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Carbone Workshop #2

Guiding the Development and, Implementation of an Intensive Program for Teaching Language and Basic Learner Skills To Children With Autism
Workbook for Parents and Their Team


Dr. Vincent J. Carbone Board Certified Behavior Analyst
With Assistance from: Cherish Richards, CABA Holly Smith, CABA
Dr. Vincent J. Carbone Parent Workshop Revised 3/10/01

Escape/Avoidance Behavioral Problems
Step 1: Overcoming Problem Behaviors During DTT
Step 2: How to Increase Number of Rate Responses
Prompt Fading For Teaching Verbal Behavior
Correction Procedures
Rules about Prompting and Prompt-Fading to Achieve Near Errorless Responses
Teaching Cooperation During Intensive Teaching
Functional Assessment: Establishing Behavioral Control In Everyday Situations
Deliberate Manipulation of Conditions
Behavior Management Strategies Based upon a Functional Assessment
How to Respond to Disruptive Behavior
Walk and Peel
Count and Mand
Compliancy Teaching Procedure
Walk and Peel (non-home version)
Summary of Procedures to Reduce Disruptive Behaviors
Datasheet 1 - Wants something but the answer is NO
Datasheet 2 - Wants something but the answer is YES - except for behavior
Datasheet 3 - Compliancy Demand - moving from a preferred activity to a non-preferred activity
Strike while the Iron is Cold
Behavioral Classification of Language
Assessment Using ABLLS
Overview of Verbal Behavior Operants - mand, duplic(echoic & motor), tact, intraverbal
Non-verbal Response Form
Augmentative Communication: Selecting a Response Form
Distinctions between Sign Language and PECS
Why Sign can Fail
Using Sign Languange to Support Vocalizations
What we Know about Sign Language and Children with Autism
Sign Language to Vocal Verbal Behavior
Select Response Forms
Natural Language Paradigm vs. Sign Language
Sequence for Teaching Verbal Behavior Skills
Example Objectives: What to Teach: How to Use the ABLLS and Develop IEP Goals
Mand Training
Prompt and Prompt-Fading Procedures for Teaching Mands
Rules for Teaching Mands
Teaching Beginning to Advanced Mands
How to Increase the Number of Mands Per Day
Contrive Establishing Opporations Worksheet
Chaining Mands with Opportunities
Teaching Mands - Lesson Plan
Manding Notes
Teaching the Mand
Teaching Echoic Responses
Increasing Vocal Play
Teaching Echoics Directly
Teaching Echoic Skills
Teaching Receptive, Rec. Commands, Visual Performance And Motor Imitation
Teaching the Tact
Prompt-Prompt Fade Procedures in Teaching Tact-Sign and Tact-Prompt
Vocal Tact-Prompts
Teaching Tacts - Tips
Tact Sequencing From Beginning to Advanced Tacting
Teaching Adjectives as Tacts
Teaching Receptive Skills with Tacts
Teaching Tacts
Teaching RFFC
Teaching Beginning to Advanced RFFC
RFFC Notes
Teaching RFFC Skills
Teaching Intraverbal Goals
Prompt-Prompt Fading Procedures for Teaching Intraverbals
Sequential Teaching: Intraverbals
Verbal Behavior Modules
Verbal Behavior Module Worksheet
Teaching Conversation
Teaching the Intraverbal
Teaching in the Natural Environment
Program Development Plans
What your program should include..
Data Recording Procedures
Probe Data Sheet
Verbal Imitation Probe Sheet
How to set up Program Book
Data Recording and Skill Tracking
Cue Cards for Teachers
Comparative Analysis of Verbal Behavior and DTT
Goal and Objective Worksheets
Program Management Form
What to do when I get home

Maintaining correct responding at high rates over substantial periods of time during teaching sessions (DTT) with children with autism can be a difficult goal to achieve. Moreover, retention over time of what is learned in intensive teaching sessions and correct responding in novel situations must be achieved for the learning to be meaningful. Fortunately, the field of applied behavior analysis has provided us with methods that make the achievement of these worthy goals more likely.
There are 2 major steps in this process:

  1. Identify how your child learned this behavior and how it is perpetuated during your intensive teaching (discrete trial training) sessions during table-top teaching AND what are the initial steps to overcoming this problem. (Pages 3-5 below)
  2. Now that my child views his/her teachers, materials and demands as an improving set of conditions what are the teaching methods that will maintain this relationship at a table and will allow my child to sit for relatively long periods, respond quickly and correctly to my instructional demands without problem behavior? (Pages 6-7)

PANEL # 1 (Escape)

Inter-trial Interval
Neutral Warning
Painful Shock
(worsening condition)
Lever Press Turns Off the Shock
Terminates pain
Return to the Inter-trial Interval

Playing (Sr+)
Teacher, Demands and Materials
Interrupts on-going Reinforcers and presents higher levels of social disapproval
Less (Sr+)
(worsening condition)
Problem Behavior Evoked & Turns off Demands
(Worsening Condition)
Terminates Pain
Return to Play (Sr+)
(Improving Condition)
PANEL # 2 (Avoidance)


Inter-trial Interval
Neutral Warning Stimulus
Lever Press Evoked & Avoids the shock
Return to the Inter-trial Interval

Playing (Sr)
Teacher, demands and Materials
(interrupts on-going Reinforcers and Presents higher levels of social disapproval)
Problem Behavior Evoked & Avoids Demands
(Avoids Worsening Condition)
Return to Play (Sr+)


  • Identify Strong reinforcers through observation, sampling or interview.
  • Make a determination as to how the child learned the problem behaviors in this situation, e.g. function is socially mediated positive, negative or automatic positive reinforcement or multiple functions.
  • Pair yourself with the child's positive reinforcers until he/she is approaching you to receive the reinforcers and your voice is paired with reinforcement.
  • Don't interrupt the child's reinforcers to present demands during this process. Go to the child's reinforcers and reinforcing environments. THIS PROCESS COULD TAKE HOURS, DAYS OR EVEN WEEKS.
  • Arrange for the intensive teaching situation (table) to be the place you go to receive reinforcement not the place you go where reinforcement is removed. The request to go to the intensive teaching situation should be correlated with reinforcement not extinction (removal of reinforcers). Eventually, "Morph" into working at the table.
  • Begin requiring very easy and infrequent demands that result in immediate reinforcement. Prompt immediately to insure successful responding so that correct responding contacts reinforcement.
  • Use extinction only if you inadvertently have presented a response requirement that has been correlated with a worsening condition and therefore the child becomes task avoidant or resistant to your teaching.
  • Initially increase the response requirement by requiring mands (requests) for reinforcers.


Now that you are paired with reinforcement and the child is approaching you and the teaching environment (the teacher, materials, table, etc.) is an "improving condition" you are ready to begin increasing the frequency and difficulty of instructional demands within an intensive teaching situation (sometimes referred to as discrete trial training).
From the child's perspective there are at least three (3) functional response classes across which responses of many different forms may be allocated during intensive teaching sessions at a table or other instructional setting.
Here is a diagram of the task you are confronted with at this time.

Lever #1

Behaviors Maintained by History of Socially Mediated Negative Reinforcement (Sr-)
Lever #2
Behaviors Maintained by History of Socially Mediated Positive Reinforcement (Sr+)
Lever #2

Behaviors Maintained by History of Automatic Positive Reinforcement (SR a)
At any point during your intensive teaching student responses can be allocated across any and all of the three (3) functional responses classes. Children with autism come to the teaching situations with responses in all three (3) classes. The goal of your teaching is to maintain a high rate of target responses allocated to instructional demands (Class # 2) while maintaining a low rate of responding or problem behaviors in classes #1 and #3.
To achieve this goal one must correlate strong positive reinforcers; with the teaching situation and responses in class #2 and thereby reduce the value of reinforcers, available for responses in classes 1 and 3. You have done this already if you followed the methods outlined in step 1 above. However, there is a delicate balance that must be achieved when you begin to increase the number of responses so that the presentation of instructional demands for responses in class #2 don't inadvertently shift upward the values of reinforcers in classes #1 and #3 and consequently evoke the problem behaviors associated with each (shift the conditioned establishing operation).
At the same time you must keep the use of extinction to a minimum so that the teaching situation does not become an aversive condition and shift the value upward of negative reinforcement which would then evoke any and all responses in Class # 1.
Finally, although negative reinforcement ("go play") might well function to maintain several responses in the intensive teaching setting it is not recommended. The long term effects of maintaining the aversive nature of the teaching situation are not favorable and you may never be able to thin the schedule of reinforcement sufficiently to maintain a high rate of responding for long durations.
1. PAIR TEACHING ENVIRONMENTS WITH REINFORCEMENT. Initially, correlate the teaching environment with highly valuable and high-density reinforcement relative to the conditions that have typically been interrupted at the start of teaching sessions. (Lalli, Vollmer, Progar, Wright, Borrero, Daniel, Barthold, Tocco and May, 1999; Michael, 1993.
Practical Applications:

  • Teachers should pair themselves with valuable reinforcers which effectively compete with the value of negative reinforcers of escaping demands. AVOID USE OF ESCAPE ("GO PLAY") AS THE REINFORCER FOR RESPONDING DURING INTENSIVE TEACHING SESSIONS.
  • Correlate the appearance of the teacher, instructional materials and setting (table) with relatively more valuable and higher frequency of reinforcement compared to the setting or condition the child was asked to give up in order to receive instructional demands at the table.
  • Through this initial pairing with reinforcement process the instructional setting becomes a conditioned reinforcer as opposed to conditioned aversive stimulus. The instructional setting and materials are therefore correlated with an improving of conditions instead of worsening of conditions.
  • The value of socially mediated negative reinforcement remains low and the relative value of the reinforcer correlated and contingent upon ultimately following instructional demands remains high. The instructional setting at this point does not evoke responses which have been correlated with the removal of the demands since there is "no reason" to respond. In contrast the instructional setting now "signals" an improving of conditions and therefore evoke responses to the teacher's instruction which will maintain that improved set of conditions

Present low frequency demands at first and fade in greater and greater response ratio requirements. Deliver extinction for problem behavior that occurs when the EO was not manipulated precisely so as to "abolish" problem behavior. (Weld & Evans, 1990; Pace, Iwata, Cowdery, Andree, and McIntyre, 1993; Zaracone, Iwata, Vollmer, Jagtiani, Smith, and Mazaleski, 1993; Zarcone, Iwata, Smith, Mazaleski and Lerman, 1994; Pace, Ivanic and Jefferson, 1994)


Practical Applications:

  • Initially present instructional demands at a frequency which does not raise L value of escape as a reinforcer and therefore correct responses to the teacher delivered instruction contacts positive reinforcement frequently.
  • When this occurs instructional materials are correlated with improving and not worsening of conditions and therefore problem behaviors that have produced escape in the past "have no reason" to occur. Moreover, correct responding is strengthened because it contacts valuable reinforcers.
  • It will be almost impossible to present the frequency of demands so as to completely eliminate the value of escape especially with students who have long history of negative reinforcement in these situations. Therefore, the literature has documented that the effectiveness of teaching will be enhanced by delivering extinction for problem behaviors which are not "abolished" by the fading in of the frequency of demands.
  • Immediately following the delivery of extinction and with the next trial, the teacher should modify the frequency of instructional demands so as to avoid the use of extinction and therefore insure that teaching situations are correlated with relatively improving conditions and not worsening.

Reduce student errors through teaching methods that insure high levels of correct responding. These procedures will lower the value of escape-established reinforcement and will insure that instructional demands are correlated with an improving of conditions (correlation with high density and short delays to reinforcement) relative to a worsening of conditions (low density and long delays to reinforcement) that results from frequent errors. (Terrace, 1963; Sidman and Stoddard, 1966; Sailor, Guess, Rutherford, and Baer (1968); Reese, Howard and Rosenberger; 1977; Etzel and LeBlanc, 1979; Alltman, Hobbs, Roberts and Haavik, 1980;Carr, Newsom and Binkoff, 1980; Weeks and Gaylord-Ross, 198 1; Touchette and Howard, 1984; Carr and Durand, 1985; Lancioni and Smeets, 1986; Woolery, Bailey and Sugai, 1988; Durand, 1990; Homer and Day, 1991; Woolery, Ault and Doyle, 1992; Cameron, Luiselli, McGrath and Carlton, 1992; Cameron,Ainsleigh and Bird, 1992; Sprague and Homer, 1992; Heckman, Alber, Hooper and Heward, 1998; Smith and Iwata, 1997; Woolery, Ault and Doyle, 1992.)

Practical Applications:

  • Use time delay prompt procedures where prompts are antecedent to responding and therefore are not consequences for incorrect responses.These types of prompting procedures have produced the lowest rate of student errors.
  • The time-delay extends ftorn "O"second delays to short durations of 2-3 seconds to avoid errors and "a disparity in reinforcement density inherent in delayed prompting (longer intervals)" This procedure establishes a higher density of reinforcement for quick and correct responding that avoids the prompt and a shorter delay in reinforcement relative to procedures in which prompts occur as consequences for responding or when long time delay methods are used, e.g. 5 seconds or greater. The procedures tend to favor quick and correct responding. When difficult tasks, (tasks that have evoked frequent errors and/or effortful response) are presented the value of escape as a reinforcer may increase. Errorless learning methods may transform difficult tasks to easy tasks and therefore reduce the value of escape as a reinforcer when they are presented. Subsequently, the instructional stimuli are more likely to evoke correct responding and not problem behavior.
  • Error correction procedures for unavoidable incorrect responses or failure to respond during the short delay interval include immediate re-presentation of the discriminative stimulus and immediate (o second delay) prompt. This error correction procedure establishes prompts as slightly aversive and therefore strengthens two (2) dimensions of responding that avoid it, e.g. short latency and correct responding (topography as a dimension). It appears that this slightly aversive situation will not sufficiently establish escape as a more powerful reinforcer relative to the reinforcer for correct responding if the relative number of correct responses remains high. Other variables which may effect this balance are the history of reinforcement of the student and the relative value of the reinforcer, reinforcement schedule and magnitude of reinforcement for correct responding
  • The sum effect of errorless teaching procedures is to maintain the value of the reinforcer delivered for correct responding at its highest level relative to the value of potentially competing reinforcers. Reinforcers which would be established by failing to use errorless procedures (negative reinforcement) are not established and therefore the evocative effect (EO) of demands related to problem behavior is reduced.
  • Prompt dependency or failure to establish stimulus control transfer from the prompt to other stimuli functionally related to the task appears to be the result of the effectiveness of reinforcement and unnecessary prompting and not time-delay prompting procedures.

4. INTERSPERSE EASY AND DIFFICULT DEMANDS. Interspersing "easy" tasks which result in correct responding and therefore are correlated with a higher density of reinforcement (easy tasks) with relatively more "difficult" tasks will reduce problem behavior by reducing the value of escape as a reinforcer. (Singer, Singer and Homer, 1987; Mace, Hock, Lalli, West, Belfiore, Pinter & Brown, D. F. (1988). Mace and Befflore, 1990; Harchick and Putzier, 1990; Homer, Day, Sprague, O'Brien and Healthfield, 199 1; Zarcone, Iwata, Hughes and Vollmer, 1993)

Practical Applications:

  1. Presenting several easy tasks (correlated with frequent reinforcement for correct responding) interspersed with difficult tasks insures that instructional demands are correlated with mostly improving of conditions relative to the value of other reinforcers and therefore weakens the tendency to engage in behaviors that have produced other reinforcers, e.g. escape.
  2. Each demand becomes a "promise" of reinforcers to follow as opposed to a "threat" of no reinforcement.
  3. The density of reinforcement for responding to instructional demands is increased when many "easy" tasks are interspersed thereby establishing the teaching situation as an improving as opposed to worsening set of conditions.
  4. Response persistence with "difficult" tasks occurs as a result of an increased rate of responding and increase rate of reinforcement and the value of demands as a negative reinforcer is reduced relative to other reinforcers.
  5. It appears that the reinforcer-value altering effect of interspersal methods may only be achieved with the concomitant application of extinction for failure to respond to "difficult" tasks.

