The “Verbal Behaviour” Approach

Many people believe that there are many different ‘types’ of ABA. Terms such as Verbal Behaviour (VB/AVB), Discrete Trial Training (DTT), Natural Environment Training (NET), Precision Teaching, and “Lovaas Programmes”,  are just some of the names which are often misunderstood to be different ‘versions’ of the science. The fact is that any programme which uses the principles of ABA, regardless of where and what you teach, is an “ABA” programme. These terms simply describe some of the different approaches that some programmes take in terms of the environment in which skills are taught (in the ‘natural environment’ or based at a table), the structure of the teaching session, the types of prompting procedures used, and the types of skills which a child learns (academic, social, communication, play, self-help, etc.).  

VB (“Verbal Behaviour”) is a recent innovation in the teaching of children with Autism. It couples  Applied Behaviour Analysis  (as used with individuals with autism and developmental delays) with an approach to teaching language and other skills that was developed as a result of B.F.Skinner’s work, “Verbal Behaviour”.  Nowadays, VB is used to guide an approach to skill development, which emphasizes the fundamental role that functional communication skills play in a child’s daily life. 

Skills are taught in two settings; in a “Discrete Trial” setting, where intensive, fast-paced teaching trials are used with the learner, and in the “Natural Environment” setting, so that the skills taught can be practiced in the environment in which they are to be used. Any well structured teaching session ensures that less-preferred, more difficult tasks are interspersed with easier and more enjoyable tasks, resulting in a learning experience which is motivating and, above all, fun. 

ABA/VB also emphasizes the role that family members play in teaching and maintaining their child’s skills outside of any designated teaching sessions. For the more advanced learners, who have achieved some degree of integration into mainstream school, class teachers and Special Needs Assistants are given training in the principles of ABA and VB. Everyone responsible for the child’s development is actively involved in their ongoing progress. 

Using the latest research into teaching techniques and functional skill development, CEIEC delivers VB programmes to suit any individual’s chronological age and individual ability. Since each learner’s ability to learn is individual, we work toward maximizing each child’s learning potential and improving the quality of life of their family as a whole.