Reliability and validity measures for the VB-MAPP.Two measures of reliability on administering the VB-MAPP can be found in the paper by Barnes, Mellor, & Rehfeldt (2014) titled “Implementing the Verbal Behavior Milestones Assessment and Placement Program (VB-MAPP): Teaching Assessment Techniques.” These authors examined the administration of the VB-MAPP by two school psychologists under two conditions. In the first condition the psychologists, who had no history of administering the VB-MAPP, read the administration manual then administered the assessment. The second condition was conducted following additional training using a VB-MAPP behavior skills training (BST) package consisting of 5 components: instructions, modeling, rehearsal, feedback, and remedial teaching. Administration performance was measured on a 35-item checklist based on the information in the VB-MAPP administration guidelines. The results showed just reading the manual alone resulted in an average administration score of 57% on the checklist, with an interobserver agreement (IOR) score of 83%. Reading the manual and obtaining specific training with a BST package produced an average administration score of 92%, with an IOR score of 86%. Thus, VB-MAPP administration performance is clearly enhanced through additional hands-on training involving instructions, modeling, rehearsal, feedback, and remedial teaching. And the reliability measures on test administration were consistent across the two different levels of staff skills.
Barnes, C. S., Mellor, J. R., & Rehfeldt, R. A. (2014). Implementing the Verbal Behavior Milestones Assessment and Placement Program (VB-MAPP): Teaching assessment techniques. The Analysis of Verbal Behavior, 30, 36-47.
Two types of validity measures on the VB-MAPP have been published in the literature. External validity between the VB-MAPP and the assessment program Promoting the Emergence of Advanced Knowledge Relational Training System (PEAK) was examined by Dixon, Belisle, Stanley, Rowsey, Daar, & Szekely (2015). These authors found that “The results of a Pearson correlation suggest that there is a strong relationship between the two assessments (r=0.8266, p<0.0001), and that total scores on the VB-MAPP are a strong predictor of total scores on the PEAK-combined (R2=0.6833)” (p. 228). Dixon, Carmen, Tyles, Whiting, Enoch, & Daar, (2014) also demonstrated acceptable external validity measures between the PEAK and the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test, providing additional indirect validity support for the VB-MAPP.
Construct validity and reliability for the intraverbal section of the VB-MAPP was demonstrated in a study by Sundberg and Sundberg (2011). In this study 39 typically developing children between the ages of 23 and 61 months old were assessed on an 80 item intraverbal subtest, and their results were compared to those of 71 children with autism on the same subtest. Reliability measures on the scoring of the intraverbal responses across both groups averaged 93%. The results demonstrated that the performances of typically developing children reflected the gradual increase in the difficulty of the intraverbal items, and their chronological age. The scores of children with autism followed a similar pattern, but age was not the best predictor of performance, rather, the presence of pre-requisite verbal skills was a better indicator of intraverbal performance. The authors concluded “The current data suggest that the intraverbal repertoires of typically developing children can provide a guide for intraverbal assessment and intervention for individuals with language delays” (p. 37). The results of this study were used as a basis for sequencing the skills in the intraverbal domain of the VB-MAPP.
Dixon, M. R., Belisle, J., Stanley, C., Rowsey, K., Daar, J. H., & Szekely, S (2015). Toward a behavior analysis of complex language for children with autism: Evaluating the relationship between PEAK and the VB-MAPP. Journal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities. 27, 223-233.
Dixon, M. R., Carmen, J., Tyles, P. A., Whiting, S. W., Enoch, M., & Daar, J. H. (2014). PEAK relational training system for children with autism and developmental disabilities: Correlation with Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test and assessment reliability. Journal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities, 26, 603-614.
Sundberg, M. L., & Sundberg, C. A. (2011). Intraverbal behavior and verbal conditional discriminations in typically developing children and children with autism. The Analysis of Verbal Behavior, 27, 23–43.
Has the VB-MAPP been used in research?Yes, the VB-MAPP has been used as a tool to measure the participants' verbal skills, as well as other uses, in studies published in several different journals including the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis (JABA), The Analysis of Verbal Behavior Journal (TAVB), Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, Behavior Analysis in Practice, and the Journal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities. It has also been used in several studies presented at conferences, and appears in various ethics scenarios in Bailey, J.S., & Birch, M.R., (2016) Ethics for Behavior Analysts, 3rd ed. New York and London, Rutledge. Below are 43 research studies that have used the VB-MAPP for quantifying the verbal skills of their participants. Note the use of the VB-MAPP as a pre- and post-measure of the effects of an intervention program in the study by Mason & Andrews (2014).
Barkaia, A., Stokes, T. F., & Mikiashvili, T. (2017). Intercontinental telehealth coaching of therapists to improve verbalizations by children with autism. The Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 50, 582-589.
