The Analysis of Verbal Behavior

, Volume 29, Issue 1, pp 51–57 | Cite as

Teaching Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders to Mand for the Removal of Stimuli That Prevent Access to Preferred Items

  • M. Alice Shillingsburg
  • Nicole M. Powell
  • Crystal N. Bowen
Special Section on Motivating Operations and Verbal Behavior


Mand training is often a primary focus in early language instruction and typically includes mands that are positively reinforced. However, mands maintained by negative reinforcement are also important skills to teach. These include mands to escape aversive demands or unwanted items. Another type of negatively reinforced mand important to teach involves the removal of a stimulus that prevents access to a preferred activity. We taught 5 participants diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders to mand for the removal of a stimulus in order to access a preferred item that had been blocked. An evaluation was conducted to determine if participants responded differentially when the establishing operations for the preferred item were present versus absent. All participants learned to mand for the removal of the stimulus exclusively under conditions when the establishing operation was present.

Key words

abolishing operation autism establishing operation language training mand negative reinforcement 


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Copyright information

© Association of Behavior Analysis International 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Alice Shillingsburg
    • 1
    • 2
  • Nicole M. Powell
    • 1
  • Crystal N. Bowen
    • 1
  1. 1.Marcus Autism CenterUniversity School of MedicineAtlantaUSA
  2. 2.Emory University School of MedicineUSA

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