Teaching Listener Responding to Children with Autism (CP)


Learn a procedure for teaching listener responding to children with autism based on Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention and Discrete Trials Teaching. This tutorial was developed using a Behavioral Skills Training approach and features extensive video modeling.

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Children with autism typically have difficulty communicating with others, lack some social skills, and perform unusual behaviors or rituals. Without effective treatment they are unlikely to be able to learn in traditional school or pre-school settings. Applied Behavior Analysis offers the most effective treatment for autism: Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention. It involves identifying children as early as possible, assessing the child’s learning needs, and setting up structured learning opportunities with clear instructions, fun and exciting consequences, and repeated practice until the child has learned the skill. These structured learning opportunities are called Discrete Trial Teaching (DTT) sessions. One area of language that is often taught in DTT is listener responding, which is generally described as following verbal directions. Effective listener responding allows you to respond to people and things in the environment. Using a Behavioral Skills Training approach and extensive video modeling, this tutorial shows how to use DTT to teach listener responding skills to learners with autism or any special learning need.

About the Authors

Kaneen Smyer, Ph.D., BCBA-D

Dr. Kaneen Smyer is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst who received her Ph.D. in 2012 from Auburn University. She has worked with individuals with developmental disabilities across the lifespan since 2003 and is the Program Director at Ivymount Corporation.

Jamie Severtson, Ph.D., BCBA-D

Dr. Jamie Severtson is the Clinical Director at Autism Learning Partners in Broomfield, Colorado. She is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and a Licensed Behavior Analyst in the state of Missouri. Previously, she served as Assistant Professor and Graduate Coordinator of the Master of Arts in Applied Behavior Analysis Program at Southeast Missouri State University. Dr. Severtson holds a Ph.D. in Behavior Analysis from Western Michigan University.

Linda A. LeBlanc, Ph.D., BCBA-D

Dr. Linda A. LeBlanc is the President of LeBlanc Behavioral Consulting. She is a licensed clinical psychologist and a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. She received her Ph.D. in 1996 from Louisiana State University and previously served on the psychology faculties at Claremont McKenna College (1997-1999), Western Michigan University (1999-2008), and Auburn University (2009-2012).

Learning Objectives
Upon completing the tutorial, the learner should be able to:

  1. Implement a discrete trials teaching procedure to teach listener responding to children with autism
  2. Identify errors made implementing the procedure
  3. Discriminate correct and incorrect responses by the learner
  4. Match prompt levels to the amount of help they provide
  5. Recognize examples of different prompt levels
  6. Specify the prompting hierarchy for probe sessions
  7. Indicate the prompt level required for teaching trials based on probe trials data
Technical Requirements
The tutorial requires only an active internet connection and a relatively modern web browser with JavaScript enabled.
Accuracy, Utility, and Risks
The content of this tutorial should be considered quite accurate, as it was written by three experts in the field of applied behavior analysis, all of whom are doctoral-level Board Certified Behavior Analysts with extensive experience. This tutorial should benefit any behavior analyst, student, psychologist, or behavioral science professional teaching listener responding or verbal behavior to children with autism. There is little to no risk associated with completing this tutorial, aside from the physical risks associated with any computer work (e.g., repetitive stress injuries and eyestrain) and possibly severe boredom.
This tutorial was initially developed by the authors in conjunction with Foxylearning as part of Dr. Kaneen (Geiger) Smyer’s dissertation research at Auburn University. A commercial version was first released by Foxylearning in May 2014, with a significant update in January 2020.

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