MARK L. SUNDBERG, Ph.D., BCBA
MarkSundberg.com

  VB-MAPP
 

 

 

 

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The Verbal Behavior Milestones Assessment and Placement Program: The VB-MAPP is a criterion-referenced assessment tool, curriculum guide, and skill tracking system that is designed for children with autism, and other individuals who demonstrate language delays. The VB-MAPP is based on B.F. Skinner’s (1957) analysis of verbal behavior, established developmental milestones, and research from the field of behavior analysis.
 
There are five components of the VB-MAPP, and collectively they provide a baseline level of performance, a direction for intervention, a system for tracking skill acquisition, a tool for outcome measures and other language research projects, and a framework for curriculum planning. Each of the skills in the VB-MAPP is not only measurable and developmentally balanced, but they are balanced across the verbal operants and other related skills. For example, many aspects of an intraverbal repertoire are based on an existing tact and listener repertoire. The VB-MAPP balances the curriculum in an attempt to avoid the common trap of developing rote responding due to deficiencies in the related verbal repertoires.
 

  • The first component is theVB-MAPP Milestones Assessment, which is designed to provide a representative sample of a child’s existing verbal and related skills. The assessment contains 170 measurable learning and language milestones that are sequenced and balanced across 3 developmental levels (0-18 months, 18-30 months, and 30-48 months). The skills assessed include mand, tact, echoic, intraverbal, listener, motor imitation, independent play, social and social play, visual perceptual and matching-to-sample, linguistic structure, group and classroom skills, and early academics. Included in the Milestones Assessment is the Early Echoic Skills Assessment (EESA) subtest developed by Barbara E. Esch, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, BCBA. 

  • The second component is the VB-MAPP Barriers Assessment, which provides an assessment of 24 common learning and language acquisition barriers faced by children with autism or other developmental disabilities. The barriers include behavior problems, instructional control, defective mands, defective tacts, defective echoic, defective imitation, defective visual perception and matching-to-sample, defective listener skills, defective intraverbal, defective social skills, prompt dependency, scrolling, defective scanning, defective conditional discriminations, failure to generalize, weak motivators, response requirement weakens the motivators, reinforcer dependency, self-stimulation, defective articulation, obsessive-compulsive behavior, hyperactive behavior, failure to make eye contact, and sensory defensiveness. By identifying these barriers, the clinician can develop specific intervention strategies to help overcome these problems, which can lead to more effective learning. 

  • The third component is the VB-MAPP Transition Assessment, which contains 18 assessment areas and can help to identify whether a child is making meaningful progress and has acquired the skills necessary for learning in a less restrictive educational environment. This assessment tool can provide a measurable way for a child’s IEP team to make decisions and set priorities in order to meet the child’s educational needs. The assessment is comprised of several summary measures from other parts of the VB-MAPP, as well as a variety of other skills that can affect transition. The assessment includes measures of the overall score on the VB-MAPP Milestones Assessment, the overall score on the VB-MAPP Barriers Assessment, negative behaviors, classroom routines and group skills, social skills, academic independence, generalization, variation of reinforcers, rate of skill acquisition, retention, natural environment learning, transfer skills, adaptability to change, spontaneity, independent play, general self-help, toileting skills, and eating skills. 

  • The fourth component is the VB-MAPP Task Analysis and Skills Tracking, which provides a further breakdown of the skills, and serves as a more complete and ongoing learning and language skills curriculum guide. There are approximately 900 skills presented covering the 16 areas of the VB-MAPP. Once the Milestones have been assessed and the general skill level has been established, the task analysis can provide further information about a particular child. The skills identified on the task analysis contain a wide range of supporting components of the target area. These skills may not be significant enough to identify as Milestones or IEP goals, but each of them play an important role in moving a child’s repertoire closer to that of a typically developing child. They also provide parents and teachers with a variety of activities that can facilitate generalization, maintenance, spontaneity, retention, expansion, and the functional use of skills in a variety of educational and social contexts. 

  • The task analysis of the learning and language skills contained in the VB-MAPP presents a new sequence of the verbal behavior curriculum that is developmentally balanced. Collectively, these four components of the VB-MAPP represent over 30 years of research, clinical work, field-testing, and revisions (Partington & Sundberg, 1998; Sundberg, 1980, 1983, 1987, 1990; Sundberg & Michael, 2001; Sundberg & Partington, 1998; Sundberg, Ray, Braam, Stafford, Rueber, & Braam, 1979).  

