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Mand Training For Kids With Autism - Part 1

Updated: Oct 15, 2020

What is Mand Training

Mand Training employs theories of behavioral training and uses prompting, fading, and reinforcements to get the child to request for an item of choice or activity. Mand Training also known as requesting is based upon student motivation and results in a student being reinforced for their use of language skills to ask for an item of choice.

Importance of Mand Training

  • Helps to increase the child's functional language skills by giving them opportunities to express themselves

  • May help in the acquisition of other verbal operants (echoics, tact, listener-responding, motor imitation, visual perception etc)

  • Allows the child control over his environment

  • Decreases the chances of tantrum/inappropriate behaviors

Before engaging in Mand Training, we need to ensure we capture and contrive the motivation of the child.

Capture Motivation

-Provide opportunities to access reinforcement when the child naturally needs the "reinforcer" in order to obtain some other reinforcer.

Examples of capturing motivation:

  • Teaching mands for food during snack/lunch time

  • Getting the child to ask for shoes before going out to play

  • Encouraging the child to ask for "video" when he/she wants to watch Youtube

Contrive Motivation

-Arrange the environment and create a need

Examples of contriving motivation:

  • Giving the child paper without crayons (we can either hold the crayons in our hand and get the child to request for it, or if this has been mastered, then we can get the child to Mand for crayons when it is out of sight)

  • Cup without water

  • Pausing their favourite music video when it plays

Goal of Mand Training:

- Unprompted and spontaneous manding

- Ensure mands are consistent

- To reinforce the child's spontaneous mands

- Conduct trials throughout the day and in training sessions

Written by: Veena Santhanam

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