Brodhead, M. T., Higbee, T. S., Gerencser, K. R., & Akers, J. S., (2016). The use of discrimination-training procedure to teach mand variability to children with autism. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 49, 34-48.
Byrne, B. L., Rehfeldt, R. A., Aguirre, A. A., (2014). Evaluating the effectiveness of a stimulus pairing observation procedure and multiple exemplar instruction on tact and listener responses in children with autism. The Analysis of Verbal Behavior, 30, 160-169.
Carnett, A., & Ingvarsson, E. T., (2016). Teaching a child with autism to mand for answers to questions using a speech-generative device. The Analysis of Verbal Behavior, 32, 233-241.
Cidivini-Motta, C., Scharrer, N., & Ahearn, W. H. (2017). An assessment of three procedures to teach echoic responding. The Analysis of Verbal Behavior, 33, 41-63.
Charania, S. M., LeBlanc, L. A., Sabanathan, Narmatha, Ktaetch, I. A., Carr, J. E., & Gunby, K., (2010). Teaching effective hand raising to children with autism during group instruction. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 43, 493-497.
Contreras, B. P., & Betz, A. M. (2016). Using lag schedules to strengthen the intraverbal repertoires of children with autism. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 49, 3-16.
Dixon, M. R., Belisle, J., Stanley, C., Rowsey, K., Daar, J. H., & Szekely, S. (2015). Toward a behavior analysis of complex language for children with autism: Evaluating the relationship between PEAK and the VB-MAPP. Journal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities. 27, 223-233.
Dixon, M. R., Belisle, J., Stanley, C. R., Daar, J. H., & Williams, L. A. (2016). Derived equivalence relations of geometry skills in students with autism: an application of the PEAK-E curriculum (2016) The Analysis of Verbal Behavior, 32, 38-45.
Frampton, S., & Shillingsburg, M. A. (2017). Teaching children with autism to explain how: A case for problem solving? The Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 51, 236-254.
Geiger, K. B., LeBlanc, L. A., Dillon, C. M., & Bates, S. L. (2010). An evaluation of preference for video and in vivo modeling, Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 43, 279-283.
Gevarter, C., O’Reilly, M. F., Kuhn, M., Mills, K., Ferguson, R., Watkins L., Sigafoos, J., Lang, R., Rojeski, L., & Lancioni, G. E., (2016). Increasing the vocalization of individuals with autism during intervention with a speech-generative device. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 49, 17-33.
Grannan, L., & Rehfeldt, R. A. (2012). Emergent intraverbal responses via tact and match-to-sample instruction. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 45, 601-605.
Gunby, K. V., Carr, J. E., & LeBlanc, L. A. (2010). Teaching abduction-prevention skills to children with autism, Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 43, 107-112.
Humphreys, T., Polick, A. S., Howk, L. L., Thaxton, J. R, & Ivancic, A. P. (2013). An evaluation of repeating the discriminative stimulus when using least-to-most prompting to teach intraverbal behavior to children with autism. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 46, 534-538.
Johnson, K. A., Vladescu, J. C., Kodak, T., & Sidner, T. M. (2017). An assessment of the differential reinforcement procedures for learners with autism spectrum disorder. The Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 51, 236-254.
Kaitlin G., Causin, K. G., Albert, K. M., Carbone, V. J., & Sweeney-Kerwin, E. J. (2013). The role of joint control in teaching listener responding to children with autism and other developmental disabilities. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 7, 997-1011.
Kelley, M. E., Liddon, C. J., Ribeiro, A., Greif, A. E., & Podlesnik, C. A. (2015). Basic and translational evaluation of renewal of operant responding. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 48, 390-401.
Kisamore, A. N., Karsten, A. M., & Mann, C.C., (2016). Teaching multiply controlled interaverbals to children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 49, 1-22.
Kobari-Wright, V. V., & Miguel, C. F. (2014). The effects of listener training on the emergence of categorization and speaker behavior by children with autism. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 47, 431-436.
Kodak, T., Clements, A., Paden, A. R., LeBlanc, B., Mintz, J., & Toussaint, K. A. (2015). Examination between an assessment of skills and performance on auditory-visual conditional discriminations for children with autism spectrum disorders. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 48, 52-70.
Koehler-Platten, K., Grow, L. L., Schulze, K. A., & Bertone, T. (2013). Using a lag schedule of reinforcement to increase phonemic variability in children with autism spectrum disorders. The Analysis of Verbal Behavior, 29, 71-83.
Landa, R. K., Hansen, B., & Shillingsburg, M. A. (2017). Teaching mands for information using “when” to children with autism. The Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 50, 538-551.
Lepper, T. L., & Petursdottir, A. I. (2017). Effects of response-contingent stimulus pairing on vocalizations of nonverbal children with autism. The Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 50, 756-774.
