational Training System has been published which includes several modules designed to incorporate both traditional discrete trial training and training for derived relational responding. With the release of the third module, the PEAK Equivalence Module (PEAK-E), behavior analysts now have a standardized assessment tool with which to examine these differing levels of complexity of relational responding. The current study sought to examine scores on the PEAK-E across children from ages 1-22 in both a typically developing population and a population with autism. The results and implications of these findings will be discussed.




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