About Siri

Throughout my career I have been committed to the compassionate practice of behavior analysis to help people live meaningful, values-directed lives. I am also dedicated to capacity building, the continual improvement of our field, and growing a healthy next generation of behavior analysts. All of my work is grounded in values of rigor, generosity, and kindness, and the importance of connecting with joy and community.

Academic Training

My Ph.D. is in Applied Behaviour Analysis from the National University of Ireland, supervised by Ian Stewart, and my Master’s degree is in clinical psychology from the University of Manitoba, supervised by Gary Martin. In addition to my coaching and training practice, I teach and act as subject matter expert for graduate level classes in Verbal Behavior for the Chicago School of Professional Psychology

Applied Experience

With over 25 years in the field, I have had a wide range of positions working with individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities, and their support circles. This has included serving as the Behavior Analyst for pre-K/elementary age autism programs at Humboldt County Office of Education, where I provided technical assistance, consultation, staff training and program development for 30 school districts and county classrooms throughout Humboldt County. I was also the Behavior Analyst for Redwood Coast Regional Center, where I oversaw quality assurance, technical assistance, and training for behavioral services for individuals with developmental disabilities of all ages throughout Humboldt and Del Norte Counties. And I first learned about the application of Verbal Behavior working for Behavior Analysts, Inc., under the expert direction of Mark Sundberg, Jim Partington, and Mary Ann Powers, where I developed agency training programs, workshops, and distance education courses for parents, classroom staff, teachers, school psychologists, and other professionals working with children with autism. Prior to working as a behavior analyst, I worked as an instructional designer and also as a synchronized swimming coach, experiences that have significantly shaped my training and teaching practice.

My focus

My clinical focus remains on developing intensive early intervention programs for children with autism and other language delays, based on analyzing the child’s verbal behavior (including relational framing repertoires) and motivation. The focus of programs I consult to includes structured discrete trial/intensive teaching in classroom/clinic and home settings as well as an emphasis on natural language training within the context of everyday activities. I also spend some of my time developing training, assessment and curriculum tools through projects with the VB3 collaborative, using a synthesis of Skinnerian verbal behavior analysis and relational frame theory.

For more about my values and my practice, see my coaching page.


Books: Available now and in the works

Available Now: Using RFT to Promote Generative Language, Vol 1.

Relational Frame Theory (RFT) views generalized derived relational responding—relational framing—as the core skill involved in human language. As such, RFT is essential for flexible, fluent conversational skills and academic progress. Our approach to early intervention integrates RFT theory and applied research on the assessment and training of derived relational responding skills with strategies developed by programs which follow a more traditional behavior analytic and specifically Skinnerian analysis of verbal behavior. In this handbook we focus on assessing, establishing, and capitalizing on derived relational responding repertoires in frames of coordination (equivalence), and show you how doing so can promote generalized and generative language repertoires. Throughout this handbook, we identify relational responding repertoires as behavioral cusps to teach towards an ultimate aim of establishing generative language, and present a powerful framework for approaching early intervention, based on RFT and informed by decades of research and practice.

Expected 2021: Using RFT to Promote Generative Language, Vol 2.

The second book in our handbook series will provide practitioners with both theoretical grounding and practical protocols to teach learners the earliest relational operants: difference, comparison, opposition, spatial and temporal relations.

Coming in 2022: Understanding and Applying RFT: Complex language as the foundation of our work as behavior analysts

Co-authored with Evelyn Gould and Julia Fiebig, in this textbook we will explain the essential principles of RFT, including RFT conceptualizations of the development of generative language, the self, and rule governed behavior. We make the argument that language both creates and transforms the context for action, and that understanding and harnessing complex language processes is integral to building those bridges that allow us to work effectively with each other, and the world. 


Journal articles & book chapters

Rehfeldt, R.A., Ming, S. and Belisle, J. (2020). Relational Framing. In S. Hupp and J. Jewell (Eds.), The Encyclopedia of Child and Adolescent Development. Wiley. doi:10.1002/9781119171492.wecad066

Stewart, I., McLoughlin, S., Mulhern, T., Ming, S., & Kirsten, A. (2020). Assessing and teaching complex relational operants: Analogy and hierarchy. In R. Rehfeldt, J. Tarbox, M. Fryling & L. Hayes (Eds.), Applied Behavior Analysis of Language and Cognition. New Harbinger.

