Behavior Analysis in Practice

, Volume 12, Issue 1, pp 52–65 | Cite as

Using the Teacher IRAP (T-IRAP) interactive computerized programme to teach complex flexible relational responding with children with diagnosed autism spectrum disorder

  • Carol MurphyEmail author
  • Keith Lyons
  • Michelle Kelly
  • Yvonne Barnes-Holmes
  • Dermot Barnes-Holmes
Research Article


The research used an alternating-treatments design to compare relational responding for five children with diagnosed autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in two teaching conditions. Both conditions used applied behavior analysis; one was usual tabletop teaching (TT), and one was an interactive computerized teaching program, the Teacher–Implicit Relational Assessment Programme (T-IRAP; Kilroe, Murphy, Barnes-Holmes, & Barnes-Holmes, Behavioral Development Bulletin, 19(2), 60–80, 2014). Relational skills targeted were coordination (same/different), with nonarbitrary and arbitrary stimuli. Participants’ relational learning outcomes were compared in terms of speed of responding and accuracy (percentage correct) in T-IRAP and TT conditions. Results showed significantly increased speed for all five participants during T-IRAP teaching across all procedures; however, accuracy was only marginally increased during T-IRAP. Pre- and posttraining comparison of participant scores on the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test, Fourth Edition (Dunn & Dunn, 2007), and the Kaufman Brief Intelligence Test (Kaufman & Kaufman, 1990) was conducted. An improvement in raw scores on both measures was evident for one participant who learned complex arbitrary relations; no changes were shown for participants who learned only basic nonarbitrary relations.


flexibility relational responding relational frame theory verbal behavior T-IRAP 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Carol Murphy declares that she has no conflict of interest. Keith Lyons declares that he has no conflict of interest. Michelle Kelly declares that she has no conflict of interest. Yvonne Barnes-Holmes declares that she has no conflict of interest. Dermot Barnes-Holmes declares that he has no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from individual parents/guardians before their child’s participation in the study. Children cannot provide informed consent, but methods were carefully documented to ensure that each child participated on a voluntary basis (i.e., gave verbal or tacit assent at each session). Tacit assent was interpreted by the absence of any signs of distress, negative facial expression, or other behavioral indicators, which were monitored throughout. If indicators were that a child did not assent, the session was terminated; if a child did not assent for three consecutive sessions, participation was suspended and not recommenced without a review with child and parent at a later date. Safeguards were applied in accordance with current ethical standards when conducting research with vulnerable populations.


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Copyright information

© Association for Behavior Analysis International 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyNational University of IrelandCo. KildareIreland
  2. 2.Department of Experimental Clinical and Health PsychologyUniversity of GhentGhentBelgium

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