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!

Task Analysis

What is task analysis?

A task analysis is an approach for teaching complex skills by breaking them down into manageable steps. Here is an example of a task analysis for the skill of putting on a t-shirt:

Skill: putting on a t-shirt
  1. Shirts in the dresser drawer → pick a shirt from the drawer
  2. Shirt in hand → Put shirt over your head
  3. Shirt over the head → Put one arm through the armhole
  4. Arm in the shirt → Put the other arm through the other armhole
  5. Both arms in the shirt → Grab the bottom of the shirt
  6. Bottom of the shirt in your hands → Pull the shirt down

A task analysis helps autistic people complete a complex skill or task through steps. In each step, it is broken down with the event or instruction first, then the person’s response as the goal. There is a different goal in each step, but follows in a systematic process to ultimately achieve reinforcement at the end, which is completing the complex skill or task.

Does it help you when tasks are broken down into steps? Think of a time you needed to break down a task into steps. Share your thoughts into the comments section.

Interview with Ron Sandison about being an author, speaker, and founder of Spectrum Inclusion

Do you know any autistic authors or read books about autism?

Today, more autistic people are becoming authors by sharing their own life journeys on the autism spectrum through published books. Many published books by autistic authors have been providing the world a better education about autism as a spectrum full of abilities and challenges. Now are you ready to learn about the next guest on “The World of Autism”? Here is my next guest of the guest interview series!

Ron Sandison, Author at Spectrum Inclusion
Ron Sandison

Ron Sandison is an autistic adult who is a speaker and an author of several published books. Ron has published three books so far, which includes personal journeys from individuals on the autism spectrum. Now he has been working on his latest and fourth book. Not only he is an author and speaker, but he is the founder of his own website, “Spectrum Inclusion”. To learn more about Ron, check out the guest interview I did with him here:

You can check out Ron’s website here: https://www.spectruminclusion.com/

24th birthday

On this special day, it is my birthday! I turn 24 years old, which is one year away from being halfway of my twenties, haha! This year, I will be graduating from college with my bachelor’s degree, and I am so beyond proud of myself! I cannot wait for what the future has in store for me! Happy birthday to me!

24 Years Old 24th Birthday Vintage Retro Gift Digital Art by Art Grabitees

Make sure to share and follow, “The World of Autism”, for more great content! Also, follow my professional accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Tik Tok known as Exceptional Shell (@selfadvocateMV).

Breaking myths about ABA

Autism & Applied Behavior Analysis: 10 ABA myths debunked - Autism: Chaos  to Calm

As you may know, I was diagnosed with autism at the age of two. I received early interventions, including ABA, until the age of 8. Now as a college student through Purdue University Global, who is pursing a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a concentration in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), I want to provide a perspective about ABA for everyone to understand. I am going to break down some myths about ABA here:

  1. Myth: ABA is a kind of therapy.
    1. Fact: ABA is more than a kind of therapy. ABA is a kind of science. ABA is known to study behavior that occurs in the environment. For instance, the smell of food is a natural behavior for people because it means they are hungry, as their natural response/reaction. On the other hand, when students have failed a test more than once in school, they demonstrate ways to avoid exams in school, such as by pretending to be sick, which is a learned behavior developed based on situations in the environment. Therefore, ABA is used in our lives everyday.
  2. Myth: ABA is an effective service for individuals with ASD.
    1. Fact: ABA is not only an effective service for individuals with ASD. ABA is effective for individuals with various disabilities, as well as aiding acquisition of skills (self care, academic, communication/language, social) for anyone. ABA teaches people new skills and behaviors to use in any setting.
  3. Myth: ABA is only applied to behavior issues or problems.
    1. Fact: ABA is used to increase peoples’ abilities. It has been used to teach various skills, from language to social and self-care. For example, I learned to communicate through picture exchange communication system (PECs), since I lacked expressive language very young. It was a way for me to communicate with people in my life. Peoples’ abilities and individual needs are considered through observations, measurements, and assessments.
  4. Myth: Anyone can do ABA.
    1. Fact: The Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) makes sure that behavior analysts, such as BCBAs and BCaBAs, are certified to train anyone in the community involved in an individual’s life to apply intervention techniques. For example, parents can receive parent training to apply intervention techniques. Plus, college courses in ABA and certification can help people gain knowledge and apply ABA techniques. It is preferred and recommended to gain proper knowledge and certification to apply ABA techniques in various settings.

Do you know any more myths about Applied behavior analysis (ABA) that should be broken down? Share your thoughts in the comment’s section.

New year, New start!

Can’t you believe it is 2022?

The picture I posted demonstrates a new chapter in life. My family and I are beginning the new year in our new home, here in Florida! We are only a couple months away from being one year since living in Florida, after growing up in New Jersey for twenty years. To start off the new year, family and I are making new memories in our new home, continuing to explore new places, and attend events in our new home town. Want to know ways to start off the new year for the family and for individuals on the autism spectrum? Here are some activities to start off the new year for everyone:

  1. Create a memory book! It’s a fun, arts and craft activity for the whole family. Everyone can put pictures into scrapbooks or photo album books, and then share memories created as a family together over the last year.
  2. Cook a special meal! Celebrate the new year by starting off making a special meal that is healthy, while everyone can enjoy together as a family. It is important to consider individual needs when cooking meals, and engage individuals on the autism spectrum to cook, so they develop on cooking skills.
  3. Watch movies together! Everyone in the family, including individuals on the autism spectrum, should pick out a movie to watch all together. This is a way great for individuals with autism to learn to take turns, while learning to watch a movie different from their own favorites at the same time.
  4. Exercise! Think of exercise as a life style. Pick an activity that everyone in the family enjoys to do, such as soccer or dancing, and complete that activity for thirty to sixty minutes a day. Complete an activity to do three to four days a week, as it will help with building strength and flexibility for the long run in life. Exercising is beneficial in overall health and development for everyone, including for individuals with ASD.
  5. Go explore somewhere new! It can be a new park, event, town in your area, and etc. The most important part with this is that the whole family is doing something new together to start of the new year. To prepare individuals with ASD to explore a new place, implement social stories, and keep supply in a bag pack of individual needs, from medications, to favorite foods and stim toys. This will help make a new adventure less stressful for the whole family.

