Amego Inc Behavior Analyst Certification Exam Prep The
Amego, Inc. Behavior Analyst Certification Exam Prep The Weinberg Method Module VII Skinner’s System of Verbal Behavior & Language Training This Module is based on the BACB Task List 4: Section I D. Fundamental Elements of Behavior Change & Section III – Distinguish Between the Verbal Operants Developed by: Michael Weinberg, Ph. D. , BCBA-D c. 2014 All Rights Reserved. May not be reproduced without express permission of Amego, Inc.
Module VII. Skinner’s System of Verbal Behavior & Language Training Module VI Objectives 1. Define “Verbal Behavior” from the perspective of B. F. Skinner 2. Explain the essential differences between Skinner’s approach to Verbal Behavior vs. current Speech/Language approaches 3. Define and explain basic behavior analytic views of language and communication acquisition 4. Explain conceptually why the behavior analytic approaches to language and communication training are useful (why have they been developed for young children with language/speech delays and developmental disabilities or other disorders? ) 5. Explain how EOs/MOs can be used in language training with young children
Module VII: Verbal Behavior History of Skinner’s Approach to “Verbal Behavior” ► The 1957 publication of B. F. Skinner's Verbal Behavior provided the field of ABA with a definition of communication. Skinner refers to "verbal behavior" as ". . . behavior reinforced through the mediation of other people. . . (p. 2)" and specified that ". . . the 'listener' must be responding in ways which have been conditioned precisely in order to reinforce the behavior of the speaker [by the verbal community]. . . " In other words, a speaker acts in a manner that is under the stimulus control of an audience (a listener) and the listener then provides the reinforcing consequence. It is through reinforcement of a specific verbal community (the French, the English, the Spanish) that a child learns the grammar and vocabulary of a particular community. (Frost, L. & Bondy, A. , 2006 , SLP-ABA)
Module VII: Verbal Behavior This is the definition of Verbal Behavior adopted by the American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA): “Any act by which one person gives to or receives from another person information about that person's needs, desires, perceptions, knowledge or affective states. Communication may be intentional or unintentional, may involve conventional or unconventional signals, may take linguistic or nonlinguistic forms, and may occur through spoken or other modes” (from Frost & Bondy, 2006).
Module VII: Verbal Behavior ► In Skinner’s this definition, verbal behavior may include any act by a person that is “communicative” in nature. ► For Skinner, a “speaker” and “listener” are the essential requirements for communication to occur ► Note that use of our vocal apparatus is not the sole defining criterion for engaging in verbal behavior ► Thus, use of signs, gestures, pictures, and other actions of the person constitutes verbal behavior, given that it has some effect on the action of another person as listener.
Module VII: Verbal Behavior ► Verbal Behavior according to Skinner is any operant requiring a speaker and a listener ► Operants such as scratching one’s self when itchy, or picking up a coin found on the ground, and so on, are not “verbal behavior” if they do not have an effect on a listener or are not mediated by a listener (i. e. no communicative intent)
Module VII: Verbal Behavior ► Other theorists, such as Chomsky, who had major disagreements with Skinner over the years and published articles and studies contradicting Skinner’s views, believed that speech is “innate” or “inborn” and that all the structures for grammar and syntax are present at birth. This has been shown to be false in studies on learning over the years. ► Chomsky also believed that “language” was only possible in humans. This was arguably disproved in chimpanzee studies, such as the “Nim Chimsky” study (Terrace, H. , 1979, Nim), and the famous Orangutan in a Zoo in Washington named Washoe (Fouts & Fouts, 1998), was able to communicate using sign language and even went online to speak to with people having questions and also did interviews for television and newspapers. ► Chomsky believed that we are born with our parents’ native language and have those structures in place at birth. This was also shown fairly quickly to be false. ► For example, a child born to parents who are from China in the Unites States, tend to learn English fairly rapidly, and may not even have any characteristics of the dialect the parents speak.
