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1 Increasing the Manding Repertoire of Children with Autism Using the Transitive Establishing Operation Danielle Draper Carbone Clinic Vincent J. Carbone.

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Presentation on theme: "1 Increasing the Manding Repertoire of Children with Autism Using the Transitive Establishing Operation Danielle Draper Carbone Clinic Vincent J. Carbone."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Increasing the Manding Repertoire of Children with Autism Using the Transitive Establishing Operation Danielle Draper Carbone Clinic Vincent J. Carbone Valley Cottage, NY Margaret Hagerty Zach Ikkanda Emily J. Sweeney To Be Presented at the :Association for Behavior Analysis Conference Atlanta, Georgia, May 2006.

2 2 Keller and Schoenfeld (1950) were the first to identify the establishing operation (EO) as an independent variable. Through a series of writings, Michael (1982, 1988, 1993, 2000) refined the concept and principle of the establishing operation (EO) and defined it as an “environmental event, operation, or stimulus condition that affects an organism by momentarily altering a) the reinforcing effectiveness of other events and b) the frequency of occurrences of that part of the organism’s repertoire relevant to those events as consequences.” Michael (1993) described two (2) types of EOs: unconditioned and conditioned. Unconditioned EOs (UEOs) are “events or operations or stimulus conditions whose value altering effects are unlearned,” Conditioned EOs (CEOs) “value altering effects have been learned during the individual organism’s learning history.” Michael identified and more clearly described the three (3) different types of CEOs. He named them the surrogate, the reflexive and the transitive.

3 3 All three (3) have been implicated as behavioral variables within the research related to the treatment of persons with autism and developmental disabilities (Smith & Iwata, 1997, Wilder & Carr, 1998; McGill, 1999). The transitive CEO appears to be most relevant to the conditioning of stimuli as reinforcers (Sundberg, 2005) and may play an important role in teaching language to children with autism who fail to acquire verbal behavior through typical means. Michael originally referred to this conditioning effect by another name as a blocked access or interrupted chain effect. In other words, if some item is highly valuable at this moment but some additional action, item or even information is necessary to produce the valued item then any of the additional stimuli would now act as reinforcers for any behavior that would produce them. In other words, transitive establishing operations convert neutral stimuli to conditional conditioned reinforcers and therefore evoke all responses that have in past been strengthened by their delivery.

4 4 By contriving this type of situation a teacher could condition items or activities in the environment as reinforcers and use these now established reinforcers to teach language disordered persons to mand for them. Since the mand or request response plays an important role in the language training of persons with autism (Sundberg & Michael, 2001) a teacher’s knowledge of how to make use of the transitive establishing operation as an independent variable may be critical. Shafer (1994) points out that the transitive EO can be used to establish the reinforcing potential of many previously neutral items without the disadvantages associated with unconditioned establishing operations. Moreover, by using the transitive EO to condition items as reinforcers in a chain of responses, language disordered children can be taught to mand for items primarily under the control of the EO and therefore free their responses from the additional control exerted by the presence of the item. A few studies have used the transitive establishing operation to increase the spontaneous manding repertoire of persons with developmental disabilities. (Carroll & Hesse, 1987; Hall & Sundberg, 1987; Sigafoos, Doss & Reichle, 1989; Sundberg, Loeb, Hail & Eigenheer, 2002)

5 5 Hall and Sundberg (1987) were among the first experimenters to successfully demonstrate the value of using an interrupted chain to teach persons with developmental disabilities to mand for missing items necessary to complete chains related to making coffee, soup and purchasing items from vending machines. The purpose of this study was to replicate the findings of previous studies that suggest that transitive EO is an independent variable relevant to the teaching of the mand and to verify the effects of the repertoire with children with autism. In addition, multiple studies have demonstrated the functional independence of the mand and tact relations. ( Lamarre & Holland, 1985, Hall & Sundberg, 1987, Twyman, 1996, Sigafoos et al. 1999, Gomez & Greer 2004, Peursdottir, Carr, & Michael, 2005) A second purpose of this study was to test for transfer of the mand relation to the tact relation. Participants in these studies were trained across multiple conditions consisting of mand training, tact training and a combination of the two.

