Monday, January 7, 2013

Book Recommendation - The Verbal Behavior Approach

This book definitely does not suffer from ample praise. And my sentiments about it are easily earned and not novel; however, after recently finishing the book, I figured I'd share out as a new type of post for this blog.

     The Verbal Behavior Approach: How To Teach Children with Autism and Related Disorders, written by Mary Lynch Barbera, Ph.D, R.N., BCBA-D, is a fantastic, easily accessible book for parents and professionals. The book explains the basics of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and the Verbal Behavior (VB) approach used by clinicians to provide solid, empirical treatment for children with an ASD.

     Barbera’s informal, yet informative conveyance of the subject matter is welcomed. She manages to take complex concepts and explain them in applicable ways. For instance, in her chapter on ‘Developing Reinforcers,’ Barbera tactfully explains how all people, young and old alike, respond to reinforcement.

     In addition to providing valuable information on ABA, Barbera lets the reader into her world as a parent of her own child, Lucas, who has an ASD. She allows the reader insight into her own journey with ABA and her child. This extra touch – the insight from a parent who, in the beginning, was herself uninformed – gives the book a depth that is unseen in a lot of the literature. Additionally, at only 190 pages including data sheets and resources, The Verbal Behavior Approach is at the same time concise and thorough.

     Barbera stays away from being overly technical and she is able to make the language of ABA accessible to parents and professionals alike. As you read, you may find yourself having many a-ha­ moments. In addressing certain topics, she not only gets across the importance of certain teaching targets, but also the rationale behind why they are being taught.

     Parents and professionals, whether seasoned or novice, will benefit from reading The Verbal Behavior Approach. Barbera’s deep understanding of ABA from a clinical perspective and as a parent of a child with an ASD allows for some very insightful, yet down-to-earth explanations of VB programming as it relates to both therapy and parenting. A definite recommendation!

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