Brief Report: The Training and Assessment of Relational Precursors and Abilities (TARPA): A Preliminary Analysis


The TARPA (Training & Assessment of Relational Precursors & Abilities) is a recently developed computer-based protocol for the assessment of a progression of key domains of responding critical to the development of generative language. In the current pilot study, five children with autism were assessed using the TARPA and their score on this protocol was correlated with ratings on the Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales. Findings showed a statistically significant correlation. This and other features of TARPA performance and their implications for future testing and development of this protocol are discussed.

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  1. 1.

    Transfer of function, which occurs in Stage 6 of the TARPA, is a special case of transformation of function in which the transformation is in accordance with relations of sameness or coordination. Hence, when referring to Stage 6, either ‘transfer’ or ‘transformation’ is technically correct.

  2. 2.

    An additional participant refused to engage with the task and hence was dropped from the study.


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Correspondence to Ian Stewart.

Additional information

This research was conducted by the first author under the supervision of the second author in partial fulfillment of the requirements for her MA degree in ABA at NUI, Galway.

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Moran, L., Stewart, I., McElwee, J. et al. Brief Report: The Training and Assessment of Relational Precursors and Abilities (TARPA): A Preliminary Analysis. J Autism Dev Disord 40, 1149–1153 (2010).

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  • Assessment
  • Relations
  • Relational frame theory
  • Correlation
  • Vineland
  • Generativity