  • The fifth and final component is the VB-MAPP Placement and IEP Goals, which correspond with the four assessments above. The placement guide provides specific direction for each of the 170 milestones in the Milestones Assessment as well as suggestions for IEP goals. The placement recommendations can help the program designer balance out an intervention program, and ensure that all the relevant parts of the necessary intervention are included. 
 


The overall results of the VB-MAPP will provide valuable information that will serve as a guide for the development of an effective individualized language, social skills and learning curriculum. The VB-MAPP is now available through www.avbpress.com
 
 
The History and Field Testing of the VB-MAPP
 
The application of Skinner’s (1957) analysis of verbal behavior to language assessment contained in this book represents the efforts of many people over the past 50 years. Dr. Jack Michael has led the way as the consummate teacher of Skinner’s analysis of verbal behavior, and as the visionary for its many applications.
 
Dr. Joseph Spradlin was the first to apply Skinner’s analysis of verbal behavior to language assessment for the developmentally disabled. He created the Parsons Language Sample (Spradlin, 1963) and inspired many to join him in his use of Skinner’s analysis as the conceptual foundation of language assessment and intervention. This assessment is firmly rooted in Dr. Spradlin’s pioneering work.
 
My first versions of a verbal behavior assessment program were developed at The Kalamazoo Valley Multihandicap Center (KVMC) during the 1970’s while I was one of Jack Michael’s graduate students at Western Michigan University. An early version of the verbal behavior assessment and intervention program was developed at KVMC along with David A. Ray, Dr. Steven J. Braam, Mark W. Stafford, Thomas M. Rueber, and Dr. Cassandra Braam. Dr. Jerry Shook was the director of KVMC at the time and with his help and support, along with the conceptual and research support from Dr. Jack Michael, many of the applications of verbal behavior, which we now know today, were developed there. The assessment and application of verbal behavior continued to be researched and refined, and in the 1980’s Dr. A. Charles Catania, Dr. Ernest Vargas, Dr. Johnny Matson and Dr. Steve Bruening edited and helped me publish my next version of the verbal behavior assessment program. In the 1990’s Dr. James W. Partington, along with the staff from the STARS School in Danville, CA contributed to the 1998 version of the verbal behavior assessment program titled the “Assessment of Basic Language and Learning Skills: The ABLLS.”

This current verbal behavior assessment program has benefited greatly from recent input and field-testing by behavior analysts, speech pathologists, occupational therapists, special education teachers, psychologists, and parents of children with autism. Many have given me feedback on early drafts of the VB-MAPP and I am grateful for their suggestions in the on-going development of this assessment. I’d especially like to acknowledge those who have worked with me in classrooms for children with autism in the last few years; Dr. Mary Ann Powers, Rikki Roden, Kaisa Weathers, Shannon Rosenhan, and Shannon Montano.
 
The VB-MAPP has benefited from field-testing and valuable feedback from several groups around the United States and Canada including Dr. Carl Sundberg and his team at the Verbal Behavior Center for Autism in Indianapolis, IN, Michael Miklos and Dr. William Galbraith and their team at the Pennsylvania Training and Technical Assistance Network: PaTTAN, Dr. Barbara Esch, CCC-SLP from Western Michigan University, Dr. Anne Cummings and Rebecca Godfrey from the Central-East Autism Program in Markham, Ontario, and Brenda Terzich from Applied Behavior Consultants based in Sacramento, CA. Lisa Hale and Cindy Sundberg have provided extensive field-testing with diverse groups of children. These data have been especially helpful in identifying many strengths and weaknesses across the verbal operants, especially the complex intraverbal repertoire. The data and feedback have provided us with a newer perspective on many training issues including the importance of play, pairing, generalization, social skills, and spontaneity at all levels, and the importance of teaching language in the natural environment.
 
The VB-MAPP represents a new generation of verbal behavior assessment in an on-going effort to improve the lives of individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities.

 
Validity, Reliability, and the use of the VB-MAPP in Research
 
There are two important studies that compare commonly used assessments for children with autism including the VB-MAPP. A study by Esch, LaLonde, & Esch, J. W. (2010) reviewed 28 commonly used assessments for the treatment of autism and concluded, “Most speech-language assessments in widespread use today evaluate response topographies (forms of responses) alone, without regard for a functional analysis of the causal variables” (p. 166). For example, 26 of the 28 assessment programs reviewed failed to provide a measure of a student’s ability to mand (request). These authors point out that the VB-MAPP contains a functional analysis of language, and includes a mand assessment component.
 
