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Elementary Verbal Operants
and the components of fluent speaking

Behavioral teaching programs for autism spectrum disorder often start with teaching verbal behavior. Verbal beahvior includes the ability to communication and use language. Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is used to teach students how to connect objects, needs, and feelings, to a word. Children learn how to ask for what they desire. However, verbal behavior therapy does not exclusively focus on teaching words to label objects. It teaches why we use certain words and how to communicate ideas + opinions. 

Verbal Behavior has 5 components. These are called "verbal operants".

They are not defined by how they appear (nouns, verbs, etc.) but rather by how they function (what need they serve). We think about human language, including non-spoken communication and thoughts, in functional terms.


Listener Skills
learning to listen

Listener responding teaches how to follow directions. For example "stand up", "find momma", "come to the table", or "pick up your book". Additionally, the ability to distinguish between different instructions is also taught. This means a child begins to tell the difference between "get your toy" + "read your book". Discrimination skills are strengthened throughout the entire learning process. 

Acquisition of listener responding starts in infancy. This occurs as the child learns to follow simple directions such as “look” or “come here”

As students progress, multiple-word instructions such as “sit down” or “wash the dish” are acquired. The ability to discriminate between items, people, and actions is essential for all childrens' development. 

The Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) works with both your child, AND you. Learning is focused on helping your child respond and discriminate between people, objects and actions. Often learning begins with an action that consists of only one word such as "truck". Then, your kiddo must select the truck from a group of many items. When your child learns to identify the object that is a truck, more items are added.


This discrimination training allows for more complex instructions to be followed such as: "Pick the car" or "Clean up the ice-cream".



Imitation Skills
imitating others to learn new skills

When teaching imitation skills, the child responds to the teacher's prompt: “Do this”. The teacher then helps the student imitate their actions. The child is rewarded for a correct attempt. "Reinforcers" are used to encourage the imitative behavior. Reinforcers can include access to a preferred toy or a favorite snack. When a child masters imitating, they are able to imitate everyone around them. This allows them to pi 


one-on-one with a board certified behavior analyst 

Sessions are however many hours per week the family desires. Sessions are one-on-one with a board certified behavior analyst. Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is used throughout the entirety of the session. ABA is a type of scientific teaching that helps children learn essential skills. Skills taught include everything from making friends, to potty training, speaking, fine motor skills, exc. ABA is fun and dynamic, using the natural enviornment, outdoors, art + experiences to teach. Within ABA is a type of teaching called: "Naturalistic Teaching" which means the child leads the session. The Board Certified Behavior Analyst takes advantage during this time of all learning opportunities.


Social Skills
how to have successful friendships

Social skills are essential to establishing an individual's ability to have positive interactions with other people. These skills are CRUCIAL to sustaining friendships. And friendships are essential for human health. Social interactions can be challenging for those on the spectrum. When social interactions do not run smoothly, students are taught to apply specific strategies to respond appropriately to the situation. A large part of this teaching involves conflict resolution. When difficulties within interactions appear, it is  important the student learns empathy. Empathy is defined as the ability to place yourself in another's position, and through that, recognize their feelings and perspective. The goal is for students to respond in an appropriate manor socially when faced with a multitude of situations. 

Smiling Kid
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