The Analysis of Verbal Behavior

, Volume 22, Issue 1, pp 49–60 | Cite as

Behavioral Language Interventions for Children with Autism: Comparing Applied Verbal Behavior and Naturalistic Teaching Approaches

  • Linda A. LeBlanc
  • John Esch
  • Tina M. Sidener
  • Amanda M. Firth


Several important behavioral intervention models have been developed for teaching language to children with autism and two are compared in this paper. Professionals adhering to Skinner’s conceptualization of language refer to their curriculum and intervention programming as applied verbal behavior (AVB). Those primarily focused on developing and using strategies embedded in natural settings that promote generalization refer to their interventions as naturalistic teaching approaches (NTAs). The purpose of this paper is to describe each approach and discuss similarities and differences in terms of relevant dimensions of stimulus control. The discussion includes potential barriers to translation of terminology between the two approaches that we feel can be overcome to allow better communication and collaboration between the two communities. Common naturalistic teaching procedures are described and a Skinnerian conceptualization of these learning events is provided.

Key words

relational matching to sample joint control conditional discrimination 


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Copyright information

© Association of Behavior Analysis International 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Linda A. LeBlanc
    • 1
  • John Esch
    • 2
  • Tina M. Sidener
    • 3
  • Amanda M. Firth
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyWestern Michigan UniversityKalamazooUSA
  2. 2.Esch Behavior Consultants, Inc.USA
  3. 3.Western Michigan UniversityUSA

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