Module VII: Verbal Behavior References for previous information on animal language studies, and Noam Chomsky’s criticisms of Skinner’s Verbal Behavior system ► Chomsky, N. , Explanatory Models in Linguistics, in Logic, Methodology and Philosophy of Science (1962). Ed. E. Nagel, P. Suppes, and A. Tarski. Stanford; Calif. : Stanford University Press. ► Chomsky, N. (1967) A Review of B. F. Skinner's Verbal Behavior. In Leon A. Jakobovits and Murray S. Miron (Eds. ), Readings in the Psychology of Language, Prentice-Hall, , pp. 142 -143. ► Fouts, R. S. & Fouts, D. H. (1999). Chimpanzee sign language research. In P. Dolhinow & A. Fuentes (Eds. ) The nonhuman primates. Mountain View, CA: Mayfield Publishing Co. , 252 -256. ► Terrace, H. (1979). Nim. NY: Pocket Books
Module VII: Verbal Behavior ► Frost and Bondy (2006) go on to point out that… “the definitions from both fields emphasize that communication can occur in many modalities, not just the spoken modality. ” ► A source of confusion in the field of SLP (speech language pathology, sic) has been in defining the terms "speech, " "language, " "communication, " and "verbal. " ► Reports of a student including phrases such as "not verbal, " or "non -verbal, " can lead to erroneous conclusions. A speech pathologist might assume that this means that the student is not yet speaking. ► A person using Skinner's definition would conclude that the student has no communication skills at all in any modality. ► The less ambiguous terminology to describe the student who is not speaking would be "non-speaking" or "non-vocal. " This could mean that the student has a sophisticated language system in a nonspeech modality such as pictures, sign language, or writing.
Module VII: Verbal Behavior Skinner identified four controlling antecedent variables of verbal behavior: ► Some state of deprivation or aversive stimulation ► Some aspect of the environment ► Other verbal behavior, and ► One's own verbal behavior
Module VII: Verbal Behavior The Primary Verbal Operants MANDS ► The mand (from command, demand countermand) is a verbal operant "in which the response is reinforced by a characteristic consequence and is therefore under the functional control of relevant conditions of deprivation or aversive stimulation" (Skinner, 1957) ► The mand does not occur in response to a specific stimulus. Rather, the mand is under the control of motivational operations (MO), which increase the power or effectiveness of the reinforcer and is under the stimulus control of the presence of the audience which is necessary for all verbal behavior. ► Remember, An MO, specifically and EO, may momentarily increase the value of a specific reinforcer and thus increase the likelihood of behaviors that have produced that specific reinforcer in the past.
Module VII. Verbal Behavior Magical Mands: This is when a mand is related to an unrealistic entity or event. For example, a child who says “superman will protect me. ” ► Superstitious Mands: This is similar to the magical mand but is when the mand is related to a superstitious belief or request. For example ball players who perform a particular routine, or wear a favorite shirt, hat etc. because the person believes it will help them play better, get a home run, etc. ►
Module VII: Verbal Behavior Examples of Mands: ► Extreme thirst would serve as an MO for requesting a drink. ► Fear of spiders would serve as an MO for asking to leave the room or area the person is in ► Examples of mands include requesting food and toys, requesting information, saying "no" or "yes" to an offered item, asking for a break, and asking for assistance
Module VII: Verbal Behavior TACTS ► The tact is evoked by "a particular object or event or property of an object or event. ” (Skinner, 1957) ► Skinner was referring to some contact with the stimulating environment as the evoking stimulus. This operant is commonly referred to as a comment or a label. Examples ► ► A child sees a cup on the table and says “cup. ” A child sees a car outside and says “car. ”
Module VII: Verbal Behavior INTRAVERBALS ► Skinner coined the term intraverbal to refer to verbal behavior that is produced in response to other verbal behavior but is not similar in form to the preceding verbalization ► Early in development, intraverbals occur in response to verbalizations produced by someone else ► As a child's verbal repertoire matures, intraverbals may also occur in response to the child's own prior verbalizations
Module VII: Verbal Behavior Examples of Intraverbals ► A classic example of intraverbal is Freud’s “free association” test used in psychoanalysis in which therapists says words such as “mother, ” “father, ” “love, ” “hate, ” and so on, and asks the patient to reply with the first thought they have. ► Answering questions such as "Where do you live? " "What's one plus one? " or filling in the blank as when children respond, "farm" after hearing "Old Mc. Donald had a. . . "
Module VII: Verbal Behavior ECHOICS ► The echoic is similar to the intraverbal in that it occurs in response to other verbal behavior, but the resulting verbal behavior matches the form of the verbal stimulus. The listener is “echoing” what she or he hears. ► For example, imitation of sounds, words, or entire phrases would be considered echoics.