Instruction which is delivered in a fast pace manner (short inter-trial intervals; ITI) can reduce problem behavior and student errors by lowering the value of escape as a reinforcer relative to the same demands when presented slowly. An important caveat is that this escapeabolishing effect may be achieved only when errorless teaching methods of the type recommended above are employed and the gradually increasing number of easy demands before reinforcement (VR schedule) are delivered in a backward chain format that gradually increases the number of responses and therefore delay to reinforcement. (Carnine, 1976; Weeks and Gaylord-Ross, 1981; Camine and Engelmann, 1982; Dunlap, Dyer and Koegel, 1983; West and Sloane, 1986;. Cameron, Luiselli, McGrath and Carlton, 1992; Zanolli, Daggett, and Pestine, 1995)

Practical Applications:

  • Inter-trial intervals of about two (2) seconds or less seem to produce maximal benefit with children with autism.Begin the teaching with low frequency demands so as to not evoke the problem behavior, present easy demands so that errors are reduced and correct responding frequently contacts reinforcement on a dense variable ratio schedule. Gradually increase the response- reinforcer ratio similar to a backward chain type of method.
  • As a result, the presentation of each demand is correlated with a high probability of reinforcement and because demands are presented immediately after the last response the time to reinforcement is short.
  • Any instructional setting in which the frequency of demands are low and difficulty of the demands reduced and the setting is correlated with higher density of reinforcement and short delays to the reinforcer (ITI), the value of escape as a reinforcer will be reduced and therefore reduce the probability of behaviors which have produced socially mediated negative reinforcement in the past. Under these circumstances each demand becomes a "promise" of reinforcement and not a "threat" of long delays to reinforcement.
  • It may be the sum effect of all of the instructional methods described above and no single variable in isolation that contributes to the reduction of problem behavior evoked by fast-paced instruction as an establishing operation.
  • It appears that during face-paced instruction demands may not only be establishing operations and discriminative stimuli for the next response but actually become conditioned reinforcers that strengthen the response that immediately preceded its presentation (delivery). This change in the reinforcing value of the next demand may be generated by the reinforcer-establishing effect of transitive establishing operations. Demands may actually become conditioned conditional reinforcers in the way that Michael, 1993, talks about the transitive EO.

Presenting instructional demands in which the stimuli and response requirements vary from trial to trial appear to reduce the value of escape as a reinforcer compared to massed trailing and constant task presentation. (Dunlap and Koegel; 1984; Winterling, Dunlap and O'Neil; Dunlap, 1984)

Practical Applications:

  • Present instructional stimuli so that the same stimulus is not presented repeated over many consecutive trials.
  • It appears that the reinforcer-value altering effect of task variation may be the result of a number of already discussed factors.
  • When massed trailing is used the presentation of a stimulus is correlated with a delay in reinforcement of the duration necessary to respond the requisite number of massed responses and a response effort necessary to complete the massed responses. This correlation with the delay in reinforcement and response effort appears to increase the value of escape as a reinforcer and therefore evoke problem behaviors which have immediately produced that reinforcer.
  • In the case of varied presentation of stimuli and the delivery of reinforcement on a variable schedule each presentation of a stimulus offers the "promise" of a reinforcer to immediately follow the response and therefore weakens the value of escape relative to the reinforcer obtained for correct and quick responding.


* The indiscriminable nature of the contingencies established by varied presentaion may act to alter the value of escape as a reinforcer when demands are presented.

Teaching skills to fluency (correct and quick) as opposed to just correct decreases the value of escape as a reinforcer relative to other reinforcers available f6mon- fluent responding. It appears that students who learn to respond quickly and accurately and not just accurately tend to exhibit greater endurance for longer duration sessions without problem behavior. (Binder, 1982; 1984; 1990; 1996)

Practical Applications:

  • Criterion for mastery of skills include both accuracy and speed.
  • Use teaching methods (above) that insure that fluency will be developed, e.g. short ITI's, time-delay prompts of no longer than 2-3 seconds, etc.
  • Number of responses required before reinforcement should be increased only after responses are fluent.
  • When the response requirement is increased as responding becomes fluent the effect of instructional demands as escape-establishing stimuli is reduced beyond what would be generated by merely increasing the response requirement without fluent responding.


Prompting - Fading Procedures For Teaching Verbal Behavior
Stimulus 1 ("0" sec DELAY PROMPT) -----> Correct Response ---- SR

Stimulus 1 ("2" sec DELAY) -----> Correct Response ---- SR

Stimulus 1 ("2" sec DELAY) -----> Correct Response ---- SR
(Future presentations of the stimulus will be presented with a "2" second delay)

Stimulus 1 ("0" sec DELAY PROMPT) -----> Correct Response ----- SR
Stimulus 1 ("0" sec DELAY) (Phoneme/Mimetic Prompt)-----> Correct Response ---- SR
Stimulus 1 ("2" sec DELAY)-----> Correct Response ---- SR
(Use structural fade before time delay for difficult to teach skills to insure correct responding)
Stimulus 1 ("0" sec DELAY- PROMPT) -----> Correct Response ----- SR

Stimulus 1 ("2" sec DELAY)-----> Incorrect or NO Response

Stimulus 1 ("0" sec DELAY)-----> Correct Response ---- SR

Stimulus 1 ("2" sec DELAY)-----> Correct Response---- SR

(If leamer is incorrect again on the transfer trial, return to "0" delay to achieve correct response and move on, BUT ASK YOURSELF, Why are the transfers not occurring?)

Stimulus 1 ("0" sec DELAY- (Phoneme/Mimetic Prompt)-----> Correct Response ---- SR
Stimulus 1 ("2" sec DELAY) -----> Correct Response ---- SR

Rules About Prompting and Fading Prompts To Achieve "Near Errorless Responding"

  1. The purpose of prompting is to transfer stimulus control from a stimulus that will reliably evoke the response to a stimulus which will ultimately control the response when no prompt is provided.
  2. The most effective prompting and fading procedures will have the following characteristics:
    • Initially use antecedent prompts that always insure correct responding
    • Fade prompts as soon as possible along the dimensions of time delay and structure of the prompt
    • Adjust the prompt level from trial to trial based upon the responding of the learner with the objective of keeping the learning errorless.
    • Error corrections include re-presentation of the same stimulus following an error and prompting at the level necessary to evoke the correct response.
    • Several responses later re-present the same stimulus and fade prompt to determine stimulus control transfer.
  3. Choose a prompt that will reliably evoke the correct response. If the child will not take the prompt then investigate the value of reinforcers and or the strength of the prompted skill repertoire, e.g. echoic, motor imitation.
  4. When introducing new or weak skills use a "0" sec time delay prompt procedure.
  5. Following each prompted response the next trial will be a fade trial in which you either fade by delaying 2 seconds or fade by providing a phonemic or mimetic prompt at "0" sec.
  6. During the next trial fade along the dimensions of time and physical dimensions.


Prouam Development Plans

  • Do I need to change teaching procedures to produce greater cooperation and a higher rate of responding in intensive teaching situations? IF YES, CONTINUE TO ANSWER QUESTIONS BELOW.
  • Do I need to Identify Stronger reinforcers?
  • Do I need to make a determination as to how the child learned the task avoidance, e.g. function is socially mediated positive, negative or automatic positive reinforcement?
  • Do all the teachers need to pair themselves with reinforcers until my child is approaching them to receive the reinforcers and their voice is paired with reinforcement?
  • Do we need to stop interrupting my child's reinforcers to present demands?
  • Are we ready to begin requiring my child to just mand reinforcers since we are paired with reinforcement sufficiently?
  • Are we ready to begin or should we return to requiring very easy and infrequent demands that result in immediate reinforcement before requiring more difficult tasks?
  • Are we prompting immediately to insure successful responding so that correct responding contacts reinforcement?
  • Are we using the extinction procedure based upon the function only if we moved the response requirement up too soon and therefore the child becomes task avoidant or resistant to the teaching?
  • After we use extinction are we re-adjusting the instructional demands to prevent using extinction again?
  • If my child is now ready for intensive teaching have we paired the intensive teaching situation (table) with reinforcement so that my child comes to it readily because it is associated with receiving of reinforcement and not removing of reinforcement?
  • During intensive teaching are we interspersi mastered - new tasks at a high rate,e.g. 80-20%.
  • During intensive teaching are we using errorless teaching procedures?
  • During intensive teaching are we mixing and varying tasks across the skill areas, e.g, motor imitation, tacting, intraverbals, RFFC, etc.?
  • During intensive teaching are we teaching all skills to fluency ?
  • During intensive teaching are we maintaining an appropriatel fast presentation of demands?
  • During intensive teaching are the demands low, easy and infrequent at least initially?
  • During intensive teaching are arranging for my child to mand at the end of each sequence of tasks?
  • How much direct teaching time will be spread across intensive teaching and NET?
  • What skills will be targeted in Intensive teaching sessions and what reinforcers will be used and how many responses before a reinforcer?
  • What skills will be targeted in NET situations: (Manding, VB Modules)?
  • In three (3) months what will my child being doing differently, e.g number of responses per minute, number of responses before a reinforcer, number of spontaneous mands per day?


Functional Assessment To Reduce Problem Behavior
Functional Assessment is a collection of activities that focuses on how often a behavior occurs, under what conditions it occurs, and why it occurs. The purpose of the assessment is to reduce or eliminate a behavior that is dangerous, e.g. aggression, or is interfering with learning, e.g. non-compliance. This is usually accomplished not through punishment but through teaching replacement behaviors using reinforcement. Here is the logic:
In situations in which children engage in serious disruptive, aggressive or selfinjurious behaviors it is necessary to use procedures that will quickly eliminate the behavior. The question is-- What procedures are most effective in doing this?
In the initial stages of the evolution of behavioral programming, therapists implemented punishment procedures such as spankings, isolation, loss of privileges, and in some rare cases, electric shock in an effort to directly decrease the targeted behaviors. The use of this kind of procedure should not be surprising, as our culture typically supports and encourages the use of punishment; for example, parents and teachers make liberal use of the "naughty chair," isolation, the "dunce cap," corporal punishment, and the like. But it became obvious that pure punishment procedures were often ineffective, and even generated additional problems; researchers learned that punishers had "side effects," such as aggression, escape, and emotional reactions, that were indeed quite disturbing. There were also ethical concerns about the use of such procedures.
Fortunately, a second approach emerged that avoided the unfortunate side effects, was more effective, and satisfied ethical concerns. In a nutshell, this approach focused on teaching appropriate behavior to replace the inappropriate behavior. Typically, this appropriate behavior was incompatible with, and obtained the same reinforcer as, the inappropriate behavior. For example, consider a child who exhibits severe tantrums to obtain attention. Instead of merely punishing the tantrums, one might teach the child a more appropriate way of obtaining attention such as asking for attention, completing tasks, or following directions. Such behaviors are incompatible with tantrums (the child can not have tantrums and be completing tasks) and obtain the same reinforcer, attention, that is obtained by the tantrums. Together, the appropriate and inappropriate behavior constitute a "fair pair."
In a second example, consider the child who becomes aggressive to escape from tasks because caregivers send the child to his room when he becomes aggressive, which provides a convenient escape from the task. What should be taught to replace aggression? Well, one skill that the child might learn is to ask to escape from a task that is unpleasant. Or perhaps the child could merely learn to tolerate some unpleasant tasks that are nonetheless essential, usually by beginning with very short tasks and gradually increasing task size. Or perhaps the child could learn to ask the teacher for a more interesting task that would accomplish the same objective.
The essential point is this: When one is confronted with an inappropriate behavior, the focus should be on what behavior the child should learn to take its place. That behavior should be incompatible with, and obtain the same reinforcer as, the inappropriate behavior. The appropriate and inappropriate behaviors constitute what is called a "fair pair." Examine the inappropriate behaviors described below and identify the "fair pair."

  • Throwing chairs maintained by attention
  • The new skills that might be trained include asking for attention, or engaging in other behavior that could obtain attention such as completing tasks, playing with toys, or positive social interactions.
  • Crying maintained by attention
  • Aggression maintained by escape from tasks
  • Head banging maintained by access to food.

Deliberate manipulation of conditions. Note that ABC data are collected as behavior occurs in the natural flow of events. You might find that there are situations you want to investigate, but they do not occur very often. You can therefore program these situations to occur, collect data, and then draw conclusions.
Several situations that have been examined include having the child do a task, in a room by themselves, in a room with other people who reprimand them for inappropriate behavior, and in an enriched environment with toys, activities, etc. Examine the graph below for a set of data from each of the above situations. After viewing the data, what might you conclude?
(chart here)
S e s s i o n s
Ta s k

Most problem behaviors occur when demands or tasks are required. Thus, you might speculate that the behaviors are somehow related to the task. Perhaps the person finds task work boring, and the behaviors may serve as a way to escape. In such a case, you should reinforcers to encourage task completion. For example, give more frequent and more desirable reinforcement. A more desirable reinforcement might be allowing the child a short break after completing a small portion of the task. Or perhaps the tasks are boring or too difficult; thus, task difficulty should be changed. Whatever the reason, the child should be kept in the task situation, if possible, when problem behavior occurs to prevent reinforcement of the problem behavior. If you let the child out of the task for problem behavior you will be teaching him/her to do it more often.
Now imagine another scenario, in which assessment data indicate that the problem behavior occurs only when attention is available (see below).
(chart here)

In this situation you would want to teach the child to ask for attention and to tolerate situations where there is little attention. To do this you would teach the child to communicate "I want attention" and then give it. However, it would be important to remember that the problem behavior would never get your attention again. When the problem behavior happened you might withdraw attention and even use timeout.
Behavior Management Strategies Based upon a Functional Assessment

If the problem behavior is a function of ATTENTION or THINGS

  1. Give lots of attention and enriched environment to prevent the behavior
  2. NEVER give attention for the problem behavior ever again, Withdraw attention for the problem behavior. Timeout or ignoring will work. DON'T USE FOR SELF-INJURIOUS BEHAVIOR.
  3. TEACH a child a communication behavior of asking for attention and give attention when he/she uses the replacement behavior.

If the problem behavior is a function of ESCAPE or "AVOIDING WORK or YOUR DEMANDS

  1. Reduce the motivation to escape by reducing demands, decrease the effort, quicken the pace of instruction, use errorless teaching, mix easy and difficult responses, choices, etc.
  2. NEVER allow the child to escape or avoid a demand again. Require the student to do whatever your ask if it means you must physically guide him to do it.
  3. TEACH the child a communication behavior of asking for a break to replace the problem behavior. Give a break whenever the child asks at first.

If the problem behavior is a function of FEELING GOOD

  1. Provide an enriched environment that may incorporate the reinforcing stimulation for appropriate behaviors.
  2. PHYSICALLY or with equipment prevent the problem behavior from occurring to stop the good feeling.
  3. TEACH the child to enjoy social interactions and doing other activities that get lots of social reinforcement or to engage in more socially appropriate and less harmful methods of self-stimulatory behaviors.


