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.


35th Annual Convention; Phoenix, AZ; 2009

Event Details

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Symposium #552
CE Offered: BACB
Increasing the Mand Repertoire of Children With Autism
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
10:30 AM–11:50 AM
North 127
Area: VRB/AUT; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
Chair: Gail Wayman (Wayman Learning Center)
Discussant: Vincent Joseph Carbone (Carbone Clinic)
CE Instructor: Jonathan J. Tarbox, Ph.D.
Abstract: The mand is crucial to the development of appropriate verbal behavior, yet is often deficient in children with autism. Therefore, teaching mands should be a priority in a behavioral intervention program for children with autism, as mands often serve as appropriate replacement behaviors for many maladaptive behaviors. Additionally, the mand is the only verbal operant that produces reinforcers specific to the motivation of the speaker. This can be beneficial when teaching children with autism, who are often less likely to respond to social contingencies alone. Deficits in the mand repertoire will vary, depending upon the level of the learner. While early learners may be able to mand to an adult for food and items, they may not demonstrate the ability to do so with peers. However, an advanced learner may be able to mand for many toys, items, food and activities, and yet may not be able mand for information. These three studies address a variety of issues in teaching mands to children with autism and should provide practitioners with information that will help them when attempting to increase the mand repertoire of these children.
Evaluating Generalization of a Procedure for Teaching Children With Autism to Mand to Peers
CALLIE AMANDA SIMMS (Wayman Learning Center), Lauren Schermerhorn (Wayman Learning Center), Michelle Dillon (Wayman Learning Center), Angela Marshall (Wayman Learning Center)
Abstract: Teaching children with autism to mand to their typically-developing peers is a critical step in moving them into a less restrictive environment. Many children with autism demonstrate deficits in manding to peers, even following successful mand training with adults. Effective instructional programming should include procedures for teaching children with autism to mand to neurotypical peers. However, it is sometimes difficult for educators to find neurotypical peers for the purpose of mand training, and, as such, peer-to-peer mand training is often conducted using other children with autism. The current study focuses on teaching three children with autism to mand for three reinforcers from two different peers with autism. The participants have previously demonstrated fluency manding to adults for each selected reinforcer. After each participant has demonstrated mastery in manding for all three items to two peers with autism, a test for generalization in manding to typically-developing peers in a novel environment will be conducted. Data will be collected and discussed.
Teaching Children With Autism to Mand for Information Regarding the Private Events of Others
HOLLY RAMSEY (Wayman Learning Center), Gail Wayman (Wayman Learning Center), Kelly McLendon (Wayman Learning Center), Michelle Dillon (Wayman Learning Center)
Abstract: When analyzing and teaching social skills to children with autism, parents and professionals often overlook the key role of the mand. While it is important to teach early learners to mand for items and activities, as verbal behavior becomes increasingly complex, mands for information become more frequent and essential to social interactions. One of the most complex of social interactions is conversation. Most conversations involve the use of mands, tacts and intraverbals, and children with deficits in manding for information may not be able to fluently engage in appropriate conversation. Manding for information regarding the private events of others, such as “What do you want to do?” or “Are you hungry?” may provide information to the speaker indicating which mands the listener is most likely to reinforce. The purpose of this study is to evaluate a procedure for teaching children with autism to mand to an adult for information regarding the private events of that adult, especially motivation. Data will be collected and discussed.
Evaluating the Implementation of a Picture Selection Communication System When Teaching Mands to a Child With Autism
ASHLEY PETTY GOMEZ (Wayman Learning Center), Brandy L. Petrusky (Wayman Learning Center), Angela Marshall (Wayman Learning Center)
Abstract: Many children with autism exhibit no vocal verbal behavior. Therefore, professionals designing behavioral interventions are often faced with teaching more appropriate communication by implementing an augmentative communication system. When deciding upon a communication system, professionals may decide on a topography-based communication system, such as manual sign, or they may decide upon a selection-based communication system, usually involving some type of picture selection or exchange. There is very little information in the behavioral literature to guide professionals when deciding which system would be most appropriate for an individual learner. The purpose of this study is to demonstrate that some children with autism who demonstrate a limited mand repertoire when taught manual sign by well-trained, experienced instructors may, in fact, benefit from a picture-selection system. The study included a 10-year-old boy with autism who had been taught signs as mands for years, yet had only acquired 10 signs. The participant was then taught to mand using a picture selection system. After 3 months of picture selection, the participant acquired 21 mands. The results of this study suggest that individuals who acquire a limited mand repertoire when taught sign, may develop a more extensive mand repertoire using picture selection.



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