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5482 Behavior and Language: Semantic Assessment and Intervention Strategies for Social Thinking

Thursday, July 7, 2011: 1:00 PM-2:15 PM
Sun 5-6 (Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center)
The purpose of this workshop is to describe the relationship between thinking or conceptualizing and learning to behave. We will show how we use language to assign pro-social meaning to behavior and how this assignment of meaning helps change a person’s perspective. We will walk participants through different ways to perceive behavior, how to decide what is acceptable behavior, and how to use specific methods to help individuals learn to socially behave regardless of how impacted they are cognitively. The audience for this workshop includes parents, educators, and support specialists; anyone who works with individuals that demonstrate social thinking issues. Many students who are diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders demonstrate some form of socio-cognitive issues whether it is making a choice on how to study for a test or the behavior seen when a child throws a tantrum. Behavior often defines the diagnosis! For example, an individual diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum may show some of the same behaviors as someone who has difficulty processing incoming stimuli.  Both individuals can show the behaviors of a tantrum but have different reasons for the behaviors. Also many diagnostic labels such as Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) often occur with or are co-morbid with other diagnoses such as ADHD, Conduct Disorder, Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD), Obsessive/Compulsive Disorder (OCD), and/or Bi-polar disorders to mention a few; therefore, it is important to consider social thinking issues as part of many disabilities at all ages.

Most educators and parents are taught that to deal with behavior we must emphasize how to eliminate unwanted behavior in order to develop more compliant or more appropriate behaviors.  Even though this type of emphasis creates a short- term level of desired behavior, it does not consider the relationship between behavior and thinking. Thinking allows an individual to make behavioral choices, to understand others’ behaviors in order to decide what society expects, to establish personal levels of social responsibility, to assign societal meaning to others’ behaviors so as to fit into the workplace, to be able to explain one’s behavior, to use higher order thinking in social interactions, etc. This workshop will explore how thinking and behavior are related through the language of behavior. So, as an individual learns about the language of behavior, the individual develops more knowledge that not only improves behavior but changes the way he or she is able to think. Numerous examples through vignettes and case studies will be used. The presenters will incorporate information from several different philosophies about behavior and how specific methods flow from these different sets of beliefs, what the methods provide and don’t provide and how to incorporate ideas from all the methods into prevention of unwanted behavior and intervention to create wanted behavior.

We also hope that by the end our workshop our participants will be aware of and have a basic understanding of Arwood’s ten behavior principles:

  1. All behavior is a form of communication.
  2. For behavior to be meaningful, someone must interpret it.
  3. Interpretation involves language.
  4. Language assigns meaning to behavior.

Learning Objectives:

  • Participants will be able to explain how behavior is a form of communication and is a product of the neurological learning system.
  • Participants will be able to explain the relationships between language, learning and social development.
  • Participants will be able to explain at least three strategies to improve pro-social behavior through language enrichment.

Content Area: Behavior


Ellyn Lucas Arwood, Ed.D., CCC-SLP
University of Portland

Dr. Ellyn Lucas Arwood has 45 years of clinical language experience with a variety of special needs populations in a variety of settings. She has authored eight textbooks and is currently a Professor at the University of Portland in special education (language and cognition) and in neuroeducation (learning and neurosciences).

Carole A. Kaulitz, M.Ed., CCC-SLP
Speech-Language Pathologist, Autism Consultant, Deaf/Hard of Hearing Education Specialist
Learning with a Visual Brain Consulting

Carole Kaulitz has been in the field of education for over 40 years and is currently self-employed as an SLP, autism consultant and deaf/hard-of-hearing education specialist in Vancouver, WA. Carole has extensive training in multi-methodologies related to both autism and deafness, and has presented numerous workshops nationwide.

Mabel M. Brown, M.A.
Learning, Language, and Behavior Consultant, Business Manager

Mabel Brown, M.A., is a learning, language, and behavior consultant as well as a business manager at APRICOT, Inc. With more than 30 years' experience, Mabel specializes in working with children and adults with neurogenic disabilities such as autism spectrum disorders.