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Verbal Behavior Therapy and Discrete Trial Training

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Linda Lim

on 18 February 2014

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Transcript of Verbal Behavior Therapy and Discrete Trial Training

Applied Behavior Analysis
Employs strategies based on principles of behaviorism to bring about meaning and positive change in behavior

Assumes behavior is learned and controlled by contingencies within the environment

Only scientifically validated treatment for autism

Behavior is defined in measureable and objective terms

Instruction can be presented in a variety of ways

Verbal Behavior Therapy
and Discrete Trial Training

Kate Marino
Lyndsey Gianella
Linda Lim

Verbal Behavior Therapy
Teaches communication using the principles of ABA and the theories of Skinner

Main purpose is to increase language and learning skills

Motivates a child to learn by showing that words can help obtain desired results

Student learns how to use language to make requests

Skinner classifies language into types or operants which guide VBT

Skinner’s 4-term contingency
Therapy Session
Motivating operation- behavior that attempts to explain people’s motivation to seek out or avoid consequences

Discriminative stimulus- any stimulus that happens before the behavior

Response- specific, observable, measureable behavior

Reinforcement- consequence of behavior

Verbal Operants
A request to ask for something specific

Antecedent: motivative operation (wants cookie)

Behavior: verbal (says “cookie”)

Consequence: direct reinforcement (get their cookie)

A label or a comment used to share an experience

Antecedent: sensory stimuli (sees or smells a cookie)

Behavior: verbal (says “cookie”)

Consequence: non-specific reinforcement (praise)

A word used to answer or respond to a question

Antecedent: verbal stimulus (someone says “What do you want to eat?”)

Behavior: verbal (says “cookie”)

Consequence: non-specific reinforcement (praise)

A repeated or echoed word

Antecedent: verbal stimulus (someone says “cookie”)

Behavior: verbal (“cookie”)

Consequence: non-specific reinforcement (praise)

Usually involve 1-3 hours a week

Instructors train parents and other caregivers

Often very expensive but parents can learn the teaching techniques

Some school districts and insurance companies do not pay for it

Discrete Trial Teaching
One of the most commonly used forms of ABA

Used to teach a skill in small repeated steps

Antecedents and consequences are implemented

Praise and tangible reinforcements are used

Has a repetitive and intensive nature

Can be used from early childhood through elementary school

Massed-trial teaching - Repeat same learning trial several times in a row to ensure the learner is successful multiple times
National Standards Project classifies it as an established treatment
Part of the behavioral package

Can be implemented in any situation in and out of the classroom

VBT is often taught in DTT setting

Empirical Studies
4 Parts of Discrete Trial
An instruction from practitioner

A response from the child
Successful completion

A consequence provided by the practitioner
Reward or punishment

Inter-trial interval
Pause before starting next trial
Ensures each trial is discrete from the next

Teaching is done formally and informally

Manding is a main focus

Uses errorless learning procedure by prompting

Guided by Skinner’s principles

Teaching is only taught in a formal setting with the hopes that it generalizes to the natural environment

Verbal imitation is main focus

Allows child to make errors before giving prompt

Instruction not necessarily guided by Skinner

Empirical Support
Relatively little empirical research

Indirect support from smaller studies
Single verbal operants
Braam & Poling (1983)
Miguel, Carr, & Michael (2002)
Williams & Greer (1993)
Compared VB with linguistic approach
Dependent measures:
# of words correctly used across trials
Accuracy of responses
Operant training procedures (DTT)
ABAB Design

VB demonstrated more words emitted and more correct trials
Take home message
This was only a preliminary step toward demonstrating support for VB
Need to demonstrate effectiveness of VB over an extended period of time
Would allow for evaluation of global measures
No long term outcome data on intensive VB with children with ASD
Leaf, Tsuji, Lentell, Dale, Kassardjian, Tuabman, McEachin, Leaf & Oppenheim-Leaf (2013)
Compared relative effectiveness and efficiency of participant receiving DTT in one-to-one and group instructional formats
6 children randomly assigned to 2 groups
Interventions 2x a week; 45 minutes
Operationalized variables and responses
Interobserver agreement
Treatment fidelity
One-to-one and group instruction were both effective
Maintenance of skills was nearly equivalent
Group instruction resulted in observational learning
Eikeseth, Smith, Jahr, & Edevik (2002)
Compared the outcomes after 1 year of behavioral treatment compared to alternative intervention
25 children randomly assigned to two groups
28.52 hours per week for 1 year
Behavioral DTT versus eclectic
Reliable and Valid dependent measures
Behavioral group evidenced greater gains on all measures
Autism teaching methods: applied behavior analysis and verbal behavior. Autismweb.com. Retrieved February 12, 2014, from http://www.autismweb.com/aba.htm
Carr, J. E. & Firth, A. M. (2005). The verbal behavior approach to early and intensive behavioral intervention for autism: A call for additional empirical support. Journal of Early and Intensive Behavioral Intervention, 2, 18-27.
Eikeseth, S., Smith, T., Jahr, E., & Eldevik, S. (2002). Intensive behavioral treatment at school for 4- to 7-year-old children with autism. Behavior Modification, 26, 49-68
Elder, L. (2012, December 14). Discrete trial training. Autismspeaks.org. Retrieved February 12, 2014, from http://www.autismspeaks.org/blog/2012/12/14/discrete-trial-training
Evidence based practice: discrete trial training. Autismpdc.fpg.unc.edu. Retrieved February 12, 2014, from http://autismpdc.fpg.unc.edu/content/discrete-trial-training-0
Leaf, J. B., Tsuji, K. H., Lentell, A. E., Dale, S. E., Kassardijan, A., Taubman, M., McEachin, J., Leaf, R., & Oppenheim-Leaf, M. L. (2013). A comparison of discrete trial teaching implemented in a one-to-one instructional format and in a group instructional format. Behavioral Interventions, 28, 82-106.
Verbal behavior therapy. Autismspearks.org. Retrieved February 12, 2014, from http://www.autismspeaks.org/what-autism/treatment/verbal-behavior-therapy

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