This training will introduce attendees to B.F. Skinner's analysis of language (Verbal Behavior) and its acquisition, independent of modality. This presentation will highlight key functional language units as well as describe complex cases seen in many language lessons. Issues related to emotions and other hard-to-learn language concepts for children with autism will also be addressed.

Participants will learn about B.F. Skinner's book Verbal Behavior (VB) and how it can help improve their communication training programs for individuals with various learning and developmental disabilities. Participants will learn how to identify and teach VB in classrooms, home programs and the community. Skinner was explicit that this type of analysis is helpful regardless of the modality of communication selected- speech, sign, pictures (including the Picture Exchange Communication System- PECS), reading/writing, or other augmentative systems. The workshop describes his core language functions, each defined in terms of its functional relevance. In addition, this workshop uniquely addresses how to identify complex verbal operants, demonstrating how seemingly subtle changes in our teaching strategy may result in significant differences regarding what students learn. Participants will learn how an understanding of how to identify these complex verbal functions can lead to improvements in teaching strategies no matter which modality is selected. The protocol for PECS (Frost and Bondy, 2002) is used as an example of a training sequence that can be analyzed using VB. The workshop reviews issues related to the difficulty of teaching communicating about emotions and feelings, and describes some of the central issues related to autism.

What you will learn

  • How to define Skinner’s basic verbal operants
  • How to define complex verbal operants
  • How an understanding of autoclitics can help our understanding about autism
  • How to use Verbal Behavior to analyze language training protocols, including PECS

Workshop Details

Agenda: 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM

Registration Time:


Tuition Includes: Detailed Handouts with space for note taking, Certificate of Attendance, Continental Breakfast, ASHA and/or BACB CEUs available

This course is offered for 0.60 ASHA CEUs (Introductory Level, Basic Communications Processes Area)

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