Verbal Behavior is a method of teaching that focuses on the functional use of language rather than just teaching language itself. For example, many children may be taught the words for "water" or "phone", but if they don't know the function of those items, then the words are not very useful to them.
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Image Source: Elite Spectrum ABA
VB has benefits that go far beyond the therapy room. In the long run it helps children develop the competencies they need to communicate well in all phases of their lives.
We want our clients to be able to communicate their wants and needs, engage in conversations with others, and understand the communication that is all around them. Thus, we work with each child to figure out how they can use language functionally in their everyday lives.
Using Real Life Interests and Elements to Make ABA Fun and Effective
We individualize each child's program to meet their specific needs and target their unique strengths and weaknesses. Taking inspiration from our client's interests is a great way to individualize therapy and make it more engaging. If a client is the biggest Spiderman fan and knows the difference between Spiderman when he’s in the supped-up Tony Stark suit or when he’s in the black and goal suit or whichever suit he’s blazing around New York in or some alternate dimension in. We will take an interest such as this and incorporate it into therapy. For instance, we could teach the names of colors using the different Spiderman suits. This will help make the sessions livelier and ensure there is a natural flow!
This is just one example of how a therapist can use a client's passion to create a more meaningful and impactful therapy session.
How Parents Can Help at Home
Many shy away from Verbal Behavior because it requires a lot of work. But again, it can be fun and rewarding! Imagine you’re at home with your kiddo and wondering “It has to something we can do at home to help”. You are correct. Try this.
Labeling Household Items
Take some labels and markers and label items in the home that your child is using. You can label dishes in the kitchen, toys in the living room, the toilet, sink, and so much more. By labeling items that your child is using, you can help them learn new words and understand how to use them.
Engaging in Conservation with Your Child
Talking to your child as much as possible is another great way to tie in some Verbal Behavior tactics into your daily home life. Describe items using prepositions and adjectives. This will help your child to understand how items are used and what they do. You may be surprised at how much your child understands just by talking to them.
Embed New Words Into Play
Embed new words into play. This is a great way for your child to learn new words while having fun. Give your child words to use in different situations. Explain how you use items and what they do. This will help your child to understand how items are used and what they do in different contexts. If you are playing with a toy car, you can use words like “steering wheel,” “pedal,” “gas,” and “trunk.”
The possibilities are endless! Get creative and have fun with it. Your child will love learning new words in a fun and interactive way.
We know that VB works because we see the progress our clients make each and every day. VB helps our clients overcome communication barriers and develop the skills they need to be successful.