Behavioral therapists use variations of applied behavior analysis practices to assist children with autism with the development of language skills. One common method is verbal behavioral intervention. This type of therapy helps a child associate verbal cues with actions by presenting the reasoning behind the use of words instead of just using labels. This type of therapy is often used in conjunction with other ABA methods for children with autism.
Organizing Language During Verbal Behavioral Intervention
Unlike most other ABA therapy methods, verbal behavioral intervention does not focus on words as labels but rather as functional categories. Words are organized into these categories to clarify to the child what function each one serves. There are four main categories; each one called an operant.
Integrating Verbal Behavioral Intervention Into Therapy
Categorizing words into one of these four verbal operants is only one part of verbal behavior therapy. The integration of this type of intervention into other types of autism behavior therapy is carried out over several steps by therapists, special education teachers, or other specialists. Parents and caregivers are also involved so that the therapy methods can be practiced at home.
Mands are the easiest category of words to establish, as they are some of the building blocks of a child’s language development. Introducing mands involves an immediate positive response to verbal or nonverbal requests, using actual words if possible, but actions such as pointing for non-verbal children. Requests vary from simple to difficult, and the verbal behavior therapist offers a variety, so the child does not get frustrated or disinterested.
Children learning from verbal behavior therapy receive frequent prompts at the beginning and a reduced number of prompts over time. The goal is for the child to make requests unprompted. The strategies are reinforced through several hours of verbal behavior therapy per week and establishing similar routines in the home.
Verbal Behavioral Therapy at Applied Behavioral Science Institution
Children with autism frequently benefit from the regular implementation of applied behavior analysis techniques by an experienced therapist. Verbal behavioral therapy allows patients to improve communication skills and learn the language in a more concrete way. By categorizing language into word types, the therapist can organize the information provided by the child and positively reinforce correct associations. To learn more about verbal behavioral therapy or other applied behavioral analysis methods for children with autism, contact the Applied Behavioral Science Institution for more information.
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