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The Verbal Behavior Milestones Assessment and Placement Program (VB-MAPP) Parents Of Autistic Children of Northern Virginia (POAC-NoVA) Melissa Modarressi,

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Presentation on theme: "The Verbal Behavior Milestones Assessment and Placement Program (VB-MAPP) Parents Of Autistic Children of Northern Virginia (POAC-NoVA) Melissa Modarressi,"— Presentation transcript:

1 The Verbal Behavior Milestones Assessment and Placement Program (VB-MAPP) Parents Of Autistic Children of Northern Virginia (POAC-NoVA) Melissa Modarressi, M.Ed. Theodore A. Hoch, Ed.D., B.C.B.A.

2 With tremendous thanks to Dr. Mark Sundberg! for writing the vast (really – vast!) majority of what you’ll see and hear today!

3 Overview of Today’s Session Introductions Brief History Current State of VB Assessment and Instruction The VB-MAPP – Where it came from The VB-MAPP – How to do it The VB-MAPP – How to figure out what to do The VB-MAPP – How to evaluate Conclusions

4 Introductions Melissa Ted Disclaimer

5 Brief History Through the millenia … Sechenov, Pavlov, Watson, and others Black box psychologists Skinner, and the influence of consequences Application to thinking, reading, writing, speaking, etc. WW-II Verbal Behavior Applications to people with psychiatric or developmental disabilities Continued conceptual and experimental work Application to people with autism

6 Controversies and Disagreements General misunderstanding of ABA, and its range of applications Facilitated communication Selection-based v. Topography-based systems Educational personnel preparation Home v. school programming ITT v. NET “But if I teach him to sign, he won’t learn to speak” Form versus function

7 Current State of VB Assessment Traditional assessment by an SLP Standardized tests (e.g., PPVT, EVT, Brigance, Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales, etc.) Behavioral Language Assessment ABLLS-R VB-MAPP

8 Functional Nomenclature Mand Tact Echoic Transcriptive Intraverbal Speaker’s repertoire Listener’s repertoire Autoclitic Motor imitation Vocal Imitation Textual LRFFC Matching to sample Verbal behavior

9 What is it? Antecedent Fire in the fireplace “Ready, aim” Fire on the stove while you’re cooking Your behavior “Fire” Consequence “Yep” ??? Someone rushes in to help

10 What is it? Antecedent FIRE written on board Smell of smoke I say “fire” It’s hot, orange, and burns Your behavior “Fire” Consequence ???? ??? “yep” “That’s the word”

11 So, verbal behavior’s not about teaching words? Not so much …

12 Back to that VB-MAPP – Where did it come from? History described earlier Evolution helped along by numerous behavior analysts (and even SLPs) Field tested on NT kids and kids with autism and other disabilities Normed against other instruments

13 How does VB-MAPP compare with other assessments? Functional Formative and summative Criterion and norm referenced Assesses verbal repertoires Those way cool Barriers and Transitions Assessments, and that IEP Guide

14 VB-MAPP – Who can administer it?

15 VB-MAPP – Who should administer it? “In order to conduct this language assessment it is essential that the the tester have a basic understanding of behavior analysis, Skinner’s (1957) analysis of verbal behavior, and the components of linguistic structure” Sundberg (2008), p. 16

16 VB-MAPP – Section by Section

17 VB-MAPP Skills Assessment Skills assessed on the VB-MAPP include: Elementary verbal operants Listener skills Vocal output Independent play Social skills and social play Visual perceptual skills and matching-to-sample Grammatical and syntactical skills Group and classroom skills Beginning academic skills

18 VB-MAPP Skills Assessment Milestones in three developmental levels Level 1: 0-18 months Level 2: months Level 3: months Scores balanced across each level Five items and five possible points for each skill area Three boxes in all sections for separate administrations Each item scored 0, 1, or ½ Look for the operant level; If the skill is below operant level score quickly and move on; if it is close to the operant level, test it

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20 VB-MAPP Level 1: Tact

21 VB-MAPP Skills Assessment Total for the five items is marked on the top of each skill area Totals for each skill area are added for all three levels and placed on the VB-MAPP Scoring Form Total score on the Echoic sub-test is converted to a milestone score on the VB-MAPP form Specific items on the VB-MAPP have been adjusted many times based on the field-test data (See VB-MAPP Assessment Forms)