How to Respond to Disruptive Behavior
WALK AND PEEL PROCEDURE (in Home Version): There will be times when the disruptive behavior occurs when you tell him that he can not have something that he wants or you tell him to stop doing something that he is enjoying. In these cases tell He/she no he can't have it and provide a short rationale. If he engages in any problem behavior immediately walk away from him and the disruptive behavior. Be sure that he can not get the item without you. AT THIS MOMENT DO NOT PROMPT HIM TO ANOTHER ACTIVITY WHICH MIGHT DISTRACT HIM FROM WHAT HE REALLYS WANTS. THAT WILL STRENGTHEN THE PROBLEM BEHAVIOR. The "peel" should be used if he tries to grab you, peel him off as soon as possible. Watch out of the concern of your eye to insure that he does not hurt himself or begin to destroy property. If he does, return to him, protect him and block the destructive behavior without saying anything. Walk away as soon as he is secure. Once the problem behavior stops for about 1 minute, then re direct him to another activity which he may have and which might replace the one he can not have. If the problem behavior occurs again then re-route through the above procedures.

Intensive teaching opportunities: Use the data sheet # 1 below to run teaching trials on this skill each day.

COUNT AND MAND PROCEDURE: Behaviors that occur for this function will be signaled by the fact that He/she has not been asked to do anything but he wants something, e.g. help take his shoes off, but needs your assistance to obtain. Examples of these behaviors are:

  1. he screams, head bangs or hits while he pulls you to an item he can't reach.
  2. he screams or other problem behavior when your back is turned or when your are in another room because he wants something not accessible and screams to get you come to him to assist
  3. he screams and hits you because you do not know what he wants once he has led you to the refrigerator or some other area.
  4. problem behavior occurs when he wants you to put in a video tape because he can't do it himself.

The following procedures are recommended:
Prevention and Teaching the Replacement Behavior: when it appears that he wants something that ordinarily results in problem behavior, but he hasn't exhibited any problem behavior yet, capture the moment to teach the appropriate request for the item or activity. Prompt the response with the word if needed, and then deliver the item or activity. This will teach him to ask with words and not disruptive behavior. For example, you know he wants a video and he can't find it and you are willing to give it to him and if he can't find it soon he will begin disruptive behavior, then prompt him to ask for the video or your help.

Extinction and Teaching the Replacement: When he screams, hits, head bangs or otherwise tantrums and he is standing next to you then say "No screaming " or "Quiet" and count to 10 aloud with your back turned and your fingers showing the passage of time. Re-start the count if he continues to scream and only complete the count when there is no screaming for the full count of 10. Prompt the word and deliver the reinforcer if you know what he wanted. If he screams at any time during any of this process start this chain over again with the counting. If he flops to the floor during the counting just move away and let him reapproach you and begin the process all over again. BE SURE TO BLOCK ANY SELF INJURIOUS BEHAVIOR TO PROTECT HIM BUT DO NOT TALK TO HIM TO TRY TO STOP THE BEHAVIOR. When he screams when he is not near to get your attention from another room, you should ignore the scream for attention/activity and NEVER move towards him to ask him what he wants. That will immediately stop the screaming but will make it more likely he will scream very soon again when he wants something. .

Intensive teaching opportunities: Use the data sheet # 2 below to run teaching trials on this skill each day.

COMPLIANCE TEACHING PROCEDURE: Problem behaviors that occur for this function are signaled by the fact that YOU HAVE JUST MADE A REQUEST OF HIM. Examples of these behaviors are:

  1. You ask him to do something, e.g. come to sit down to eat.
  2. You ask him to come inside

The following procedures are recommended:

Prevention and Teaching the Replacement Behavior: Deliver requests to him only when you are very close , e.g. within 3 feet, and not from across the room. Be sure the request is clear and give gestural prompts to let him know what to do immediately. Deliver the request firmly but with no emotion. When the appropriate behavior (compliance with demand) occurs be sure to reinforce abundantly.
Secondly, use a "promise" technique to reduce the motivation for He/she to try to escape when you place an unpreferred demand. Walk to He/she with a preferred reinforcer in your hand, be sure that he sees it and then deliver the demand. The preferred item acts as a promise of reinforcement for complying. If he complies immediately then deliver the reinforcer following completion of the demand. If he tantrums or does any other disruptive behavior to get out of the demand or to get the promise, immediately put the promise away and physically guide him to complete the task. Do not give the promise if you had to physically prompt.

Extinction and Teaching Replacement Behavior: After delivering demand allow only 3 seconds for compliance and then immediately physically prompt or guide him to follow the demand. Use the least amount of physical guidance to gain his compliance with the demand. Be sure the demand is completed as quickly as possible.

Intensive teaching opportunities: Use the data sheet # 3 below to run teaching trials on this skill each day. To teach a replacement behavior it is recommended that you run compliance trials each day. Set up situations for He/she to follow a request when you are not distracted by other obligations and the purpose of your demand is to teach compliance. Use the extinction procedure as described above and provide strong reinforcement for following your requests immediately during the practice. Start with very easy demands and the increase the difficulty of the demands slowly. Some of the easy demands might be telling He/she to stand or sit some where in the room to the count of 10 or 20, etc, and then counting out loud with your fingers showing the passage of time. Record data on the data sheet below.

WALK AND PEEL PROCEDURE (In School or Out of the House Version): There will be times when the disruptive behavior occurs when you tell him that he can not have something that he wants or you tell him to stop doing something that he is enjoying. This behavior should be handled differently in school or public as compared to home which is described in #1 above. In these cases tell He/she no he can't have it and provide a short rationale. If he does not tantrum, provide him with reinforcement immediately, but not the item you just refused to give him of course. If he exhibits disruptive behavior then immediately place a demand on him to do something else, "walk with me, sit in this chair, etc." AT THIS MOMENT DO NOT PROMPT HIM TO ANOTHER ACTIVITY WHICH MIGHT DISTRACT HIM FROM WHAT HE REALLYS WANTS. THAT WILL STRENGTHEN THE PROBLEM BEHAVIOR. For example, in school if you tell him no he may not have a video at this time and he begins to head bang immediately protect him and begin a compliance trial or several by placing a demand on him to stand near the door for 10 seconds. If he refuses then physically guide him to complete the easy demand and do not release him until he completes the task. Protect him by blocking any self injurious behavior but have him complete the demand with no further talking by the teacher. If he flops, move him to complete the demand. Once he completes the demand then allow him to continue what he was doing or re direct him to the next activity. In school it might be the next instructional setting, in public it might be for He/she to walk with you towards your original destination in a store or mall.

Intensive teaching opportunities: Use the data sheet # 1 below to run practice trials on this skill each day.


    • Say no and if accepts it reinforce
    • If problem behavior occurs, walk in opposite direction
    • Return only to protect the child or property with no talking, walk again
    • If child grabs you, peel and go about your business
    • When child stops problem behavior for 1 minute return and redirect.
    • Use Data sheet# 1 during practice
    • Tell the child to stop behavior or "quiet" and begin counting by showing fingers counting off to 10 at first
    • If problem behavior continues during count, re start the count.
    • If child runs off, stop count and go about your business, don't follow the child.
    • When you reach 10 with no problem behavior prompt child to request desired item or activity with acceptable form of communication.
    • Deliver item for proper communication and then use the motivation at the moment for that item to run mand trials.
    • Use data sheet #2 when practicing.
    • After placing a demand allow about 3 seconds for compliance
    • When compliance occurs reinforce and be prepared to do so.
    • If compliance does not occur guide the child to complete the task
    • Do not give reinforcement for completion if guided
    • In some cases you may want to use the promise technique of showing a strong reinforcer before placing the demand on the child to reduce the motivation to escape your request.
    • If the promise is ineffective than remove the promise and physically guide with no reinforcer after physically guidance.
    • When practicing this technique make demands easy at first.
    • Use data sheet #3 when practicing.
    • Say no and if accepts it reinforce
    • If problem behavior occurs, place a compliance demand on the child specific to the setting. If in school direct to next activity or run some contrived compliance trials. Provide no reinforcement for compliance within the trials.
    • Use the promise procedure within school and outside the home as well.
    • Use data sheet # 3 when practicing. Be sure to mark that data sheeting indicating that the practice started with the denial of a child request for something they could not have at this time.

Data Sheet 1 Practice for when he/she wants something and the answer is NO.

Procedures: Teacher/parent sets up situations where he/she wants something and the teacher/parent says "NO". Say "NO" once, then walk away. Redirect him/her after 1 minute of quiet.


# Situation How long before redirect?
1 Y N Y N Y N
2 Y N Y N Y N
3 Y N Y N Y N

Data Sheet 2 Practice for when he/she wants something and the answer is YES, but not for problem behavior

Procedures: Teacher/parent gives reinforcer in small quantities to set up practice situation. If he/she screams for more, do ten second count, then require mand with words.

# Situation # of restarts
1 Y N Y N Y N
2 Y N Y N Y N
3 Y N Y N Y N

Data Sheet 3 Practice for asking him/her to comply with demands to move from preferred to unpreferred activities. Date:
Procedures: When he/she is engaging in an activity that he prefers, ask him to move away from that activity and do something else. If he/she refuses, head hits, etc. physically guide him to an unpreferred activity and require compliance, starting with easy tasks first and slowly working up to harder ones.

# Demand # of demands before release
1 Y N Y N Y N
2 Y N Y N Y N
3 Y N Y N Y N


  1. When my child screams, hits or tantrums to get things he or she can have but not for screaming How Will I Set up Situations to Practice the Count Then Mand Procedure.
  2. When my child screams, hits or tantrums when I say "NO" and the answer is just plain NO; How Will I Implement the "Walk and Peel" procedure with my Child
  3. When my child screams, hits or tantrums when I ask him/her to give up a preferred activity or go to a less preferred activity How will I Run Compliance Trials Each Day to Overcome this problem behavior"


Behavioral Classification of Language
1. RECEPTIVE LANGUAGE: Following instructions or complying with the request (mands of others). A tendency to "pass the cup" when someone asks you to do so.
Antecedent Someone's Verbal Behavior
Learner Behavior
Non-Verbal Compliance
2. RECEPTIVE BY FEATURE, FUNCTION AND CLASS (RFFC): Responding to items in the environment when provided a description of them and not their "names". A tendency to point to a "cup" when someone says "show me what drink with".
Antecedent Someone's Verbal Behavior
Learner Behavior Non-verbal Compliance
3. ECHOIC: (Vocal Imitation) Repeating precisely what is heard, usually immediately. A tendency to say "cup" because someone else just said it.

Antecedent Someone's Verbal
Learner Behavior
Verbal Behavior (Matches Other Speaker)
4. MOTOR IMITATION: Copying Someone's Motor Movements. A tendency to sign "cup" when someone else signs coffee

Antecedent Someone's Motor Behavior
Learner Behavior
Motor Behavior (Matches Other Speaker)
Reinforcer Social
5. MAND (Request): Asking for Reinforcers that you want. A tendency to say "cup" when you want it, e.g. when there is an EO or motivation for it.
Antecedent Desire or Motivation (EO)
Learner Behavior
Verbal Behavior Specific to the EO

TACT (Label)
Naming or identifying objects, actions, events, relations, properties, etc. A tendency to say "cup" when you see a cup.

Antecedent Non-Verbal Stimulus
Learner Behavior Verbal Behavior
Answering "wh" questions or having a conversation so that what you say is determined by what the other person says. A tendency to say or sign "cup" when someone else says "What do you pour juice into".

Antecedent Someone's Verbal Behavior
Learner Behavior Verbal Behavior (Does not Match Other Speaker)
Notes on the Behavioral Classification of Language

  1. A word is not defined by its form. The definition of a word is determined by its functional category, e.g. mand, tact, etc.
  2. The same word (cup) has many different meanings based upon the conditions under which you learned to say it.
  3. Many children with autism do not have verbal repertoires that include responses in each of the categories for the same word (topography).
  4. This happens because the categories are functionally independent and the responses (words) may not transfer across the categories without explicit training. For example, being able to mand a cookie by saying "cookie" does not guarantee that the same child will be able to tact (label) a cookie when the see one and there is no EO (motivation) for it.
  5. A common profile of children with autism includes a large receptive repertoire, many tacts, and very few mands and almost no intraverbals. Failing to have responses in all of the categories leads to less than adequate and useful verbal repertoire.
  6. This problem may be the result of instruction which failed to assess the language repertoire of the child according to the behavioral classification and then failed to recognize the need for explicit teaching. Frequently, the child's "cognitive abilities" and not the teaching is said to account for failure to develop spontaneous language and conversational skills.



ASSESSMENT: The Behavioral Language Assessment Form, Mark L. Sundberg and James W. Partington



For the following questions, indicate the level of performance that best describes the learner's typical level of performance.

How easy is it to work with the child?

1 . Always uncooperative, avoids work, engages in negative behavior
2. Will do only one brief and easy response for a powerful reinforcer
3. Will give 5 responses without disruptive behavior
4. Will work for 5 minutes without disruptive behavior
5. Works well for 10 minutes at a table without disruptive behavior

2. REQUESTS (Mands)
How does the learner let his needs and wants be known?

1. Cannot ask for reinforcers; or engages in negative behavior
2. Pulls people, points, or stands by reinforcing items
3. Uses 1-5 words, signs, or pictures to ask for reinforcers
4. Uses 5-10 words, signs or pictures to ask for reinforcers
5. Frequently,requests using 10 or more words, signs, or pictures

Does the learner copy actions?

1. Cannot imitate anybody's motor movements
2. Imitates a few gross motor movements modeled by others
3. Imitates several gross motor movements on request
4. Imitates several fine and gross motor movements on request
5. Easily imitates any fine or gross movements, often spontaneously

Does the learner spontaneously say sounds and words?

1 . Does not make any sounds (mute)
2. Makes a few speech sounds at a low rate
3. Vocalizes many speech sounds with varied intonations
4. Vocalizes frequently with varied intonation and says a few words
5. Vocalizes frequently and says many clearly understandable words

Will the learner repeat sounds or words?

1. Cannot repeat any sounds or words
2. Will repeat a few specific sounds or words
3. Will repeat or closely approximate several sounds or words
4. Will repeat or closely approximate many different words
5. Will clearly repeat any word, or even simple phrases

Will the learner match objects, pictures, and designs to presented samples?
1. Cannot match any objects or pictures to a sample
2. Can match I or 2 objects or pictures to a sample
3. Can match 5 to 10 objects or pictures to a sample
4. Can match 5 to 10 colors, shapes, or designs to a sample
5. Can match most items and match 2 to 4 block designs
Does the learner understand any word or follow directions?
1. Cannot understand any words
2. Will follow a few instructions related to daily routines
3. Will follow a few instructions to do actions or touch items
4. Can follow many instructions and point to at least 25 items
5. Can point to at least 100 items, actions, persons, or adjectives


8. LABELING (Tacts)

Does the learner label or verbally identify any items or actions?

1. Cannot identify any items or actions
2. Identifies only I to 5 items or actions
3. Identifies 6 to 15 items or actions
4. Identifies 16 to 50 items or actions
5. Identifies over 100 items or actions and emits short sentences

Does the learner identify items when given information about those items?

1. Cannot identify items based on information about them
2. Will identify a few items given synonyms or common functions
3. Will identify 10 items given I of 3 functions or features
4. Will identify 25 items given 4 functions, features, or classes
5. Will identify 100 items given 5 functions, features, or classes

Can the learner fill-in missing words or answer questions?

1. Cannot fill-in missing words or parts of songs
2. Can fill-in a few missing words or provide animal sounds
3. Can fill-in 10 non-reinforcing phrases or answer at least 10 simple questions
4. Can fill-in 20 phrases or can answer 20 questions with variation
5. Can answer at least 30 questions with variation

Does the learner know any letters, numbers, or written words?

1. Cannot identify any letters, numbers, or written words
2. Can identify at least 3 letters or numbers
3. Can identify at least 15 letters or number
4. Can read at least 5 words and identify 5 numbers
5. Can read at least 25 words and identify 10 numbers

Does the learner initiate and sustain interactions with others?

