Does mastery of ABLA level 6 make it easier for individuals with developmental disabilities to learn to name objects?

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Verbeke, Aynsley
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Level 6 of the Assessment of Basic Learning Abilities (ABLA) assesses the ease or difficulty with which persons with developmental disabilities (DD) are able to learn a two-choice auditory-visual discrimination. Individuals with DD who have passed ABLA Level 6 are likely to have at least some language skills, and their language is likely to be more complex than those individuals who have not passed Level 6 (Marion et al., 2003). Thus, an individual’s performance on Level 6 of the ABLA may be predictive of the types of language skills he/she will readily learn. Previous research (Verbeke, Martin, Yu & Martin, 2007) demonstrated that an individual’s pass/fail performance on ABLA Level 6 predicted his or her ability to point to pictures of common objects when the tester said the names of the objects. The present research examined whether performance on ABLA Level 6 might predict the ability of a person with a severe DD to learn to say the names of common objects (called tacting). Specifically, this study investigated whether participants who passed ABLA Level 6 (the Auditory-Visual Group – Group 1) would more readily learn object naming behavior (vocal tacts) than those clients who failed ABLA Level 6 (the Visual Group – Group 2). The groups were matched on the Communication Subscale of the Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scale (VABS). Results indicated that: (a) Group 1 met mastery criterion for a significantly larger number of naming responses than Group 2; and (b) the mean number of trials to mastery criterion was significantly lower in Group 1 than in Group 2. The implications for language training are discussed.
Assessment of Basic Learning Abilities (ABLA), developmental disabilities, language training