Module VII: Verbal Behavior MIMETICS ► The listener imitates the actions or gestures of another person Examples: ► when a mother waves to her child, the child waves in return ► A teacher points to a toy, and the student also points to the toy
Module VII: Verbal Behavior AUTOCLITICS ► The autoclitic is perhaps the most complex of the verbal operants. The autoclitic is under the control of the speaker's own verbal behavior ('auto-clitic' means 'selfleaning') and serves to cause a subtle impact on the listener. ► For example in the phrase, "I think it's going to rain, " versus "I'm sure it's going to rain, " the speaker is not referring to some aspect of the rain, but rather is referring to some aspect of himself or something that controls his verbal response.
Module VII: Verbal Behavior Copying Text ► This is rather straightforward. It is when the listener copies text from any printed or written material and can be from print to script and vice versa ► For example, you copy a verse from a poem onto a piece of paper so you can remember to use it later – perhaps for a talk you are doing
Module VII: Verbal Behavior Taking Dictation ► This is also straightforward. The listener writes down what is being said by someone else (hence “dictation” as in dictating a letter and the assistant writes it down). ► Note that it does not require exact correspondence in form – the listener could use shorthand, print it, or write it, as long as it is in the same language as the speaker
Module VII: Verbal Behavior Textual Behavior ► This pertains to reading what is printed or written on a page, or other media material and could be silent or out loud ► This involves correspondence between the words written and what is read and thus cannot be written in English and read in French (that is an intraverbal!) ► For example, you read a passage from the bible out loud
Module VII. Verbal Behavior Additional verbal operants and terms: Autoclitic Tact: This verbal operant is controlled by a nonverbal Sd and informs the listener of some nonverbal aspect of the primary verbal operant. For e. g. “I smell cookies. ” ► Autoclitic Mand: This entails an MO that is not evident to others that may evoke a subtle verbal operant that is a mand for the non-evident MO. For example when asked what you did last night, you may say “I had a good time” which may be controlled by an MO that is a mand to not ask for details. ►
Module VII: Verbal Behavior: Additional Verbal Operants Tact Extensions ► Generic Extension: This is when the verbal operant is evoked by stimulus generalization, or features of other stimuli that have some feature in common with the original stimulus ► Metaphorical Extensions: This is when a novel stimulus shares some features of the original stimulus, and is referred to in everyday language as a “metaphor” that is applied to some stimulus or object
Module VII: Verbal Behavior: Additional Verbal Operants ► Metonymical Extensions: This is a tact in which there are verbal responses to novel stimuli that do not share any relevant features of the original stimulus and some irrelevant but related feature has acquired stimulus control. (saying “airplane” when seeing a picture of an airport for instance). This can be thought of as a type of stimulus equivalence set.
