Semester of Graduation

Spring 2020


Master of Arts (MA)


Communication Sciences and Disorders

Document Type



In regard to the assessment of language, it is difficult to determine exact communicative functions that are exhibited early in development that could indicate a prognostic value of verbal abilities and outcomes of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The Verbal Behavioral Milestones Assessment and Placement Program (VB-MAPP, Sundberg, 2008) is frequently used in Applied Behavior Analysis for standard assessment procedures to measure development over time. The current study was designed to use the VB-MAPP to determine a relationship between certain communicative functions (i.e., mand, tact, listener responding, echoic, and intraverbal) that may suggest a correlation in growth in each function. Findings allow clinicians to understand what to target in order to promote growth in a large array of functions. Scores from children with ASD from the VB-MAPP (N=15) were analyzed to determine the relationship between the development of communicative functions (i.e., mand, tact, echoic, listener, and intraverbal operants).

Correlations were found to be significant in the development of the skill to mand with the development of skills in tacting, listener/receptive, and echoic/verbal imitation. Nonetheless, there was no correlation found between the participants' development in manding and the increase in intraverbal skills. However, there were correlations between the development of tacting, listener/receptive, and echoic with intraverbal growth.

The lack of relationship between mand and intraverbal suggests that a child's increase in knowing how to mand does not necessarily show an increase in skills in intraverbal capabilities. The findings also highlighted the relationship between the development of other communicative functions selected from the VB-MAPP suggests several correlations in regard to an increase in each domain, aside from mand and intraverbal.

Committee Chair

Hartzheim, Daphne