1. Does not initiate interactions with others
2. Physically approaches others to initiate an interaction
3. Readily asks adults for reinforcers
4. Verbally interacts with peers with prompts
5. Regularly initiates and sustains verbal interactions with peer


1. THE MAND: a verbal behavior in which the form of the response is controlled by the motivational or aversive condition which determined the behavior. (Asking for food when hungry is a mand)

  • Mands occur when Establishing Operations (EOs) are strong. For example when you are hungry or thirsty or when you really don't want to do something and therefore want to escape or avoid a situation.
  • An establishing operation is a condition of deprivation or aversion which 1) momentarily increases the value of some reinforcer (food, attention) AND 2) increases the likelihood that all behavior which has produced the reinforcer in the past is more likely.
  • Mands also occur when you want an activity or object you haven't had in awhile (deprivation) or when you haven't had attention in awhile and therefore want some.
  • The mand is usually the first form of verbal behavior to be acquired since it may produces immediate and the specific reinforcement requested. A baby's cry may be the first form of mand that develops.
  • Persons with developmental delays tend to develop mands which are malaclaptive, e.g. SIB, aggression, tantrums, screaming, etc. Teaching another mand response form, e.g. vocal or sign, may well replace these maladaptive behaviors.
  • Establishing operations are the most important motivational variable in language training.
  • Tacts do not transfer to mands. In other words, because you can say "cookie" when you see one doesn't mean you will ask for a cookie when one is not visible even though you are hungry (strong EO). The transfer occurs when taught and not as a result of a cognitive process inside the person.

2. THE DUPLIC: Echoic and Motor Imitation (mimetic) A verbal behavior whose form is controlled by someone else's verbal behavior with 1 - 1 correspondence

  • Echoic repertoire is shaped by parents because it is useful to the parent and others
  • An echoic repertoire is an essential first step towards teaching more complex verbal behavior and shaping articulation
  • Echoic repertoire develops quickly in typical children and transfers to tacting (labeling) very quickly , just a few trials.
  • Typical adults still use the echoic repertoire to make their behavior more effective e.g. repeat complicated directions to help understand them.
  • The echoic repertoire can usually be developed in persons with developmental delays but the behavior does not transfer to other more useful situations or occur spontaneously without training.
  • Many persons with developmental delays are best taught motor imitation initially as a first step towards teaching sign language
  • Sometimes time is wasted in trying to develop an echoic repertoire (vocal imitation) when motor imitation should be taught to facilitate sign language.

3. THE TACT: A verbal behavior under the control of the nonverbal environment which includes nouns, adjectives, pronouns, actions, relations etc.

  • Tacts are strengthen by social reinforcement. Listeners reinforce speakers for tacting because tacts provide useful information to them.
  • Persons who are not susceptible to social reinforcement, e.g. persons with autism, do not readily acquire tacts during initial language training.
  • Many teachers believe that once a person can either follow commands to touch or get items (receptive skills) and can tact objects they then possess the "meaning" of words and should be able to ASK for the item or TALK ABOUT the item.
  • Many teachers believe that the inability to ask for things or talk about them once they can be tacted is an indication of the depth of the person's disability. "He can't make the cognitive associations or doesn't have the cognitive processes necessary for complex language."
  • It is the teacher who has failed to make the associations not the student.
  • Consequently, many persons with disabilities never develop verbal behavior beyond receptive compliance and tacting even though they could under the proper teaching conditions.
  • Every new tact does not have to be taught directly since the process of tact extension occurs. For example, the ability to identify all books as books after having been taught to tact only a few books.


4. THE INTRAVERBAL A Verbal behavior which is under the control of other verbal behavior and is strengthened by social reinforcement. For example, a tendency to say apple when asked to name a fruit.

  • Intraverbal behavior allows a person to talk about objects or events even when they are not present. Conversations are examples of Intraverbal behavior.
  • Nursery rhymes, counting by rote, and saying the alphabet are all examples of intraverbal behavior we learn as young typically developing children. As we get older, the acquisition of this repertoire allows us to learn about science, politics, psychology, etc.
  • Many persons with developmental delays do not have strong intraverbal repertoires. They have strong receptive skills and tact skills but not Intraverbal or mand repertoires.
  • Many linguistic language training programs emphasize receptive skills and tacting and do not directly teach intraverbals skills.
  • Many persons with developmental delays will touch a picture of bike when asked to find the bike (Receptive Skill) will say bike when asked "what is this?" (Tact) but, won't be able to ask for a bike when he/she wants to ride (Mand) or won't be able to say bike when asked "What has two wheels? (Intraverbal) The reality is, if a person has a strong tact repertoire albeit small, the intraverbal repertoire can be developed very quickly. The argument teachers use against teaching this conversational repertoire to persons with developmental delays is "He won't understand what he is saying, anyway".


There is very little research which directly compares signing and pointing systems. What does exist suggests there are several practical and conceptual differences. A description of these differences have implications for which response to choose for particular students.

  • Speech is the most desired response form for a number of reasons:
  • large verbal community to prompt and reinforce without special training
  • endless vocal models which are paired with reinforcement making sounds and patterns conditioned reinforcers as a result vocalizations are automatically reinforced by the response product and therefore provide natural strengthening of speaking vocal behavior may be the easiest form of verbal behavior for most persons to acquire vocal behavior is portable and responses can be emitted quickly and efficiently.
  • If speech fails to develop in the typical manner speech may become very difficult to establish
  • The longer a person goes without speaking the more difficult it will become to establish vocal behavior
  • The response form required for speech may be too difficult for some persons to acquire. This is especially true of persons who do not develop an ECHOIC repertoire
  • A pointing or signing augmentative communication system will be necessary for these persons.


The criterion we use for deciding to use an augmentative communication system is:


  1. Choose the system that is easiest for the child to learn, requires the least response effort for the child and is acquired the fastest to insure the immediate replacement of maladaptive behavior with functional communication.
  2. Choose the system that is most likely to facilitate the development of vocal behavior.
  3. Choose the system that allows for verbal behavior across all the meanings of words, e.g. mands, tacts, intraverbals, just in case the child does not develop vocal behavior as his/her only form of communication.

Selection Based verbal behavior consists of scanning an array of stimuli and selecting the desired stimulus by pointing to it. This form of communication is quite different than vocal communication.
Topography Based verbal behavior (signing) consists of producing a distinction response form for each meaning or controlling variable. This form of communication is very similar to vocal communication for both the learner and listener.
For example, the sign for shoe involves different muscles than the sign for hat. However, when selecting a picture or symbol for shoe or hat the same muscles are involved in the pointing responses.
We recommend using sign language over selection-based systems (PECS, etc.) for most children who require augmentative communication.
Why Sign Language Teaching May Fail

  1. First signs taught are not mands
  2. First signs taught are too complex (e.g., please, yes/no, help, toilet, more, thank you)
  3. First signs may resemble each other too closely (e.g., eat and drink)
  4. First signs may involve a complex response form
  5. Not enough training trials are provided
  6. Training is conducted under multiple sources of control (e.g., motivation, picture/object prompts, verbal prompts, English prompts, imitative prompts), and prompts are not faded so spontaneous" responses can occur
  7. Individual verbal operants are never established (i.e., mands, tacts, intraverbals), responses remain multiply controlled
  8. Stuck at one level too long, not a progressive curriculum in place
  9. Single verbal operant focused on almost extensively (e.g., tacts, but limited intraverbal or mand training)
  10. Failure to establish a signing verbal community
  11. Failure to require signs outside of the training sessions
  12. Failure to generalize to novel stimuli, staff, settings, times, etc.


  1. Present words at the same time the child signs to take advantage of the effects of automatic reinforcement with someone who has some babbling.
  2. Echoic responding is also being taught concurrently according to one or several of the procedures that are listed below.
  3. When mand-signs are strong and will not be weakened if reinforcers are delayed slightly AND some vocal approximation to manded reinforcer ioccurs when the child mands or in separate echoic trials, require a vocal approximation to the word before reinforcement is delivered. Identify across all instructors the target vocal approximation required for reinforcement to occur. Then follow this procedure:

    When the EO is strong for the reinforcer and the sign for it occurs at any prompt level say the word, not just a vocal approximation. You want the full word paired with the reinforcer not just a sound or partial word. If no vocal response occurs within 2-3 seconds, withhold the reinforcer and repeat this process 3 more times if needed. During any of the presentations of the echoic prompt if the vocal approximation occurs differentially reinforce immediately by delivering the reinforcer manded. If the vocal approximation does not occur THEN REINFORCE ANYWAY AFTER 3 PRESENTATIONS OR THE SIGN AND ALL ATTEMPTS TO COMMUNICATE COULD BE WEAKENED.

    Even when you do not get an approximation and can not directly reinforce, you may still have strengthened the likelihood that an approximation or the word may be selected in the future by the automatic reinforcing effect generated by the pairing of the word with the reinforcer. When the targeted approximation is occurring regularly then begin to require a closer approximation to the exact word and only differentially reinforce when that occurs using the same procedure as described above. Continue this until the word occurs each time instead of the sign. Continue to mix echoic teaching opportunities with all the other skills in your intensive and natural environment teaching situations. 54


  1. There is convincing evidence that sign language acquisition with spoken words accompanying sign (total communication) may lead to vocalizations with some children. Children who already possess some vocal imitation skill are more likely to develop vocal verbal behavior as a result of sign language acquisition.

    Brady, D. 0., & Smouse, A. A simultaneous comparison of three methods for language training with an autistic child: An experimental case analysis. Journal of Autism and Childhood Schizophrenia, 8, 271-279. Casey, L. 0. (1978) Development of communicative behavior in autistic children: A parent program using manual signs. Journal of Autism and and Childhood Schizophrenia, 8, 45-59. Fulwiler , R. & Fouts, R. (1976) Acquistion of American Sign Language by a non- communicating Autistic Child, Journal of Autism and Childhood Schizophrenia, 6, 43-50.Layton, T. & Watson 1. (1995) Enhancing communication in non-verbal children with autism. In K. A. Quill (Ed)Teaching Children with autism: Strategies to enhance communication and socialization. (pp73-1 01) New York: Delmar Publishers.
    Carr, E. & Dores, P. (1981) Speech vs. Sign comprehension in autistic children; analysis and prediction. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 37, 587-597
    Konstanantareas, M. , Webster, C., and Oxman, J. (1979) Manual language acquisition and its influence on other areas of functioning in four autistic and autistic-like children. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Discipines, 20,337-350.
    Layton, T. (1988) Language Training with autistic children using four different modes of presentation. Journal of communication Disorders, 21, 333-350.
    Layton, T. & Baker, P. (1981) Description of semanticsyntactic relations in an autistic chyild. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 11, 385-399.
    Schaeffer, B., Kollinzas, G., Musil, A., & McDowell, P. (1978) Spontaneous verbal language for autistic children through signed speech. Sign Language Studies, 21, 317-352. Yoder, P. and Layton, T. (1989) Speech following sign language training in autistic children with minimal verbal language. Joumal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 18, 217-229.

  2. Almost all children with autism can learn to sign despite motor imitation deficits.

    Carr, E. (1979) Teaching autistic children to use sign language: Some research issues. Journal of autism and Developmental Disorders, 9, 345-359.

  3. Sign language teaching may lead to improved vocal verbal behavior in children who are vocal but engage in frequent delayed echolalia or video-type scripting or for whom the development of more abstract verbal behavior, e.g. adjectives, prepositions, etc. are difficult to acquire.

    Barrera, R. and Sulzer-Azaroff, B. (1983) An alternating treatment comparison of oral and total communiction training program with echolalic autistic children. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis., 4Y 379-394. Konstantareas, M. (1984) Sign language as a communication prosthesis with language impaired children. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. 14, 9-25.

  4. Sign is acquired more easily (faster and accurately) than picture symbol systems.

    Sundberg, C. and Sundberg, M. (1990) Comparing topography-based verbal behavior with Stimulus selectionbased verbal behavior, The Analysis of Verbal Behavior, 8Y 31-41.

  5. For a complete review of the differences between sign and PECS and other picture symbol systems see:

    Potter, B. and Brown, D. (1997) A review of studies examining the nature of selection-based and topographybased verbal behavior. The Analysis of Verbal Behavior, 14,85-104.
    Shafer, E. (1993) Teaching topography-based and selection-based verbal behavior to developmentally disabled individuals: Some considerations. The Analysis of Verbal Behavior, 11, 117-133.


  1. First of all, sign may immediately eliminate the problem of not being able to interact with others in a child who has very limited vocalizations or even no echoic repertoire. Listeners immediately know what the person is lisayingy) and can thereby provide reinforcement which reduces the tendency to engage in maladaptive behavior. Any vocalizations that occur at the time reinforcement is delivered are strengthened. In situations in which persons are not acquiring vocal behavior but are being "pushed 13 to do so, any requirement to interact verbally may be punished and further diminish the opportunity to teach verbal behavior of any type.
  2. If teachers speak as they sign and require and reinforce approximations to spoken words then words are paired with specific signs and highly reinforcing vocal interactions. 58
  3. For example in mand training if the spoken word it eat" is consistently paired with the sign eat and the delivery of food, then the word may acquire the power to evoke the vocal response or be a reinforcer when it is said.
  4. Consequently, as you begin to shape the vocal repertoire the production of the words not only gets direct reinforcement but what you hear and feel by saying it eat 1~ will help to strengthen the vocalization.
  5. As you teach sign you also teach a generalized motor imitative repertoire. This repertoire involves a matching response that then produces reinforcement. This process may facilitate the development of a vocal imitative repertoire (echoic).
  6. It appears that students who have some echoic responding will develop vocalizations more reliably from being taught sign language.
  7. When signs begin to evoke vocalizations then the signs may be used by the person or others to prompt vocalization.


  1. If an echoic behavior is moderate or at least weak then vocal behavior should be the response form of choice.
  2. If skilled attempts to develop the echoic repertoire and mands and tacts are unsuccessful then an augmentative response should be considered.
  3. If a person physical or neurological disabilities which makes the differential muscle control necessary for signing impossible a pointing or selection based system should be immediately considered.
  4. If a student is young without physical conditions which would preclude sign then begin an intensive signing program that includes speaking while signing. In addition, the teacher should be skilled in prompting and differentially reinforcing vocalizations that may occur. THE MAIN REASON FOR THIS RECOMMENDATION IS THAT SIGNS MAY LEAD TO VOCALIZATIONS MORE EFFECTIVELY THAN A PICTURE SYSTEM.
  5. With older students who may be involved in frequent community activities and who do not have a strong echoic repertoire or frequent verbalizations, a combination of signing and pointing systems may be best.
  6. In the case above, the signs should be taught because they will probably be acquired more quickly and should be taught immediately to replace maladaptive behavior.
  7. This older person however has a need to immediately verbally interact with persons in the community who do not have specialized sign


Natural Language Paradigm vs Sign Language
Natural Language Paradigm
Early in the training every EO does not have a specific topogrpahy (vocalization) that can be reliably prompted to insure the delivery of frequent reinforcement. In some cases, even when an EO is strong and no specific topography is being required, just a vocalization, there is no reliable method to prompt vocalizations. This reduces opportunities to reinforce verbal behavior and may lead to disruptive behavior.
Early in the training reinforcement can not be delivered when an EO is strong but the reinforcer is not present. Since there is no speccific and differentiated topography related to specific EO's reinforcement specific to the EO can not be delivered. Even when reinforcement is delivered for any vocalization the reinforcer may not be specific to the EO and therefore slightly reduces the reinforcing effects.
Can not immediately transfer vocal responses across functional language categories, tact, intraverbal, because the initial response form is not sufficient to control the behavior of a listener when an EO and reinforcer are not present.
The topographies of vocalizations can be shaped (articulation) through differential reinforcement and therefore lead to more articulate speech.
If the NLP shaping procedures do not produce I a useful vocal repertoire an augmentative , system of communication must be eventually i chosen. This may mean several months or I even years of attempting to teach vocal behavior may constitute lost time in developing a verbal behavior repertoire.
Sign Language
Every EO has a sign that can be prompted when the motivation is strong and therefore every verbal response can be reinforced and the word can be paired with the reinforcer to strengthen evocative effect of words through automatic and conditioned reinforcement.

