Behavior Analysis in Practice

, Volume 12, Issue 1, pp 167–175 | Cite as

Teaching “Then-Later” and “Here-There” Relations to Children with Autism: an Evaluation of Single Reversals and Transformation of Stimulus Function

  • Becky F. Barron
  • Leah Verkuylen
  • Jordan Belisle
  • Dana Paliliunas
  • Mark R. DixonEmail author
Brief Practice


The present study demonstrates the utility of relational training for teaching Then-Later and Here-There deictic relations for two children with autism. Mutually entailed single-reversal relations, transfers of stimulus function, and transformations of stimulus function were also evaluated for each participant. The methods were adapted from the PEAK-T curriculum. Results for both participants support the utility of relational training for teaching children with autism basic perspective-taking skills. Both participants were able to generalize the perspective-taking skills to novel sets of stimuli, and demonstrate mutually entailed responding during single-reversal tasks. Both participants were also able to demonstrate transformations of stimulus function for both Then-Later and Here-There deictic relations.


Autism Transformation of stimulus function Perspective taking Relational frame theory 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in this study which involved human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institution 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 for participation in this research.


The last author receives small royalties from sales of the PEAK curriculum.


  1. American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders: DSM-5. Washington, D.C.: American Psychiatric Association.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Barnes-Holmes, Y., McHugh, L., & Barnes-Holmes, D. (2004). Perspective-taking and theory of mind: A relational frame account. The Behavior Analyst Today, 5, 15–25.
  3. Baron-Cohen, S., Leslie, A. M., & Frith, U. (1985). Does the autistic child have a “theory of mind”? Cognition, 21, 37–46. Scholar
  4. Belisle, J., Dixon, M. R., Stanley, C. R., Munoz, B., & Daar, J. H. (2016). Teaching foundational perspective-taking skills to children with autism using the PEAK-T curriculum: Single-reversal “I–You” deictic frames. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 49, 965–969. Scholar
  5. Dixon, M. R. (2016). PEAK relational training system: Transformation module. Carbondale, IL: Shawnee Scientific Press.Google Scholar
  6. Dixon, M. R., Speelman, R. C., Rowsey, K. E., & Belisle, J. (2016). Derived rule-following and transformation of stimulus functions in a children’s game: An application of PEAK-E with children with developmental disabilities. Journal of Contextual Behavioral Sciences.
  7. Dougher, M. J., Augusten, E., Markham, M. R., Greenway, D. E., & Wulfert, E. (1994). The transfer of respondent eliciting and extinction functions through stimulus equivalence classes. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 62, 331–351. Scholar
  8. Dymond, S., & Rehfeldt, R. A. (2000). Understanding complex behavior: the transformation of stimulus functions. The Behavior Analyst, 23, 239–254. Scholar
  9. Gilroy, S. P., Lorah, E. R., Dodge, J., & Fiorello, C. (2015). Establishing deictic repertoires in autism. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 19, 82–92. Scholar
  10. Hayes, S. C., Barnes-Holmes, D., & Roche, B. (2001). Relational frame theory: A post-Skinnerian account of human language and cognition. New York, NY: Kluwer Academic/Plenum.Google Scholar
  11. Jackson, M. L., Mendoza, D. R., & Adams, A. N. (2014). Teaching a deictic relational repertoire to children with autism. The Psychological Record, 64, 791–802. Scholar
  12. Lovett, S., & Rehfeldt, R. A. (2014). An evaluation of multiple exemplar instruction to teach perspective-taking skills to adolescents with Asperger syndrome. Behavioral Development Bulletin, 19, 22–36. Scholar
  13. O’hora, D., Pelaez, M., & Barnes-Holmes, D. (2005). Derived relational responding and performance on verbal subtests of the WAIS-III. The Psychological Record, 55, 155–175. Scholar
  14. Premack, D., & Woodruff, G. (1978). Does the chimpanzee have a theory of mind? Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 1, 515–526. Scholar
  15. Rehfeldt, R. A., Dillen, J. E., Ziomek, M. M., & Kowalchuk, R. K. (2007). Assessing relational learning deficits in perspective-taking in children with high-functioning autism spectrum disorder. The Psychological Rcord, 57, 23–47. Scholar
  16. Weil, T. M., Hayes, S. C., & Capurro, P. (2011). Establishing a deictic relational repertoire in young children. The Psychological Record, 61, 371–339. Scholar

Copyright information

© Association for Behavior Analysis International 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Becky F. Barron
    • 1
  • Leah Verkuylen
    • 1
  • Jordan Belisle
    • 1
  • Dana Paliliunas
    • 1
  • Mark R. Dixon
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Southern Illinois UniversityCarbondaleUSA
  2. 2.Rehabilitation InstituteSouthern Illinois UniversityCarbondaleUSA

Personalised recommendations