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

Previous Page


Tutorial #468
INVITED: Why Children With Autism Often Fail to Acquire a Functional Intraverbal Repertoire
Monday, May 25, 2009
3:30 PM–4:20 PM
West 301 CD
Area: AUT/VRB; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
Chair: William H. Ahearn (The New England Center for Children)
Presenting Authors: : MARK L. SUNDBERG (Sundberg and Associates)
Abstract: Many children with autism acquire an extensive vocabulary of mands, tacts, and listener discriminations, but have difficulty answering WH questions or engaging in meaningful conversational behavior. In addition, the intraverbal behavior they do have may be rote, scripted, or irrelevant to the preceding verbal context. This tutorial will present several examples of intraverbal problems experienced by children with autism along with an analysis of why these problems are occurring and suggestions for possible intervention programs. It will be proposed that the stimulus control relevant to intraverbal behavior involves primarily verbal conditional discriminations where one antecedent verbal stimulus alters the evocative effect of another antecedent verbal stimulus, and that this type of discrimination requires special training for many children with language delays. It will also be suggested that intraverbal development in typically developing children can serve as a guide for sequencing these complex discriminations for purposes of intraverbal assessment and intervention. Dr. Mark L. Sundberg received his doctorate degree in Applied Behavior Analysis from Western Michigan University (1980). He is the author of the Verbal Behavior Milestones Assessment and Placement Program (the VB-MAPP), and the co-author of The ABLLS; Teaching Language to Children with Autism or Other Developmental Disabilities; and A Collection of Reprints on Verbal Behavior. He has published over 45 professional papers, including a chapter titled “Verbal Behavior” in Cooper, Heron, & Heward (2007). He is the founder and past editor of the journal The Analysis of Verbal Behavior, a twice past-president of The Northern California Association for Behavior Analysis, a past-chair of the Publication Board of ABAI, and was a member of the committee that developed the BACB Task Lists. Dr. Sundberg has given over 500 conference presentations and workshops, and taught 80 college courses on behavior analysis, verbal behavior, sign language, and child development. His awards include the 2001 “Distinguished Psychology Department Alumnus Award” from Western Michigan University.
MARK L. SUNDBERG (Sundberg and Associates)



Back to Top
Modifed by Eddie Soh