Lepper, T. A., Petursdottir, A. I., & Esch, B. A. (2013). Effects of operant discrimination training on the vocalizations of nonverbal children with autism. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 46, 656–661.
Lorah, E., Tincani, M., Dodge, J., Gilroy, S, Hickey, A., & Hantula, D. (2013). Evaluating picture exchange and the iPad as a speech generating device to teach communication to young children with autism. Journal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities, 25, 637-649.
Loughrey, T. O., Betz, A. M., Majdalany, L. M., & Nicholson, K. (2014). Using instructive feedback to teach category names to children with autism. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 47, 425-430.
Loughrey, T. O., Contreras, B. P., Majdalany, L. M., Rudy, N., Sinn, S., Teague, P., Marshall, G., McGreevy, P., & Harvey, A. C. (2014). Caregivers as interventionists and trainers: teaching mands to children with developmental disabilities, The Analysis of Verbal Behavior, 30, 128-140.
Marchese, N. V., Carr, J. E., LeBlanc, L. A., Rosati, T. C., & Conroy, S. A. (2012). The effects of the question “what is this?” on tact training outcomes of children with autism. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 45 (3) 539-547.
Mason, L. L., & Andrews, A., (2014). Referent-based verbal behavior instruction for children with autism. Behavior Analysis in Practice, 7, 107-111.
Mason, L. L., Davis, D., & Andrews, A., (2015). Token reinforcement of verbal responses controlled by temporally removed verbal stimuli. The Analysis of Verbal Behavior, 31, 145-152.
Nottingham, C. L., Vladescu, J. C., Kodak, T., & Kisamore, T. M. (2017). Incorporating multiple secondary targets into learning trials for individuals with autism spectrum disorder. The Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 50, 653-661.
Polick, A. S., Carr, J. E., & Hanney, N. M. A. (2012). A comparison of general and descriptive praise in teaching intraverbal behavior to children with autism. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 45, 593-605.
Rader, L. Sidener, T. M., Reeve, K. F., Sidener, D. W., Delmolino, L., Miliotis, A., & Carbone, V. J. (2014). Stimulus-stimulus pairing of vocalizations: A systematic replication. The Analysis of Verbal Behavior, 30, 69-74.
Shillingsburg, M. A., Cariveau, T., Talmadge, B., & Frampton, S. (2017). A preliminary analysis of procedures to teach children with autism to report past behavior. The Analysis of Verbal Behavior, 33, 275-282.
Somers, A., Sidener, T. M., DeBar, R. M., & Sidener, D. W. (2014). Establishing current mands for items and mands for information about location in children with autism. The Analysis of Verbal Behavior, 30, 29-35.
Stauch, T., LaLonde, K., Plavnick, J. B., & Bak, M. Y. S., Gatewood, K. (2017). Intraverbal Training for individuals with autism: The current status of multiple control. The Analysis of Verbal Behavior, 33, 98-116.
Sundberg, C. T., & Sundberg, M. L., & Michael, J. (2018). Covert verbal mediation and matching to sample. The Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 109, 600-623.
Tullis, C. A., Frampton, S., Delfs, C. H., & Shillingsburg, M. A. (2017). Teaching problem explanations using instructive feedback. The Analysis of Verbal Behavior, 33, 64-79.
Vallinger-Brown, M., & Rosales, R., (2014). An investigation of stimulus pairing and listener training to establish emergent intraverbals in children with autism. The Analysis of Verbal Behavior, 30, 148-159.
Vandbakk, M., Arntzen, E., Gisnaas, A., Antonsen, V., & Gundhus, T., (2012). Effect of training different classes of verbal behavior to decrease aberrant verbal behavior. The Analysis of Verbal Behavior, 28, 137-144.
Watts, A. C., Wilder, D. A., Gregory, M. K., Leon, Y. & Ditzian, K. (2013). The effects of rules on differential reinforcement of other behavior. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 46, 680-684.
Wymer, C. A., Tarbox, J., Beavers, G. A., & Tullis, C. A., (2016). Teaching children with autism to follow rules specifying a behavior and consequence. The Analysis of Verbal Behavior, 32.
How does the VB-MAPP address areas in the DSM-5?The VB-MAPP Barriers Assessment specifically assesses areas identified in the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) diagnostic criteria for Autism Spectrum Disorder. The VB-MAPP barriers include all the areas identified in the DSM-5, and then some http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/hcp-dsm.html In the VB-MAPP they are written in behaviorese, but that is so they can be assessed and addressed in a behavioral manner. You'll find that the DSM's A 1.2.3. are mostly among the first 8 VB-MAPP Barriers. The DSM's B 22.214.171.124. are mostly among the last 8 barriers.
Is there an electronic version of the assessment?Yes, the VB-MAPP App is available from the Apple iTunes store. The VB-MAPP App allows the user to complete the assessment on the Apple iPad. The App offers portability and does not require an internet connection once it has been downloaded. The App has no monthly or yearly subscription, and additional students can be added as needed. For more information go to www.behaviortrackerpro.com or the iTunes store.
