TEACHING REVERSALS

Determining if the subject is ready to be taught a reversal

Since the reversal targets require so much more discrimination on the part of the child, it is important to teach the responses slowly and make sure they are mastered to fluency. In addition, we want to be sure the child is demonstrating an "intraverbal link" by responding in multiple ways to similar questions an/or visual stimuli (i.e both with fill-ins and WH questions and both with and without the items present). Making sure there is both strong stimulus control for the question form and with the specific target item will help make sure the child masters the responses to fluency.

Teaching the Reversal Response

When the lead instructor has determined the target is ready to be added as a reversal target, each new reversal target is taught as a "Reversal Fill-in". This is accomplished through FFC fill in to reversal fill in transfers and/or through tact to reversal fill in transfers. For most children, all of these targets can be taught during the same session since they are all mastered responses but are being taught under a new condition. Remember, no target response should be added to the daily probe until AFTER it has been taught. If the response is taught one day, probe the target the following day.

EX: 

1.  Sand: You pour sand in a ... R= bucket Something you pour in a bucket is ...R= sand (both intraverbal responses, so no need to transfer to IV)And/or What's this? R= sand Something you pour in a bucket is ... R= sand (then transfer to an intraverbal response by taking the sand away).

2.  Water: You pour water in a.. R= bucket Something you pour in a bucket is R= water and/or What's this? R= water Something you pour in a bucket is.. R= water (transfer to IV by removing water).

3.  Handle: Something with a handle is a R= bucket A bucket has a.. R= handle and/or What's this? R= handle (tact part) A bucket has a.. R= handle.

4.  Beach: At the beach you play with a.. R= Bucket You play with a bucket at the.. R= beach ** If you want to reverse this target to a "Where" question, after the fill-in is mastered with the single word (beach), stop at bucket to get the fill-in including the prepositional phrase. If we ask a "Where?" question, we want the preposition included in the response but we also want to be sure that "beach" and "bucket" are "intraverbally linked" so as to avoid inadvertently teaching "at the beach" as a chained response AND to avoid having the child tact "beach" as "at the beach".

5. Toy: Tell me a toy. R= Bucket A bucket is a.. R= Toy.

6.  Play: Something we play with is a.. Bucket We use a bucket to... R= play.

7.  Shovel: Something that goes with a shovel is a.. R= bucket A bucket goes with a .. R= shovel and/or What's this? R= shovel A bucket goes with a ... R= shovel.

These, and/or other, transfer procedures should be run multiple times throughout the teaching session.

Many of the reversal fill-ins will have multiple "correct" responses. If it is determined that the child is able to respond with multiple answers, these can be taught together. In order to avoid having the responses chained together in a specific order, it is recommended that they be taught in varying orders.

Ex: Tact to Reversal IV fill-in

Inst: (water and sand present) Inst: Some things we pour in a bucket are,, (points to/touches each item as the child responds) R= sand, water

(Remove water) Some things we pour in a bucket are.. (points to sand) R= sand Inst: and R= water (removes sand also) Some things we pour in a bucket are.. R= sand, water

AND/OR

Inst: (water and sand visible) Touch, "water and sand" R= child touches AND says "water and sand" Inst: Some things we pour in a bucket are.. R= Water and sand. (remove water and sand) Some things we pour in a bucket are... R= water and sand 

On the next trial, do the same but put the items in a different order.

Probing

When probing the reversal as an IV fill-in, the item should not be present. New targets are probed for the first time the day after they are taught. Just present the fill-in and note the response. Many targets will have multiple responses (functions or parts) to the same fill-in. If one response is consistently given (is "stronger" than the other), probe for an "additional" response by saying, "and" or "what else", then present the fill-in a second time. If a probe target is missed, run a correction trial and move on.

Ex: Something we pour in a bucket is... R= sand and/what else? R= water

Something we pour in a bucket is.. R= water

OR, if the child has been taught to give multiple responses to the single SD, probe for all the responses.

Ex: Some things we pour in a bucket are... R= sand and water.

