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A Comparison of Two Approaches for Teaching VB Functions: Total Communication vs. Vocal-Alone

Author(s): Vincent J. Carbone | Lisa Lewis | Emily J. Sweeney-Kerwin | Julie Dixon | Rose Louden | Susan Quinn

Journal: Journal of Speech and Language Pathology and Applied Behavior Analysis
ISSN 1932-4731

Volume: 1;
Issue: 4;
Start page: 10;
Date: 2006;
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Keywords: verbal behavior | sign language | tact | autism | total communication.

Total communication (TC) involves the use of manual signs with their corresponding spoken words simultaneously; and research indicates that TC facilitates vocal responding by children with autism. However, most of this previous research was conducted 20 years ago and did not consider vocal responding in relation to verbal behavior functions (Skinner, 1957). The present study used an alternatingtreatment design to compare the effects of TC vs. vocal-alone (VA) training on the vocal tact responses of a child with autism. Results indicated that the child produced nearly four times as many vocal tactresponses during TC training than during VA training in less than half the number of teaching trials. The use of manual sign training is considered in relation to its advantages for supporting the production of vocal responses.

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