Teaching learners with Autism Spectrum Disorders how to communicate effectively is the most important aspect of our work. It is also one of the most challenging. Strong teaching in language development impacts every aspect of our learners’ lives. This is why the first book I’m featuring in the ABA Bookshelf series is Verbal Behavior Targets: A Tool to Teach Mands, Tacts, and Intraverbals by Diana Luckevich, PhD.
For learners whose language development is below that of a typically developing four year old, I always start by assessing using the Verbal Behavior Milestones Assessment and Placement Program (VB-MAPP.) This allows me to accurately target the child’s current skill level and make developmentally appropriate decisions about which programs I will implement.
Once I’ve chosen the programs, Verbal Behavior Targets is an essential resource. As Luckevich states in the introduction, this book is not a curriculum, but a guide to selecting targets “to meet the unique language goals of each individual child.” The book is split into six chapters:
- Multiple Words
- Instructions and Questions
- Category, Feature and Function
- Conversation Topics
Luckevich provides hundreds of targets for each stage of language development as well as data sheets. I know there have been many moments in the past (especially when I was first starting out) where my student would master a target skill and I would struggle to come up with additional targets. This book lays it all out for you in an easy-to-follow format.
You can purchase it for $24.95 here. You can also click here to see sample pages. Definitely worth the price considering the time it saves in planning quality and developmentally appropriate target skills to meet your learner’s needs.