For children diagnosed with autism and their families, communication can be difficult. Verbal behavior therapy is one approach that has shown to be beneficial for children with autism. This therapy uses the principles of ABA to help children with autism improve their communication skills. This intervention helps children learn communication skills that they can use in their everyday lives. They learn how words connect with meanings and purposes and how to use them in different situations.
Even nonverbal children can discover new skills through a verbal behavior program. Because it is based on the principles of ABA like reinforcement, it’s a highly effective way to help children with autism improve their communication skills.
What Is a Verbal Behavior Program?
Connecting words with not only their meanings, but also with their purposes is the goal of a verbal behavior program. Participants in this form of therapy then discover that certain words can help them get what they want or need.
Language can be classified into different operants, or types of behavior. The four main operants are:
- Mand – Asking for something
- Tact – Describing something
- Echoic – Repeating what someone else says
- Intraverbal – Responding to questions
During verbal behavior therapy, children with autism learn how to use each of these operants to communicate their wants and needs. For example, a child may learn to use the mand “juice” to request a drink. When they first say “juice,” they may be given a drink, and their therapist will reinforce this behavior.
Over time, the child will learn that they can use the mand “juice” to request a drink in different situations, such as when they are thirsty or when they want to avoid drinking milk. Even nonverbal requests, such as pointing to a picture of juice, can be reinforced.
The Benefits of Verbal Behavior Therapy for Autism
There are many benefits of verbal behavior therapy for autism. This type of therapy can help children with autism:
- Improve their communication skills – Whether through requests, comments, or questions, verbal behavior therapy can help children with autism improve their communication skills.
- Increase their independence – As children with autism learn how to communicate their wants and needs, they can become more independent.
- Build self-confidence – With improved communication skills, children with autism can build self-confidence.
- Make friends – As children with autism interact more with others, they can build healthy friendships.
What Can Parents Expect from a Verbal Behavior Program?
If you’re interested in exploring a verbal behavior program for your child with autism, there are a few things you can expect.
First, you’ll meet with a behavior analyst to discuss your child’s goals and how a verbal behavior program can help them meet those goals. You’ll also learn about the different types of reinforcement that will be used in the program.
Next, you and your child will meet with a speech-language pathologist to assess your child’s communication skills. This will help the therapist create a tailored program that meets your child’s needs.
Rising Above ABA’s in-home verbal behavior program provides individualized therapy for children with autism in the environment where they’re most comfortable—at home.
Reach Out to Rising Above ABA Today
If you’re interested in exploring a verbal behavior program for your child with autism, reach out to Rising Above ABA at 888.572.7473 today or connect with us online to get started. We’ll help them develop the skills they need to navigate the world around them and build positive relationships with those they love.