This book describes newly identified tools to provide verbal capabilities to children who have language delays or who lack language. This book assists teachers and parents in their efforts to help children produce novel and spontaneous verbal functions, acquire language incidentally, and become socially verbal. This book responds to the large demand for effective language development tools for children with no language and severe language delays related to autism and other disabilities by providing practitioners with the means to advance verbal development. Step-by-step protocols describe how to move children from pre-listeners to listeners, non-speakers to speakers, speakers to readers and writers, and from non-social to socially verbal individuals.

The procedures are derived from numerous experiments and applications with children in three countries, and are based on Skinner’s (1957) theory of language function and on research findings that extended the theory to verbal development. The authors synthesize research published across several different journals, including many new findings, in ways that provide readers with the current state of the science of verbal behavior and its application to children with real needs.

While the book emphasizes the vocal production of speech, the procedures are applicable to all forms of language (signs, pictures, voice-generating devices). The book includes an extensive glossary of terms from behavior analysis and verbal behavior analysis.