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Mark L. Sundberg, Ph.D., BCBA-D

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1 Mark L. Sundberg, Ph.D., BCBA-D
The VB-MAPP Barriers Assessment: An Analysis of 24 Learning and Language Barriers and Possible Intervention Strategies Mark L. Sundberg, Ph.D., BCBA-D (www.marksundberg.com) 1

2 Assessment of a Child’s Needs
A formal assessment and behavioral analysis is essential for developing an intervention program Identify the operant level of the existing skills Compare those skills to those of a typically developing child Identify the language, social, behavioral, and learning barriers that are preventing more efficient learning The failure to conduct an appropriate assessment results in one of the biggest problems in programs that serve children with autism: An inappropriate curriculum

3 Verbal Behavior Milestones Assessment and Placement Program: The VB-MAPP
There are five components of the VB-MAPP The VB-MAPP: Milestones Assessment contains 170 verbal behavior milestones across 3 developmental levels (0-18 months, months, months) and 16 different verbal operants and related skills The VB MAPP: Barriers Assessment examines 24 common learning and language barriers faced by children with autism or other developmental disabilities The VB MAPP: Transition Assessment evaluates a child’s ability to learn in a less restrictive educational environment across 18 different skills

4 Verbal Behavior Milestones Assessment and Placement Program: The VB-MAPP
The VB-MAPP: Skills Task Analysis and Tracking provides a further breakdown of the 16 different skill areas in the form of a checklist containing over 900 specific skills The VB-MAPP: Placement and IEP Goals provides recommendations for program development for children based on their VB-MAPP profiles, and their specific scores for each of the 170 milestones and the 24 Barriers. In addition, over 200 IEP goals directly linked to the skills and barriers assessments, and the verbal behavior intervention program are provided

5 The VB-MAPP Barriers Assessment
It is important to find out what a child can do (The VB-MAPP Milestones Assessment), but it is also important to know what he can’t do, and analyze why he can’t do it The VB-MAPP Barriers Assessment is a tool that is designed to identify and score 24 different learning and language acquisition barriers that may be affecting an individual child Once a specific barrier has been identified, a more detailed descriptive and/or functional analysis of that problem is required There are many ways that a verbal repertoire or related skill can become defective or impaired, and an individualized analysis will be necessary to determine what the nature of the problem is for a specific child, and what intervention program might be appropriate

6 The VB-MAPP Barriers Assessment
There are several different types of barriers that can affect learning and language development Strong and persistent negative behaviors that impede teaching and learning (e.g., tantrums, aggression, non-compliance) Verbal operants or related skills that are absent, weak, or in some way impaired (e.g., echolalia, rote intraverbals, mands that are really tacts) Social behavior and the speaker-listener dyad can also become impaired for a variety of reasons (e.g., limited motivation for social interaction, impaired mands, impaired listener skills)

7 The VB-MAPP Barriers Assessment
Fundamental barriers to learning that must be analyzed and ameliorated (e.g., the failure to generalize, weak motivators, prompt dependency) Specific behaviors that can compete with learning (e.g., self-stimulation, hyperactive behavior, or sensory defensiveness) Problems related to physical or biological barriers that must be overcome or accounted for in some way (e.g., articulation or motor imitation errors may be due to physical limitations, matching errors may be due to visual limitations, or listener errors may be related to hearing problems)

8 The VB-MAPP Barriers Assessment
24 Common Learning and Language Acquisition Barriers Behavior problems Instructional control (escape/avoidance) Impaired mand Impaired tact Impaired motor imitation Impaired echoic (e.g., echolalia) Impaired matching-to-sample Impaired listener repertoires (e.g., LD, LRFFC)

9 The VB-MAPP Barriers Assessment
Common Learning and Language Acquisition Barriers Impaired intraverbal Impaired social skills Prompt dependency, long latencies Scrolling responses Impaired scanning skills Failure to make conditional discriminations (CDs) Failure to generalize Weak or atypical MOs

10 The VB-MAPP Barriers Assessment
Common Learning and Language Acquisition Barriers Response requirements weakens the MO Reinforcer dependent Self-stimulation Articulation problems Obsessive-compulsive behavior Hyperactivity Failure to make eye contact Sensory defensiveness