Module VII: Verbal Behavior: Additional Verbal Operants ► Solistic Extensions: This is said to occur when there may be an indirectly related verbal response to some stimulus. It could be incorrect or inappropriate grammatical usage. For example telling a child “you did good” instead of “you did well. ”
Module VII: Verbal Behavior Approaches to teaching language skills to children with developmental disabilities and autism using Skinner’s system of verbal behavior: ► Some of the main approaches include use of sign language, and also use of the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS, Bondy & Frost, 2002) ► Mands and Tacts are taught to the child using these approaches and then the child’s repertoire is expanded ► These approaches are a rapid means of helping these children indicate needs and wants more rapidly and effectively if they are not able to speak ► Initially, these are referred to as “functional communication training” approaches
Listener Training ► Begin with teaching the primary verbal operants such as mands, tacts, echoics, mimetics, & matching skills ► Proceed next with intraverbal training ► Shape direct listener responding of the listener, in response to verbal operants of the speaker
Module VII PECS • The Picture Exchange Communication System is a picture-based functional communication system developed over 20 years ago by Lori Frost, a speech pathologist, and Andy Bondy, a behavior analyst. • It combines theory and strategies from applied behavior analysis with a pragmatic approach to functional communication. • It has been found to be effective at virtually all ages across a wide age span, from 14 months to 85 years old
Volume VII PECS can teach important communication skills to those who do talk ► Spontaneity ► Initiation ► Social approach ► Alternative or augmentative communication methods
Module VII PECS It takes time to develop speech ► Typically over 1 year for children who start using PECS prior to age 6 ► The biggest change occurs when sentence structure is introduced (Phase IV) ► Research on single-subject and group design shows a large proportion developing speech or improving current speech characteristics ► Not all children will acquire speech after using PECS
The Phases of the Picture Exchange Communication System ► There are six phases in teaching a child to use a picture exchange system. ► While these phases should be approached and taught sequentially, there may be times when a student is working on two or more phases simultaneously.
PECS Phases, continued ► ► Phase I ► Requires two adults ► Identify a strong tangible reinforcer Phase II ► Increase proximity to picture and/or communicative partner ► Vary environments and partners
PECS Phases ► Phase III ► ► Discriminate between a number of pictures Phase IV ► Introduce sentence structure ► ► Phase V ► ► “I want _____. ” Extends sentence structure to include adjectives and other words. Phase VI ► Child taught to comment on elements in his environment.
Module VII: PECS ► The protocol recommends honouring every request only in Phases I & II ► Once a person has mastered persistence in communication, s/he must learn that the answer will sometimes be “No” (like anyone else) ► Criteria for successful transition ► ► Speech vocabulary = PECS vocabulary ► Rate of initiation is equal ► Length of utterance is equal ► Speech is at least 80% intelligible to untrained listener For more information, go to www. pecs. com
Module VII: Verbal Behavior Approaches ► ► ► In 1998, Drs. Mark Sundberg and James Partington published the Assessment of Basic Language and Learning Skills (ABLLS). For more information go to: http: //www. partingtonbehavioranalysts. com Also in 1998, Drs. Sundberg and Partington published Teaching Language to Children with Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities. VB-MAPP by Dr. Mark Sundberg. For more information go to: http: //www. avbpress. com
Assessment of Basic Language and Learning Skills (ABLLS) ► The ABLLS is an assessment, curriculum guide, and skills tracking system for children with autism or other developmental disabilities. ► Provides criterion-referenced information regarding a child’s current skills and provides a curriculum of skill development and educational objectives. ► Mark Sundberg has recently developed the “VB MAPP” system that is now available which offers developmentally sequenced, criterion-referenced assessment and curriculum items
Module VII: Summary Verbal Behavior Topics you learned about in this module include: An overview of Skinner’s system of verbal behavior ► How Skinner’s approach is different than traditional or other approaches to understanding language and communication ► Systems for teaching language skills using Skinner’s Verbal Behavior Approach for children with developmental disabilities and autism, Including PECS, signs, and ► Functional Communication Training This Module corresponds with Amego, Inc. Probe No. 2 ►