Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


40th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2014

Event Details

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Symposium #224
CE Offered: BACB
The Role of Verbal Behavior in ABA Intervention Programs
Sunday, May 25, 2014
2:00 PM–2:50 PM
W185d (McCormick Place Convention Center)
Area: VRB/AUT; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Mary Lynch Barbera (Barbera Behavior Consulting)
Discussant: Megan Miller (Navigation Behavioral Consulting)
CE Instructor: Mary Lynch Barbera, Ph.D.

The use of Verbal Behavior (VB) to teach children with autism and related disorders is currently being used, at least in part, in a large percentage of ABA programs for children with autism (Kates-McElrath & Axelrod, 2006; Love,, 2009). While there is research supporting many of the components of VB programming, there are a number of procedural variations among VB programs and not one VB package. Without standardized staff training on VB terms, procedures, and without validating VB packages, comparing VB with other types of ABA and non-ABA treatments will continue to be an impossible task. In this symposium, data from two different VB packages will be highlighted to support the use of Verbal Behavior in ABA intervention programs. The role of VB in ABA programming is an extremely important topic to study since ABA programs which are based on Skinners classifications of verbal behavior and focus on pairing procedures may have curricular advantages.

Using the VB-MAPP to Measure the Effectiveness of Verbal Behavior Programming in Toddlers with Autism
MARY LYNCH BARBERA (Barbera Behavior Consulting)
Abstract: In this presentation, an overview of The Verbal Behavior Milestones Assessment and Placement Program (The VB-MAPP, Sundberg, 2008) and its use in measuring the effectiveness of ABA/VB programming will be given. Pre and post VB-MAPP milestones and barriers scores from three toddlers with autism will be presented. Patterns of VB-MAPP toddler profiles utilizing several VB-MAPPs from 2-3 year olds diagnosed with moderate autism will also be discussed. Home ABA/VB programming based on initial milestones and barriers will be explained. An overview of materials needed for caregivers and therapists to get started with the Verbal Behavior Approach will be given. Procedures such as stimulus-stimulus pairing, the use of multiple control, and the importance of fast paced intensive teaching with mixed operants will be highlighted. Pre and post videos will be presented for one learner whose VB-MAPP milestones score rose from 15 to 92 in a fifteen month time period to demonstrate the effectiveness of using the VB-MAPP to measure progress of a VB program. Finally, ideas for further research in the area of Verbal Behavior programming will be discussed.

Developing Learner Cooperation with VB through the 7 Steps to Earning Instructional Control


The ABA/VB Autism Intervention Institute Knospe-ABA GmbH (based in Germany), which serves over 350 children throughout Europe, prioritizes the research and procedural recommendations of Verbal Behavior. Robert Schramm, Knospe-ABA's lead supervising Behavior Analyst has developed an approach to earning instructional control that encapsulates ABA/VB and brings motivated learning to its fullest potential. Over 95% of the providers using these techniques have been able to demonstrate greatly improved instructional control with their learners. The 7 Steps to Earning Instructional control are based on sound behavioral principles and practice. This approach to instructional control does not rely on basic escape extinction techniques such as escape blocking, forced physical prompting or repeating SD's. In addition to offering a more simple way to develop instructional control with most learners, it also is easy to teach to adults and therefore valuable in reproduction with less trained caregivers and therapists. Preliminary data will be presented to demonstrate that instructional control can be earned with the 7 Steps. Additionally, an integrity checklist for training on the 7 steps, which has demonstrated the benefits of training providers on this technique in order to decrease non-compliance of learners with autism, will be presented.




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