Presentation on theme: "Teaching Verbal Behavior in the Natural Environment"— Presentation transcript:
1 Teaching Verbal Behavior in the Natural Environment Amy McGinnisPOAC of PAApril 2, 2006NET
2 What is Natural Environment Teaching (NET)? NET is unstructured and uses a learner’s motivation and activities and not a teacher selected set of materials as the basis for the lesson.
3 NET CharacteristicsLearner initiated choice of activities (motivation is naturally strong)Tasks and activities vary frequentlyThe preferred items and activities chosen by the child serve as the basis for the teacher/learner interactionReinforcement is direct and specific to the activityLoose structure and many examples of concepts support generalization of language
4 Understanding the Difference Between NET & ITT Natural Environment TeachingTalking about reinforcing activitiesOccurs in the context of fun activitiesUse reinforcing items and materials that are of interest to the learner to teach skillsIntensive TeachingResponding to earn an unrelated reinforcerOften occurs at a table, but can occur in any settingOften use flash cards, but incorporates other materials as needed to teach skills
5 Why NET?Despite the successes of behavioral approaches in teaching language, the development of generalized and functional communication repertoires in children with autism has been disappointing (Fay & Schuler, 1980)
6 What has led to these disappointing results? Many behavioral practitioners have failed to use Skinner’s analysis of verbal behavior to guide their language teaching programs and/or incorporate NET into the program (Laski et al, 1988)
7 Getting Started: Pairing Pairing is an essential first step that must take place before any type of teaching can begin in any environment
8 PairingStimulus stimulus pairing is a process by which a neutral stimulus (person, place, activity, or object) becomes a conditioned reinforcer.Pairing is important because it teaches the child to associate his/her therapists, therapy area, and therapy materials with good things.It is important for the child to want to be around his/her therapists in order to learn from them!
9 How do I pair? Identify as many reinforcers as possible (Potential Reinforcer Profile)Have a large supply and wide variety of reinforcing items to give to the childApproach the child and deliver reinforcement non-contingently. You should give the child things that he/she likes for “free.” The child does not need to request or “earn” the reinforcers in any way.
10 How do I pair?4. Maximize the number of times that you provide reinforcementBreak edible reinforcers into small pieces so you can hand them to the child more frequentlyDeliver multiple reinforcers at once (TV, food, toys, sensory stimulation, etc.)Try to deliver reinforcers several times per minute
11 How do I pair?5. Talk to the child, but do not expect him/her to talk back.6. Follow the child’s changing interests. If the child becomes bored with a reinforcer, find another reinforcer.
12 How do I pair?7. Actively manipulate the environment and interact with the child so that you are required for maximum enjoyment of the activity Examples:Child is on swing – therapist pushes childChild is thirsty – therapist fills child’s cup a tiny bit at a timeChild wants to go outside – therapist unlocks door
13 Pairing the Environment Pair across settingsPair across stimuliPair across activities
14 Common Pairing Mistakes Placing demands on the child.Resist the urge to try to “teach” the child by asking questions or making the child “work” for reinforcers.It is necessary to first build rapport with the child before teaching.Pairing may feel slow, but you should not rush through it. Time spent pairing is time well spent!
15 Common Pairing Mistakes 2. Lack of active interaction with the child.Pairing is an active process on the part of the therapist.The therapist must constantly be giving reinforcers to the child.Pairing will not be effective if the therapist just sits in the room while the child does his/her own thing.The therapist must continually act as the “giver” and the child should function as the “taker.”
16 Common Pairing Mistakes 3. Infrequent or weak reinforcement.If strong reinforcers are not given frequently, the pairing will be less effective.Find as many opportunities to reinforce the child as possible (several per minute).
17 Determining if Pairing Has Been Effective Questions to ask:Does the child run to you or away from you?Does the child follow you when you leave the room?Once the child is frequently and willingly approaching you to obtain reinforcement, you are ready to begin teaching verbal behavior in the natural environment
18 Developing Functional Communication There are many functions or categories of expressive language and therefore many meanings to the words we sayThe meaning of a word is defined by its function or category, not by its grammar or syntax
19 Developing a Verbal Behavior Repertoire Many children with autism do not have verbal behavior repertoires that include responses in each of the categories for the same word (topography).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 juice by saying “juice” does not guarantee that the same child will be able to tact (label) juice when they see it and there is no MO (motivation) for it.
20 The Importance of Knowing and Following the Learner’s Motivation Incorporating Skinner’s analysis of verbal behavior and the manipulation of establishing operations (Michael,1982, 1993, 2001) to the elements of natural environment teaching will enhance the effectiveness of NET
21 Teach all the “Meanings” JUICEMandTactEchoic/mimeticIntraverbalReceptiveRFFCTextual
22 Mand The verbal response of requesting (i.e. “I want juice.”) Teaching someone to mand items, activities, or objects will lead to a higher rate of talking and will support the development of the other classes of verbal responses (i.e. tacts, intraverbals, etc.)