A similar study by Gould, Dixon, Najdowski, Smith, & Tarbox (2011) reviews and evaluates 30 assessments in terms of their utility for designing comprehensive early intensive behavioral intervention (EIBI) curriculum programs for children with ASD. These authors reviewed the 30 assessments (including the ABLLS-R, Bayley, Brigance, Vineland II and the VB-MAPP) in the following categories: comprehension, targets child development, considers behavior function not just topography, link from the assessment to curricula targets, and useful for tracking child progress over time. The authors concluded: “After reviewing the assessments described above, only four meet our original five criteria most closely: the VB-MAPP, Brigance IED-II, VABS-II, and CIBS-R.” 

 
Esch, B. E., LaLonde, K. B., & Esch, J. W. (2010). Speech and language assessment: A verbal behavior analysis. The Journal of Speech-Language Pathology and Applied Behavior Analysis, 5, 166-191.
 
Gould, E., Dixon, D. R., Najdowski, A. C., Smith, M. N., & Tarbox, J (2011). A review of assessments for determining the content of early intensive behavioral intervention programs for autism spectrum disorders. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders.
 
Measures of reliability on administering the VB-MAPP can be found in the paper by Barnes, Mellor, & Rehfeldt (2014) titled “Implementing the Verbal Behavior Milestones Assessment and Placement Program (VB-MAPP): Teaching Assessment Techniques.” These authors examined the administration of the VB-MAPP by two school psychologists under two conditions. In the first condition the psychologists, who had no history of administering the VB-MAPP, read the administration manual then administered the assessment. The second condition was conducted following additional training using a VB-MAPP behavior skills training (BST) package consisting of 5 components: instructions, modeling, rehearsal, feedback, and remedial teaching. Administration performance was measured on a 35-item checklist based on the information in the VB-MAPP administration guidelines. The results showed just reading the manual alone resulted in an average administration score of 57% on the checklist, with an interobserver agreement (IOR) score of 83%. Reading the manual and obtaining specific training with a BST package produced an average administration score of 92%, with an IOR score of 86%. Thus, VB-MAPP administration performance is clearly enhanced through additional hands-on training involving instructions, modeling, rehearsal, feedback, and remedial teaching. The reliability measures on test administration were consistent across the two different levels of staff skills.
 
Barnes, C. S., Mellor, J. R., & Rehfeldt, R. A. (2014). Implementing the Verbal Behavior Milestones Assessment and Placement Program (VB-MAPP): Teaching assessment techniques. The Analysis of Verbal Behavior, 30, 36-47.
 
Two types of validity measures on the VB-MAPP have been published in the literature. External validity between the VB-MAPP and the assessment program Promoting the Emergence of Advanced Knowledge Relational Training System (PEAK) was examined by Dixon, Belisle, Stanley, Rowsey, Daar, & Szekely (2015). These authors found that “The results of a Pearson correlation suggest that there is a strong relationship between the two assessments (r=0.8266, p<0.0001), and that total scores on the VB-MAPP are a strong predictor of total scores on the PEAK-combined (R2=0.6833)” (p. 228). Dixon, Carmen, Tyles, Whiting, Enoch, & Daar, (2014) also demonstrated acceptable external validity measures between the PEAK and the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test, providing additional indirect validity support for the VB-MAPP.
 
Construct validity and reliability for the intraverbal section of the VB-MAPP was demonstrated in a study by Sundberg and Sundberg (2011). In this study 39 typically developing children between the ages of 23 and 61 months old were assessed on an 80 item intraverbal subtest, and their results were compared to those of 71 children with autism on the same subtest. Reliability measures on the scoring of the intraverbal responses across both groups averaged 93%. The results demonstrated that the performances of typically developing children reflected the gradual increase in the difficulty of the intraverbal items, and their chronological age. The scores of children with autism followed a similar pattern, but age was not the best predictor of performance, rather, the presence of pre-requisite verbal skills was a better indicator of intraverbal performance. The authors concluded “The current data suggest that the intraverbal repertoires of typically developing children can provide a guide for intraverbal assessment and intervention for individuals with language delays” (p. 37). The results of this study were used as a basis for sequencing the skills in the intraverbal domain of the VB-MAPP. A replication and extension of this study has recently been published by Kisamore, Karsten and Mann (2016).
 
