Why do we communicate?
Often, when providing communication instruction in the classroom, the focus is on making requests or labeling items in the environment. Take a moment, though, and think of all the reasons and ways you take part in communicating.
We communicate to share information, comment, ask questions, develop social relationships, confirm, deny, persuade, clarify, and more! We don’t communicate simply to request and label.
Using the principles of verbal behavior is one way to spread the focus of communication instruction across many purposes. Verbal behavior is a way of assessing and teaching language that focuses on the fact that the meaning of word can be found in the function for which it serves; it goes beyond what someone is saying by also considering WHY they are saying it. When looking at verbal behavior, several repertoires are addressed, including mands, tacts, echoics, intraverbals, and listener responses.
Expanding Language Through Verbal Behavior Principles
When using the principles of verbal behavior for teaching across these repertoires, language is treated as a behavior that is taught, shaped, and reinforced. Skills in one repertoire are often transferred to new skills in another repertoire to expand a student’s ability to use a word for multiple functions. Learner’s experience reinforcement for all forms and functions of language.
Resources in the TTAC ODU Lending Library
Verbal Behavior Milestones Assessment and Placement Program (VB-MAPP)
Assessment of Basic Language and Learning Skills – Revised (ABLLS-R)
Verbal Behavior Approach: How to Teach Children with Autism and Related Disorders
The Big Book of ABA Programs: An ABA Program and IEP Goal for Every Teachable Step in the ABLLS-R
Teaching Language to Children with Autism or Other Developmental Disabilities
Motivation and Reinforcement: Turning the Tables on Autism