What is manding and why is it so crucial for your child to develop this skill the right way?


Simply put, a mand is a request for something. When we say things such as, “I want a cup of water” or “I would like to eat some ice-cream” to someone, we are manding. Essentially, manding is the skill of asking for something we want.


And as humans, we constantly have wants and desires to fulfill.


First and foremost is the fulfillment of our basic needs such as food, water, and air; our biological needs. As these are crucial to our survival, we are most strongly driven to attain them – edibles (to satisfy our hunger) and water or other drinks (to satisfy thirst). The technical term for them would be “primary reinforcers”. However, for obvious ethical reasons, we do not use these as a reward when the child is in actual need of the item. We do not withhold food from children when they are hungry. When food or drinks are used in therapy sessions as rewards, they are often special items that cannot be easily attained (eg. a snack or drink the child likes but does not often get).


Second; beyond our biological needs, we also have other needs to attend to, such as pleasure, pain avoidance, and social connections. For a child, pleasure might come in the form of toys, videos, or something entertaining to them. Pain avoidance would likely be the escape from things unpleasant to them, and of course, more directly, the avoidance of physical pain. And finally, regardi