23 Mimetic (Motor Imitation) The ability to imitate or do what others do during play or other activities is an important skill to acquireDuring NET it will be important to teach this skill (i.e. teacher demonstrates how to play with toys appropriately)
24 Echoic (Vocal Imitation) Vocally imitating what others say is an important skill that leads to increased vocal verbal behaviorDuring NET the teacher will provide a vocal model for the learner so that certain sounds and words become paired with reinforcement and can then be reinforced directly when the learner repeats them
25 TactThe verbal response that is closest to labeling (i.e. “That’s a red ball.”)When a learner says or signs what he sees, hears, touches, tastes, smells, etc., he is tacting.The reinforcement for this response is not specific to what is said and is usually social reinforcement of some type such as acknowledgement of what is said or praise
26 IMMEDIATE TRANSFER TRIAL: Teaching TactsECHOIC TO TACT TRANSFER:Therapist: “What’s this? Juice.”(Verbal SD & 0-sec. delay prompt)Learner: “Juice” (echoic)IMMEDIATE TRANSFER TRIAL:Therapist: “What’s this?”Learner: “Juice.”Therapist reinforces
27 IntraverbalThe verbal response to someone else’s verbal response (i.e. When someone asks what you had for breakfast, “I had juice” is an intraverbal)This class includes answering “wh” questions and filling in the blanks (i.e. “Twinkle, twinkle little __”Intraverbal skills are essential to carrying on a conversation
28 Teaching Intraverbals ECHOIC TO IV TRANSFER:Therapist: “Ready, set…go.”(Verbal SD & 0-sec. delay prompt)Learner: “Go.” (echoic)IMMEDIATE TRANSFER TRIAL:Therapist: “Ready, set, __.”Learner: “Go.” (Intraverbal)Therapist reinforces
29 Teaching Intraverbals TACT TO IV TRANSFER:Therapist: “Something you drink is __.”(Verbal SD & tact stimulus)Learner: “Juice.” (tact)IMMEDIATE TRANSFER TRIAL:Therapist: “What do you drink?” (removes juice from sight)Learner: “Juice.” (Intraverbal)Therapist reinforces
30 ReceptiveThe receptive response class refers to understanding what someone else saysDuring NET this might include delivering requests to:Perform actions: “Stand up” (receptive commands)Identify an object by touching it or giving it to the teacher “Give me the red ball” (receptive ID)
31 IMMEDIATE TRANSFER TRIAL: Teaching ReceptiveMIMETIC TO RECEPTIVE TRANSFER:Therapist: “Touch juice.” (Verbal SD & mimetic prompt)Learner: touches juice (mimetic)IMMEDIATE TRANSFER TRIAL:Therapist: “Show me the juice.”Learner: (touches juice) (Receptive ID)Therapist reinforces
32 Receptive by Feature, Function & Class (RFFC) In addition, it is sometimes useful to ask the learner to respond receptively to the description of something (i.e. “give me the beverage,” rather than, “give me the juice.”)RFFC – “Touch the one you drink.”TFFC – “Which one do you drink?” (item present)IFFC – “What do you drink?” (no item present)
33 Early Learner Profile Limited basic skills. Weak echoic Almost no formal mandsFew receptive responses outside of the contextFew tacts and intraverbals.
34 Early Learner NETRequire 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 prompts and then fade prompts.Intersperse a few instructional demands for relevant to the reinforcer
36 Intermediate Learner NET Teach within the context of the activities that are reinforcing and motivating for the child.Teach mands, simple tacts, receptive, TFFC and simple intraverbals. Many of these responses will be multiply controlled, e.g. part or mostly mand.Begin the VB module in this environment.
37 Advanced Learner Profile Many spontaneous mandsManding for informationComplex tactsTFFC and intraverbals (answering “wh” questions).
38 Advanced Learner NETTeach within the context of the reinforcing or motivational activities of the child.Complex VB modules that are conversations within non-verbal 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.
39 NET Lesson PlansPlanning NET sessions in advance prepares the teacher to teach and generalize targeted skills while following the child’sIt is often necessary to customize lesson plans to follow each child’s unique MO & teach target skills
40 Step 1: Potential Reinforcer Profile Look at the learner’s reinforcer profile to get some ideas regarding what s/he might enjoy doing in the NET.
41 Step 2: Brainstorming Activity Ideas Select one reinforcing item/activity from the list. Try to brainstorm as many creative and fun things possible to do with that item/activity.Example: Water play
42 Step 2: Brainstorming Activity Ideas Mix food dye with water to create different colorsFilling squirt bottle with water and squirting paper or other target taped vertically on the wallPlay with wind-up pool toys in bathtub or sinkCreate “ocean in a bottle” by placing small boat or fish toys in bottle filled with waterCreate sparkle water bottles by mixing food dye, glitter, and water in bottle, then shaking bottle for visual effectPlay with spongesPlay with funnels, cups, watering canBring snow/ice inside house to play with, sculpt, etc.Add soap into basin of water. Use eggbeater to make bubbles.
43 Step 4: Incorporate Targets into Activity Determine which behaviors you will targetWhat will you do/say?What will the learner do/say?
44 Natural Environment Teaching Lesson Plan Reinforcing ActivityType ofskillWhat teacher will say or doChild’s Response/Skills to be taught
45 Continue to Create Novel Activities Continually generating novel activities helps to keep the learner engaged and creates new teaching opportunitiesExamples:Water + balloons = water balloonsWater + music = fill glasses with water to produce different tones when struck with a spoonWater + vehicles = playing car wash
46 For more info: Visit www.poacofpa.net for: Information on our free workshopsInformation on our fee-based professional workshopsVisit for:Potential Reinforcer ProfileNET data sheets & potential target listsWorkshop informationVisit for:Sample NET lesson plans & data sheets