6 6 METHOD Learner and Setting There were three (3) participants in this study. All participants were enrolled in a private educational setting offering one-on-one intensive teaching in the form of discrete trial training, interspersed with teaching in the natural environment facilitated through play based activities. Vincent and Cadia attended the educational setting twice per week and Naryan attended four (4) times per week. All participants attended the educational setting for three (3) hour sessions. All three (3) participants manded vocally for various items and had some mands solely under the control of the motivation. However, the majority of the mands were multiply controlled by both the items presence and the motivation. Vincent was a five (5) year old boy with autism with moderate disabilities. He has limited but developing tact and intraverbal repertoires. Naryan was an eight (8) year old boy with autism and a secondary diagnosis of seizure disorders with moderate to severe disabilities. He also had limited but developing tact and intraverbal repertoires. Cadia was a five (5) year old girl with PDD/autism spectrum disorder with moderate disabilities. Cadia had a well developed tact and intraverbal repertoire and acquired new responses with few presentations of the stimulus.

7 7 Response Definition  The dependent variables were the occurrence of a spontaneous or EO controlled mand response, a prompted mand response, or the non-occurrence of a mand response for the missing item.  Spontaneous or EO controlled mands were defined as any mand that occurred in the absence of any echoic or non-verbal stimulus when the motivation for the item was established.  Prompted mands (P) were defined as any mand that occurred as the result of the teacher’s presentation of a vocal (echoic) stimulus when the item delivered would act as a reinforcer.  Non-occurrence (NR) or no response was defined as failure to emit any response when a mand would result in reinforcement.

8 8 Data Recording and Reliability  The participants’ instructors served as the primary data collector. For Vincent, each session was video-taped and later coded in order to ensure the accuracy of both prompting and data recording. For Participants 2 and 3 additional instructors were trained to record data simultaneously but independently for the purposes of inter-observer agreement (IOA).  The participants’ instructor and the observer were standing next to the participant with their data sheet on individual clipboards.  The targeted items necessary to complete the response chain were laid out in front of the participant in the setting in which the response chain was typically conducted.  The data sheet included prompt level, and a column to record comments regarding the participant’s reaction to the absence of the targeted item such as looking or searching when it became necessary in completing the response chain.

9 9 _ Agreements and disagreements regarding the occurrence of responses were coded on a data sheet. An agreement was recorded when both recorders coded a response identically as an occurrence without a prompt, with a prompt or no response for the same trial. –A disagreement occurred when one observer recorded the occurrence of a behavior that the other observer did not record or the observers did not record the same prompt level needed to evoke the mand. –Inter-observer agreement was calculated by dividing agreements by agreements plus disagreements and multiplying by 100. Inter-observer agreement was recorded across all conditions. –The average IOA for Vincent was 96% with a range from 72% to 100%. The average IOA for Naryan was 92% with a range from 25% to 100%, and the average IOA for Cadia was 98% with a range from 85% to 100% for all sessions for which reliability was assessed. Inter-observer agreement was assessed for about 25% of the all sessions. Experimental Design A multiple baseline across items was used to verify the effectiveness of the experimental procedures (Baer, Wolf and Risley, 1968).

10 10 Experimental Conditions Pre-baseline All three (3) participants were exposed to and taught to complete three (3) response chains each ending in a terminal activity or stimulus that was identified as having reinforcing value. Each response chain included multiple steps leading to the terminal reinforcer. The participants were guided through the steps in the chain once per session until all the responses in the chain were acquired with very few prompts. Criterion for mastery of a chain was established as 80% of the responses performed independently over three (3) consecutive sessions.

