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Verbal behavior (VB) intervention, also known as or verbal behavior therapy applied verbal behavior, is a type of therapy that focuses on motivating children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) to communicate. Verbal behavior intervention is associated with applied behavioral analysis.

What does it involve?
VB intervention may be utilized by child psychologists, special education teachers, behavior analysts, or various types of therapy providers. Ask your child’s therapy provider whether they are trained in the use of VB. Typically, verbal behavior therapy programs involve one to three hours per week.

Verbal behavior therapy teaches children with ASD that any purposeful communication can bring positive results. The therapist uses prompts to motivate the child to communicate. In the first stages, the therapist may focus on training the child to point to what they want. Ultimately, the child will learn to speak and ask for what they want. Verbal behavior therapy uses “errorless learning,” wherein the therapist prompts the child immediately and frequently.

VB focuses on teaching children why we use language. The verbal behavior therapist will train the child to use words not only as labels (known as ‘tacts’), but as ‘mands’ (requests), ‘echoes’ (imitations), and ‘intraverbals’ (conversational responses).

Intended Outcomes
The goal of verbal behavior therapy is to increase purposeful communication in autistic children and allow them to function more effectively in daily life.

Many small studies have confirmed the effectiveness of or verbal behavior therapy. However, a 2006 review of existing research found that more studies are needed. Researchers concluded that additional trials are necessary in order to confirm the effectiveness of or verbal behavior therapy and to identify the children most receptive to the approach.

Not all insurance programs pay for VB therapy. If you pay privately for therapy, it can become expensive.

Depending on where you live, it may be difficult to travel to therapy appointments.

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