Early in the training reinforcement can be delivered specific to an EO even when the item is not present. If the sign topography has been successfully transferred to the control exerted by the EO verbal behavior can be reinforced even when the item is not present. This leads to greater opportunities for verbal behavior to be reinforced and leads to spontaneous responding or verbal behavior free from multiple controls.
Can begin to transfer signed topogrpahies across functional categories and therefore is increase opportunities for verbal behavior and speech to be paired with reinforcement.
Vocalizations and specific topogrpahies can be differentially reinforced while signing as well and therefore more articulate speech can be shaped. Moreover, specific speech sounds have been paired with specific signs and therefore the signs may act as evocative stimuli for the vocalization and automatic reinforcing stimuli. In addition, the motor imitative movements when signing may facilitate vocal imitative behavior as well. Finally, the sign may act as a prompt for the vocalization once signs evoke vocalizations and therefore lead to greater opportunities for vocalizations to be reinforced.
If sign language and vocal verbal behavior shaping does not produce a useful vocal repertoire the time spent teaching it has not or been lost since the child may well have a very sophisticated signing repertoire including, a conversational repertoire with sign-competent listeners.\62

Assessment of Basic Learner Skills
Why Use Criterion Referenced Assessment instead of Norm Referenced Materials to Develop Goals and Design Instruction
Sequence for Teaching Verbal Behavior Skill Based on the ABLLS by Partington and Sundberg

MANDING 1. Mands with single Word
2. with reinforcer present.
3. Mands with vocal or gestural prompt.
4. Mands when reinforcer is not present
5. Mands for rcinforcers spontaneously, no prompts.
6. Mands for actions
7. Mands Attention
8. Mands for missing items
9. Mands using yes and no.
10. Mands with many carrier phrases.
11. Mands forinformation using: What
12. Mands using:
13. Adjectives
14. Prepositions
15. Adverbs
16. Pronouns
17. Acquire mands without intensive teaching
TACTING 1 . Tacts Reinforcers
2 Tacts common objects.
3. Tacts people
4. Tacts pictures of objects.
5. Tacts on-going actions.
6. Tacts pictures of on-going actions.
7. Learns tacts; without intensive teaching
8. Tacts adjectives
9. Tacts with carrier phrases.
10. Tacts body parts.
11. Tacts features of objects.
12. Tacts more than one item in an array with a carrier some phrase
13. Tacts item when told its function.
14. Tacts item when told a feature motor
15. Tacts item when told its class.
16. Tacts functions of items
17. Tacts the class of an object.
18. Tacts the class of a set of items.
19. Tacts using yes and no.
20. Tacts items in a picture.
21. Tacts adjective and verb with a carrier phrase.
22. Tacts noun and adjective with carrier phrase.
23. Tacts exclusion from a category
24. Tacts what is wrong in a picture.
25. Tacts Prepositions
26. Tacts prepositions with carrier phrases
27. Tacts pronouns
28. Tacts; pronouns with carrier phrases.
29. Tacts adjective, noun and verb with carrier phrase.
30. Tacts adjective, noun, verb and prepositional phrase with carrier phrase
31. Tacts adjective, adjective, noun, verb and prepositional phrase with carrier phrase.
32. Tacts items and actions in a scene with multiple component responses.
33. Tacts Community Helpers.
34. Tacts common environmental sounds.
35. Tacts emotions of others.
36. Tacts private events.
37. Tacts social behavior and situations
38. Tacts spontaneously
ECHOIC 1. Clearly imitates easy speech sounds.
2. Clearly imitates beginning sounds of words.
3. Clearly imitates consonant blends.
4. Clearly imitates most words
5. Clearly imitates a phrase.
6. Clearly imitates with prosody
7. Volume
8. Tone
9. Speed
10. Clearly imitates novel words and phrases.
RECEPTIVE 1. Follows instruction to do a reinforcing activity
2. Follows instruction to look at reinforcer
3. Follows instruction to look at common item.
4. Follows instruction to touch a reinforcer
5. Yollows instruction to touch a common item.
6. Follows instructions to do something reinforcing out of context.
7. Follow routine instructions.
8. Gives non-reinforcing item.
9. Follows instruction to do motor action.
10. Follows instructions to touch an item vs a distracter.
11. Selects reinforcing items.
12. Selects from 2 reinforcing items.
13. Selects from one of 2 common items.
14. Selects common pictures.
15. Selects using when asked many ways.
16. Touches body parts
17. Points to body parts on others.
18. Touches own clothing.
19. Select by feature, function and class.
20. Selects two items or pictures from a larger set.
21. Follows instruction to go to a person.
22. Follows instruction to give or get item or place object.
23. Follows directions, c.g give, point, touch, pick up.
24. Demonstrates pretend action.
25. Selects action pictures.
26. Selects community helpers.
27. Leams new response without intesive teaching.
28. Locates objects in complex picture, e.g all the balls.
29. Select pictures associated with environmental sounds.
30. Select by adjectives.
31. Select by two characteristics.
32. Select sets by characteristics.
33. Select associated pictures.
34. Follows multiple component instructions.
35. Receptive prepositions.
36. Receptive pronouns
37. Select non-examples
38. Select locations in pictures.
39. Select pictures representing emotions or social interactions.
INTRAVERBAL 1. Fill in words from songs.
2. Fill in blanks for fun activities.
3. Say animal sounds.
4. Fill in words for common activities.
5. Fill in item by feature, functions and class.
6. Fill in features, functions and class when given item..
7. Fills in story words by FFC
8. State members of a class.
9. State class given members.
10. State opposites.
11. Answer questions: What
12. Name items previously observed with multiple components or dimensions.
13. Maintains conversation in the context of reinforcing activity or item.
14. States activity when given description
15. States item when told its features, functions or class.
16. Initiates a conversation in the context of reinforcing activity.
17. Make related statement to visual display.
18. Describe step in a sequence of a daily or reinforcing activity.
19. Answers yes and no to questions.
20. Answers questions about topics with 2, then 3, etc. critical elements, e.g. hot foods.
21, Describes steps before and after in a daily activity.
22. Answers questions about past and future events.
23. Answers questions about reinforcing and non reinforcing places in the environment.
24. Answers questions related to current events.
25. Answers academic questions, eg. the capital of Iowa.
26. Maintains a conversation with adult or peer; at least 5 exchanges
27. Answers novel questions.
28. Initiates a conversation with an adult or peer when a reinforcing activity or item is not to present to talk about.
29. Tells stories.



A-8: G--- will work for 15 minutes or about 100 responses for just social reinforcement.
B-5: G--- will sort 6 or more categories of items to an array of 4 samples as measured by 2 consecutive daily probes with independent responding.
B-6: G--- will duplicate identical structures constructed with 10 blocks as measured by two consecutive daily probes with independent responding.
C-10: G--- follow at least 50 instructions to do one and two step simple motor activities as measured by 2 consecutive daily probes with independent responding. (example: "Get pencil and sit down.")
C-11: G--- will follow instructions to "give me" at least 200 items or pictures in a field of 3 distracters as measured by 2 consecutive daily probes with independent responding.
C-17: G--- follows instructions to touch at least 20 body parts, in addition to ones he currently can identify, as measured by 2 consecutive daily probes with independent responding. (Parents will provide a current list of body parts G--can identify and this IEP goal would be for classroom, as well as, Occupational Therapy.
C-28: G--- will follow instructions to give an item to a person or place an item on an object as measured by 2 consecutive daily probes with independent responding. (Intended goal of 25 different items.)
C-20: G--- will give the correct picture when asked to identify an item by its function as measured by 2 consecutive daily probes with independent responding. (for example, with 3 pictures down, ask G--- to give you the picture of the item that you drink from (cup). Intended goal of at least 100 different pictures.
D-9: G--- will imitate at least 10 fine motor movements as measured by 2 consecutive daily probes with independent responding. (Intended goal for regular classroom and Occupational Therapy. Parents will provide list of current items being worked on at home.)
D-10: G--- will imitate 10 sequences of 2 actions as measured by 2 consecutive weekly probes with independent responding. (for example: clap hands and then tap thighs. Parents will provide list of current items being worked on at home.)
E-4: G--- will vocally imitate at least 100 difficult to say words on request for 2 consecutive daily probes with ratings of I on all 3 dimensions of vocal imitation quality. (Parents will provide list of current words being worked on at home.)
F-5: G--- will spontaneously request at least 10 different reinforcers each day in the every day school environment and during intensive teaching sessions.
G-3 and G-4: G--- will label (tact) at least 10 to 15 familiar people in pictures and at least 200 pictures of common objects as measured by 2 consecutive daily probes with independent responding.
G-9: G--- will label 15 unfamiliar body parts on himself or others as measured by 2 consecutive weekly probes with independent responding. (Parents will provide a list of body parts.)
G-1 1: G--- will label proper adjectives for objects(such as, color, size, shape, texture, etc.) as measured by 2 consecutive weekly probes with independent responding. (Parents will provide list of 45.)
H-4: G--- will give the animal sound for at least 10 animals when asked what does a say", e.g. "A dog says . .",etc.
H-5: G--- will answer questions regarding personal information, e.g. name, age, phone #, etc. as measured by 2 consecutive daily probes with independent responding. (Parents will provide list of personal information to be taught.)
H-6: During incidental classroom teaching G--- will fill-in blanks left in phrases describing at least 20 on-going activity, e.g. we are in the bathroom to wash our (hands) as measured by 2 consecutive daily probes with independent responding.
H-7: When given the function of a known label G--- will fill in at least 50 items as measured by 2 consecutive daily probes with independent responding. (for example, when you say "you cut with a " G--- will say scissors.
H-13: When asked to name members of a category G--- will give at least 10 examples of members of the categories as measured by 2 consecutive daily probes with independent responding.(for example, when asked to "name some colors" G--- will name at least 5 colors".
K-3: G--- will play with a toy by making at least 10-15 appropriate responses with 5 different toys without prompts as measured by 2 consecutive daily probes with independent responding and by report of teacher in anecdotal daily notes..
L-1 0 and L-1 1: G--- will return and initiate greetings as appropriate in school as measured by report of teacher in anecdotal notes daily.
L-15: G--- will ask other children for reinforcing items at least 25 times per day in school as measured by report from teacher.
M-3: G--- will sit appropriately and attend to teacher during small group instruction for at least 15 minutes as reported by teacher in daily anecdotal notes.
M-4: G--- will attend to the responses given by other students or assistants during small group instruction for at least 15 minutes as reported by teacher in daily anecdotal notes.
M-5: G--- will raise his hand to respond to questions presented to the group during small group instruction as reported by teacher in daily anecdotal notes.
M-6: G--- will follow instructions presented to the group of students as reported by teacher in daily anecdotal notes. 69

R-1: G--- will rote count to 100
R-4: When presented with varying amounts of items between 1 and 25, G--- will count the items as measured by 2 consecutive daily probes with independent responding.
R-7: When presented with the numerals 1-100 G--- will name the numerals as measured by 2 consecutive daily probes with independent responding.
S-2: G--- will color between the lines given 20 different large shape on a single piece of paper. (Occupational Therapy)
W-1: G--- will wash hands without assistance as reported by teacher in daily anecdotal notes.
W-2: G--- will dry hands without assistance as reported by teacher in daily anecdotal notes.
W-6: G--- will brush teeth without assistance as reported by teacher in daily anecdotal notes.
Teaching Verbal Behavior

  1. Manding is verbal behavior that produces immediate benefit for the learner and therefore strengthens it.
  2. The mand is evoked by a momentary condition of motivation (Establishing Operation) and is strengthened when the reinforcer specific to the motivation is delivered.
  3. Development of a strong manding repertoire may be essential for the development of all other types of verbal behavior, e.g. tacting, intraverbal, etc.
  4. Manding teaches a child that verbal behavior is valuable; the other repertoires teach what to say once the learner wants to talk .
  5. This is the first repertoire learned by all children, e.g. children cry when they are hungry and as a result they receive food. Eventually the child learns to say words to ask for different things which are reinforcing.
  6. By teaching a mand repertoire you may replace many problem behaviors.
  7. It is unlikely that you will be able to develop a verbal behavior repertoire in an early learner by just requiring the child to label items or talk about things.
  8. It is imperative that you begin teaching the child to ask for his or her strongest reinforcers.
  9. In addition, teach mands at times when the motivation is the greatest for the item or activity. These times will change from moment to moment, day to day, week to week, etc. so it will be important to be flexible so that you teach manding at a time when the motivation is greatest

SIGN - MAND PROMPTS Physical (full and partial) --------------------- Move hands Gestural (demonstration) -------------------- Demonstrate sign Vocal (Echoic) ------------------------------ Name of Sr+ Item or activity reinforcer is present ---------- Item is present Motivation is strong -------------------------- Child wants Sr+
Fade prompts to:
Motivation is strong---------------------------CHILD SIGNS SPONTANEOUSLY
VOCAL- MAND PROMPTS Vocal (Echoic) ------------------------------ Name of Sr+ Item is Present ------------------------------ Item is present Motivation is strong ------------------------- Child wants Sr+
Fade prompts to:

Motivation is strong---------------------------CHILD ASKS SPONTANEOUSLY

  1. Teaching must occur in the natural and everyday environment where the motivation is typically strong.
  2. Capture and contrive as many opportunities per day to teach mands. Set a goal of hundreds of mands per day across many reinforcers, teachers and settings for early learners.
  3. Count the number of mands, prompted and unprompted, per day and graph your results.
  4. Prompt the mands initially to teach the child that it is easy to get things with verbal behavior and so as to not turn the child off to communicating by requiring a difficult response at first.
  5. Get the best quality response with the least amount of prompting.
  6. Practice teaching mands so that your are skilled in how and when to reinforce, what approximations to accept, what level of prompt to provide and how to fade the prompts as quickly as possible.
  7. Consistency in methods across trainers is essential and lots of opportunities for generalization.
  8. An orderly and progressive curriculum must be in place.

Teaching Beginning to Advanced Mands "The General Sequence"

  1. Teach one word mands for items, activities and actions.
  2. Fade prompts so that most mands are occurring without the item present (spontaneously)
  3. Requests others actions.
  4. Requests with carrier phrases, e.g. I want
  5. Requests others to stop an activity and help
  6. Requests other attention
  7. Requests information, e.g. what, where, when, how, which, who and whose, why,
  8. Requests future events.
  9. Requests using adjectives, prepositions, adverbs, pronouns.
  10. Requests using adjectives, prepositions, adverbs, and pronouns

How to Increase the Number of Mands Per Day
Develop a worksheet similar to this one and contrive and capture opportunities to multiply the number of mand opportunities per day.

Contriving EO Worksheet
What I will do: Give ice cream with no spoon
What (Reinforer) Now Valued: spoon
What child will say or sign: "spoon"
What I will do: Say "let's go outside" and hold door closed.
What (Reinforer) Now Valued: Door opening
What child will say or sign: "open door"
What I will do: Turn off a reinforcing TV show suddenly and without warning
What (Reinforer) Now Valued: Information regarding "why"
What child will say or sign: "Why did you do that"
What I will do: Let's go play with trains
What (Reinforer) Now Valued: Info regarding where
What child will say or sign: Where are the trains?
What I will do: Let's cut paper
What (Reinforer) Now Valued: Where are scissors
What child will say or sign: On the top shelves
Place in front of a Swing (Sr+)
1. Child mands "Swing"---Gets swing
Place a few feet from Swing and block movement
2. Child mands "Walk" --- walk allowed
Place behind the door leading outside
3. Child mands "Open"---Gets door opened
Require shoes on before going outside
4. Child mands "shoes"---Gets shoes

MAND NOTES: Teaching Advanced Mands

  • How and when to add the "I want " and other Carrier phrases
  • Teaching Mands for Actions--
  • Teaching Mands for Attention and Removal of Aversives--
  • Taching Mands for Prepositions (Adj~e7ctives Adverbs and Pronouns--
  • Teaching Mands for Information-
  • Where?
  • What?
  • Who?
  • Which?
  • When?
  • How?
  • Why?

