From a conference to a virtual course – it’s time to learn with Dr. Francesca degli Espinosa
This online synchronous course will focus on selected topics to guide practitioners through a behavioural analysis and derived procedures to establish early social responding and higher social cognition skills in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Language is social in nature, it occurs because of and to maintain social interaction. Thus, an early focus on establishing social interaction as a vehicle for learning may facilitate the acquisition of a wide range of skills under natural sources of reinforcement and, therefore, enable practitioners to rely less on the use of extrinsic non-social consequences. To achieve this, one must first provide a definition and an analysis of early social responding. Once this has been outlined, deriving procedures that are not only effective, but also conceptually systematic, becomes possible.
In sessions 1 and 2, an analysis of early social responding will be presented and operational definitions of social behaviours will be provided. Following this, a sequence of instructions to establish eye contact, initiating and responding to joint attention, play skills and language within the context of joint activity routines will be illustrated and supported by video examples and group exercises. Particular emphasis will be placed on how to view social activities as examples of behavioural chains in which the adult links MOs and Sds in successive fashion to establish his or her own actions as reinforcers within any given activity. By so doing social and verbal responding can be made to occur under the relevant social antecedents and for the purpose of contacting social reinforcement.
In sessions 3 and 4, higher social cognition skills and their underlying multiply controlled behaviours will be explored. The umbrella term social cognition is used in this context to denote a repertoire of verbal behaviours that are related to the manipulation of private events of oneself and others, sometimes referred to as Theory of Mind. The workshop will focus firstly on presenting a behaviour analysis of inferential thinking, perspective-taking and problem solving as three key skills that can be addressed once a child has acquired the ability to speak fluently but nonetheless continues to struggle with his or her syndrome-specific social pragmatic deficits. Secondly, a sequence of instruction that moves the child with autism from tacting public events to tacting private events, to predict and explain the behaviour of others, and to engage in problem-solving, both academically and in daily life, will be provided.
Mondays, March 1 to March 22, 2021 (2pm – 5pm EST)
12 CEU’s available
Course attendees will be required to sign in and out each day, attend the workshop in full, and complete the course evaluation in order to earn full CEU credit. This course is designed for those who have or are pursuing BCBA/BCaBA/RBT certification and who have an understanding of Skinners Analysis of Verbal Behaviour. Teachers, other professionals and those whose role uses ABA to design and implement programming to decrease behaviours and increase skill acquisition of individuals with autism may benefit from this course.
Limited Spots Available
Dr. Francesca degli Espinosa is a certified behaviour analyst (BCBA-D) and doctor of research in Psychology (Ph.D). She has been in the field of Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) for over twenty years, working both as a clinician and as an academic. Her main applied areas are education curriculum design for children with autism and the reduction of challenging behaviours. Dr. degli Espinosa has taught advanced verbal behaviour in various masters courses in Italy (University of Salerno), United Kingdom (Queen’s University, Belfast) and the United States (Penn State). Check out her website – http://abaclinic.net
Course Update: Please note that this course is already in progress as of March 1st, 2021
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