A behavior analytic approach to teaching language

Anibal Gutierrez, Erin S. Petscher

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The acquisition of effective communicative skills is critical in child development, and has been linked to better outcomes for children with disabilities. The presence of communicative skills has also been associated with lower levels of problem behavior, which can be a significant barrier during development, particularly for children with disabilities. Given the importance of communication skills and their role in the development of other adaptive skills and appropriate behavior, the acquisition and development of communication has been an important target of clinical intervention in the field of Applied Behavior Analysis. Behavior Analysts have attempted to overcome delays in communicative behavior using empirically-based procedures based on the principles of behavioral science. Using Skinner's conceptualization of verbal behavior, Behavior Analysts have been successful in designing training programs intended to teach verbal behavior to non-verbal individuals. Methods used to teach verbal responses go beyond vocalizations to include symbolic and gestural forms of communication, as well as the use of other augmentative devices. In this chapter, methodologies commonly used by behavior analysts to teach verbal behavior will be reviewed as well as the forms of verbal behavior that are often targeted for intervention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationLanguage Teaching
Subtitle of host publicationTechniques, Developments and Effectiveness
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages22
ISBN (Print)9781616688349
StatePublished - Dec 1 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Arts and Humanities(all)


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