The Importance of Manding
I recently did an assessment on a boy with ASD who had just turned 4 years old. He was functionally non verbal, had a PECS book, but never used it, had an early learner profile. No one at school was able to get him to talk in the year that he had been receiving intervention.
He was uninterested in what I had to offer him, or in me at all. He was very interested in watching his video on TV, and jumping on the couch. After some time spent interviewing dad, I observed him go to the kitchen counter, and grab a glass and go to the water machine and pour a glass of water. At this point, I got up and walked over and watched him. When he finished, he put the glass down. Later, I predicted when he would go to the water cooler, and I grabbed the glass, filled it with some water (a half inch) and provided an echoic prompt “water”, “water”, “water” 3 times. On the third time, he echoed “water”, I just about fainted as I handed him the water. His mom was in the background jumping up and down and screaming! Later, as we continued to talk, I observed him go to the pantry, searching for food. He grabbed a small package of cookies. I got the cookies, broke them up into smaller pieces, and held one up to him and said “cookie”, “cookie”, “cookie” and he echoed “cookie”. Again, mom was just about in tears at this point. I then encouraged mom to continue the manding session with him, as I coached her. She was brilliant. She then got him to echo “popcorn”. Same thing, this kid who had never uttered a word, was talking for the first time!! He was asking for things he wanted. We would still need to fade out our echoic prompt and transfer it, but in 20 minutes, he was able to mand for 3 things he had never asked for before!
Moral of the story: Never underestimate the ability of children with ASD, and always start with MANDING!!! In 20 minutes, we were able to change the course of this kids life! Go mom and dad!! My heart felt so happy when I left his house, knowing what he was capable of in such a short time!
Always start with pairing and manding! Slowly add other programs based on your language assessment, but always the highest value on the manding repertoire area!