11 11 The response chains for Vincent included: Painting a picture - Objects included a smock, paper, clip, paintbrush, water, paint and an easel. The actions consisted of putting on the smock, handing the clip to the instructor, picking up the paintbrush, putting the paintbrush in the water, putting the paintbrush in the paint and applying the paintbrush to the paper and then repeating some of these actions several times during the activity. Making an art project - Objects included paper cut into shapes, glue and glitter. The actions consisted of picking up the paper shapes, putting glue on each shape, arranging the shapes into a picture, putting glue on the arranged shapes and sprinkling glitter onto the shapes.  Making a sandwich - Objects in this response chain included bread, a toaster, a plate, peanut butter and a knife. The actions consisted of opening the bag of bread, putting the bread into the toaster, pushing the toaster down, taking the bread out of the toaster, putting the bread on the plate, opening the peanut butter, putting the peanut butter on the knife, spreading the peanut butter on the bread and eating the sandwich.

12 12 The response chains for Naryan included :  Listening to music - Objects included a portable CD player, a CD, and headphones. The actions consisted of opening the CD player, putting the CD in the CD player, putting the headphones on, and pressing the play button.  Science project - Objects included a plastic container, bottle of water, 2 bottles of food coloring, and a spoon. The actions consisted of pouring the water into the container, dropping the food coloring into the the container, picking up the spoon, mixing the liquid with a spoon.  Painting a picture - Objects included a smock, paper, paintbrush, paint, water, paint and an easel. The actions consisted of putting on the smock, picking up the piece of paper, picking up the paintbrush, dipping the paintbrush in the water, putting the paintbrush in the paint and applying the paintbrush to the paper and then repeating some of these actions several times during the activity.

13 13 The response chains for Cadia include : Making juice - Objects included a cup, powder to make juice, spoon, 2 ice cubes and a measuring cup. The actions consisted of scooping powder into cup, pouring water in the cup, and putting the ice cubes into the cup. Making an art project - Objects included paper, 3 crayons, glue stick, and glitter. The actions consisted of coloring the picture, rubbing the glue on the paper, and sprinkling glitter on the paper. Painting a picture - Objects included smock, paper, clip, paintbrush, water, paint and an easel. The actions consisted of putting on the smock, picking up the piece of paper, handing the clip to the instructor, picking up the paintbrush, dipping the paintbrush in the water, putting the paintbrush in the paint and applying the paintbrush to the paper and then repeating some of these actions several times during the activity.

14 14 Baseline During baseline the participants were given the opportunity to complete the response chains and receive the terminal reinforcer. For each chain the participants were presented with a specific command to begin the chain, e.g. “paint a picture.” The participants were presented with all items necessary to complete the response chains except for the item selected as the missing target. Within the context of the “paint a picture” chain for Vincent the easel was missing and targeted for mand training. The glitter was targeted for training within the art project and the toaster was the missing item in the “make a sandwich” chain.

15 15 For Naryan within the “listen to music” chain the CD player was missing and targeted for training. The food coloring was targeted for training within the “science project” chain and easel for “painting a picture”. The missing items for Cadia were as follows, the measuring cup within the context of “making juice”, glitter for “making an art project”, and the clip for “painting a picture”. During each session the learner was exposed to all three (3) chains. Within the context of completing each chain, the participants paused at the point at which the missing item was needed to complete the chain and the instructor began timing a 10 second interval. If the missing item was vocally manded during this interval, the item was delivered by the experimenter and the response chain was completed. If the missing item was not vocally manded or an incorrect mand occurred during the 10 second delay, the response chain was discontinued and all items relevant to the chain were removed. The baseline condition was maintained until learner responding stabilized.

16 16 Prompt and Prompt Fade Procedures During the experimental condition, the participants were again presented with the response chains and given 10 seconds to mand for the missing items under the control of the EO. If a mand occurred during the 10 second delay, the mand was immediately reinforced by the delivery of the missing item. If a mand did not occur at the end of the 10 second delay the participant was then given an echoic (vocal) prompt in the form of the missing item’s name. If the participant then manded under the multiple control of both the vocal prompt (echoic) and the EO, the missing item was then delivered. When responding during the experimental met the criterion of three (3) consecutive session with mands for the missing item occurring solely under the control of EO, a second chain and missing item was subjected to the experimental variables. The procedures described above were continued until all three (3) response chains were subjected to the experimental condition for all three (3) subjects.