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12 The VB-MAPP Barriers Assessment
Scoring the VB-MAPP Barriers Form Rate the child on the VB-MAPP Barriers Assessment Form using a Likert-type scale of 0 to 4 A score of 0 or 1 would indicate that there are no significant barriers, and a formal intervention plan may not be required A score of 2, 3, or 4 would indicate that there is a barrier that probably should be addressed as part of the intervention program For some children the immediate focus of the intervention program should be on removing a particular barrier Common immediate barriers to remove involve instructional control, behavior problems, an impaired mand, and prompt dependency

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15 Impaired Verbal Behavior
A functional analysis of verbal behavior (Skinner, Chap 1) A behavioral analysis of words, phrases, and sentences emitted by children and adults with language delays Same basic principles of behavior as nonverbal behavior What is the source of control? These sources of control will often reveal that what appears to be a correct response in form is actually incorrect in function Might not be the same source of control observed in a typically developing child (e.g., asking “What’s your name”) Each verbal operant can be susceptible to unwanted sources of control

16 Impaired Verbal Behavior
The behavior analyst must determine what the correct source of control should be, and how that source can be established The functional analysis of verbal behavior is on-going The failure to conduct such an analysis may result in rote or defective verbal repertoires that can become difficult to change This is how behavior analysis is different, this is what we do The primary focus today will be on the verbal operants, but many of the other barriers are directly related to impaired verbal behavior and will be covered in the workshop (e.g., demand kills the MO, scrolling, prompt dependency, failing to generalize, weak conditional discrimination skills)

17 Analysis of an Impaired Mand Repertoire
A substantial number of children with autism have an absent, weak, or impaired mand repertoire Many of these same children have extensive tact and listener skills, as well as other elevated scores on the VB-MAPP Milestones Assessment Often, under these circumstances it is not uncommon to see the child engage in a tantrum or some other form of negative behavior as a mand

18 Analysis of an Impaired Mand Repertoire
A word acquired under SD control may not automatically transfer to MO control The distinction between SD and MO antecedent control is not systematically incorporated into many of the popular language assessment and intervention programs designed for children with autism There are many potential causes of a defective mand repertoire and a functional analysis is necessary to determine the cause for an individual child Here are 50 possible causes of an impaired mand repertoire Most problems involve a combination of causes 18

19 Potential Causes of an Absent, Weak, or Impaired Mand Repertoire
Limited mand training and limited opportunities to mand Mands are not required to obtain specific reinforcement Mand training is not part of the child’s early language training history Not enough manding trials and opportunities are provided each day

20 Potential Causes of an Absent, Weak, or Impaired Mand Repertoire
Response form problems, and failing to try augmentative communication The target response form is too difficult for the child Shaping techniques are not used There is a limited availability of established imitative or echoic responses Can’t establish differential response topographies Articulation cannot be understood by listeners When a child has no or limited vocal behavior, sign language or PECS have not been tried Push for sentences too soon (e.g., “I want...please”) 20

21 Potential Causes of an Absent, Weak, or Impaired Mand Repertoire
Impaired mands are established early Negative behavior functions as mands A single response topography functions as the mand (e.g., “more,” “please,” “this,” “mine,” “yes”) Inappropriate mands become established and become hard to eliminate (e.g., “Cup” as the mand for all drinks) Motivation (MO) does not control the response form 21

22 Intervention Strategies for Established Impaired Mands
START OVER Use a trained professional Use the strongest MOs Use sign language Target 1, then ASAP, 2 specific response topographies Use standard prompt and fade techniques Use DRI and extinction for existing negative mand 22

23 Potential Causes of an Impaired Mand Repertoire and Intervention Strategies
Mand curriculum problems Choosing the wrong words (signs or pictures) as the first mands to teach The mand training curriculum is poorly sequenced Mand training does not move beyond tangibles and manipulatives Mands are not incorporated into daily functional verbal behavior A small group of mands has a strong history of reinforcement (e.g., candy, juice, skittles) 23