22 VB-MAPP Barriers Assessment Important to find out what a child can do (The VB-MAPP Skills Assessment), but also what she can’t, and why VB-MAPP Barriers Assessment designed to identify and score 22 different learning and language acquisition barriers Once a barrier is identified, a more detailed descriptive and/or functional analysis is required Many ways for a verbal repertoire or related skill to become defective so individualized analysis needed to determine what the nature of the problem is for a specific child, and what intervention program might be appropriate

23 VB-MAPP Barriers Assessment Defective Verbal Behavior Descriptive functional analysis of verbal behavior Behavioral analysis of words, phrases, and sentences emitted by children with autism Same basic principles of behavior as nonverbal behavior What is the source of control? Sources of control often reveal that what appears to be a correct response in form is actually incorrect in function

24 VB-MAPP Barriers Assessment Defective Verbal Behavior Might not be the same source of control observed in a typically developing child (e.g., I have a red shirt on ) Each verbal operant can be susceptible to unwanted sources of control Defective mands (I want candy. What’s that?) Defective tacts ( Bounce ball, Black car, Under table )

25 VB-MAPP Barriers Assessment Common Learning and Language Acquisition Barriers Instructional control (Escape/avoidance) Behavior problems Defective mand Defective tact Defective motor imitation Defective echoic (e.g., echolalia) Defective matching-to-sample

26 VB-MAPP Barriers Assessment Common Learning and Language Acquisition Barriers Defective listener repertoires (e.g., LD, LRFFC) Defective intraverbal Defective play and social skills Prompt dependent, long latencies Scrolling responses Defective scanning skills Failure to make conditional discriminations Failure to generalize

27 VB-MAPP Barriers Assessment Common Learning and Language Acquisition Barriers Weak or atypical MOs Response requirements weakens the MO Self-stimulation Articulation problems Obsessive-compulsive behavior Reinforcement dependent Does not attend to people/materials Defective social behavior

28 Scoring the VB-MAPP Barriers Assessment Rate the child on the VB-MAPP Barriers Assessment Form using a Likert-type scale of 1 to 5 1 or 2 = no significant barriers, and formal intervention plan may not be required. 3, 4, or 5 = barrier(s) present, that probably should be addressed as part of the intervention program For some, immediate focus of intervention is on removing a particular barrier, rather than language instruction Most common immediate barriers to remove involve instructional control problems, or other behavior problems

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33 VB-MAPPS for Typically Developing Children Lisa Hale Mark L. Sundberg Rikki Roden Carl T. Sundberg Cindy A. Sundberg

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39 VB-MAPPs for Children with Autism Mark L. Sundberg Carl T. Sundberg Shannon Rosenhan Shannon Montano Kaisa Weathers

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48 VB MAPP Skills Task Analysis Milestones can be considered floors in a building, and the task analysis contains the steps between each floor 170 milestones and approximately 1000 total tasks in the VB-MAPP task analysis Task analysis form also allows for more detailed skills tracking Building a whole repertoire, not just individual skills (e.g., mand, tact, M-T-S repertoires)

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50 VB MAPP IEP Goals and Placement Results of the VB-MAPP Skills and Barriers Assessment provide guidance for developing an intervention program Specific IEP goals are provided for each milestone and barrier The assessment corresponds with the verbal behavior intervention program (Sundberg & Partington, 1998; Sundberg, in preparation)

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52 VB-MAPP Transition Assessment A common goal for many educators and parents of children is to integrate the child into a mainstream setting Many different levels of integration Transition Assessment designed to identify skills that increase probability a child will succeed in a less restrictive setting

53 No single skill will be a good determiner of success, but a collective body of skills can help educators and parents make decisions VB-MAPP Transition Assessment helps determine if a child has necessary prerequisite skills to learn in a less restrictive classroom environment There are 18 skill areas on the Transition Assessment VB-MAPP Transition Assessment

54 Transition skills include: Overall VB-MAPP Skills score Barrier behaviors Group skills Social skills Independence Classroom routines Play skills Toileting Spontaneity Reinforcers Learning in the natural environment Generalization Quick acquisition Retention Transfer skills Self-care Safety

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56 VB-MAPP Barriers Assessment Analysis of a Defective Mand Repertoire Many children with autism have absent, weak, or defective mand repertoire extensive tact and listener skills, as well as other elevated scores on the VB-MAPP Skills assessment Not uncommon for child to engage in tantrum or some other problem behavior as a mand Word learned under S D control may not automatically transfer to MO control

