Facilitating the emergence of convergent intraverbals in children with autism

Andresa A. DeSouza, Wayne W. Fisher, Nicole M. Rodriguez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Convergent intraverbals represent a specific type of intraverbal in which multiple components of one speaker's verbal behavior control a specific verbal response from another speaker (e.g., Speaker 1: What wooly, horned animal lives in the high country? Speaker 2: Bighorn sheep). To foster the development of advanced language, Sundberg and Sundberg (2011) proposed prerequisite skills that may engender the emergence of novel, convergent intraverbals. We used a multiple-probe design with both nonconcurrent (across participants) and concurrent (across stimulus sets) components to evaluate the effects of training these prerequisite skills on the emergence of convergent intraverbals with four children with autism. Participants showed the emergence of convergent intraverbals at mastery levels after they displayed mastery performance on all of the prerequisite skills identified by Sundberg and Sundberg, lending support to their characterization as prerequisites. We discuss these findings in terms of operant mechanisms that may facilitate the development of generative language.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)28-49
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of applied behavior analysis
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019


  • autism spectrum disorder
  • convergent intraverbals
  • generative language
  • multiple control
  • verbal behavior

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Applied Psychology


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