Teaching Based on Probe Responses

Children taught to give multiple single responses but only giving one: If the child is just being taught to give one response to those SDs which can have multiple "correct" answers, but only one of the responses is consistently being given during the probe, provide more contact with reinforcement for the weaker response during teaching during that session. In this case, the goal is to have the child be as likely to give one response as another. 

Ex: During the probe, the instructor presented, "Something we pour in a bucket is... R= sand Inst: And/what else? R= sand (the single response is not "wrong" but the instructor also wants to get target "water" in response to this fill-in.) Inst: We pour water in a R: bucket Something we pour in a bucket is.. R= Water (child had a history of saying "water" under this condition and the instructor stressed the word "water" in her presentation of the FFC fill-in to increase the likelihood of the response.) The target "water" is marked as "prompted" on the probe sheet.The instructor knows from the probe that "water" is a weaker response than "sand" to this fill-in, so throughout the rest of the session, tact to fill-in transfers and FFC to reversal fill-in transfers are provided multiple times to increase the contact this response has with reinforcement. Once this response is occurring with no transfers or prompting, the instructor also goes back to teaching/prompting the response, "sand" until each response is as likely to occur as the other.

Children taught to give multiple, connected responses but only giving one: Note the response given and go back to the teaching procedures described above throughout the session until all desired responses are given.

Other Error Responses: When probing, if the child doesn't fill-in the correct response, the instructor can just fill-in the response herself.

Typically, the child will then echo the response and the fill-in can be presented again.

Ex: Inst: A bucket has a... Child: No response Inst: handle Child: handle Inst: A bucket has a.. Child: handle The target is marked as "prompted" on the probe. 

Once the probe of all current targets is completed, the instructor gathers needed pictures/objects/ toys needed to teach the missed targets.

The targets missed on the probe should not be missed again throughout the session. Multiple transfers should be run so the target response contacts reinforcement frequently. Mix the targets in with mastered responses both in the natural environment and during NET.

NET: Play with the bucket in the natural environment, focusing on the responses the child missed during the probe. Pour sand and water in the bucket, make sand castles, pull on the handle and try to lift the (heavy) bucket full of sand, pretend you're at the beach (put on your sunglasses and sunscreen!). Have fun and enjoy the interactions with the child as you teach him the target responses. During these "Verbal Modules", review all of the mastered response the child has regarding the bucket and transfer these mastered responses to the new target responses. Keep the probe sheet with you to be sure you know which targets need to be taught.

Next intensive teaching session: For the rest of the intensive teaching sittings, the missed target is "taught" (NOT TESTED) using the transfer and prompting procedures as described above. Gradually add more "distance" or mastered responses between the transfer trial and the target response trial until the child is responding correctly to the target SD.

Ex: Inst: What's this part? R= Handle Inst: A bucket has a.. R= handle Inst: touch your ear R= touches ear Inst: Do this. (wiggles fingers) R= wiggles fingers Inst: A bucket has a... handle

Correct Responses:

Whenever a child responds correctly on the probe, the instructor puts an "I" for "Independent" on the probe sheet but also uses this response to transfer to the reversal WH question. Data is not taken on the WH question at this point and the questions are only asked following a transfer.

Ex: Inst: A bucket is a... R= Toy Inst: What's a bucket? R= Toy

As mentioned above, if we plan to teach a "Where?" question as a reversal, we want the child to use a prepositional phrase in his response. So, if the child independently responds with the single word during the probe, teach the phrase.

Ex: Inst: We use a bucket at the... R: beach Inst: We use a bucket... R= at the beach Where do we us a bucket? R= at the beach Or, try varying the FFC fill-in to increase the likelihood of a prepositional phrase as the response. Ex: At the beach we use a.. R= bucket We use a bucket.. R= at the beach.

Note: Some children may not respond with the phrase since the single word response is so strong when the fill-in is presented. If this does not elicit the phrase, an echoic trial can be run to get the phrase. Say, "at the beach" R= at the beach 

Once the child is consistently responding with the prepositional phrase, transfer to the "Where?" question. Inst: We use a bucket... Child: at the beach Inst: Where do we use a bucket? Child: at the beach.

