The emergence of bidirectional naming through sequential operant instruction following the establishment of conditioned social reinforcers
Bidirectional naming (BiN) is the integration of speaker and listener responses, reinforced by social consequences. Unfortunately, these consequences often do not function as reinforcers for behavior in children with autism. Accordingly, the repertoire of BiN is also often limited in these children. Previous research has suggested that so-called multiple-exemplar instruction, a rotation between different speaker and listener operants, may be necessary to establish BiN. The present experiment aimed to investigate whether sequential operant instruction might also work as a successful intervention to improve BiN skills after the establishment of standard social reinforcers. Standard social reinforcers were identified and established through an operant-discrimination training procedure in 4 participating children with an autism spectrum diagnosis. In the present experiment, all participants showed increased BiN after sequential operant instruction with conditioned social reinforcers contingent on relevant operants. Two of 4 participants acquired BiN skills. Moreover, the remaining 2 participants scored within the mastery criterion on listener responses, and 1 of them also met the criterion on the tact probes. Essential characteristics of an intervention, as well as the role of the echoic in the emission of BiN, are discussed.
Olaff, Heidi Skorge