17 17 Transfer Across Operants Once EO controlled manding was occurring for the missing items in each of the response chains for at least all three consecutive sessions a probe was conducted to test for transfer of stimulus control from the mand to the tact repertoire. Stimulus control transfer was said to occur if the participant correctly tacted the missing item previously taught in the mand condition. Probes for stimulus control transfer were conducted in an unfamiliar environment. Probes were conducted by presenting each participant with the missing item from each response chain and presenting the discriminative stimulus “What is it?”

18 18 Following the presentation of the missing item and the discriminative stimulus each participant was given five (5) seconds to respond and data were recorded on the accuracy of the response. A correct response was defined as the participant tacting the missing item using the same response form which was taught in the mand condition. An incorrect response was defined as the participant not responding within the five (5) second interval or responding incorrectly to the item presented.

19 19 Generalization Generalization probes were conducted for all three (3) participants and all of the chains. Novel chains were developed that contained slightly different stimuli, settings, and instructors, however the terminal reinforcer or missing item for each chain remained the same. For Vincent, six (6) response chains were developed to probe for generalization. Each response chain included different stimuli, settings, and instructors. For the “make a sandwich” chain an English muffin and a bagel were substituted for the bread. For the “paint a picture” chain finger paint and dry erase markers were substituted for watercolor paints. For the “art project” chain a ladybug and Thomas the train picture were substituted for a Santa Clause picture.

20 20 Probes for generalization were conducted in different settings than the one in which the original chain was taught. In addition, probes for generalization across instructors were conducted by having an additional instructor, trained in guiding the participant through each response chain with minimal prompting, record the occurrence or non occurrence of the targeted mand response. For Naryan and Cadia, nine (9) response chains were developed to probe for generalization. However, for these participants’ one (1) independent variable such as stimuli, setting, or instructor was changed at a time. For Naryan, within the “listen to music” chain different stimuli included different headphones, a bowl was substituted for a plastic container within the “science project” chain, and markers were substituted for watercolor paints within the “paint a picture” chain. For Cadia, lemonade was substituted for kool-aid within the “make a juice” chain, a ladybug picture was substituted for the flower picture within the “art project” chain and dry erase markers were substituted for watercolor paints within the “paint a picture chain.” As with Vincent, probes for generalization were conducted in different settings than the one in which the original chain was taught as well as having an additional instructor trained in the prompting and recording procedures.

21 21 RESULTS As shown in Figure 1 baseline responding for Vincent was stable at zero (0) spontaneous mands per session for two (2) of the response chains (“paint a picture” and “do an art project”). Spontaneous manding during the “make a sandwich” response chain occurred three (3) times for the missing item, toaster, during the baseline condition. Following the implementation of prompt and prompt fade procedures, spontaneous manding for all missing items increased at various frequencies per session. The effectiveness of the treatment methods in producing an increase in EO controlled mands was verified by this response pattern within the context of a multiple baseline design across items.

22 22 Spontaneous manding for the first missing item, glitter, began occurring following three (3) experimental sessions. Glitter met criteria for mastery after six (6) teaching sessions. While new response chains underwent teaching, spontaneous manding for glitter was maintained for nine (9) sessions. Spontaneous manding for the second missing item, easel, began occurring following two (2) teaching sessions. Easel met criteria for mastery after five (5) teaching sessions. While the last response chain underwent teaching, spontaneous manding for easel was maintained for seven (7) sessions. Spontaneous manding for the third missing item, toaster, began occurring reliably following two (2) teaching sessions. Toaster met criteria for mastery after five (5) teaching sessions.