Fiebig, J., Gould, E., Ming, S. & Watson, R. (2020) An Invitation to Act on the Value of Self-Care: Being a whole person in all that you do. Behavior Analysis in Practice.

Moran, D.J., & Ming, S. (2020) The Mindful Action Plan: Using the MAP to Apply Acceptance and Commitment Therapy to Productivity and Self-Compassion for Behavior Analysts. Behavior Analysis in Practice. doi: 10.1007/s40617-020-00441-y

Zagrabska, P., Mulhern, T., Ming, S., Stewart, I., & McElwee, J. (2020). Training Class Inclusion Responding in Individuals with Autism: Further investigation. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis. doi: 10.1002/jaba.712

Ming, S. (2018). The future of verbal behavior: Collaboration and inclusivity. The Analysis of Verbal Behavior. 344–11 (2018). doi: 10.1007/s40616-018-0105-2

Ming, S., Mulhern, T., Stewart, I., Moran, L., & Bynum, K. (2018). Testing and Training Class Inclusion in Typically Developing Young Children and Individuals with Autism. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis. 51, 53-60. doi: 10.1002/jaba.429

Ming, S., & Stewart, I. (2017). When Things are Not the Same: A review of research into relations of difference. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis. 50, 429-455. doi: 10.1002/jaba.367

Ming, S., Stewart, I., McElwee, J., & Bynum, K. (2015). Contextual Control Over Derived Relational Responding in a Teenager with Autism. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders. 19, 7-17. doi:10.1016/j.rasd.2015.03.003

Moran, L., Walsh, L., Stewart, I., McElwee, J., & Ming, S. (2015). Correlating Derived Relational Responding with Linguistic and Cognitive Ability in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders. 19, 32-43. doi:10.1016/j.rasd.2014.12.015

Ming, S., Moran, L. & Stewart, I. (2014). Derived relational responding: Applications and future directions for teaching individuals with autism spectrum disorders. European Journal of Behavior Analysis. 15(2), 199-224. doi:10.1080/15021149.2014.11434722

Moran, L., Stewart, I., McElwee, J., & Ming, S. (2014). Relational Ability and Language Performance in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders & Typically Developing Children: A Further Test of the TARPA Protocol. The Psychological Record. 64(2), 233-251.doi:10.1007/s40732-014-0032-0

Stewart, I., McElwee, J., & Ming, S. (2013) Language Generativity, Response Generalization and Derived Relational Responding. The Analysis of Verbal Behavior. 29(1), 137-155

Stewart, I., McElwee, J., & Ming, S. (2010). A Critical Analysis of Conventional Descriptions of Levels Employed in the Assessment of Basic Learning Abilities (ABLA). The Behavior Analyst. 33(1), 127-132.

Moran, L., Stewart, I., McElwee, J., & Ming, S. (2010). Brief Report: The Training and Assessment of Relational Precursors and Abilities (TARPA): A preliminary analysis. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. 40(9), 1149-53. doi:10.1007/s10803-010-0968-0

Ming, S. & Martin, G. (1996). Single Subject Evaluation of a Self-Talk Package for Improving Figure Skating Performance. The Sport Psychologist. 10, 227-238. 

Lighter stuff: Blog posts

Relationally Framing a Pandemic: Blog post for the ABAI behavior science dissemination blog Symbolic Language and Thought.

RFT & Early Intervention: Blog post for Praxis CET.

RFT, VB & EIBI, Oh My! Blog post for the ABAI behavior science dissemination blog Symbolic Language and Thought.

Collaborative projects

Research, development, and writing projects integrating RFT with Skinnerian Verbal Behavior within EIBI programs for children with autism. In collaboration with Ian Stewart and John McElwee.

Creating an online community of practice and support for behavior analysts working within a contextual behavior science framework. In collaboration with Julia Fiebig, Evelyn Gould, and Rebecca Watson. Courses beginning Fall 2020.

Project management, volunteer coordination, and artist wrangling for a Baltimore-based large-scale light art collective led by Michael Bowman.