Program Development Plans

  • What are my immediate goals for developing the mand repertoire?
  • What is the be teaching for the next 6 months:
  • What mands will I target immediately within the program:
  • What kind and how many during intensive teaching:
  • What kind and how many in NET:
  • How will I contrive and capture conditions to teach mand all day long:
  • How will I teach mands for attention:

Teaching the Echoic Response
Teach echoics by presenting sounds that are heard frequently in babbling, easy to say sounds, first sounds of reinforcers the child is manding for, etc. Run these trials just before a mand opportunity. The natural environment may be the best place to do this with an early speaker.

GOAL: To strengthen vocal play and the vocal musculature and to bring specific vocalizations under echoic control, e.g. I say something and you say the same and receive

Vocal speech should always be the goal. The procedures listed below are designed to strengthen vocalizations.


  1. These procedures are for children who do very little spontaneous babbling and therefore make very few sounds endemic to the English language.
  2. In these cases, any speech sounds the child makes should result in immediate reinforcement with the child's preferred reinforcers.
  3. This should be done hundreds of times a day and will therefore help to strengthen speech and the mechanisms associated with it.
  4. Secondly, and automatic reinforcement procedure can be used to strengthen vocal play. Vocal play can be strengthened by the teacher emitting a targeted sound suchas "bababa" just before the delivery of a reinforcer. Repeat this pairing many times and soon the sound will become a reinforcer due to its pairing.
  5. Do this with a variety of reinforcers and sounds.
  6. When the child then makes the sounds they will be automatically reinforcing by what he/she hears and will consequently increase specific sound making by the child.


  1. Teaching a child to articulately repeat a word that was just said on command is a vital skill to language development. Many children can emit sounds but not upon demand. The echoic is taught using the same procedures for teaching imitation however physical prompts are not possible. The teacher presents sounds that are heard frequently in babbling, easy to say sounds, first sounds of reinforcers the child is manding for, etc.
  2. Require closer and closer approximations to the teacher's sound through differential reinforcement and shaping.
  3. Be sure to use powerful reinforcers. The strongest reinforcers can be use y presenting echoic trials between mand trials. Sometimes teaching the echoic while running Mand trials in the natural environment is best. At first only require one response between mands to keep the density of reinforcement high and the EO for escapelow.
  4. Select targeted approximations to the sounds or words to be echoed. The teacher presents the echoic stimulus and waits about 3 seconds for a matching response. If the response does not occur or the response does not match the targeted approximation, re-present the echoic stimulus. Do this no more than 3-4 times all the time reinforcing a target approximation but delivering the reinforcer anyway if the match response does not occur after 3-4 trials to reduce escape responses. In this case the trial was actually an automatic reinforcement procedure and at least the value of the sound has a greater likelihood to act as a conditioner reinforcer on subsequent trials.
  5. Eventually increase the response requirement for reinforcement to closer target approximations and then actually the sound or word.

Echoic Notes

  • Use differential reinforcement for any and all sounds or babbling
  • Use an automatic reinforcement procedure to teach the first echos/mands:

Program Development

  • How will I teach echoic skills(if necessary):
  • Teach babbling
  • Use of sign/mands and differential reinforcement for closer approximations
  • Automatic reinforcement procedure
  • Teaching vocal imitation
  • Teaching Receptive Discrimination, Receptive Commands, Visual Performance Skills, and Motor Imitation


  • How to Teach Receptive Discrimination and why:
  • How to Teach Receptive Commands and why:
  • How to Teach Motor Imitation-
  • How to Teach Visual Performance Skills:


  • List the sequence of receptive to be taught over the next several months:
  • List the sequence of Visual performance skills to be taught over the next several months.
  • List the sequence of motor imitation skills to be taught over the next several months.


The next steps including teaching the student to tact or label items in his daily environment. The training on the other skills, mand, echoic, mimetics, receptive and match to sample, should be interspersed in teaching this second verbal operant of tacting (labeling) in formal sessions and in the natural environment.
The prerequisites for beginning to teach this repertoire are: some words or signs under echoic or mimetic stimulus control =:>some mands without imitative or echoic prompts.
PROMPT AND PROMPT FADE PROCEDURES, FOR TEACHING TACTS SIGN - TACT PROMPTS Physical (full and partial) --------------- Move hands Gestural (demonstration) --------------- Demonstrate sign Vocal (Echoic) ------------------------- Name Item or non-verbal stimulus is present --- Non-verbal stimulus is present
Fade prompts to:
Item or non-verbal stimulus is present CHILD SIGNS NAME
VOCAL- TACT PROMPTS Vocal(Echoic)----------------------------Name Item or non-verbal stimulus is Present ---- Non-verbal stimulus is present
Fade prompts to:
Item or non-verbal stimulus is Present CHILD Says Name
GOAL: To transfer stimulus control from the mand or echoic/mimetic response to the tact thereby teaching the student a tacting (naming or labeling) repertoire.

  1. It may be necessary to begin teaching the tact with the words that have been acquired as mands. However, if the student has a strong duplic repertoire (echoic or mimetic) you may be able to start with new words.
  2. The tact repertoire develops when a child verbally identifies a set of physical conditions, e.g. a car, a table, inside, thirsty, not because he wants it (mand) but because it is present and by saying he/she has recived generalized social reinforcement.
  3. Remember, the listener benefits from a speaker's tacts. With mands, the speaker benefits form his/her behavior. That is why it is easier at first to teach mands instead of tacts.
  4. When a child says milk" as a mand it means something different than "milk as a tact because the variables that control the response (reasons for saying the word) are different
  5. With children with language delays mands or echoics will not automatically become tacts very quickly or often without the direct teaching methods described below.
  6. You may need to begin with actual objects present in the student's environment and then move to pictures as quickly as possible as especially for generalization purposes. (SEE list of Suggested Words for Initial tacts) pl 33 in S&P manual.
  7. Generalization procedures should include: different examples, different pictures, different situations, different carrier phrases, different teachers, instructor vary the volume, pitch, prosody, and free the tact from the verbal stimulus control "What is this?"etc.
  8. Generalization training should occur with every tact and should happen before the vocabulary becomes too large.

TACTING SEQUENCE: From Beginning to Advanced Tacting
Begin by teaching tacts of objects (Nouns) the child mands for and objects which are functional within the child's every day environment. If the child has a strong echoic or mimetic repertoire, you may be able to begin tacting of functional items in the environment which were not first taught as mands.
Once a large repertoire of tacts of objects (nouns) have been developed along with receptive, RFFC, mands and intraverbals, more complex tacts may be taught.
The tact complexity should develop by teaching the child to respond with many words to multiple features of a nonverbal stimulus.
The sequence usually progresses this way:

  • Tact more than one object in the environment, "ball and shoe"
  • Tact actions, (VERBS) e.g jumping, sneezing, rolling, etc.
  • Tacts using carrier phrases, "It's a shoe"
  • Tact actions of objects, (NOUN AND VERB) "ball rolling"
  • Tact properties of objects, (ADJECTIVES) e.g. color, shape, weight, size.
  • Tact item when told feature, function or class, e.g. "something you drink from is a cup".
  • Tact feature, function or class when told it, e.g. it you use a cup to drink .
  • Add the dimensions to the tact and Tact action, item and property (ADJECTIVE, NOUN AND VERB) e.g. "white bear running" "blue ball rolling'
  • Tacts features of items. Tacts with carrier phrases, properties and verb (Carrier Phrase, 1 Adjective, Noun, and Verb) "It's a red ball rolling 1)
  • Tacts with carrier phrases, properties and verb. (Carrier phrase, 2 adjectives, adjective, noun and verb) "It's a little, red ball rolling.
  • Tacts yes and no. e.g. "No, it's a car, or Yes, it's a book"
  • Tacts obvious problems in pictures, e.g. Says "fire" if a house is on fire.
  • Tacts exclusion from a category,e.g. Says "car" when asked what does not belong in picture of fruits and one car.
  • Tacts features of items which are missing or incorrect. e.g. Says "nose" when shown a picture of a person without a nose.
  • Tacts Community Helpers
  • Tacts environmental sounds
  • Tact prepositional relationships, e.g. in, out, above, over, etc.
  • Tacts carrier phrase, 2 properties, an object, action with a prepositional clause,(Carrier phrase, 2 adjectives, noun, verb and prepositional clause) "It's a little, red ball rolling on the table .
  • Tact Pronouns,e.g. 1, you, we, they, his, her, etc.
  • Tacts of sensory input, e.g. auditory, smell, etc.
  • Tacts of private events,e.g. feelings, pain and where, etc.


  1. Since many adjectives are "opposites" initially present 2 identical items which differ solely based upon the property you are teaching, e.g. size, texture, height, etc.
  2. Present them side by side and prompt the tact for each item, e.g. big and then little for two Barney dolls.
  3. Present the trials randomly with the same stimuli many times while fading the prompt for the tact.
  4. Once the tact is strong for these 2 items then choose 2 additional items which are identical except for the property you are teaching.
  5. Repeat this process until you have many exemplars of the tact (concept) across many different items that are identical except for the property being taught.
  6. Then, begin to teach the tact with items that are different from each other AND are also different in terms of the property being taught, e.g. big and then little for a Barney doll and a pencil.
  7. Change the sizes of these different items so that you teach the child to respond big and little to many varying size differences.
  8. Probe with novel examples for generality or generic tact extensions. Eventually teach the property both receptively and as a tact so that you can ask, "Which one is big?" and the child receptively identifies the big one and say 19cup". And, you can also ask What size is the cup and the learner says big .

Teaching Receptive Skills with Tacts-- It is important to teach receptive skills along with tacts since the repertoires are facilitating. However, do not expect receptive responses to transfer to tacts nor tacts to transfer to receptive responses.
GOAL: To teach the child to differentially respond to the verbal behavior of speakers and to teach a scanning response.

  • Each time a tact is taught the student should be required to receptively identify the object
  • The acquisition of the receptive skill will probably be quicker than the tact due to the difference in difficulty for students with language delays.
  • The teaching of this skill should interspersed with the teaching of all of the other skills, e.g. mand, tact, vocal imitation (echoic), motor imitation (mimetic).

Program Development Plans

  • What is the sequence of tacts that I will be teaching for the next 6 months?
  • What tacts will I target immediately within my program:
  • How will I teach for generalization of these tacts:
  • How will I teach these tacts within NET:

Many language delayed students with extensive tacting and receptive skills have difficulty understanding and reacting to the words used by others. As a result they may be unable to participate in conversations. The RFFC repertoire is designed to act as a "bridge to intraverbal behavior".

GOAL: To teach language delayed children to respond to the constantly changing verbal stimuli they hear every day.


  1. In standard receptive training the student is presented with the name of the object or thing to be identified. This is an important repertoire but it may not adequately prepare the student for the wide range of verbal stimuli he/she will encounter in the natural environment.
  2. In RFFC the name is missing and the student must identify the object or thing by one of its features, (color), its function (what can be dome with it) or the class (food, clothes, etc.)
  3. For example, when a student is asked to touch a car the student may be able to but can't correctly respond to the question "Touch the one that mommy drives?"
  4. Prerequisites for teaching RFFC is the student must have about 50 generalized words as mands and tacts.
  5. The first set of words to target should come from the list of acquired responses.
  6. To teach the skill present the 2 known pictures in a 2 component discrimination and ask the student to tact the pictures and point to them.
  7. Then present a feature, function or class command, e.g. "Touch the one that you eat" A correct response gets praise, then a pause and the present a FFC carrier for the other picture.
  8. Slowly begin adding additional pictures or object in a 2 item discrimination and intersperse them with known items and commands, e.g. "touch the one you bounce" or"show me the one you bounce .
  9. There are factors to consider before increasing the complexity of this task. Success with the easier tasks is a main indicator. However look for a well developed scanning response, a quick response, few negative behavior or attempts to escape from the task and a quick rejection of incorrect items.
  10. Add to the complexity over time by increasing the number of pictures to 3-4 and then eventually to 10-20.
  11. You may begin to use picture books with complex scenes and say "Find all the animals".
  12. Begin to teach this skill in the natural environment by presenting a game-like formation, e.g. "Run to the thing that has leaves is or while reading books.
  13. Another more complex situation would be to present a picture of a dog and cat and say "Give me the one with whiskers .


RFFC Notes

  • Describe the distinction between Receptive and RFFC--
  • Why is this an important skill for children to learn (it is a bridge to ___)
  • Describe how to develop an RFFC Teaching Session:

Program Development Plans

  • What is the sequence of receptive skills that I will be teaching for the next 6 months?
  • What receptive skills will I target immediately within my program:
  • How will I teach for generalization of these receptive skills:
  • How will I teach these receptive skills within NET:

Intraverbal behavior occurs when someone can appropriately respond to the verbal behavior of another person without just echoing what is said or merely following the instructions of someone. This type of verbal behavior is typically associated with " advanced skills" Precise teaching accounts for this behavior and not necessarily "higher functioning ability".

GOAL: To teach students to respond It conversationally" to the verbal behavior of other persons.

  1. The purpose of education is to develop a sophisticated and highly differentiated intraverbal repertoire.
  2. Students who have well developed intraverbal repertoires tend to benefit from large classroom and group learning settings more than students who do not.
  3. It may be very difficult for students with language delays to respond the many different ways someone can say the same thing.
  4. It is important to begin teaching this repertoire as soon as possible. Begin teaching intraverbals when a student has acquired 50 mands and tacts and at the same time the RFFC begins.
  5. Presenting nursery rhymes and leaving out a word for the student to fill in is a good technique for teaching initial intraverbals, e.g. "Whinnie the ... (Pooh) .
  6. Do not start with teaching child to give his name, address or the names of animals. Use the child's unique history to determine the intraverbals which may appear meaningful at first. Start with interests of the student.
  7. Provide direct teaching of transfer between tacts and intraverbals.
  8. The natural environment is one of the best settings to teach intraverbal responding. For example, when it's time to wash hands the teacher may say "It's time to wash your
    ..... (Prompt hands) .
  9. It is a mistake to assume that intraverbal behavior will occur as a result of tact or receptive training.
  10. Intraverbal responding does not occur as a result of cognitive processing. It results from direct teaching.
  11. The teaching may be difficult at first but will develop with hundreds and hundreds of direct teaching trials.
  12. Intraverbal training should be interspersed with mand, tact, receptive and echoic during teaching sessions so that the verbal interactions approximate a conversation
  13. At least one (1) new intraverbal should be taught per day.