23 23 Figure 2 shows data for Naryan. Baseline responding was stable at zero (0) spontaneous mands per session for all three (3) response chains (“listen to music”, “science project”, and “paint a picture”). Spontaneous manding for the first missing item, CD player began to occur following four (4) experimental sessions. CD player met criteria for mastery after thirteen (13) teaching sessions. Spontaneous manding for CD player maintained for fourteen (14) sessions, while the next response chain was subjected to the experimental conditions. Spontaneous manding for the second missing item, food coloring began occurring following three (3) teaching sessions.

24 24 Food coloring met criteria for mastery after nine (9) teaching sessions. While the last response chain underwent teaching, spontaneous manding for food coloring was maintained for five (5) sessions. Spontaneous manding for the third missing item, easel began occurring after two (2) teaching sessions. Easel met criteria for mastery after five (5) teaching sessions. Figure 3 shows data for Cadia. Baseline responding was stable at zero (0) spontaneous mands per sessions for all three (3) response chains. Spontaneous manding for the first missing item, clip began occurring following one (1) experimental session. Clip met criteria for mastery after four (4) teaching sessions. While the next chain underwent treatment, spontaneous manding for clip was maintained for eleven (11) sessions.

25 25 Spontaneous manding for the second missing item, glitter, began occurring following five (5) teaching sessions. While the last chain underwent teaching, spontaneous manding for glitter was maintained for four (4) sessions. Spontaneous manding for the third missing item, measuring cup, began occurring following one (1) teaching session. Measuring cup met criteria after three (3) teaching sessions. For all three (3) participants stimulus control transferred from the mand condition to the tact condition without any teaching. The results for generalization probes for Vincent (Figure 1) are as follows, the participant did not mand for the easel in either of the two (2) novel chains for “paint a picture”, which included different stimuli, different instructor, and different setting. Generalized responding did occur for the four (4) chains that contained different stimuli, settings, and instructor for both “make an art project” for glitter, and “making a sandwich” including the toaster. For Participants 2 (Figure 2) and 3 (Figure 3), generalized responding occurred for each of the nine (9) novel chains that were developed including stimuli, setting and instructor.

26 26 DISCUSSION The results of this study demonstrate that previously neutral items can be engendered with reinforcing value through the manipulation of transitive establishing operations with children with autism. These findings replicate the work of Hall and Sundberg (1987) and extend the research literature on motivative operations to children with autism. Although, some spontaneous manding did occur for Vincent during the baseline for one (1) item, reliable spontaneous manding only occurred following the implementation of the experimental procedures. It is interesting to note that during both baseline and early in the experimental conditions Vincent's responses to the missing items indicated their newly acquired value although he had no formal method of requesting. He was frequently observed to emit responses indicating the value of the missing item at the point in the chain when the target item was inaccessible,e.g. looking around, searching, etc.

27 27 These types of responses confirmed the momentary value altering effects the transitive establishing operation had on the previously neutral item. Once an appropriate vocal mand was taught, the relevant establishing operation reliably evoked all three (3) responses for missing items for each participant. The transitive EO had established new stimuli as reinforcers and had therefore made it possible to teach novel responses to each participant. Moreover, the participants’ acquired mands primarily under the control of the motivation without requiring the supplemental control of the presence of the item or a vocal prompt. This increased the control that the participants’ now had over the social environment.

28 28 Using this teaching procedure can effectively condition previously neutral stimuli as reinforcers and therefore increase the variety of stimuli that function as reinforcers. In addition, by conditioning other reinforcers the frequency and variety of mands can be increased for children with autism. Furthermore, all three (3) participants were able to tact the targeted item's that were originally taught as mands without intensive teaching. The transfer of stimulus control from the mand to the tact was also demonstrated in Peursdottir et al. (2005), where mand training resulted in tact acquisition for all participants. Peursdottir et al. (2005) attributed the transfer from the mand to the tact to the existence of the conditions of the controlling variables of the tact being present during the mand training condition.