Dixon, M. R., Belisle, J., Stanley, C., Rowsey, K., Daar, J. H., & Szekely, S (2015). Toward a behavior analysis of complex language for children with autism: Evaluating the relationship between PEAK and the VB-MAPP. Journal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities. 27, 223-233.
 
Dixon, M. R., Carmen, J., Tyles, P. A., Whiting, S. W., Enoch, M., & Daar, J. H. (2014). PEAK relational training system for children with autism and developmental disabilities: Correlation with Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test and assessment reliability. Journal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities, 26, 603-614.
 
Kisamore, A. N., Karsten, A. M., & Mann, C.C., (2016). Teaching multiply controlled interaverbals to children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 49, 1-22.
 
Sundberg, M. L., & Sundberg, C. A. (2011). Intraverbal behavior and verbal conditional discriminations in typically developing children and children with autism. The Analysis of Verbal Behavior, 27, 23–43.
 
The VB-MAPP been used in research
 as a tool to measure the participants skills in several published studies including the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis (JABA), The Analysis of Verbal Behavior Journal (TAVB), Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, Behavior Analysis in Practice, and the Journal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities. Below are some of the research studies that have used the VB-MAPP for quantifying the verbal skills of their participants. Note the use of the VB-MAPP as a pre- and post-measure of the effects of an intervention program in the study by Mason & Andrews (2014), and studies concurrently using the VB-MAPP and a standardized assessment; the Vineland II in Carnett & Ingvarrson (2016), and the PPVT-4 and EOWPVT-3 in Kisamore, Karsten, and Mann. The VB-MAPP has also been used in several studies presented at conferences, and appears in various ethics scenarios in the book Ethics for Behavior Analysts by Bailey & Birch (2016).
 
Brodhead, M. T., Higbee, T. S., Gerencser, K. R., & Akers, J. S., (2016). The use of discrimination-training procedure to teach mand variability to children with autism. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 49, 34-48.
 
Byrne, B. L., Rehfeldt, R. A., Aguirre, A. A., (2014). Evaluating the effectiveness of a stimulus pairing observation procedure and multiple exemplar instruction on tact and listener responses in children with autism. The Analysis of Verbal Behavior, 30, 160-169.
 
Carnett, A., & Ingvarsson, E. T., (2016). Teaching a child with autism to mand for answers to questions using a speech-generative device. The Analysis of Verbal Behavior, 32
 
Charania, S. M., LeBlanc, L. A., Sabanathan, Narmatha, Ktaetch, I. A., Carr, J. E., & Gunby, K., (2010). Teaching effective hand raising to children with autism during group instruction. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 43, 493-497.
 
Contreras, B. P., & Betz, A. M. (2016). Using lag schedules to strengthen the intraverbal repertoires of children with autism. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 49, 3-16.
 
Dixon, M. R., Belisle, J., Stanley, C., Rowsey, K., Daar, J. H., & Szekely, S (2015). Toward a behavior analysis of complex language for children with autism: Evaluating the relationship between PEAK and the VB-MAPP. Journal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities. 27, 223-233.
 
Dixon, M. R., Belisle, J., Stanley, C. R., Daar, J. H., & Williams, L. A. (2016). Derived equivalence relations of geometry skills in students with autism: an application of the PEAK-E curriculum (2016) The Analysis of Verbal Behavior, 32, 38-45.
 
Geiger, K. B., LeBlanc, L. A., Dillon, C. M., & Bates, S. L. (2010). An evaluation of preference for video and in vivo modeling, Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 43, 279-283.
 
Gevarter, C., O’Reilly, M. F., Kuhn, M., Mills, K., Ferguson, R., Watkins L., Sigafoos, J., Lang, R., Rojeski, L., & Lancioni, G. E., (2016). Increasing the vocalization of individuals with autism during intervention with a speech-generative device. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 49, 17-33.
 
Grannan, L., & Rehfeldt, R. A. (2012). Emergent intraverbal responses via tact and match-to-sample instruction. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 45, 601-605.
 
Gunby, K. V., Carr, J. E., & LeBlanc, L. A. (2010). Teaching abduction-prevention skills to children with autism, Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 43, 107-112.
 
