Reference: Different Techniques or Methods in Teaching ABA

By Autism Spectrum Directory

In using the applied behavioral analysis (ABA) teaching method, behavioural science has tested and proven the sequence of how information should be taught and this does not change, but there are different techniques or methods that can be used in each step of the ABA teaching sequence (or trial) to instruct, prompt, and reward a person. The two different methods are the Lovaas Method and the Verbal Behavior Method, also within these two methods adaptations can be made.

Method/Technique Instruction Prompting Rewards (reinforcer)
Lovaas Method 

Key People:

Dr. Ivaar Lovaas

Traditional ABA model, more teacher-led, early skills are taught at the table, rarely recommends using sign language, stresses compliance training, imitation skills and building receptive language for young, non-vocal early learners Should the child fail to respond to a prompt, a “prompter,” seated behind the student, uses either a partial-, a simple nudge or touch on the hand or arm or a full-, hand over hand assistance until the prompt has been completed, physical guide to correct the individual’s mistake or non-compliance. The Lovaas Method always relied principally on positive reinforcement of preferred behavior, but the original technique also included more extensive use of aversive reinforcement. These procedures have been widely abandoned for over a decade.
Verbal Behavior (VB)Method 

Key People:

Dr. Vincent Carbone, Dr. Mark Sundberg and Dr. James Partington

Contemporary ABA model, more child-led, can use sign language for most non-vocal early learners, early skills are taught away from the table in the natural environment as much as possible, looks first at what the person wants and then teaches the person how to request (in VB terms, how to mand). Initially that may involve only the person reaching for the item to indicate interest. The person quickly learns that if they use “verbal behavior” or reaching in this case, to indicate interest in something, they get the item. The categories of speech or verbal behavior are: 

– ‘Mands’ are requests (“I want a drink.”)

– ‘Echoes’ are verbal imitations, (“Hi”)

– ‘Tacts’ are labels (“toy,” “dog”)

– ‘Intraverbals’   are conversational responses. (“What do you want?”)

Prompts that are later reduced. 


Each correct response is positively reinforced with verbal praise, an edible, time with a preferred toy, or any combination thereof. 


Adapted Method 

Differences in how to take data, how to structure teaching environments, and how to adapt methods to suit the needs of the student

Adapting the ratio of table-time teaching to teaching done in the natural environment (NET) and adapting the presentation of skills (mass trialling of one target skill versus several target skills within one program at a time versus mixing a number of different skills all at once) Adapting the type of prompting that’s done no-no-prompts vs. errorless learning, using different prompting hierarchies

Copyright Chart by Autism Spectrum Directory, All Rights Reserved. Please ask permission to reprint.

Copyright Article by Autism Spectrum Directory, All Rights Reserved.

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