SIGN - INTRAVERBAL PROMPT SEQUENCE Physical (full and partial) ---------------- Move hands Gestural (demonstration) ------------- Demonstrate sign Vocal (Intraverbal phrase) ----------- Carrier Phrase Non-verbal stimulus present --------- Known Tact
Fade prompts to: Vocal Carrier Phrase----------------CHILD SIGNS INTRAVERBAL RESPONSE
VOCAL- INTRAVERBAL PROMPTS Vocal (Intraverbal Phrase) ----------- Carrier Phrase Item or non-verbal stimulus is Present -Non-verbal stimulus is present
Fade prompts to:
Vocal Carrier Phrase----------------CHILD SIGNS INTRAVERBAL RESPONSE
Sequence of Teaching Intraverbals: From Beginning to Advanced Intraverbal Teaching
The task complexity is usually increased by requiring more responses and by increasing the complexity of the intraverbal stimulus through the following sequence of teaching tasks:

  1. Teach simple one word intraverbals to fill-in the blank phrases such as "Jack and Jill went up the or "Ready, Set, ____"
  2. Next, teach one word intraverbals to "wh" questions through the RFFC carrier phrases:
    "You eat (candy)"
    "What do you eat? (candy)

    "You play with a (ball)"
    "What do you play with ? (ball)

  3. Teach reversals of the "wh" intraverbal responses, "You eat a cracker, A cracker is something you
  4. Teach categories of items to increase the number of responses to an intraverbal stimulus, "Name some animals"
  5. Provide items and activities that are easily tacted by the child and ask questions about the items that are present. Start with features since they can be seen while talking. Then transfer to talking about the items functions and class. EXAMPLE: Present a picture of a cup and ask "What's that?, What color is it? (FEATURES) Then ask "What do you do with a cup? And where do you find a cup and what do you pour in a cup?
  6. Increase the complexity of the intraverbal with requiring the child to respond to multiple components of the intraverbal stimulus. EXAMPLE: "Tell me the name of some big animals? Child must respond correctly to name, big and animals to provide an appropriate response.
  7. In the natural environment, take opportunities to expand the child's intraverbals within enjoyable activities that begin with tacts in the context of nonverbal stimuli. EXA MPLE: For example, during a visit to the zoo ask "what animal is that" "where does he live" "what does he like to eat'.
  8. Teach the child to talk about events that happened in the past and out of the context. Teach the child to talk about what you saw at the zoo, "What animals did you see at the zoo?" EXAMPLE: Do this immediately upon leaving the zoo and then increase the time between the question and the activity being discussed. Take pictures of the activities and the use the pictures of the events as nonverbal prompts if the child is unresponsive.


As soon as your child has a several mands, tacts, receptive discriminations, receptive by feature, function and class and simple intraverbals begin to develop conversational skills that follow a theme. Begin with a nonverbal stimulus, e.g. a ball, and begin a conversation about the ball:
EARLY LEARNER MODULE What is it (HOLD UP BALL) ? Child says Ball (TACT)
Touch the Ball. Child touches (RECEPTIVE)
What do you bounce? Child says Ball (TACT/INTRAVERBAL)
Give me the one that is round? Gives Ball. (RFFC)
What do you want to play with? Says Ball (MAND)
INTERMEDIATE LEARNER MODULE Give me the one that's red and you throw (from group of objects) (RFFC)
What is it? Says Ball (TACT)
Tell me some things you do with a ball? Child says, play with, throw, kick. (INTRAVERBALS)
Show me how you kick it? Child demonstrates (RECEPTIVE)
What's the ball doing? Child says rolling? (TACT)
What's it rolling on? Child says the grass. (TACT)
What did you just do to the ball? Child says kick? (INTRAVERBAL)
What do you use to hit a baseball? Child says bat? (INTRAVERBAL)
Do you want to hit the ball with a bat? Child says yes. (MAND)
(While discussing video that is turned on and off)
What video are we watching ? Says Name of video of character onscreen (tact)
Who was in video? Names characters or people (Intraverbal)
Tell me all about (Character) ? Child gives features while video is on. (tact)
Touch the character who is purple. Child touches Barney (RFFC)
Where does he live? With video off Child states (Intraverbal)
When did he wake up? Child says in the morning (intraverbal)
Who are his friends? Child lists (Intraverbal)
Why did they jump in the water? With video on Child answers (Tact)
How did they get to school? Child answers (Intraverbal)

Non Verbal Stimulus (Conversation Piece) What will be discussed by skill
A Dog Identify it- Tact and Receptive
Class- intraverbal
Identify parts- Tact and Receptive
Name other animals- Intraverbal
Identify by Carrier Phrases- RFFC and Intraverbal


Pre-requisite Skills for teaching conversations with reciprocal exchanges on a topic (these are intermediate and advanced learner skills:

Fluent responding in all these skills is necessary:

  • Spontaneously mand attention and many objects, actions, etc and mand information
  • Receptively identify many objects and adjectives and follow instructions
  • Tact many objects, actions and adjectives and use carrier phrases with several word utterances under the control of multiple nonverbal stimuli.
  • Tact the features, functions and class of items
  • Tact item when given its features, functions and class.
  • Tact multiple dimensions of items

Describe the teaching steps to conversation

  1. Teach many intraverbals as fill-ins and reversals
  2. Teach many intraverbal stories
  3. Teach many intraverbal categories
  4. Teach opposites
  5. Teach intraverbals to many who, what, where, when, etc. questions within the context of a nonverbal stimulus and a strong EO as it is blocked or removed momentarily.
  6. Teach the child to mand attention (comment) and therefore speak first while also answering wh questions within the context of a strong EO and nonverbal stimulus.
  7. Teach the child to mand information and respond intraverbally to wh questions within the context of a strong EO and nonverbal stimulus
  8. Teach the child to niand attention (comment) and respond intraverbally to wh questions when discussing a reinforcing activity soon after it was removed.
  9. Teach the child to mand attention (start a conversation with a comment) about a reinforcing event which occurred in the recent past.
  10. Teach the child to respond intraverbally to comments made by someone else within the context of a non-reinforcing context.
  11. Teach the child to mand information and speak intraverbally within the context of a non-reinforcing context.

Program Development Plans

  • What is the sequence of intraverbals that I will be teaching for the next 6 months?
  • What intraverbals will I target immediately within my program:
  • How will I teach for generalization of these intraverbals:
  • How will I teach these intraverbals within NET:
  • Describe what and how I will teach VB modules during intensive teaching
  • Describe what and how I will teach VB modules during NET
  • How will I teach conversational skill


The most effective teaching of language includes teaching in all settings throughout the day across persons and circumstances. In addition, a full and rich language repertoire of a child includes nonverbal responses to what someone says (receptive), verbal responses to his/her motivation or EO (mands,) verbal response that match exactly what someone else just said (echoic), verbal responses to nonverbal stimuli in the environment (tacts), and verbal responses to what someone else just said that don't match what was just said (intraverbal). To develop this repertoire it will be essential to teach a child to respond this way in the natural environment as well as in formal intensive teaching. The following is a description of the methods tailored to the differing skill levels of learners.
Early Learner Teaching Require very little responding and pair yourself with reinforcers. Have child take reinforcers from you. Gradually increase response requirement. Begin errorless teaching of mands with full complement of prompts and then fade prompts. Intersperse a few instructional demands for easy tasks. Move to the formal teaching setting briefly and mand for reinforcers.
Intermediate Learner Profile Teaching Teach within the context of the activities which are reinforcing and motivating for the child. Teach Mands, simple tacts, receptive, RFFC and simple intraverbals. Many of these responses will be multiply controlled, e.g. part or mostly mand. Begin the VB module in this environment. Move the teaching gradually to more intensive teaching settings.
Advanced Learner Profile Teaching Teach within the context of the reinforcing or motivational activities of the child. Complex VB modules that are conversations within nonverbal contexts. These modules include answers to "wh" questions as well as manding for information, e.g. asking "wh" questions. Have similar but less complex conversations in the intensive teaching settings.
Early Learner Limited basic skills. Weak echoic, almost n, formal mands, few receptive responses out of the context, few tacts and intraverbals.
Intermediate Learner Profile Several mands and some spontaneous, mar tacts, some receptive and some RFFC and simple intraverbals.

Advanced Learner Profile Many spontaneous mands, complex tacts, RFFC, and intraverbals. Some Math and Reading Skills

Reinforcing Activity What you will talk about Skills you will teach
Watching videos All in Full Sentences:
  • Colors of items
  • Name all the characters
  • Ask "wh" questions, e.g. where, when, how, why, which, etc.
  • Ask to point to items by color, size, shape and position
Tacting colors
Tacting by name
Intraverbal responses
Receptive discrimination by multi-dimensions
Child Mands for Juice All responses are part mand:
  • What do you need
  • What color is cup
  • Where you find cup
  • What you do with a cup
  • What you pour into a cup
  • When do you drink
  • Touch items related to drinking
RFFC and Receptive discrimination
Playing with Child and Reinforcers (Pairing yourself with reinforcement)

Almost all mands and eas intstructional demands to teach the child to attend to teacher:

  • What do you want?
  • Do this: motor movements, present easy sounds, touch Items, put in Puzzle Piece
Mands for reinforcers with vocalizations or signs
Receptive discrimination
Match to Sample

Based on the information provide above, your program will include...

  1. hundreds of opportunities for your child to respond every day to very precisely chosen and specific environmental circumstances that you arrange; the number of opportunities to respond to precise teaching opportunities may be more important than the number of hours per week.
  2. a prioritized set of objectives based upon the ABLLS assessment you have completed.
  3. a mixture of natural environment and intensive teaching opportunities based upon your child's individual needs as determined during this workshop.
  4. repeatedly (frequently throughout the day) contriving and capturing circumstances in which to teach your child a skill, e.g. manding, receptive, intraverbal, etc.
  5. teaching within reinforcing situations as much as possible initially while also gradually teaching your child to tolerate high rate responding when strong reinforcement is not immediately available; this will be necessary for your child to learn academic skills and to eventually learn in a typical group environment found in schools.
  6. using errorless teaching procedures to insure high rates of correct responding and to reduce the motivation to avoid or escape you or your instruction.
  7. teaching a broad range of skills from the start including, mands, tacts, intraverbals, receptive by feature, function and class, reading, math, matching, echoing, etc.
  8. maintaining quick-paced instruction to keep the motivation for other reinforcers low and therefore the value of the reinforcers, your are controlling strong.
  9. placing emphasis upon mixing all skills being taught immediately and place little emphasis upon massed trial of skills; build mixed VB conversational type modules as soon as possible.
  10. including the factors that insure generalization during each teaching opportunity and session from the start of your program.
  11. teaching so that your child's responding across all skills is quick and correct or fluent and not just correct without regard to fluency.
  12. data collection procedures necessary to guide instructional practices and to track cumulative progress; these procedures must not interfere with effective teaching.


We recommend data recording and charting of the following types:
1. Daily Rate of Verbal Responding: The number of opportunities a child has to respond verbally to verbal and nonverbal stimuli each day may be directly related to the speed and extent of the development of verbal behavior. To insure that a language rich environment is developed we recommend that you count each and every verbal response each day in the Natural Environment. This requires that each teacher and parent carry a counter and record the number of mand, tact, and intraverbal responses of the child each day. At first this may be mostly mands but will soon include the other verbal responses. Total this number across all teachers each day and record. Determine the number of minutes the child was awake during the day and translate this into a response per minute count and chart on the Standard Celeration Chart.
2. Cumulative Acquisition of Resr)onses per Week: Record the number of Responses per week mastered, as determined by meeting the criterion for mastery, and chart the rate on a cumulative response graph. Chart these data across all relevant verbal and operant categories, e.g. tacts, receptive, intraverbal, etc.
3. Rate per Minute of Responding within Intensive Teaching Situations: At first it may be useful to record the number of responses per minute the child makes across all response categories, during intensive teaching sessions. You may record frequency of prompted and unprompted responses and use total per minute rate as your basic datum. Record these data across all teachers. These data can be charted on a standard celeration chart for each teacher. These data will suggest the pace of instruction and is sensitive to measures of the pace of instruction, correct responding, development of fluent responding and the errorless nature of the teaching. Appropriate response rates will vary with the material being taught.
Probe Data Sheets (Echoic and all other Skills)

  1. Data recording procedures should not interfere with your teaching. Many data recording systems in discrete trial training programs require data recording after each response and therefore make it impossible to teach fluently and effectively
  2. To overcome this problem but to insure that decisions may be based upon reliable data we recommend probes of performance instead of constant data recording.
  3. Probe data are recorded in the following manner: arrange the learning situation and merely provide the antecedent (Sd) for the behavior. You give the student the opportunity to exhibit the behavior without a prompt or independently. If the correct response occurs quickly, accurately and with sufficient magnitude (volume) cirle the Y for yes, independent. If the behavior does not occur then you should prompt the behavior and circle the N for not independently.
  4. Note that all skill acquisition except the echoic are measured on the one (1) data sheet. The echoic teaching is measured on the echoic data sheet. On this form you rate each echoic response in terms of clarity, quickness and volume. The learner must receive a score of 1 for each dimension on a word for it to be considered to have met criterion for that day or probe.
  5. Each skill will have a criterion for success associated with it. For example, some skills may require 3 days of independent responding on the daily probe to consider it to be mastered. Others skills may require only one day of independent responding to be considered mastered

Circle One: Acquisition

Antecedent Dates:

Skill (s):
Circle One: Acquisition Maintenance Generalization

Antecedent Dates Y N Y N Y N Y N Y N Y N Y N Y N Y N Y N Y N Y N Y N Y N Y N




WORD or SOUND Probe #1 Probe #2 Probe #3
CLEAR 1 2 3
QUICK 1 2 3
VOLUME 1 2 3
CLEAR 1 2 3
QUICK 1 2 3
VOLUME 1 2 3
CLEAR 1 2 3
QUICK 1 2 3
VOLUME 1 2 3
CLEAR 1 2 3
QUICK 1 2 3
VOLUME 1 2 3
CLEAR 1 2 3
QUICK 1 2 3
VOLUME 1 2 3
CLEAR 1 2 3
QUICK 1 2 3
VOLUME 1 2 3
CLEAR 1 2 3
QUICK 1 2 3
VOLUME 1 2 3
CLEAR 1 2 3
QUICK 1 2 3
VOLUME 1 2 3
CLEAR 1 2 3
QUICK 1 2 3
VOLUME 1 2 3

Ratings: 1= Near Perfect 2 = Good, but needs work 3 = Poor



  1. Obtain a 3 hole punch note book with 3 inch rings.
  2. Obtain several divider pages to be used to separate the sections of the book.
  3. Place the program objectives as listed above at the beginning of the book as your reference to the skills you are teaching within the program.
  4. Label and place dividers between each skill area, e.g., mands, tacts, motor imitation, echoic, etc.
  5. Divide each section into an acquisition, maintenance and generalization section and place a skill tracking sheet in each section with the appropriate section circled at the top of the sheet, e.g. acq, maint, gen
  6. As skills are mastered in each section, indicate the mastered date on the skill acquisition sheet and move the skill to the next section, e.g. acquisition to maintenance; maintenance to generalization.
  7. Within each section of each skill area place a probe sheet. As skills are mastered then move the skill to the probe sheet in the next section, e.g. acquisition to maintenance, maintenance to generalization.


Skill Area:
Acquisition Maintenance Generalization

TARGET SKILL Date Introduced Date Mastered


Instructions Skill Tracking Sheet
The Skill Tracking Sheet is designed to monitor target skill acquistion, maintenance and generalization. Do the following to record skills:

  1. The skill area at the top of the sheet refers to areas such as , Intraverbals, Tacts, Echoics, Motor Imitation, Visual Performance. Complete this section by placing the appropriate skill area in this section.
  2. The Target Skill listing of 45 refers to the specific target skill being taught in the Skill Area listed at the top of the page. For example, Naming members of a category would be listed as, Name Animals. IF there is more than one category then list the categories, not necessarily all the members of the category, e.g. horse, dog, cat, etc. down the page. The list might include animals, furniture, vehicles, etc. If the target skill is tacting (labeling) then list the words being taught as the target skill.



To insure that you present instruction in a fast paced, conversational manner that includes the mixing of skills from trial to trial, you will need "easy to see" prompts that don't require you to divert your eyes or attention very far from the learner. To accomplish this you should do the following:

  1. Obtain large pieces of poster board (3ft by 5 ft) and laminate them.
  2. Using a vis a vis type pen list post the skill aresa e.g. Intraverbal-categories, and then under each list the target words, carrier phrases, echoics, etc. that are currently being taught.
  3. Write this large enough to be easily seen by the therapist from most areas of the room.
  4. If the child is sitting at a table for part of the instructional setting, then position your chair so
    that you merely have to look up above the child without turning your head to see the skills
    and phrases you are teaching.
  5. As skills are mastered, erase the old information with a damp cloth and add the current
    information to the poster boards.
  6. In some sophisticated programs the entire wall of a large room will be covered with poster boards containing the program information.

