Book Chapter Details
Mandatory Fields
Barnes-Holmes D.;Murphy C.
2007 January
Autism Research Advances
Addressing the generativity of language: A late reply to chomsky
Optional Fields
Skinner's (1957) account of human language as fundamentally functional provided the basis for developing effective teaching programmes for children with autism and or language deficits (Sundberg and Michael, 2001). Despite the well-documented benefits to teaching in applied settings resulting from Skinner's description of functional verbal operants, however, behavioral language theory has long been criticized for failing to adequately address the generativity that is key, or characteristic, in human language (Chomsky, 1959). Behavioural teaching programs frequently involve discrete trial training for individual responses (Andersen, Taras, and Cannon, 1996), but this approach to language-training does not systematically address "emergent" (untrained or derived) language responses. Indeed, few behavioral studies have investigated this type of responding (Lerman, Parten, Addison, Vorndren, Volkert, and Kodak , 2005). As a first step towards developing procedures that facilitate derived verbal responding (emergent language) in children with autism, recent research integrated Skinner's Verbal Behavior with a modern behavioral language theory known as Relational Frame Theory (Hayes, Barnes-Holmes, and Roche, 2001) to examine derived requesting in children with autism. The first of these studies demonstrated derived requests for "more" single tokens (Murphy, Barnes-Holmes, and Barnes-Holmes, 2005), the second study demonstrated derived requests for "more" or "less" single tokens (Murphy and Barnes-Holmes, 2006), and an ongoing current third study has examined derived requests for more or less tokens involving differing amounts (-2,-1, 0, +1, +2). The approach adopted in these studies aims to build upon the applied effectiveness of Skinner's functional language paradigm, by addressing the generative as well as functional aspects of language. The current article summarizes the research literature on derived requests, finally setting out a description of practical strategies that could be applied with Skinner's distinct verbal operants (e.g., mands, tacts, autoclitics, intraverbals) to target development of derived verbal responding. This may prove useful to those teaching children with autism and or language deficits, in that this teaching strategy may generate a broad and flexible repertoire of verbal responding with children who typically show rigidity in their verbal behavior. © 2007 Nova Science Publishers, Inc.
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