Strategies to assess and develop verbal behavior in children with autism

Document Type

Conference Presentation



Conference Title

Annual Meeting of the Association for Behavior Analysis


Association for Behavior Analysis


Seattle, WA

Conference Dates

May 25-29, 2012

Date of Presentation



Communication deficits are a marked feature of autism spectrum disorders. In order to address communication deficits, intensive behavioral intervention programs for individuals with autism spectrum disorder and other developmental disabilities often incorporate the conceptual analysis from B.F. Skinner's Verbal Behavior (1957) into their intervention strategies (Love, Carr, Almason, & Petursdottir, 2009). Therefore, the investigation of procedures to assess and develop verbal behavior in children with autism is needed. This symposium will present data from three studies which investigate the use of procedures to assess and develop verbal behavior. Phillips and Vollmer examined the potential roles of blocking and over-shadowing in the acquisition of textual responses when sight words were presented as compound stimuli consisting of the word plus a picture. Bowen, Shillingsburg, & Delfs examined a procedure to increase intraverbal behavior via direct teaching while embedding visual stimuli as nontargeted information into instruction. A final study (Valentino, Shillingsburg, Conine & Powell) compared differential reinforcement and the cues-pause-point procedure on the effectiveness of reducing echolalia of discriminative stimuli during echoic training. Results are discussed in terms of the application of these procedures to the treatment of communication deficits in children with autism.

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