24 Potential Causes of an Impaired Mand Repertoire and Intervention Strategies
MO Problems Relevant MOs are not identified There is no current MO in effect for the targeted item Satiation effects weaken the MO MOs are all too similar (e.g., food, toys) Free or cheap access to reinforcers is available without manding The child has weak MOs in general The response requirement is too high and weakens the MO (specific barrier) 24

25 Potential Causes of an Impaired Mand Repertoire and Intervention Strategies
MO Problems (cont.) Self-stimulation or obsessive behaviors compete with other MOs Failing to capture and create MOs No variation in captured or created MOs Weak MOs for verbal information MOs for social and peer manding are weak, and intervention is not provided MOs are too strong and the mand repertoire becomes too strong 25

26 Potential Causes of an Impaired Mand Repertoire and Intervention Strategies
SD control (e.g., prompts) problems The response is prompt bound by physical, echoic, imitative, or intraverbal discriminative stimuli A verbal stimulus acquires control and blocks MO control A nonverbal stimulus acquires control and blocks MO control A relevant nonverbal stimulus is faded too soon (before solid MO control is established) Scrolling gets reinforced (specific barrier) Spontaneous mands are not fostered and never develop Manding does not come under the control of natural contingencies Poor audience control 26

27 Intervention Strategies for Mand Scrolling
START OVER Use a trained professional Use the strongest MOs Establish two specific response topographies, then three, etc. Possibly use one response as a tact Echoic, imitation, & LDs won’t work as the second topography, intraverbal responses with signs will (e.g., “sign book”) Use standard prompt and fade techniques Don’t fade out the object too soon (multiple control) Use DRI and extinction for existing negative mand 27

28 Potential Causes of an Impaired Mand Repertoire and Intervention Strategies
Consequence problems Inappropriate manding is reinforced Specific reinforcement is not used Reinforcement is delayed Differential reinforcement with extinction is not systematically used Manding is punished Manding persistence is not established via intermittent reinforcement 28

29 Potential Causes of an Impaired Mand Repertoire and Intervention Strategies
Generalization problems Mands only required and reinforced in a specific setting, time, or with specific people MO generalization training is not provided Manding response generalization training is not provided Overgeneralization 29

30 An Analysis of an Impaired Tact Repertoire
The tact repertoire is less susceptible to becoming defective than the mand or intraverbal, due in part to the nature of the controlling variables for the tact Nonverbal stimulus control is more measurable and accessible, and in general, much clearer than motivational control (mand), and verbal stimulus control (intraverbal) It is 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

31 An Analysis of an Impaired 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 other parts of speech such as 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 There are many potential causes of a defective tact repertoire and a behavioral analysis is necessary Here are 30 possible causes of an impaired tact repertoire Most problems involve a combination of causes 31

32 Potential Causes of an Absent or Weak Tact Repertoire and Intervention Strategies
Limited tact training and other barriers Formal tact training has not been provided, but is necessary Not enough tact trials are provided each day Limited tacting in the natural environment Other barriers such as instructional control and behavior problems dominate the educational day 32

33 Potential Causes of an Absent or Weak Tact Repertoire and Intervention Strategies
Response form problems The target response form is too difficult for the child Articulation is unintelligible by listeners Shaping techniques are not used There is a limited availability of established imitative or echoic responses Can’t establish differential response topographies Augmentative communication has not been tried Sentences and carrier phrases are overemphasized too soon 33

34 Potential Causes of an Absent or Weak Tact Repertoire and Intervention Strategies
Tact curriculum problems The general progression of tact development in typically developing children is ignored, thus the curriculum is poorly sequenced (e.g., adjectives before nouns are firmly established) Nonfunctional or irrelevant tacts targeted Single stimulus and single response tacts have been over conditioned Limited training with multiple SDs and multiple response tacting (e.g., noun-noun, noun-verb) Tacts are not transferred to other verbal operants (e.g., mands, IVs) Failure to analyze complexities of tacts involving prepositions, pronouns, adjectives, private events, social behavior, etc. 34