57 Analysis of a Defective Mand Repertoire Distinction between S D and MO control not part of many language assessment and intervention programs designed for children with autism Many potential causes of defective manding so functional analysis needed to determine cause for an individual child VB-MAPP Barriers Assessment

58 The VB-MAPP Barriers Assessment Potential causes of absent, weak, or defective mand repertoire Mand training not part of child’s early language training history Target response form too difficult for the child When a child has no or limited vocal behavior, sign language or PECS has not been tried High response requirement weakens the relevant MO No current MO in effect for targeted item

59 Potential causes of absent, weak, or defective mand repertoire Response is prompt bound by physical, echoic, imitative, or verbal stimuli A nonverbal stimulus acquires control of the response and blocks MO control A verbal stimulus acquires control of the response and blocks MO control Motivation (MO) does not control the response form The VB-MAPP Barriers Assessment

60 Potential causes of absent, weak, or defective mand repertoire Single response topography functions as the mand (e.g., more, please, that) Can’t establish differential response topographies Scrolling gets reinforced Not enough mand trials are provided each day Poor audience control

61 Potential causes of absent, weak, or defective mand repertoire Mands only required and reinforced in specific setting Generalization training is not provided Verbal information does not function as reinforcement for the child Manding does not come under control of natural contingencies History of punishment for attempts at manding The VB-MAPP Barriers Assessment

62 Analysis of a Defective Tact Repertoire Tact less susceptible to becoming defective than mand or intraverbal, due in part, to nature of tact’s controlling variables Nonverbal stimulus control more measurable and accessible, in general, much clearer than motivational control (mand), and verbal stimulus control (intraverbal) Often the case that the wrong nonverbal stimulus acquires control of a tact For example, when teaching tacts related to verbs, the goal is that the specific moving nonverbal stimulus evokes a specific response, not the object related to the movement

63 Analysis of a Defective Tact Repertoire Some children learn to emit a word that is a verb in form but not in function, as in the response Drinking juice when just shown a cup, or Throwing ball when shown a ball Similar problems can be observed in efforts to teach tacts related to prepositions and adjectives (e.g., Above and Below. Big and little ) Gone unchecked, these tacting errors can be difficult to change and can become the source of other verbal problems later in training, such as intraverbal rote responding The VB-MAPP Barriers Assessment

64 Common causes of absent, weak, or defective tact Limited amount of formal tact training has occurred Other barriers such as instructional control dominate the educational activities Articulation is unintelligible, and augmentative communication has not been tried Tacting is prompt bound by echoic, imitative, or other S D s (e.g., lip prompts)

65 Common causes of absent, weak, or defective tact Scrolling through targeted tacts gets reinforced Single response tacts have been over conditioned Limited training with multiple S D s and multiple response tacting The wrong source of control is established (e.g., tacting verbs or emotions from pictures) The VB-MAPP Barriers Assessment

66 VB-MAPP Barriers Assessment Common causes of an absent, weak, or defective tact Failure to analyze complexities of tacts involving prepositions, pronouns, adjectives, private events, social behavior, etc. Verbal stimuli do not establish a feature of nonverbal stimuli as an S D (IV/Tact combo) Poorly sequenced curriculum Generalization training is not provided (stimulus and response classes)

67 Common causes of an absent, weak, or defective tact No spontaneous tacting due to additional prompts in training (S D effect) No spontaneous tacting due to aversive variables present in training (MO-Reflexive) Tacting not reinforced by natural or automatic contingencies The child has a punishment history for tacting Excessive or inappropriate tacting gets reinforced VB-MAPP Barriers Assessment

68 An Analysis of a Defective Intraverbal Repertoire Intraverbal behavior is most prone to becoming rote Task of directly teaching intraverbal behavior is complicated and endless Early intraverbal training pretty straight forward, but by 3-4 years of age, a typical child acquires 1000s of different intraverbal relations Most adults have hundreds of thousands of different intraverbal relations as a part of their verbal repertoires

69 An Analysis of a Defective Intraverbal Repertoire Contact with these verbal stimuli can evoke numerous intraverbal response Number of different intraverbal relations far outnumbers the number of different mands and tacts. The frequency of mands may be greater than intraverbals, but often the mands are related to a relatively small set of MOs VB-MAPP Barriers Assessment

