M. Alice Shillingsburg, Ph.D., BCBA-D, Senior Vice President of Applied Verbal Behavior at May Institute, co-authored an article published in The Analysis of Verbal Behavior titled, “Using Textual Prompts to Teach Mands for Information Using ‘Who?’” Dr. Shillingsburg’s co-authors were Cassondra M. Gayman and William Walton.
The Analysis of Verbal Behavior is an official publication of the Association for Behavior Analysis International and is primarily for the original publication of experimental or theoretical papers relevant to a behavioral analysis of verbal behavior.
The article was recently selected by the Association for Behavior Analysis International as an article of the week.
Recent research on teaching mands for information to children with language deficits has focused on manipulating establishing operations (EOs). However, only a few of those studies have programmed both EO conditions (in which information is needed) and abolishing operation (AO) conditions (in which information has already been provided) to ensure functional use of the mand for information. Shillingsburg, Bowen, Valentino, and Pierce (Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 47, 136–150, 2014) provided a successful demonstration of differential responding between EO and AO conditions demonstrating control of the response by the relevant EO. Echoic prompts resulted in successful mands for information “Who?” One limitation of this study was that the participants did not re-issue the initial mand upon approaching the named adult to retrieve the item. This may be problematic in the natural environment as it is unlikely that the named adult would know what the child was looking for. The current study sought to replicate and expand previous research by using textual prompts to teach the mand “Who?” in four children diagnosed with autism (Phase 1) and by requiring the mand for the item be re-issued upon approaching the named adult (Phase 2). Textual prompts resulted in differential use of the mand for information during EO and AO conditions for all of the participants. Additionally, three of the four participants who did not re-issue the mand to the named adult during the Phase 2 baseline did so following the intervention. Overall, results support the use of textual prompts to teach mands for information to children with autism.
[Read Dr. Shillingsburg’s bio.]