Verbal Behavior Therapy Method for Children with Autism


Verbal Behavior Therapy Method for Children with Autism

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Verbal Behavior Therapy (VB) is a method that teaches communication using the principles of behavior modification and the theories of behaviorist B.F. Skinner.  VB focuses on helping children understand the benefits of using language.  At its core VB teaches children to make simple requests through language, picture exchange and pointing to a desired object.  As reinforcement the child is given the item they requested immediately after the desired behavior is achieved.  VB emphasizes the relationship building part of communication, rather than the rote, repetitive table style learning of ABA.  A VB program can involve a minimum of 1 to 3 hours of therapy per week.  Instructors can train parents and other caregivers to use verbal-behavior principles throughout the child’s life.

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Related Sites

Carbone Clinic
Description:  This site is the clinic of Dr. Vince Carbone who has been providing services of Verbal Language since the 1990s.

Let’s Talk Speech and Language Services
Description:  This website is an excellent resource for further information on VB and ABA therapies allowing you to ask questions and compare the therapies.

What is Verbal Behavior?
Description:  This website provides extensive information and resources for individuals looking for VB support.

Verbal Behavior/Applied Verbal Behavior
Description:  The Association for Science in Autism Treatment is a comprehensive website focusing on various treatments for children with autism, including this article on ABA/VB.

Play Connections Autism Intervention Center
Description:  The Autism Intervention Center provides detailed information on Verbal Behavior.


The Verbal Behavior Approach: How to Teach Children With Autism and Related Disorders by Mary Barbera and Tracy Rasmussen
Description:  Written by a behavior specialist and mother, this book contains many real-life experiences for using verbal behavior teaching. In addition to improving language skills, sign language techniques are also addressed.

Jumpstarting Communication Skills in Children with Autism: A Parents’ Guide to Applied Verbal Behavior by Mary Jane Weiss and Valbona Demiri
Description:  This guide was created specifically for parents of children with autism. Given ideas with picture symbols, modeling through videos, written scripts, and special social stories, parents can augment the communication skills taught at school.

Teaching Language to Children with Autism or Other Developmental Disabilities by Mark L. Sundberg
Description:  Giving parents and teachers a quick means of assessing language skills with the BLAF (specialized form), this easy to read book focuses on Skinner’s language methodology through everyday common childhood examples.


Characteristics of a Behavioral Language Program by Dr. Vincent Carbone
Description:  Dr. Carbone explains how Verbal Behavior is a special teaching method which gives language and basic skills as well as reduces behavioral problems in children with autism and related disorders.

Parent Education Videos
Description:  Videos demonstrating methods for VB teaching

Barbera Behavior Consulting
Description:  The author of The Verbal Behavior Approach offers different videos of VB in progress and articles with more information.

Different Roads: Tools for Kids on the Spectrum
Description:  This is the Assessment of Basic Language and Learning Skills — Revised (ABLLS-R), an assessment kit for Verbal Behavior teaching. This site also offers many other tools for teaching children with autism.

ABA Educational Resources, Ltd.
Description:  Verbal Behavior Flash Cards for starting conversations, asking questions, and Learning to Talk cards for purchase are provided at this web site.

Parent Forums/Blogs

Some forums require you to sign in to Yahoo or Facebook to locate forum names.

Forum/Blog Name:  ABA & Teaching Verbal Behavior
Description:  This high volume moderated forum is used for teaching verbal behavior (VB) within a program of applied behavior analysis (ABA). Discussions include difficulties in the development of communication seen in most individuals with autism and other related disabilities, with an emphasis on functional language and motivational variables using ABA techniques.

Forum/Blog Name:  Verbal Behavior Center for Autism
Description:  A non-profit group that is partnering with parents of children with autism to provide ABA/VB services.

Forum/Blog Name:  Autism: AVB: ABA: Verbal Behavior
Description:  One of the most complex tasks both parents and professionals face is developing and implementing an effective language intervention for children with autism. Parents and professionals are finding that BOTH Discrete Trial Training (DTT) and Natural Environment Training (NET), together with the help of Skinner’s (1957) Functional Analysis of Verbal Behavior to be very effective for children with autism.