Understanding verbal behavior in children with autism

By

Robert Ewing

Having a conversation is something most of us take for granted. For people with autism, especially children, talking with family or friends can be challenging.

The Master of Science in applied behavior analysis (MS ABA) program in the Arizona State University Department of Psychology has partnered with Pinnacle Autism Therapy to host a workshop on verbal behavior in children with autism. The Understanding Verbal Behavior in Children with Autism Workshop will take place in the Memorial Union Ventana Ballroom (room 241) on June 1-2 and will be headlined by Vincent J. Carbone with Pinnacle Autism Therapy. The workshop will cover topics such as applied behavior analysis as a science and applications of ABA methods for teaching communication to people with autism.

“Vincent Carbone is a pioneer in our field. When the opportunity arose to partner with Pinnacle Autism Therapy and expose our program’s students to his prowess, it was a no-brainer,” said Adam Hahs, clinical assistant professor of psychology and director of the MS ABA program. “Our program produces behavior analysts who make an immediate impact all over the United States, so the opportunity to learn from an expert like Dr. Carbone greatly supports the development of our students’ behavior-analytic repertoires.”

Pinnacle Autism Therapy, a local organization that serves individuals with autism, is also one of the partners that provides MS ABA students with the practicum training they need for their certification exam. 

Carbone is a board-certified behavior analyst and has more than 35 years of experience designing learning environments for persons with autism and developmental disabilities. He trained at Drake University and has been faculty at the Florida Institute of Technology and Pennsylvania State University. Carbone has also worked as a visiting professor in the behavioral education doctoral program at Simmons College in Boston.

Carbone teaches applied behavior analysis and verbal behavior. He has prepared hundreds of students in several states and overseas for certification as a behavior analyst through the Behavior Analyst Certification Board. He also has developed and presented a series of workshops that teach verbal behavior to children with autism. These workshops are based on B.F. Skinner’s analysis of verbal behavior.

Related: ASU applied behavior analysis program is booming

What is applied behavior analysis?

The goal of ABA is to shape behavior in positive ways, and Behavior Analysts do this by systematically and experimentally investigating variables that are responsible for behavioral change. Though ABA is most often associated with interventions for individuals with autism, the applications of the discipline are far-reaching. Behavior analysts can address parenting challenges and underperformance in academic settings or develop support plans for individuals with substance abuse or eating disorders.

“Applied behavior analysis can help discover why people do things or how they respond to reinforcement and their environment,” said Don Stenhoff, clinical assistant professor in the MS ABA program. “We take the impact of ABA in a socially significant direction. We improve lives, and improve relationships with other people.”

Related: The psychology behind lasting behavior change

Tickets for the workshop can be purchased on the event website. Participants will learn how to conduct a behavioral language assessment, how to select appropriate forms of communication for a child and how to select the right communication responses and supporting skills to help children.