Dr. Vincent J. Carbone Parent Workshop Revised 3/10/01


Instructional Methods for teaching children with autism: a comparative analysis

  • Has its roots in the field of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and is generally a methodological behavioral approach to teaching.
  • Use intensive discrete trial training format at a table to teach basic skills and teach in natural environment mainly for generalization. Teach eye contact, and attention as a prerequisite for teaching other skills.
  • Emphasis upon extinction and consequences or error correction procedures to suppress task avoidance during discrete trial training drills, e.g. mild aversives ("NO")
  • With extremely disruptive students require only a few responses, e.g. 3 or 4, at a table before allowing student to escape to "natural" environment to play. Little emphasis upon requesting reinforcers (manding). Strongest reinforcers may not be available at the table and therefore few opportunities to request reinforcers (mand).
  • Response prompting and prompt fading procedures for teaching academic and communication skills are typically the antecedent prompt and test" method called the "NO-NO-PROMPT" procedure. Frequent student errors, and disruptive behavior may occur and may strengthen slow responding.
  • Almost all skills are initially taught using massed trialing procedures.
  • Skills are frequently taught in serial fashion. Using massed trialing a student may be taught one response in a class, e.g. the color green, before being taught the next color.
  • Following disruptive or inattentive behaviors easy tasks or those associated with higher density of reinforcement are immediately presented instead of the planned but more difficult task. This is done to regain instructional control. However this methods results in higher frequencies of disruptive and inattentive behavior. Very structured and less than natural presentation of instructional demands with contrived use of reinforcers. Generalization may not be a natural outcome of the instruction and therefore may require extensive generalization training. Recipe type teaching protocols are used to train staff to teach most basic skills, matching, motor imitation, receptive language, labeling, etc.
  • No recognition of the technology for teaching language based upon the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis as found in Skinner's analysis and text Verbal Behavior. Consequently there is emphasis upon the use of selection-based systems of communication (Picture Exchange Communication System) as opposed to topography based systems (vocal and sign language)
  • Structural analysis of language emphasizing what is said as opposed to the environmental conditions that lead to the acquisition and maintenance of a verbal repertoire.
  • With the focus upon what is said (form) and the listener immediate heavy emphasis is initially placed upon labeling (tacting) and receptive language as opposed to requesting (manding). The teaching of the first intraverbal behavior ("wh" questions, conversation) is taught as single prompted words to scripted questions, e.g. social questions. Words have very limited meaning, e.g. they are restricted to the one set of circumstances under which they were acquired.
  • No curriculum of developmentally sequenced tasks based upon the science with emphasis upon expressive language is available to parents and teachers.


  • It is the body of literature that constitutes the science of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). It has its roots in the Experimental Analysis of Behavior and B.F. Skinner's research and philosophical writings. Practitioners of the science analyze their own behavior and the behavior of the teacher according to ABA scientific principles.
  • Use intensive discrete trial training format at table and in naturalistic settings to teach basic skills.
  • Eye contact and attention occur as a natural byproduct of effective instructional methods and therefore are not usually targeted for direct teaching.
  • Emphasis upon identification of the function of the maladaptive behavior, manipulation of antecedents (EOs) and teaching replacement behaviors (mands/requests) to prevent and reduce task avoidance.
  • With very young children and children with strong histories of task avoidance, initially teach most skills, e.g. manding in the "natural" environment before requiring work at a table.
  • Heavy emphasis upon requesting reinforcers (manding) from the start of the intensive teaching program. Natural environment teaching and/or making strongest reinforcers available at the table insures request (mand) opportunities.
  • Errorless teaching methods are usually implemented to reduce errors, increase number of responses which are reinforced and to reduce task avoidant disruptive behavior. A prompt delay" prompting/fade method along with the fading of other prompts leads to close to errorless responding . Very few student errors occur and fluent (accurate and quick) responding results.
  • Almost all skills are taught through the mixing or varying of tasks from the start of the program. Massed trialing is almost never used.
  • Skills are taught in concurrent fashion. During varied or mixed presentation of skills more than one response in a class is taught simultaneously, e.g. green, red and blue might be targeted for instruction at the same time.
  • Immediate task demands remain the same without regard to the instant prior response of the student. Task avoidance or delay responding is NOT adventitiously reinforced.
  • Less structured teaching with more natural presentation of instructional demands and more natural reinforcement delivered as a result of emphasis upon requesting (manding). Less generalization training may be needed.
  • Staff are trained to respond from moment to moment in a dynamic fashion to the changing behavior of the student based upon the principles of the science of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). "One size fits all" protocols are discarded in favor of extensive training of teachers as scientists.
  • Heavy reliance on the use of ABA procedures to teach language as found in the research literature published in the journal The Analysis of Verbal Behavior. Greater emphasis upon topography-based systems of communication, e.g. vocal for someone who can echo and sign language instead of picture selection or exchange for a child who has not yet learned to vocally imitate words or sounds (echo).
  • Natural science approach to teaching verbal behavior with emphasis upon classification of words into functional response classes according to the function of behaviors, e.g. mands, tacts, intraverbals, echoics, etc. Pragmatics of language emphasized.
  • Words which are being taught are classified by functional response categories and are then taught across all functions using stimulus control transfer procedures, e.g. each word is taught as a request (mand), echo, label (tact) and intraverbal (answer to question). Vocabulary not only builds in size but also in terms of the many circumstances under which the same word is appropriate (will be reinforced). The same word has multiple meanings corresponding to the many circumstances under which it was taught.
  • A comprehensive curriculum of tasks consistent with the science is available in the form of the ABLLS.


Individual Goals and Objectives Based upon the ABLLS
Child Name


Altman, K., Hobbs, S., Roberts, M., & Haavik, S. (1980). Control of disruptive behavior by manipulation of reinforcement density and item difficulty subsequent to errors. Applied Research in Mental Retardation, 1, 193-208.
Ault, M. J., Gast, D. L., & Wolery, M. (1988). Comparison of progressive and constant timedelay procedures in teaching community-sign word reading. American Journal of Mental Retcirdation, 93, 44-56.
Ault, M. I., Woleiy, M., DoKle, P. M., & Gast, D. L. (1989). Review of comparative studies in the instruction of students wit modera e to severe handicaps. Exceptional Children, SS, 346-356.
Cameron, M. J., Ainsleigh, S. A., & Bird, F L. (1992). The acquisition of stimulus control of compliance and participation during an ADL routine. Behavioral Residential Treatment, 7, 327-340.
Cameron, M. J., Luiselli, J. K., McGrath, M., & Carlton, R (1992). Stimulus control analysis and treatment of noncompliant behavior. Journal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities, 4, 141-150.
Carnine, D. W. (1976). Effects of two teacher presentation rates on off-task behavior, answering correctly, and participation. Journal ofAppliedRehaviorAnalysis, 9, 199-206.
Carr, E. G., & Durand I V. M. (1985). Reducing behavior problems throuqh functional communication training. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 18, 1 1-126.
Carr, E. G., & Newsom, C. D. (1985). Demand-related tantrums: Conceptualization and treatment. Behavior Modifidation, 9, 403-426.
Carr, E. 0., Newsom, C ' D. & Binkoff, J. A. (1980). Escape as a factor in the aaciressive behavior of two retarded children. Journal of App7ied Behavior Analysi. s 13, 1 0"F-1 1
Drash, P. (1991) A functional analysis of the causes of nonorganic language delay in preschool children: Implications of prevention and total recovery. Paper presented at Florida Association of Behvior Analysis, Eleventh Annual Meeting, Sarasota, Florida.
Dunlap G Dyer K., & Koegel, R. L. (1983). Autistic self-stimulation and intertrial interval Journal of'Menta) De'ficiency, 88, 194-202.
Dunlap, G. (1984). The influence of task variation and maintenance tasks on the learning and of autistic children. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 37,41- Dunlap, G., Dyer, K., & Koegel, R. L. (1983). Autistic self-stimulation and intertrial interval duration. American Journal of Mental Deficiency, 88, 194-202.
Dunlap, G., Kern-Dunlap, L., Clarke, S., & Robbins, F. K. (1991). Functional assessment, curricular revision, and severe behavior problems. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 24, 387-397.
Dunlap, G., & Koegel, R. L. (1980). Motivatin autistic children through stimulus variation. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 13, 619-15P.
Englemann, S and Carnine, D. (1982) Theory of Instruction, Eugene Oregon. ADI Press.
Etzel, B. C., & LeBlanc, J. M. (1979). The simplest treatment alternative.: The law of parsimony Applied to choosin,? appropriate instruction control and errorless-learning procedures for the difficult-to-teach chi d. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disor Disorders. 9, 361-382
Harchik, A. G., & Putzier, V. A. (1990). The use of hi h-probability requests to increase Nion. The Journal of the Association for corripliance with instmctions to take medical Persons with Severe Handicaps, 15,40-43
Heckaman,K, Alber, S., Hooper, S. and Heward, W. (1998) A comparison of least to mos and progressive time dela on the disruptive behavior of students with autism. Journal of Behavioral Education, 8, 171-20Y
Heward, W. and Orlansky, M , (1 992)Exceptional Children: An introductory survey of special education, 4ht ed. New York: MacMillan/Merrill-
Homer R. H., & Day, H. M. (1991). The effects of response efficienc in functionally equivalent competing behaviors. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 24, 719-G.
Homer R. H., Day, H. M., Sprague, J. R., O-Brien, M Tuesday-Heathfield T. 1991 . Inlerspersed requests: A nonaversive procedure for reclucin~ a~gressibn and self-injury during instruction. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 24, 265- 7 .
Iwata, B. A., Dorsey, M. F., Slifer, K. J., Bauman, K. E., & Richman, G. 5. (1982). Toward a functional analysis of self-injury. Analysis and Intervention in Developmental Disabilities, 2, 3-20.
Keller, F S., & Schoenfeld, W N. (1950). Principles of psychology. New York: Appleton-CenturyCrofts.
Lalli, J. S., Vollmer, T., Prograr, P.R., Wright, C., Borrero,J., Dency, D. Barthold, C.H., Tocco, K., and May, W. (1999) Competition between positive and negative reinforcement in the treatment of escape behavior, Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 32, 285-296,
Lancioni, G. E., & Smeets, P. M. (1986). Procedures and parameters of errorless discrimination training with developmentally imipaired individuals . In N. R. Ellis & N. W. Bray (Eds.), International review of research in mental retardation. VoL 14 (pp. 135-164). Orlando: Academic Press.
Lovaas, 1. (11982) Teaching Developmentally Disabled children: The ME BookAustin:TX, PRO ED.
Lovaas, 1 (1987) Behavioral Treatment and normal educational and intellectual functioning in young autistic children. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 55, 3-9.
Mace, F. C., Hock, M. L., Lalli, J. S., West, B. J., Belfiore, P., Pinter, E., & Brown, D. F. (1988). Behavioral momentum in the treatment of noncompliance. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 21, 123-141.
Mace, F C., & Belfiore, P. (1990). Behavioral momentum in the treatment of escape-motivated stereotypy. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 23, 507-514.
McGill, P. (1999) Establishing Operations: Implications for the assessment, treatment and prevention of problem behaviors. journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 32. 389-418.
Michael, J. (1982). Distingluisl~ing between the discriminative and motivational functions of stimuli. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 37, 149-155.
Michael, J. (1988). Establishing operations and the mand. Analysis of Verbal Behavior, 6, 3-9. Michael, J. (11993). Concepts and princi ples of behavior analysis. Kalamazoo, MI: Society for the Advancement of Behavior Analysis.
Michael, J. (11993). Establishing operations. The Behavior Analyst, 16, 19 1-206. Munk, D and Repp, A. (1994) The relationship between instructional variables and problem behavior: A review. Exceptional Children, 60, 390-401.
Pace, G. M., Ivancic, M. T., & Jefferson, G. (1994). Stimulus fading as treatment for obscenity in a brain injured adult. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 27, 30 1-305. Pace, G. M., Iwata, B. A., Cowdery, G. E., Andree, P. J., & McIntyre, T. (1993). Stimulus (instructional) fading during extinction of self-injurious escape behavior. Journal of4pplied BehaviorAnalysis, 26, 205-212.
Sailor, W., Guess, D., Rutherford, G., & Baer, D. M. (1968). Control of tantrum behavior by operant techniques during experimental verbal training. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 1, 237-243.
Singer, G. H., Singer, J., & Horner, R. H. (1987). Using pretask requests to increase the probability of compliance for students with severe disabilities. Journal of the Association for Persons with Severe Handicaps, 12, 287-291.
Smith, R. and Iwata, B. (1997) Antecedent Influences on Behavior Diorders, Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 30, 267-278. Sundberg, M. (1993) The Application of Establishing Operations, The Behavior Analyst, 16, 215-218.
Terrace, H. 1963). Discrimination learning with and without errors. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Aehavior, 6, 1-27.
Touchette, P. E. (1968). The effects of graduated stimulus change on the acquisition of a simple discrimination in severely retarded boys. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 11, 39-48.
Touchette, P. E., & Howard, J. 5. (1984). Errorless learning: Reinforcement contingencies and stimulus control transfer in delayed prompting. JournaT of Applied Behavior 175-181.
Weeks M. & Gaylord-Ross, R. (1981). Task difficulty and aberrant behavior in severely h~ndlcapped students. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 14, 449-463. Analysis, 17,
Weld , E. M., & Evans, 1. M. (11990). Effects of part versus whole instructional strategies on skill acquisition and excess behavior. American Journal of Mental Retardation, 4, 377-386.
West, R. P., & Sloane, H. N. (11986). Teacher presentation rate and point delivery rate.Behavior Modification, 10, 267- 286.
Winterlin Dunlap, G., & O'Neill, R. E. (1987). The influence of task variation on the behaviors of autistic students. Education and Treatment of Children, 10, 105-119.
WoleV M, Ault, M. I., & Doyle, P. M. (11992). Teaching students with moderate to severe disabilities: Use of response pmmpting strategies. New York: Longman Publishing Group. Zarcone, J. R, Iwata, B. A., Hughes, C. E., & Vollmer, T R. (1993). Momentum versus extinction effects in the treatment OT self-injurious escape behavior. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 26,135-136.
Zarcone, J. R., Iwata, B. A., Smith, R G., Mazaleski J. L., & Lerman, D. C. (1994). Reemergence and extinction of self-injurious escape behavior during stimulus (instructional) fading. journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 27, 307-316.
Zarcone, J. R, Iwata, B. A., Vollmer, T. R., Jagtiani, S., Smith, R. G., & Mazaleski, J. L. (1993). Extinction of self-injunous escape behavior with and without instructional fading. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 26, 353-360.
Verbal Behavior Program Management Form
Start Date:
Skill Area:
Teaching Methods:
To be taught by:
Data collection method:
Mastery criterion

  1. Review your program management form and workshop training materials with everyone on your team.
  2. Identify skill areas and list targets to be taught in each area.
  3. Gather teaching materials for each skill area and organize for easy access.
  5. Place heavy emphasis upon manding.
  6. Review the Teaching Cooperation checklist with all teachers.
  7. Develop cue cards and place in teaching areas.
  8. The team leader should observe teaching of each teacher on a regular basis and provide feedback.
  9. Use data to change instructional practices.
  10. Have regular team meetings to review program procedures.

Dr. Vincent J. Carbone Parent Workshop Revised 3/10/01


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