Humphreys, T., Polick, A. S., Howk, L. L., Thaxton, J. R, & Ivancic, A. P. (2013). An evaluation of repeating the discriminative stimulus when using least-to-most prompting to teach intraverbal behavior to children with autism. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 46, 534-538.
 
Kaitlin G., Causin, K. G., Albert, K. M., Carbone, V. J., & Sweeney-Kerwin, E. J. (2013). The role of joint control in teaching listener responding to children with autism and other developmental disabilities. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 7, 997-1011.
 
Kelley, M. E., Liddon, C. J., Ribeiro, A., Greif, A. E., & Podlesnik, C. A. (2015). Basic and translational evaluation of renewal of operant responding. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 48, 390-401.
 
Kisamore, A. N., Karsten, A. M., & Mann, C.C., (2016). Teaching multiply controlled interaverbals to children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 49, 1-22.
 
Kobari-Wright, V. V., & Miguel, C. F. (2014). The effects of listener training on the emergence of categorization and speaker behavior by children with autism. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 47, 431-436.
 
Kodak, T., Clements, A., Paden, A. R., LeBlanc, B., Mintz, J., & Toussaint, K. A. (2015). Examination between an assessment of skills and performance on auditory-visual conditional discriminations for children with autism spectrum disorders. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 48, 52-70.
 
Koehler-Platten, K., Grow, L. L., Schulze, K. A., & Bertone, T. (2013). Using a lag schedule of reinforcement to increase phonemic variability in children with autism spectrum disorders. The Analysis of Verbal Behavior, 29, 71-83.
 
Lepper, T. A., Petursdottir, A. I., & Esch, B. A. (2013). Effects of operant discrimination training on the vocalizations of nonverbal children with autism. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 46, 656–661.
 
Lorah, E., Tincani, M., Dodge, J., Gilroy, S, Hickey, A., & Hantula, D. (2013). Evaluating picture exchange and the iPad as a speech generating device to teach communication to young children with autism. Journal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities, 25, 637-649.
 
Loughrey, T. O., Betz, A. M., Majdalany, L. M., & Nicholson, K. (2014). Using instructive feedback to teach category names to children with autism. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 47, 425-430.
 
Loughrey, T. O., Contreras, B. P., Majdalany, L. M., Rudy, N., Sinn, S., Teague, P., Marshall, G., McGreevy, P., & Harvey, A. C. (2014). Caregivers as interventionists and trainers: teaching mands to children with developmental disabilities, The Analysis of Verbal Behavior, 30, 128-140.
 
Marchese, N. V., Carr, J. E., LeBlanc, L. A., Rosati, T. C., & Conroy, S. A. (2012). The effects of the question “what is this?” on tact training outcomes of children with autism. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 45 (3) 539-547.
 
Mason, L. L., & Andrews, A., (2014). Referent-based verbal behavior instruction for children with autism. Behavior Analysis in Practice, 7, 107-111.
 
Mason, L. L., Davis, D., & Andrews, A., (2015). Token reinforcement of verbal responses controlled by temporally removed verbal stimuli. The Analysis of Verbal Behavior, 31, 145-152.
 
Polick, A. S., Carr, J. E., & Hanney, N. M. A. (2012). A comparison of general and descriptive praise in teaching intraverbal behavior to children with autism. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 45, 593-605.
 
Rader, L. Sidener, T. M., Reeve, K. F., Sidener, D. W., Delmolino, L., Miliotis, A., & Carbone, V. J. (2014). Stimulus-stimulus pairing of vocalizations: A systematic replication. The Analysis of Verbal Behavior, 30, 69-74.
 
Somers, A., Sidener, T. M., DeBar, R. M., & Sidener, D. W. (2014). Establishing current mands for items and mands for information about location in children with autism. The Analysis of Verbal Behavior, 30, 29-35.
 
Vallinger-Brown, M., & Rosales, R., (2014). An investigation of stimulus pairing and listener training to establish emergent intraverbals in children with autism. The Analysis of Verbal Behavior, 30, 148-159.
 
Vandbakk, M., Arntzen, E., Gisnaas, A., Antonsen, V., & Gundhus, T., (2012). Effect of training different classes of verbal behavior to decrease aberrant verbal behavior. The Analysis of Verbal Behavior, 28, 137-144.
 
Watts, A. C., Wilder, D. A., Gregory, M. K., Leon, Y. & Ditzian, K. (2013). The effects of rules on differential reinforcement of other behavior. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 46, 680-684.
 