70 An Analysis of a Defective Intraverbal Repertoire Many children with autism have great difficulty acquiring meaningful intraverbal behavior. Some have acquired 100s of tacts and LDs, but no more than a few simple intraverbal relations Tacting, imitation, echoic, matching, LDs, textual, and transcriptive have degree of sameness that may come easier for children with autism than intraverbal behavior Not only are antecedents for these repertoires more consistent and clearer, but also response is frequently the same (A spoon is usually Spoon, 2 is always Two )

71 An Analysis of a Defective Intraverbal Repertoire Intraverbal relations involve constantly changing S D s and responses For example, a tree is always a tree for echoic, tacting, matching, etc., but discussion about trees can be comprised of hundreds, if not thousands, of different intraverbal relations Furthermore, discussion about trees won’t occur exactly the same way each time However, this type of defective intraverbal behavior not uncommon for some high functioning individuals with autism, and especially those with Aspergers VB-MAPP Barriers Assessment

72 An Analysis of a Defective Intraverbal Repertoire Verbal S D s usually much more complicated than the nonverbal S D s; have multiple components, in brief time frame Multiple words as S D s almost always involves verbal conditional discriminations Vocal verbal stimuli are transitory, nonverbal stimuli more static Attending to verbal S D s often more laborious than to nonverbal S D s

73 An Analysis of a Defective Intraverbal Repertoire Visual stimuli may block the establishment of control by verbal stimuli Many words that are not clearly evoked by a corresponding nonverbal stimulus (e.g., the, a, can’t, usually, if, its, for, of, anyway, whatever ) but form the VC D s is often shaped to include only the salient information IV responses typically more complex than tact responses VB-MAPP Barriers Assessment

74 An Analysis of a Defective Intraverbal Repertoire The MLU of a tact tends to be much shorter than the MLU for an intraverbal There is often only so much that can be said about a specific nonverbal stimulus (e.g., the tact bike vs, IV story about a bike) The tact response is often shaped to include only the salient information VB-MAPP Barriers Assessment

75 Common causes of an absent, weak, or defective intraverbal repertoire Child has not received formal intraverbal training Child is given training, but it’s to early to focus on intraverbals Child’s echoic repertoire is too strong (echolalia) Nonverbal stimuli control response form (tact prompt bound) MOs control response forms (strong IVs on favorite topics)

76 Common causes of an absent, weak, or defective intraverbal repertoire Intraverbal curriculum is out of developmental and behavioral sequence Rote intraverbal responses have been firmly established due to conditioning history Out of context or irrelevant intraverbal training may establish odd forms of IV behavior Single verbal stimuli and single verbal responses have been over conditioned VB-MAPP Barriers Assessment

77 Common causes of an absent, weak, or defective intraverbal repertoire Specific target responses are not in child’s repertoire as tacts, LDs, or LRFFCs Child doesn’t attend to multiple verbal stimuli (S-deltas) Child does not have sufficient training on verbal conditional discriminations Verbal stimulus classes have not been established

78 Common causes of an absent, weak, or defective intraverbal repertoire Verbal response classes have not been established Poor audience control No automatic reinforcement for IV behavior A punishment history for intraverbal behavior An extinction history for intraverbal behavior VB-MAPP Barriers Assessment

79 An Analysis of a Defective Listener Repertoire Listener’s behavior involves several independent repertoires Listener as audience for others’ verbal behavior Listener’s nonverbal behavior evoked by others’ words Listener’s covert verbal behavior evoked by others’ words (this part is actually speaker behavior, but commonly and erroneously referred to as listener, or receptive, behavior.

80 VB-MAPP Barriers Assessment Common Causes of an Absent, Weak, or Defective Listener Repertoire Others’ speech doesn’t function as conditioned reinforcer Others’ speech doesn’t function as an S D for attending Child doesn’t reinforce others’ VB Child doesn’t mediate reinforcement for others’ VB

81 Common Causes of an Absent, Weak, or Defective Listener Repertoire Child has not become an S D for certain verbal behavior from others Child has not received formal listener training Scrolling get reinforced in listener training Inadvertent prompts control correct responses (eye gazes, position, hand placement) VB-MAPP Barriers Assessment

82 Common Causes of an Absent, Weak, or Defective Listener Repertoire Child has a weak conditional discrimination repertoire Verbal stimuli does not evoke scanning (or attending to the array Child has been over conditioned with limited array Child has been over conditioned with single stimulus and single response

83 Common Causes of an Absent, Weak, or Defective Listener Repertoire Generalization training has not provided (stimulus and response classes Child stims with the materials No LRFFC training has been provided The curriculum is poorly sequenced VB-MAPP Barriers Assessment

