Verbal Operants

What are verbal operants?

Verbal operants are kinds of verbal behaviors people demonstrate. These verbal behaviors in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) help promote language development. They aim to help children develop communication and language skills by understanding ways words are used and the importance of communication. Here are the six verbal operants/behaviors that help with language development:

  1. Mand is a kind of verbal operant known for the person to request, ask, or demand for something through expressive language. Unlike the other verbal operant behaviors, there is a motivation operation. Here is an example of mand applied in a home setting: Child is hungry and wants to eat pizza (antecedent), Child says, “pizza” (behavior), and mom gives the child a slice of pizza. (consequence)
  2. Tact is a verbal operant known as labeling or naming. It involves the five senses, so the person expresses the object, property, or feeling based on their five senses. Here is an example of tact applied in in a home setting: Child sees a dog in the backyard (antecedent), child says “dog” (behavior), and parent says, “I see a dog in the backyard too.” (consequence).
  3. Echoic is a verbal operant involving repetition of someone else’s words; The person repeats spoken word(s) from another person. Here is an example of echoic applied in a home setting: Child hears a parent say “pie” (antecedent), child says “pie” (behavior), and parent says, “You said pie. Good job!” (consequence).
  4. Textual is a verbal operant involving the person reading written words. Here is an example of textual applied in a therapy session: Therapist presents the written word, “shoe” (antecedent), child says, “shoe” (behavior), and therapist says, “That is the word shoe. Great job!” (consequence).
  5. Transcription is a verbal operant involving dictation. The client writes and spells the spoken word. Here is an example of transcription applied in a classroom setting: Teacher says, “Spell the word – cookie” (antecedent), child writes: c-o-o-k-i-e (behavior), and teacher says, “You spelled the word cookie correctly. Great job!” (consequence).
  6. Interverbal is a verbal operant used in typical conversations. It involves asking questions and having conversations with the person. Here is an example of intraverbal applied in a classroom setting: Teacher asks, “what shape is round?” (antecedent), child says, “circle” (behavior), and teacher says, “Yes, a circle is round. Good job!” (consequence).

Would you apply any of these verbal operants/behaviors to help someone on the autism spectrum develop language and communication skills? Which ones? Why or why not? Share your thoughts in the comments section!

Published by The World of Autism

My name is Michelle. Follow my journey on life with Autism.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: