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What is AVB (Applied Verbal Behavior)?

Applied verbal behavior (AVB) is a specialty within the field of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). AVB is based upon B.F. Skinner's analysis of verbal behavior which looks at the functions of different verbal operants (units of language).

AVB addresses difficulties in the development of communication seen in most autistic cases by emphasizing functional language and tying it to motivational variables. The behavioral analysis of language separates the components of language into various verbal operants. These operants enable us to target specific language deficits and ensure that the autistic individual is utilizing language in its functional context rather than merely stimming on words as many autistic individuals enjoy doing as it is a symptom of the problem. This format utilizes successful teaching strategies in order to maintain a high level of positive reinforcement - that leads to an individual who is motivated to respond to instruction. The teaching involves creativity and flexibility in order to move with the individual's motivational variables. Instructors need to be skilled in order to accommodate this flexibility while continuing to target the necessary skills that are the focus of the specific curriculum. AVB stresses that the learning process needs to be fun and motivating to all involved.

AVB has demonstrated dramatic outcomes for many autistic individuals and has recently been popularized through the successes of certain professionals notably Drs. Sundberg, Partington, Carbone, McGreevy, Michael, et al.

Most of this information is derived from my own knowledge of the subject as well as my traning manual copyright 2003 Jacobsen/Matchneva ABA Consulting.

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