Verbal Behaviour and Communication

Research categorised under the heading “Verbal Behaviour and Communication” focuses on strategies for developing initial speech, communicating via augmented forms of communication (eg. pictures, sign or iPad apps), different forms of communication (eg. mands, tacts or responses to questions) and strategies for accelerating learning in this area.


Deconstructing Common Bidirectional Naming: A Proposed Classification Framework – Emma Hawkins, Grant Gautreaux & Mecca Chiesa (2018)

It is important that if a child can point to or find an item (act as a listener) that they can also tact, ask for or label that item (act as a speaker) without further teaching. It is also important that children learn how to acquire new language without any direct teaching, but acquire it through listening to others. This is a conceptual paper focussing on this joining of speaker behaviour and listener behaviour: naming. The authors describe different subtypes of naming and how to test for these subtypes. The goal is to assist teachers to systematically implement procedures to induce specific subtypes of naming. This paper was published in The Analysis of Verbal Behavior journal in 2018.

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Conceptually, the use of the technical term naming appears to be a broad term that describes several subtypes of emergent verbal behavior. Miguel (2016) introduces the concept of subtypes of naming, specifically common bidirectional naming and intraverbal bidirectional naming. He defines common bidirectional naming as “the process of different stimuli evoking the same speaker and listener behaviour and becoming members of the same class” (p. 130). A review of the literature on common bidirectional naming yielded some ambiguities related to differences in how researchers in the field defined naming. This article suggests that common bidirectional naming may be further dissected to yield six subtypes of naming. We aligned previous research on emergent verbal behavior with a unified taxonomy as part of a larger proposed classification framework on naming. The impact of identifying the subtypes of common bidirectional naming on skill acquisition and curriculum design is discussed. Finally, recommendations are made for future research based on this framework.

Link to published article

CABASTesting Children Diagnosed with Autism for Six Subtypes of Common Bidirectional Naming – Emma Hawkins & Kate Hewett

Following on from the conceptual article on naming by Hawkins, Gautreaux & Chiesa (2018) this research project tested 6 children diagnosed with autism for the presence of the 6 subtypes of naming. The purpose of the project was to determine whether the 6 children demonstrated emergent behaviour, for example if taught to point to an item then could they also tact/label that items without further teaching? Recommendations were made for each participant in terms of how their curriculum should change to ensure emergent behaviour is maximised. This research was presented in poster format at the 2018 CABAS conference in New Jersey.

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Conceptually, naming appears to be a generic term that describes several subtypes. Miguel (2016) introduced the concept of subtypes of naming, specifically Common Bidirectional Naming and Intraverbal Bidirectional Naming. He defined Common Bidirectional Naming as the process of different stimuli evoking the same speaker and listener behaviour and becoming members of the same class. Hawkins, Gautreaux, and Chiesa (2018) suggested that Common Bidirectional Naming can be further dissected to provide six subtypes: listener unidirectional naming, speaker unidirectional naming, joint bidirectional naming, listener incidental unidirectional naming, speaker incidental unidirectional naming and joint incidental bidirectional naming. Six children diagnosed with autism and a learning disability were tested for each of these subtypes of naming to determine whether some subtypes are prerequisites for others. More participants met the criterion for listener naming compared to speaker naming and more participants met the criteria for bidirectional naming compared to incidental bidirectional naming suggesting listener naming may be a prerequisite for speaker naming and bidirectional naming may be a prerequisite for incidental bidirectional naming.

Link to Poster