***It will be important for some children to continue to go back and review "beach" as a tact so the tact of beach does not become, "at the beach". In addition, when running intraverbal stories, make sure "at the beach" is not always the response the child gives.

MASTERED REVERSAL FILL-Ins TRANSFERRED TO WH?

As stated above, each time the child responds correctly to the fill-in on the probe, the response is transferred to the WH question. By the time all of the responses have been mastered as fill-in responses, many transfers to WH questions will have occurred. Now it is time to determine if the child is able to discriminate between the question forms. We keep the "item" constant so the child only has to discriminate the questions. Probe the questions with the item present so you can prompt the child by pointing to the correct response if necessary to avoid having to rely on echoic prompts. The questions can be probed, "back to back" or mixed in with other "easy" tasks to make sure the ratio or "easy" to "hard" responses stays high.

Ex: Intensive teaching setting with a bucket sitting on the table. Variable ratio of reinforcement is set at 15- ratio of "easy to hard" set at 70:30)Instructor Child

Clap Claps (mastered receptive response) 

Do you see a girl? Touches girl (mastered receptive response)

What's this? Bucket (mastered tact response)

What does a bucket have? Handle (probe reversal "wh" target)

Pretend to sleep. Pretends to sleep (mastered receptive response)

What do we do with a bucket? Play (probe rev. wh target)

Give me five! Slaps instructor's hand (mastered rec. response)

(Reinforce)

Find a fish touches picture of fish (mastered rec. response)

What are some things we pour into a bucket? Water and sand (probe rev. wh target)

What's this called? (mastered tact picture) dog (mastered tact response)

What's something you drink? Juice (mastered intraverbal response)

Yes! A dog is an... animal (mastered intraverbal response)

What am I doing? (stomp) Stomping (mastered tact response)

What is a bucket? Toy (probe rev. wh target)

Show me an animal touches animal (mastered receptive response)

Do this. (holds up 3fingers) hold up 3 fingers (mastered imitation response)

How many? 3 (mastered response)

Tell me something that flies. Bird (mastered intraverbal response)

We sleep in a.. Bed (mastered response)

What goes with a bucket? Shovel (probe rev. wh target)

Find the banana touches/says banana (mastered rec/tact resp)

Something we eat is a banana (transferred TFFC)

Where do you use a bucket? At the beach (probe rev. wh target)

Reinforce

For other children, asking the questions "back to back" but with a much higher density of reinforcement and/or a much stronger reinforcer may

work fine.

Ex: Intensive teaching setting- Typical VR during intensive teaching = 15 but set at 3 for probe due to increased difficulty of demand- The bucket is present.

Instructor Child

What's this? bucket

What does a bucket have? Handle

Reinforce

What are some things we pour in a bucket? Sand and water

What goes with a bucket? Shovel

Where do you use a bucket? At the beach

Reinforce

What is a bucket? Toy

What do we do with a bucket? Play

Missed Responses

Any targets missed during the probe should be taught throughout the session, both in the NET and during intensive teaching sessions through transfers from tacts and fill-ins as described above. No more "testing" of the response missed during the probe should occur until the beginning of the next session. If proper teaching procedures are used, the child should never respond incorrectly again for the rest of the session.

Teaching one Question Form at a Tim

An alternative to keeping the item constant is to keep the question form constant. In this instance, you would teach each specific question form with multiple different objects. For example, to teach "functions", lay out many items for which the child has mastered giving the item name when provided the function as part of FFC training.

Inst: Which one do we use to cut? Child: touches scissors Inst: right! We use a scissors to ...Child: cut Inst: Which one do we use to drink? Child: touches cup Inst: We use a cup to ..Child: drink. Inst: and we use a scissors to ..Child: cut Inst: What do we do with scissors? Child: cut Inst: find one we eat. Child: touches cookie. Inst: Yes! We use a cookie to..Child: eat Inst: What do we do with scissors? Child: cut Inst: (removes scissors- transfer to IV) What do we do with scissors? Child: cut Inst: Great! And we use a cup to Child: drink Inst: What do we do with a cup? Child: drink 

Continue in this manner until the child can respond to all as intraverbal but only teach the response to "What do we do with a...". Once the child has mastered this question form, add it to your VB modules to be sure the child can discriminate between this question form and previously mastered questions such as "What color, what size, what doing etc..." before teaching another question form. This may be a preferred way to proceed for a child with a history of significant difficulty discriminating between questions.

