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How to teach manding? Essential step by step guide for every parent.


Manding is more than just asking for items you want but an important foundation to learning more complex forms of communication which help in acquisition of language.

Manding and the importance of it


One of the most basic abilities that a child needs to possess is to be able to gain access to his/her needs and wants, which is also known as manding. It is of great importance that they are able to request for desired items in an appropriate way that others can understand or help with. In an ABA program, manding is one of the significant components of the child’s target especially when he/she is not yet talking or just started to talk. Manding is more than just asking for items you want but an important foundation to learning more complex forms of communication which help in acquisition of language. How to teach manding?


Level 1: Sit well and show give The first step is to sit facing the child in a quiet place free of any distractions. You should also prepare an array of desirable rewards and highly preferred items that the child enjoys. For example, if you know your child enjoys playing with cars, you can prepare a toy car as a reinforcer to teach him/her how to ask for it nicely. A positive response would ideally be when the child is able to independently show the action of ‘give’ (hands stretched out) nicely upon request.


Steps:

  1. Have a desirable item the child wants (held preferably near your face)

  2. Child shows good sitting behavior and puts out hand to show “give”


Level 2: Tacting object when asked: “What do you want?” It is important to ensure that the child is ready to attend and looking at the person giving instructions. As the instruction-giver, you can hold up the preferred item and ask him or her “What do you want?”. Then model the word to help your child say/imitate the word. For example, you may ask the child to say “____” (fill in target word) and wait 3 to 5 seconds for a response. Thereafter, you should provide appropriate feedback based on how the child responds.


If the response is positive, you may provide enthusiastic praise and give the child the item requested. On the other hand, if a negative response is given, you should praise the child for trying and model the correct response after. The criteria to move on to the next stage would be when the child is able to tact at least 8 to 10 reinforcers accurately and understand that he/she is asking for the reinforcer.


Steps:

  1. Have a desirable item the child wants (held preferably near your face)

  2. Ask the child “What do you want?”

  3. “Car” (if child does not respond)

  4. “What do you want?” (Wait and let child say “car”)

  5. “Good saying car!” (rewards by giving car)


Level 3: “I want _____”


Before starting on this stage, basic manding (level 1 & 2) must be mastered first. This is crucial as we do not want the child to mistake the label of a “toy car” as “I want car”.


In advanced manding, the person giving the instruction have to pick up the item and show the child that he/she is about to receive the preferred item. Immediately after, you have to ask the child to practise the correct response by teaching them “I want ______” (fill in target word) and quickly provide feedback accordingly.


Steps:

  1. Have a desirable item the child wants (held preferably near your face)

  2. Ask the child “What do you want?”

  3. “I want Car” (child should be saying “car” by now, teach him/her “I want”)

  4. “What do you want?” (Wait and let child say “I want car”)

  5. “Good saying I want car!” (rewards by giving car)

To move forward to the next level, the child should be able to construct a full sentence for items he/she wants independently.


Level 4: Tap and address adult and mand By now, your child should be independently making requests for desired items after gaining mastery of level 1 through 3. Therefore, one of the ways you can help your child progress is to wait for him/her to initiate a request and then teach the new target. To start off, you can start to teach the child to address the person before he/she request.


For example, you may add “Teacher Jermaine, I want ____” (fill in target word). Depending on the response received, you should provide feedback accordingly.


Steps:

  1. Gently hold child’s hand to tap on you

  2. While tapping, “Teacher Jermaine, I want ____”


Catching the right timing Ultimately, it is important that one does not rush the process and progress sequentially in order to not stress the child. Besides that, knowing when to move on is as important because a strong foundation acts as stepping stones to more in-depth communication. For instance, we would want to prevent pushing the child to say “I want car” when he or she is not familiar with the labels of most common objects. Over-stressing the child kills the motivation to learn and communicate. Remember, the aim is to help the child have a chance to request for desired items in an appropriate way that others can understand or help with. When a child is able to communicate clearly, it increases the likelihood that others are more likely to meet the intended needs.


Written by Jermaine.

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