Teaching Non-Vocal Individuals with Autism to Request (Mand) Using AAC

For many non-vocal children with autism, functional communication skills can be limited, defective, or even non-existent. Some children have not yet learned that interacting and communicating with others can be fun, reinforcing, or valuable. The ability to request (mand) effectively for items, objects, and actions can lead to more meaningful social initiations and interactions, as well as a reduction in frustration and problem behavior. Utilizing an augmentative communication system can help to promote the development of functional communication as well as vocalizations for some children. The presenter will demonstrate, through use of video, how the principles of applied behavior analysis (ABA) can be applied effectively to teach a non-vocal child to request (mand) using sign language.

After completing this workshop, participants will be able to:

  • Determine if a child is a candidate for an alternative communication system.
  • List three benefits of using an alternative communication system for a non-vocal child.
  • Identify four important considerations for choosing an alternative communication system.
  • Select initial sign targets to be taught.
  • Implement the sign request procedure to teach your child to ask for things they want using sign language.
  • Pair words with the delivery of reinforcement for items and activities not being targeted.
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