What is one new thing you want to do in the new year? Share your thoughts in the comments section!

My reflection of 2021

How was 2021 for you?

For me, I’ve experienced so much more this year than I’ve had before. I went through a really big change with my family. My family and I moved from New Jersey after growing up there for twenty years to Florida. It was hard saying goodbye to so many memories in NJ, but it opened up a new chapter in my life, which is living in a new state. When my family and I moved to Florida back in March, we lived in an apartment, since our house was being built at the time. We lived in an apartment for more than half a year due to delays and setbacks with our new house. In the end, we love our new home!

Moved in on Friday, November 5th, 2021!

Furthermore, I gained so many professional experiences. Within the first month living in Florida, I gained work as a paraprofessional for the school district in the town I live in. It is so nice having a 15 minute commute to work! In June of this year, I gained work with an ABA company on various roles, including as their blogger! I thank my friend and colleague, Mark Fleming, for connecting with me with Full Spectrum ABA. I made so many new friends and coworkers through Full Spectrum, and I am so excited to grow with them for my future career in ABA.

October 2021

Not only this year affected me professionally, but more personally. The biggest lesson I learned is that no matter how far away I am from my cousins and best friends, I know they are always there for me. Almost all of my cousins and all of my best friends live back up in New Jersey and New York. I am so glad for video chatting and once in a while visits from people I love so much! The distance has been reminding me to be grateful for people who are still in my life today.

All in all, I cannot wait to know what 2022 has in store for me! I wish everyone a happy and healthy new year!

Holiday Tips 2021

Holiday Hours | City of Edgewood

Do you enjoy the holiday season?

The holidays can be a great time for families. Although, it can be stressful for individuals on the autism spectrum. Here are some tips to help an individual with ASD get through the holidays:

  1. When traveling for the holidays, always be prepared with favorite things. It can be favorite foods, books, toys, and etc. It helps calms stressful situations.
  2. When facing difficulty with changes in the house, gradually put up decorations in the house. Develop a visual schedule of decorations that will be added each day in the house. For example, setting up the menorah up by the window for Hanukkah on the first day of the month, or setting up the Christmas tree for Christmas first day of the month. Engage individuals with ASD in the process, so they are aware its the holiday season.
  3. Create a calm space when feeling overwhelmed with events or visitors in house. Teach an individual with ASD to go to their calm space when feeling overwhelmed, or teach signals to let them know to use the calm space when feeling overwhelmed. Calming activities, such as calming music or stimming toys, should be placed in the clam space.
  4. When purchasing gifts for the holidays, purchase gifts that will be beneficial. Individuals with ASD need things that will help them in the world. For example, purchasing as puzzle that teaches individuals with ASD to problem solve, since problem solving is an important skill to apply in the world. Gifts should be favorable while providing a purpose. Here are some more gift ideas to get for an individual with ASD:
    1. Sensory toys
    2. Books
    3. Weighted Blanket
    4. Noise cancelling headphones
    5. Legos
    6. Coloring or drawing books
  5. Above all, know the individual. Make sure to understand the tolerance level for noise and sensory. Be aware of situations an individual with ASD can handle, and things that will make the holiday season more enjoyable for them.

What other tips do you have to get through the holiday season? Share your thoughts in the comments section!

Interview with Kay King about work as a BCBA

What is a BCBA?

A BCBA is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst who works in various settings and applies principles of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). BCBAs provide services and interventions to help shape and modify an individual’s behavior. Now that we learned about a BCBA, let me tell you about this guest in the guest interview series of “The World of Autism”!

Kay King

Kay King is a BCBA in the ABA field. Also, she works in residential group homes with adult clients with disabilities. Kay and I met online through the Autism Global Project community page. Kay is the first guest on my blog who works as a BCBA for clients with autism! In this guest interview, we discuss her inspirations for working with individuals with autism and other disabilities. Plus, you will learn her role as a BCBA. Check out the interview I did with Kay here:

To learn more about Rutger’s Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center, check out their website here:

https://dddc.rutgers.edu/

Interview with Maribeth Edmunds about parenting an autistic adult, work as a principal, and Eden Autism

Are you a parent who has a child with autism and/or disabilities?

Parents learn that it takes a community to impact a child with autism and/or disabilities. Sometimes, they have days that they face a lot of challenges raising their child. Through all of the challenges, parents love their child for who they are and help them grow in life. Now let me introduce you to my guest of the guest interview series for “The World of Autism”.

Maribeth Edmunds

Maribeth Edmunds is a parent of an autistic adult, a principal of an elementary school, and works with Eden Autism to get individuals with disabilities services beyond 21 years old. She and I met through the NJ Autism Think Tank, which is a committee group hosted at Brookdale Community College in NJ, where I graduated and earned my associate’s degree. We discussed about her perspectives of parenting an autistic adult. Plus, she provided her perspectives as a principal of an elementary school in NJ. To learn more about Dr. Maribeth Edmunds, check out this interview I did with her here:

To learn more about Eden Autism, check it out their website here:

https://edenautism.org/

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