Wymer, C. A., Tarbox, J., Beavers, G. A., & Tullis, C. A., (2016). Teaching children with autism to follow rules specifying a behavior and consequence. The Analysis of Verbal Behavior, 32.
 
The VB-MAPP Barriers Assessment specifically assesses areas identified in the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) diagnostic criteria for Autism Spectrum Disorder. The VB-MAPP barriers include all the areas identified in the DSM-5, and then some http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/hcp-dsm.html In the VB-MAPP they are written in behaviorese, but that is so they can be assessed and addressed in a behavioral manner. You'll find that the DSM's A 1.2.3. are mostly among the first 8 VB-MAPP Barriers. The DSM's B 1.2.3.4. are mostly among the last 8 barriers.
 
The VB-MAPP can be helpful for an individual of any age whose language skills are not commensurate with the language skills of a 4-year-old typically developing child. Keep in mind that a typically developing 4-year-old has some very sophisticated language skills. The Barriers Assessment and the Transition Assessment components in the VB-MAPP may reveal problems that affect individuals of any age, such as prompt dependency, difficulty adapting to change, or when demands weaken their motivation.
 
The VB-MAPP assesses some self-care skills. However, the main focus of the VB-MAPP is on communication, social skills, barriers, and behavioral characteristics that are often demonstrated by individuals with autism. Self-care skills are an important part of the child’s growing independence and should be assessed and taught using procedures derived from applied behavior analysis (e.g., prompting, fading, breaking down tasks as needed). On the AVBPress.com website there is checklist of self-care skills which can be downloaded and printed as needed to complete the child’s program. See the Self-care checklist among the Downloads at www.AVBPress.com. 

For older children and adults who might need a program with more of a focus on functional living skills, Dr. Sundberg suggests Essential for Living by Dr. Pat McGreevy, Troy Fry, and Colleen Cornwall.
 
Some children with ASD may excel in the academic skills listed in the VB-MAPP, and be “off the grid” in the reading, writing, and math. However, they may still be at lower levels in other areas such as social, play, and the verbal operants (mand, tact, listener, intraverbal). They also may continue to present barriers that require intervention and on-going monitoring. This is not atypical for children with ASD. To support their academic strengths while continuing to build the other areas, we suggest the books ABA Curriculum for the Common Core – Kindergarten, and ABA for the Common Core – First Grade, by Sam Blanco. We also suggest the tried and true Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons by Siegfried Englemann, Phyllis Haddox, and Elaine Bruner.
 
A verbal behavior approach to language assessment and intervention shares many common aspects with other ABA approaches. Both are based on the procedures, teaching techniques, and accumulated evidence-based data derived from the field of Applied Behavior Analysis. The approaches differ in terms of the analysis of language that provides the foundation for the assessment program and intervention curriculum used in each approach. The foundation for the verbal behavior approach is based on Skinner’s (1957) analysis of language where he provides an alternative to the traditional cognitive view of language characterized by the expressive-receptive framework common to most ABA programs. For more information on the value of Skinner’s analysis of verbal behavior for children with autism, and some distinctions between the two general approaches the reader is referred to Petursdottir and Carr, (2011), and Sundberg and Michael (2001).


 
Petursdottir, A.I., Carr, J.E. A review of recommendations for sequencing receptive and expressive language instruction, Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 44, 859-876 2011.
 
Skinner, B. F. (1957). Verbal behavior. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts.
 
Sundberg, M. L., & Michael, J. (2001). The value of Skinner’s analysis of verbal behavior for teaching children with autism. Behavior Modification, 25, 698-724.
 
The VB-MAPP is designed to be used by behavior analysts who have a basic understanding of Skinner’s (1957) analysis of verbal behavior and 1) can assess complicated skills such as a child’s mand repertoire, and how the mand is related to motivating operations (MOs); 2) have knowledge in behavior analysis and are aware of the subtleties of the various types of prompts, and are able to determine if a response is controlled by inadvertent prompting, which is essential in determining exactly what skills a child has truly mastered; 3) is familiar with basic linguistic structure; 4) is familiar with the linguistic development of typically developing children; 5) have a good understanding of autism and other types of developmental disabilities.
 
The VB-MAPP has been translated and published in Chinese by Bejing University Medical press, into French (app/web-based), Italian, Polish, Russian, and Spanish (app/web-based). It will be available in several other languages in 2017.

 
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