This is Lesson 7 in the free online training series here on the Reflections on Applied Behavior Analysis blog known as ‘Effective Parenting Tips for Raising a Child with ASD.’
The articles found within this online training for parents of children with autism spectrum disorder provide evidence based interventions and recommendations to help parents help their child learn new skills and manage problematic behaviors.
Previous lessons of the online training series for parents of children with ASD include:
- Improving Your Child’s Behaviors through Data Collection (Lesson 1)
- Strategies to Help Track and Improve Your Child’s Learning (Lesson 2)
- Effective Parenting is Based on Effective Scientific Concepts (Lesson 3)
- Using Experimental Design in Parenting (Lesson 4)
- Unwanted Effects of Certain Parenting Strategies (Lesson 5)
- Effective Parenting Strategies to Improve Your Child’s Behaviors and Skills (Lesson 6)
In this training module, we’ll discuss one important area of development that can be used to guide you as you help your child learn and develop.
Verbal operants are basically different skill categories of language. When helping a child to learn to communicate and interact with other people more effectively, it can be helpful to consider that child’s skills in different verbal operants.
The main verbal operants include:
- Listener Responding
- Motor Imitation
Defining the Verbal Operants
Manding is when a child requests or asks for something they want.
Tacting is when a child labels something or calls it by its correct name.
Echoics are when a child repeats something they hear.
Intraverbals are when a child responds to something said by another person.
Listener responding involves how a child responds to what is said to them or how well they understand what is being communicated by someone else.
Motor imitation is when a child copies what someone else does physically.
Tips for Parents on Using the Verbal Operants to Help Their Child with ASD
Parents can use the idea of verbal operants when helping their child with autism spectrum disorder by considering how their child functions in each operant.
As a parent, ask yourself how well your child does the following:
- MANDING: Does your child ask for things he or she wants appropriately?
- For example, does he ask for a drink or a snack?
- TACTING: Does your child label things around him?
- For example, does he spontaneously say the right word for something like “blankie” or “car.”
- ECHOICS: Does your child copy things he hears?
- For example, if you say “say cracker,” can your child copy you and say “cracker” in response?
- INTRAVERBALS: Does your child have a conversation with you?
- For example, if you say “How was your day?”, does your child respond with an appropriate answer?
- LISTENER RESPONDING: Does your child respond correctly when you give an instruction?
- For example, if you say get your shoes, does your child go get his shoes.
- MOTOR IMITATION: Does your child copy your physical movements?
- For example, if you clap your hands or wave, can your child make that same motion?
Considering your child’s abilities and needs in the various verbal operants can help you to support your child’s development because it can help you identify what areas of language development your child is more or less developed in. Then, you can create goals for your child so you know what to focus on when teaching your child new things.
To learn about other effective parenting strategies to help your child with autism learn, check out our other online training modules found within the ‘Effective Parenting Tips for Raising a Child with ASD: Free E-Learning Series.’