Verbal Behaviour Approach

Verbal Behaviour Milestone Assessment and Placement Program
(An overview)

The VB-MAPP is based on Skinner’s Verbal behaviour (1957) and his studies into behavioural psychology leading to applied behaviour analysis (ABA). The VB MAPP brings together the procedures and teaching methodology of ABA and Skinner’s analysis of verbal behaviour to provide a behaviourally based language assessment program.
The VB-MAPP shows the childrens existing verbal and related skills. The skills assessed include mand, tact, echoic, intraverbal, listener, motor imitation, independent play, social and social play, visual perceptual and matching-to-sample, linguistic structure, group and classroom skills, and early academics.

General description of Verbal Operants

Mand – Asking for reinforcers that you want. (Asking for shoes because you want your shoes to go outside)

Tact – Naming or identifying objects, actions, events, (Saying shoes because you see shoes)

Intraverbal – Answering questions or having conversations where your words are controlled by other words. (saying shoes because someone else says, what do you wear on your feet?)

Listener – Following instructions or complying with the mands of others.

Echoic – Repeating what is heard.

Imitation – Copying someones motor movements

Textual – Reading written words. (saying shoes because you see the written word)

Copying-a-text – Writing a word because someone else wrote a word

Transcription – spelling words spoken to you (writing shoes because you hear shoes spoken)

The program uses motivation to form the bases of all activities and the demands made on the children are gradual and subtle so that errorless learning can happen. Initial Pairing must take place for the program to be successful. This is where the adult begins to build up a relationship with the child and makes their reinforcers more fun therefore becoming reinforcers themselves. Assessment probes are made to measure progress then 1:1 teaching, Natural environment teaching(NET) and group NET will take place to ensure targets are taught, practiced and generalized. During these sessions motivation is key to ensure quality learning and verbal operants are tested/taught throughout these sessions.

Intensive Teaching (IT) is a quick paced errorless method of teaching key vocabulary and other verbal operants. Children access this 1:1 or in paired session. Independent work stations are set up based on TEACCH method of completing tasks in boxes or drawers. Task will offer some challenge but achievable for each child and are based on their MAPP.

Throughout the day intermittent gross motor, sensory, gaining instructional control, conditioning toys and pairing/manding session will take place. The needs of the children vary and this will be seen in the handling of the children deep pressure  squeezing, bouncing etc may be observed for one child and bubbles, lights or movement observed for another child. A tag phrase is said to gain instructional control and show me ready to gain attention during circle and NET. Rewards are given either verbal praise, time on a favoured task or edible reinforcers.

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The program allows no time for downtime or free time therefore planned activities such as 5 a day (a movement program to copy), a short TV programme or favoured songs will be put on the whiteboard whilst staff have the opportunity to transition from one activity to the next.

The program runs throughout the day where staff will pick up on opportunities to continue the VB approach for example during dinner time or snack time, trips out or daily routine.