84 Common causes of absent, weak, or defective visual perception and matching to sample repertoire Child may have some type of vision impairment Child has not received formal training on visual discrimination tasks Adults have poor instructional control Child stims with materials Targeted visual tasks are out of developmental sequence (curriculum)

85 Common causes of absent, weak, or defective visual perception and matching to sample repertoire Child is prompt bound by position, body movement, eye or pointing prompts, etc. There is a reinforcement history for position preference, or specific response patterns Scrolling behavior gets reinforced A verbal consequence like No is really an S D to pick another item VB-MAPP Barriers Assessment

86 Common causes of absent, weak, or defective visual perception and matching-to-sample repertoire If no reinforcement is provided for first selection, the child quickly selects another item There is a failure to scan visual arrays and comparisons efficiently There is a failure to make conditional discriminations Over conditioning with a small array (limited array variation)

87 Common causes of absent, weak, or defective visual perception and matching-to-sample repertoire Task is too easy because the comparison stimuli are very different from each other Limited training with large arrays, scenes, and arrays in the natural environment Limited training with similar stimuli in the array Limited training with large arrays and similar stimuli in scenes and in the natural environment VB-MAPP Barriers Assessment

88 Common causes of absent, weak, or defective echoic Physiological variables (e.g., weak muscle control, severe illnesses, cerebral palsy) Little or no training or encouragement of echoic responding has been provided Weak automatic reinforcement for echoic and vocal behavior Possible automatic punishment (or other forms of punishment) for vocal behavior

89 Common causes of absent, weak, or defective echoic Child demonstrates low rate babbling or vocal play Adults have poor instructional control Vocal self-stimulation interferes with echoic development Child has weak MOs for social interaction with other people Child doesn’t attend to vocal stimuli VB-MAPP Barriers Assessment

90 Common causes of absent, weak, or defective echoic Targeted vocal sounds, blends, and words are out of developmental sequence Child has an aversive (failure) history regarding attempts to teach echoic behavior Generalization training has not been provided Repertoire too strong (echolalia, prompt bound) Automatic reinforcement for out-of-context verbal responses (“Delayed echolalia”)

91 VB-MAPP Barriers Assessment Potential causes of scrolling Responses that are first trained are not completely acquired (weak S D control) Failure to identify that scrolling is occurring The response is actually under a specific type of prompt rather than the target S D The amount of discrimination training is insufficient

92 Potential causes of scrolling New words/signs are added too quickly Scrolling gets intermittently reinforced New stimuli and new responses are too similar For mands, new MOs and specific reinforcement are similar to the earlier ones VB-MAPP Barriers Assessment

93 Potential causes of scrolling Maintenance and generalization trials are insufficient Failure to reinforce first wrong response evokes the next response Curriculum is out of sequence Scrolling is less work than discriminating VB-MAPP Barriers Assessment

94 Instructional control/non-compliance (escape and avoidance) Many children with autism have learned ways to avoid or terminate demands placed upon them. These behaviors range from mild (e.g., looking away or not responding) to severe (e.g., aggression and self- injury). Behavior’s function is often to escape from things they don’t want to do (e.g., hair brushing, car seats, instructional demands), or stimuli indicating unwanted activities are coming (avoidance) (e.g., bedtime, turning off the TV, table tasks) These behaviors are common in typically developing children, but can become quite severe for a child with autism

95 Instructional control/non-compliance (escape and avoidance) There are a number of potential causes for instructional control problems. It is the job of the behavior analyst conduct a descriptive and/or functional analysis to determine the specific cause for each individual child VB-MAPP Barriers Assessment

96 Potential causes of noncompliant behaviors Avoidance or escape of the demand is (negatively) reinforced (not followed through) The child has a long history of successful avoidance and escape behavior Extinction bursts are reinforced Intermittent reinforcement develops persistence

97 Potential causes of noncompliant behaviors Positive reinforcement also follows the negative behaviors Not enough reinforcement is provided for compliance Effective reinforcers are not identified, or they cannot compete with negative reinforcement Demand is too high (e.g., task expectations and curriculum issues) VB-MAPP Barriers Assessment

98 Potential causes of noncompliant behaviors Demands are unclear or vague Demand requires that child give up powerful reinforcers Demands are in the form of threats (coercive) Steps to successful compliance are too large Intervention program is inconsistent VB-MAPP Barriers Assessment

99 Thank You! For more information on verbal behavior and links to other material go to:


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