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.


Seventh International Conference; Merida, Mexico; 2013

Event Details

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Invited Paper Session #19
CE Offered: PSY/BACB

The Identification and Induction of the Social Reinforcers for Language Functions

Monday, October 7, 2013
12:00 PM–12:50 PM
Yucatan II (Fiesta Americana)
Area: VRB; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
Instruction Level: Basic
CE Instructor: R. Douglas Greer, Ph.D.
Chair: Martha Hübner (University of Sao Paulo, Brazil)
R. DOUGLAS GREER (Columbia University Teachers College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences)
Dr. R. Douglas Greer is the coordinator of the programs in applied behavior analysis at Teachers College at Columbia University. He has taught at Columbia University Teachers College and the Graduate School of the Arts and Sciences for 42 years, sponsored 170 Ph.D. dissertations, taught more than 2,000 master students, founded the Fred S. Keller School, authored 13 books and 155 research and conceptual papers, served on the editorial board of 10 journals, and developed the CABAS� school model for special education and the Accelerated Independent Model for general education (K-5). He has received the American Psychology Association�s Fred S. Keller Award for Distinguished Contributions to Education, the Association for Behavior Analysis International Award for International Dissemination of Behavior Analysis, been honored for his contributions to The Fred S. Keller School, and May 5 has been designated as the R. Douglas Greer Day by the Westchester County Legislature. He is a Fellow of the ABAI and a CABAS� Board-Certified Senior Behavior Analyst and Senior Research Scientist. He has taught courses at the universities of Almeria, Grenada, Cadiz, Madrid, Oviedo, and Salamanca in Spain, Oslo and Askerhus College in Norway, University of Ibadan in Nigeria, and University of Wales at Bangor in England. Dr. Greer has served as the keynote speaker at the Experimental Analysis of Behavior Group in England, the National Conferences on Behavior Analysis in Ireland, Israel, Korea, Norway, and in several states in the United States. He contributed to the development of several schools based entirely on scientific procedures and comprehensive curriculum based assessment in the U.S., Ireland, Sicily, England, and Spain. He is co-author of the book Verbal Behavior Analysis: Developing and Expanding Verbal Capabilities in Children With Language Delays.

We have a greater understanding of the experiential sources for the social and language deficits in children with autism. Moreover, we know more about what to do to improve their social and verbal prognosis. These advances in the science of behavior are based on converging basic and applied research findings on: (a) emergent behavior (i.e., learned responses that emerge indirectly from directly teaching other operants or respondents), (b) verbal behavior and verbal behavior development, as well as (c) applications in schools with more than 300 children. One set of findings concerns how a single stimulus comes to control different verbal behaviors and how a single response comes to be useful for different functions. Still others show how children come to learn language incidentally (i.e., without direct or indirect instruction). Still other findings identify the role of conditioned reinforcement underlying language as a social tool and social reinforcer. These findings, and extensive replications with children, provide new and advanced expertise to bring children's verbal behavior under the natural reinforcers for language functions. The reinforcers for verbal behavior are the keys to what makes language social, and vice versa-these reinforcers are learned. We have identified many key learned reinforcers and how they are learned incidentally. Better yet, we now have protocols to condition them if they are missing in a child's reinforcement repertoire. True verbal and social behaviors accrue from changes in reinforcers for language.

Target Audience:

Anyone interested in experiential sources for the social and language deficits in children with autism.

Learning Objectives: Forthcoming.



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