35 Potential Causes of an Absent or Weak Tact Repertoire and Intervention Strategies
Stimulus control problems Tacting is prompt bound by echoic, imitative, or other SDs Scrolling through targeted tacts gets reinforced The wrong source of control is established (e.g., tacting verbs or emotions from pictures) Metonymical tacts are established and reinforced (e.g., tacting by function or association) 35

36 Potential Causes of an Absent or Weak Tact Repertoire and Intervention Strategies
Stimulus control problems Verbal plus nonverbal conditional discriminations (CDs) are not established (e.g., verbal stimuli do not establish a feature of nonverbal stimuli as an SD: as in IV-Tact CDs) No spontaneous tacting or tacting in the natural environment due to additional variables present during formal training (e.g., CMO-Reflexive, contextual prompts) 36

37 Potential Causes of an Absent or Weak Tact Repertoire and Intervention Strategies
Consequence problems Tacting is not reinforced Tacting is punished Excessive or inappropriate tacting gets reinforced Tacting not reinforced by natural or automatic contingencies Intermittent reinforcement is not used to establish persistence 37

38 Potential Causes of an Absent or Weak Tact Repertoire and Intervention Strategies
Generalization problems Generalization training is not provided Stimulus classes are not established Response classes are not established 38

39 An Analysis of the VP-MTS Repertoire
Many children with autism do well on visual discrimination tasks because they are usually easier than verbal tasks However, some children do not do well on these tasks, and a more detailed analysis of the child and the task is required Visual skills, especially MTS, are often more complex than they might appear MTS requires that a child attend to the sample stimulus, scan an array of comparison stimuli, and select a matching item based on some specific criteria (i.e., identical, non identical, arbitrary, association, sequences, patterns, designs, and categories) These skills involve a conditional discrimination where the first stimulus (the sample) should establish a second stimulus as a discriminative stimulus (SD) 39

40 Potential Causes of an Absent or Weak VP-MTS Repertoire and Intervention Strategies
Physical limitations Some type of vision impairment Poor muscle tone, fine motor control, or CP Limited VP-MTS training No formal training on visual discrimination tasks Instructional control and behavior problems dominate The child stims with materials 40

41 Potential Causes of an Absent or Weak VP-MTS Repertoire and Intervention Strategies
VP-MTS curriculum problems The targeted visual tasks are out of developmental sequence No systematic progression to increasingly complex tasks (e.g., steps are too small or too large, or nonexistent) No functional use of skills outside of teaching sessions (e.g., matching socks, arts & crafts) 41

42 Potential Causes of an Absent or Weak VP-MTS Repertoire and Intervention Strategies
Conditional discrimination problems There is a failure to make conditional discriminations (two SDs and two behaviors) The sample stimulus does not evoke scanning behavior The sample stimulus does not establish SD/S-delta relations in the comparison array 42

43 Matching-to-Sample S SD S Select Ball
Nonverbal SD Array (SD2) Nonverbal Response Sample Comparison S SD S Select Ball

44 Matching-to-Sample: A Conditional Discrimination
R1 scan Nonverbal SD1 (A ball) Sample Nonverbal array S S SD2/Sr1 Comparison R2 Select ball Sr2 S S

45 Potential Causes of an Absent or Weak VP-MTS Repertoire and Intervention Strategies
Comparison array problems There is a failure to scan visual arrays and comparisons efficiently Over conditioning with a small array (limited array variation) The task is too easy because the items in the comparison array are very different from each other Limited training with large arrays and scenes Limited training with similar stimuli in the array Limited training with arrays in the natural environment (3D) Limited training with the combination of large arrays and similar stimuli in scenes and in the natural environment 45

46 Identical Objects: Varied Array Size

47 Identical Pictures: Similar Stimuli

48 Identical Objects: Similar Stimuli-Varied Array Size

49 Potential Causes of an Absent or Weak VP-MTS Repertoire and Intervention Strategies
Impaired VP-MTS established early The child is prompt bound by position, body movement, eye or pointing prompts, etc. Scrolling behavior gets reinforced There is a reinforcement history for position preference, or specific response patterns A verbal consequence like “No” becomes an SD to pick another item If reinforcement is not provided for first selection, the child quickly selects another item 49