29 29 Other research by Hall and Sundberg (1987), Gomez and Greer (2004), Twyman (1996), and Sigafoos et al. (1999) have also tested for functional independence. These studies have produced inconsistent results concerning functional independence. The results of this study verify Hall and Sundberg (1987) and Sigafoos et al. (1999) finding in that the untaught verbal operant (tact) had begun to occur after all the mands underwent the experimental conditions and had been occurring solely under the control of the MO. Additional research on the development of a more advanced manding repertoire will increase the understanding of whether transfer to different verbal operants occur more readily as Skinner suggests. In addition, it would be interesting to determine if transfer from tacts to mands would occur.

30 30 References Baer, D., Wolf, M., & Risley, T. (1968). Some current dimensions of applied behavioral analysis. Journal of Applied Behavioral Analysis, 1, Carroll, R. J., & Hesse, B. E. (1987). The effects of alternating mand and tact training on the acquisition of tacts. The Analysis of Verbal Behavior, 5, Hall, G. A., & Sundberg, M. L. (1987). Teaching mands by manipulating conditioned establishing operations. The Analysis of Verbal Behavior, 5, Keller, F. S., & Schoenfeld, W. N. (1950). Principles of psychology. New York: Appleton- Century-Crofts. McGill, P. (1999). Establishing operations: Implications for the assessment, treatment, and prevention of problem behavior. Journal of Applied Behavioral Analysis, 32, Michael, J. (1982). Distinguishing between discriminative and motivational functions of stimuli. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 37, Michael, J. (1988). Establishing operations and the mand. The Analysis of Verbal Behavior, 6,3-9. Michael, J. (1993). Establishing operations. The Behavior Analyst, 16, Michael, J. (2000). Implications and refinements of the establishing operation concept. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 33, Shafer, E. (1994). A review of interventions to teach a mand repertoire. The Analysis of Verbal Behavior,12,53-66.

31 31 Sigafoos, J., Doss, S., & Reichle, J. (1989). Developing mand and tact repertoires in persons with sever developmental disabilities using graphic symbols. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 10, Sundberg, M. L. (2005). A behavioral analysis of motivation and its relation to mand training. In L. W. Williams (Ed.). Development disabilities: Etiology, assessment, intervention, and integration (pp. 1-22). Reno, NV: Context Press. Sundberg, M. L., Loeb, M., Hail, L., & Eigenheer, P. (2002). Contriving establishing operations to teach mands for information. The Analysis of Verbal Behavior, 18, Smith, R. G., & Iwata, B. A. (1997). Antecedent influences on behavior disorders. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 30, Wilder, D. A., & Carr, J. E. (1998). Recent advances in the modification of establishing operations to reduce aberrant behavior. Behavioral Interventions, 13,

32 NR P EO NR P EO P NR Sessions “Do an art project” Occurrence of Prompt Level “Paint a picture” Occurrence of Prompt Level “Make a sandwich” Occurrence of Prompt Level Vincent EO = EO Controlled P = Vocally Prompted NR = No Response Figure 1. The occurrence of mands for missing items recorded by controlling variable (MO, prompted, no response) across baseline and treatment conditions. Glitter Easel Toaster

33 EO P P NR EO P NR “Listen to Music” Occurrence of Prompt Level “Do a Science Project” Occurrence of Prompt Level “Paint a Picture” Occurrence of Prompt Level Sessions Naryan Figure 2. The occurrence of mands for missing items recorded by controlling variable (MO, prompted, no response) across baseline and treatment conditions. EO = EO Controlled P = Vocally Prompted NR = No Response

34 EO EO EO P P P NR “Paint a Picture” Occurrence of Prompt Level “Do an Art Project” Occurrence of Prompt Level “Let’s Make Some Juice” Occurrence of Prompt Level EO = EO Controlled P = Vocally Prompted NR = No Response Figure 3. The occurrence of mands for missing items recorded by controlling variable (MO, prompted, no response) across baseline and treatment conditions. Cadia


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