DISCRIMINATING BOTH THE QUESTION FORM AND THE ITEM

Once the child is able to discriminate the question forms with one item present, probe the questions with a second item present. Doing so will allow the team to insure that the child is able to discriminate both the question forms and the item. By keeping the items present, there is a "limit" on the possible correct responses but discrimination is still required. All the FFCs for the second target should also have been previously mastered as intraverbal reversal fill in responses. 

Present the WH questions in either of the formats described above depending on the particular child and his history of responding. Do not point to or look at the specific item for which you are asking the question but ask questions about each randomly. We are making sure the child is discriminating both the WH question forms and the item name so it's important not to provide "extra stimulus" prompts for the correct answers. Of course, as always, if the child does not respond within 3 seconds or so, give the response, wait for an echoic, then present the SD again. If the child responds incorrectly, run a correction procedure. Note the responses on the probe. 

Once the probe is finished, look at the responses the child gave to determine the nature of the discrimination error. If the error was in discriminating the question form, provide multiple transfers for different questions with the single item present again. If the error was in discriminating the item name, run multiple transfers.

Ex: Intensive teaching session with a Pig and an alligator present. (some same FFCs) VR typically set at 15 but a higher valued reinforcer and a lower ratio is used during the probe. (NOTE: If this is too difficult for the child, mix at the set rate in a manner similar to that which was described earlier.)

Instructor Child Discrimination Error

What does a pig have? Sharp teeth Item

What does a pig have? (points to curly tail) Curly tail

What does a pig have? (no prompt) Curly tail

Where does an alligator live? In the water

Reinforce

What color is a pig? On the farm question form

What color is a pig? Pink pink

What color is a pig? Pink

Where does a pig live? In the water Item

Where does a pig live? On the farm On the farm

Where does a pig live? On the farm

Reinforce 

What is a pig? Animal (no discrimination of item required)

Reinforce

What does a pig say? Oink, Oink

What is an alligator? Animal (no discrimination of item required)

Reinforce

What does an alligator have? Sharp teeth 

What else? Rough skin

What does an alligator have? Rough skin

Reinforce

From this probe, we can see that the responses to "pig" are not very strong. The child had difficulty discriminating both the question forms and the item but only when responding to questions about the pig. For the rest of the teaching session, the child would not have the opportunity to respond incorrectly to any of the targets he missed during the probe. Instead, teaching would occur using transfer and prompting procedures as described when the targets were initially taught. (i.e. tact to Wh transfers, Fill-in to WH transfers etc.)

For errors in discriminating the question form, have the single item out and run transfers on the different question forms.

For errors in discriminating the item name, be sure to allow for teaching towards correcting this error.

Ex:

(only a pig present) A pig lives On the farm

Where does a pig live? On the farm

Where does an alligator live? In the water

Find the one that lives on the farm (touches pig)

Where does a pig live? On the farm

Find the one that lives in the water. Touches alligator

Where does an alligator live? In the water

Find the pig's curly tail. (hold pig towards child) Touches and says "curly tail"

What does a pig have? Curly tail

What does an alligator have? Rough skin and sharp teeth

The following day, this item (pig) would again be probed in contrast with another item to be sure the child was able to discriminate both the item name and the question forms.

TRANSFER CORRECT RESPONSES TO THE INTRAVERBAL

If the child responded to the targets correctly during the probe, for the rest of the session, transfer the correct response to the intraverbal by removing the item present. 

Ex: What does an alligator have Sharp teeth and Rough Skin

(remove item from view) What does an alligator have? " " "

Continue these transfers, gradually separating from the transfer response until the child is responding correctly without the transfer on a consistent basis. On the following day, probe the target as an intraverbal WH Reversal question.

Once the target is mastered as an intraverbal Reversal WH question, it can be added to the "mix" of mastered responses to be monitored for maintenance.​

 

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