50 Potential Causes of an Absent or Weak VP-MTS Repertoire and Intervention Strategies
Generalization problems Generalization training is not provided Stimulus classes are not established Response classes are not established 50

51 An Analysis of the Listener Repertoire
The complexities of verbal stimulus control An early indication of impending language problems is that a child does not appear to attend to others when they speak, or “understand” what is said The behavior of the listener involves several repertoires 1) Necessary for a verbal episode “The behaviors of the speaker and listener taken together compose what may be called the total verbal episode” (Skinner, 1957, p. 2) 2) The listener consequates the speaker’s behavior Mediates reinforcement (the definition of VB, p. 2) “The verbal community maintains the behavior of the speaker with generalized reinforcement” (p. 151) 51

52 An Analysis of the Listener Repertoire
3) The listener functions as an SD and MO for verbal behavior (The Audience, Chapter 7 in VB) “The listener, as an essential part of the situation in which verbal behavior is observed, is... a discriminative stimulus” (p. 172) “This function is to be distinguished from the action of the listener in reinforcing behavior” (p. 172) 4) The listener “takes additional action” “Verbal behavior would be pointless if a listener did nothing more than reinforce the speaker for emitting it” (p. 151) “The action which a listener takes with respect to the verbal response is often more important to the speaker than generalized reinforcement” (p. 151) 52

53 An Analysis of the Listener Repertoire
There are three types of action Nonverbal respondent behavior Nonverbal operant behavior Verbal behavior 53

54 The Different Action Taken by the Listener
Nonverbal respondent behavior “Among the special effects of verbal behavior are the emotional reactions of the listener” (p. 154) “If a verbal stimulus accompanies some state of affairs which is the unconditioned or previously conditioned stimulus for an emotional reaction the verbal stimulus eventually evokes this reaction” (p. 154) (e.g., “snake” literary works, anger, passio 54

55 An Analysis of the Listener Repertoire
Nonverbal operant behavior (“Receptive language”) Listener compliance (e.g., “jump”) Listener discriminations (LDs) (e.g., “Touch the car.” “Where is the number 5?”) Listener Responding by Function, Feature, and Class (LRFFC) (e.g., “Can you find an animal?” “Which one do you eat with?”) “These examples remind us of the fact that the behavior of the listener is not essentially verbal. The listener reacts to a verbal stimulus whether with conditioned reflexes or discriminated operant behavior, as he reacts to any feature of the environment” (p. 170) 55

56 An Analysis of the Listener Repertoire
Verbal operant behavior “In many important instances the listener is also behaving at the same time as a speaker” (p. 34) “An important fact about verbal behavior is that the speaker and listener may reside within the same skin” (p. 163) “Some of the behavior of listening resembles the behavior of speaking, particularly when the speaker ‘understands’ what is said” (p. 11) Much of what is traditionally called “listening” is covert verbal behavior, consisting of all the verbal operants (e.g., we can covertly emit echoics, mands, tacts, intraverbals, autoclitics, etc.) 56

57 Potential Causes of an Absent or Weak Listener Repertoire and Intervention Strategies
Physical limitations Some type of hearing impairment Limited listener training No formal training on listener skills Instructional control and behavior problems dominate The child stims with the materials 57

58 Potential Causes of an Absent or Weak Listener Repertoire and Intervention Strategies
Fails to participate in the verbal episode The speech of others does not function as an SD for attending The speech of others does not function as a conditioned reinforcer People are conditioned punishers (avoidance, loner) Social barriers present (separate barrier) Fails to consequate the speaker’s behavior Does not mediate reinforcement for the verbal behavior of others (e.g., get things manded) Does not reinforce the verbal behavior of others (e.g., head nods, attending) 58

59 Potential Causes of an Absent or Weak Listener Repertoire and Intervention Strategies
Fails to function as an SD and MO for verbal behavior The child has not become an SD for certain verbal behavior from others (e.g., “Did you bring your game boy?”) The child’s presence and behavior does not establish MOs for others 59

60 Potential Causes of an Absent or Weak Listener Repertoire and Intervention Strategies
Listener curriculum problems The general progression of listener development in typically developing children is ignored, thus the curriculum is poorly sequenced (e.g., teaching adjectives before nouns are firmly established) Single stimulus and single response listener discriminations (LDs) have been over conditioned Limited training with multiple SDs and multiple listener responses No systematic progression to increasingly complex tasks (e.g., steps are too small or too large, or nonexistent) 60

61 Potential Causes of an Absent or Weak Listener Repertoire and Intervention Strategies
Listener curriculum problems No functional use of skills outside of teaching sessions (e.g., all table top LDs) Failure to analyze complexities of LDs related to prepositions, pronouns, adjectives, social behavior, etc. Listener skills are not related to other verbal operants (e.g., tacts, mands, intraverbals) No LRFFC training has been provided 61

62 Potential Causes of an Absent or Weak Listener Repertoire and Intervention Strategies
Conditional discrimination problems Failure to emit conditional discriminations across modalities (a verbal and nonverbal SDs and two behaviors) Verbal stimuli do not evoke scanning behavior The verbal stimulus does not establish SD/S-delta relations in the comparison array 62

63 Listener Discriminations
Verbal SD Array (SD2) Nonverbal Response “Touch ball” + S SD S Select Ball

64 Listener Discriminations (LD): A Conditional Discrimination
R1 scan Verbal SD1 (“Touch ball”) Nonverbal array S S SD2/Sr1 R2 Select ball Sr2 S S

65 Potential Causes of an Absent or Weak Listener Repertoire and Intervention Strategies
Comparison array problems There is a failure to scan the comparisons arrays efficiently Over conditioning with a small array (limited array variation) The task is too easy because the items in the comparison array are very different from each other Limited training with large arrays and scenes, Limited training with similar stimuli in the array Limited training with arrays in the natural environment (3D) Limited training with the combination of large arrays and similar stimuli in scenes and in the natural environment 65

66 Potential Causes of an Absent or Weak Listener Repertoire and Intervention Strategies
Impaired listener behaviors established early The child is prompt bound by position, body movement, eye or pointing prompts, etc. Scrolling behavior gets reinforced There is a reinforcement history for position preference, or specific response patterns A verbal consequence like “No” becomes an SD to pick another item If reinforcement is not provided for first selection, the child quickly selects another item 66

67 Potential Causes of an Absent or Weak Listener Repertoire and Intervention Strategies
Generalization problems Generalization training is not provided Stimulus classes are not established Response classes are not established 67

68 An Analysis of the Intraverbal Repertoire
Verbal SDs are usually much more complicated than the nonverbal SDs Verbal SDs usually contain multiple components, occurring in a brief time frame Multiple words as SDs almost always involve verbal conditional discriminations Vocal verbal stimuli are transitory, nonverbal stimuli tend to be more static Attending to verbal SDs is often more laborious than attending to nonverbal SDs

69 An Analysis of the Intraverbal Repertoire
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 VCDs IV responses are typically more complex than responses associated with tacts 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 69

70 An Analysis of the Intraverbal Repertoire
Intraverbal behavior is most prone to becoming rote for children with autism The task of directly teaching intraverbal behavior is complicated and endless Early intraverbal training is 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 (e.g., newspaper, books, the internet)

71 An Analysis of the Intraverbal Repertoire
Contact with these verbal stimuli can evoke numerous intraverbal responses, such as discussions of the facts (e.g., global warming, autism, SD vs. the MO) The 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 Language would be simple “if a verbal repertoire was like a passenger list on a ship or plane” (Skinner, 1957 p. 91) 71

72 An Analysis of the Intraverbal Repertoire
Many children with autism have a great deal of difficulty acquiring meaningful intraverbal behavior. Some have acquired 100s of tacts and LDs, but fail to acquire more than a few simple intraverbal relations Tacting, imitation, echoic, matching, LDs, textual, and transcriptive have a degree of sameness that may come easier for children with autism than intraverbal behavior Not only are the antecedents for these repertoires more consistent and clearer, but also the response is frequently the same (e.g., a spoon is usually “spoon,” 2 is always “two”)

73 An Analysis of the Intraverbal Repertoire
Intraverbal relations, by their very nature, involve constantly changing SDs and responses For example, a tree is always a tree for echoic, tacting, matching, etc., but the discussion about trees can be comprised of hundreds, if not thousands of different intraverbal relations Furthermore, the discussion about trees may never occur exactly the same way each time However, this type of defective intraverbal behavior is not uncommon for some high functioning individuals with autism, and especially those with Aspergers 73

74 Potential Causes of an Absent or Weak Intraverbal Repertoire and Intervention Strategies
Limited intraverbal training No formal training on intraverbal skills Instructional control and behavior problems dominate 74

75 Potential Causes of an Impaired Intraverbal Repertoire and Intervention Strategies
Intraverbal curriculum problems Training is provided, but it’s to early in the intervention program to focus on intraverbals The general progression of intraverbal development in typically developing children is ignored, thus the curriculum is poorly sequenced The specific target responses are not in the child’s repertoire as tacts, mands, LDs, or LRFFCs No systematic progression to increasingly complex tasks (e.g., steps are too small or too large, or random) Failure to analyze complexities of intraverbals related to prepositions, pronouns, adjectives, adverbs, social behavior, etc. 75

76 Potential Causes of an Impaired Intraverbal Repertoire and Intervention Strategies
Intraverbal curriculum problems The IV responses are broken from MOs and nonverbal SDs too soon Intraverbal chains are not established (self as a listener) Continued intraverbal training is provided in the absence of the relevant nonverbal and MO context (e.g., listing words) No functional use of skills outside of teaching sessions No formal multiple tact plus intraverbal training (e.g., “What color is the ball” vs. “What shape is the ball?”) Limited training with multiple intraverbal responses Intraverbal skills are not related to other verbal operants (e.g., tacts, mands, LDs, LRFFC) No LRFFC training has been provided 76

77 Potential Causes of an Impaired Intraverbal Repertoire and Intervention Strategies
Verbal conditional discrimination problems One verbal stimulus does not alter the evocative effect of a second verbal stimulus The problem becomes worse with more than two critical stimuli, however training continues on without fixing the problem Insufficient training on basic verbal conditional discriminations Nonverbal and cross-modalities CDs may be absent, weak, or impaired The individual stimuli in the verbal antecedent do not have stimulus control over any verbal responses (e.g., “not”) Child does not attend to multiple verbal stimuli (early words are S-deltas) 77

78 Potential Causes of an Impaired Intraverbal Repertoire and Intervention Strategies
Stimulus and motivational control problems The child’s echoic repertoire is too strong (echolalia) Specific verbal stimuli in the antecedent are too salient and block the establishment of stimulus control by other words Nonverbal stimuli control the response form (tact prompt bound) MOs control response forms (strong IVs on favorite topics) Rote intraverbal response have been over conditioned Poor audience control The speaker is his own listener (self-talk) 78

79 Potential Causes of an Impaired Intraverbal Repertoire and Intervention Strategies
Impaired intraverbal behaviors established early Rote intraverbal responses have been firmly established due to a conditioning history Out of context or irrelevant intraverbal training may establish odd forms of IV behavior Automatic reinforcement may establish odd forms of intraverbal behavior (“delayed echolalia”) Simple verbal stimuli and single verbal responses have been over conditioned (e.g., opposites) Intraverbal scrolling behavior gets reinforced 79

80 Potential Causes of an Impaired Intraverbal Repertoire and Intervention Strategies
Consequence problems No automatic reinforcement for IV behavior Intermittent reinforcement procedures have not been used to established persistence A punishment history for intraverbal behavior An extinction history for intraverbal behavior A reinforcement history for odd, inappropriate, or impaired IV behavior Failure to self-edit verbal behavior 80

81 Potential Causes of an Impaired Intraverbal Repertoire and Intervention Strategies
Generalization problems Generalization training is not provided Sameness has been over conditioned in the tact, LD, and MTS, and the inherent variation of verbal stimuli cause problems Verbal stimulus classes are not established Verbal response classes are not established 81

82 Thank You! For an electronic version of this presentation visit:
marksundberg.com/ABAI


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