There is also a
new web-based VB-MAPPthat can be used with any device or platform that has internet access (www.vbmappapp.com).
For what ages can the VB-MAPP be used?The VB-MAPP can be helpful for an individual of any age whose language skills are not commensurate with the language skills of a 4-year-old typically developing child. Keep in mind that a typically developing 4-year-old has some very sophisticated language skills. The Barriers Assessment and the Transition Assessment components in the VB-MAPP may reveal problems that affect individuals of any age, such as prompt dependency, difficulty adapting to change, or when demands weaken their motivation.
Can the VB-MAPP be used for individuals with other developmental disabilities?The VB-MAPP can be helpful for any individual who demonstrates language delays, regardless of the disability.
What programs might be helpful after a child has progressed past the academic areas in the VB-MAPP?Some children with ASD may excel in the academic skills listed in the VB-MAPP, and be “off the grid” in the reading, writing, and math. However, they may still be at lower levels in other areas such as social, play, and the verbal operants (mand, tact, listener, intraverbal). They also may continue to present barriers that require intervention and on-going monitoring. This is not atypical for children with ASD. To support their academic strengths while continuing to build the other areas, we suggest the books ABA Curriculum for the Common Core – Kindergarten, and ABA for the Common Core – First Grade, by Sam Blanco. We also suggest the tried and true Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons by Siegfried Englemann, Phyllis Haddox, and Elaine Bruner.
How does the VB-MAPP compare to other assessments?There are two studies that compare commonly used assessments for children with autism or other developmental disabilities with the VB-MAPP. A study by Esch, LaLonde, & Esch, J. W. (2010) reviewed 28 commonly used assessments for the treatment of autism and concluded, “Most speech-language assessments in widespread use today evaluate response topographies (forms of responses) alone, without regard for a functional analysis of the causal variables” (p. 166). For example, 26 of the 28 assessment programs reviewed failed to provide a measure of a student’s ability to mand. These authors point out that the VB-MAPP contains a functional analysis of language, and includes a mand assessment component.
A similar study by Gould, Dixon, Najdowski, Smith, & Tarbox (2011) is also available (with that journal's subscription) and compares 30 assessments, including the ABLLS-R, Bayley, Brigance... and the VB-MAPP. These authors reviewed the 30 assessments in the following categories: comprehension, targets child development, considers behavior function not just topography, link from the assessment to curricula targets, and useful for tracking child progress over time. The authors concluded: “After reviewing the assessments described above, only four meet our original five criteria most closely: the VB-MAPP, Brigance IED-II, VABS-II, and CIBS-R.”
Does the VB-MAPP assess self-care skills?The VB-MAPP does assess some self-care skills. However, the main focus of the VB-MAPP is on communication, social skills, barriers, and behavioral characteristics that are often demonstrated by individuals with autism. Self-care skills are an important part of the child’s growing independence and should be assessed and taught using procedures derived from applied behavior analysis (e.g., prompting, fading, breaking down tasks as needed). On the AVBPress.com website there is checklist of self-care skills which can be downloaded and printed as needed to complete your child’s program. See the Self-care checklist among the Downloads at www.AVBPress.com. For older children and adults who might need a program with more of a focus on functional living skills, we suggest Essential for Living by Pat McGreevy, Troy Fry, and Colleen Cornwall.
Is the VB-MAPP standardized?The VB-MAPP is a criterion-referenced assessment - it is not a standardized (norm referenced) assessment.
How does ABA that includes Verbal Behavior (VB) compare to other ABA approaches?A verbal behavior approach to language assessment and intervention shares many common aspects with other ABA approaches. Both are based on the procedures, teaching techniques, and accumulated evidence-based data derived from the field of Applied Behavior Analysis. The approaches differ in terms of the analysis of language that provides the foundation for the assessment program and intervention curriculum used in each approach. The foundation for the verbal behavior approach is based on Skinner’s (1957) analysis of language where he provides an alternative to the traditional cognitive view of language characterized by the expressive-receptive framework common to most ABA programs. For more information on the value of Skinner’s analysis of verbal behavior for children with autism, and some distinctions between the two general approaches the reader is referred to Petursdottir and Carr, (2011), and Sundberg and Michael (2001).
How long does it take to conduct the assessment?The amount of time it takes to conduct the VB-MAPP depends on the level of the individual being tested, his or her cooperation, availability of materials, and the skill of the assessor. In general, for a trained assessor it will take approximately 1-3 hours for a child who scores at Level 1 (beginner), 3-6 total hours for a child at Level 2 (intermediate), and 6-10 total hours for a child scoring at Level 3 (advanced).
Who can conduct the assessment?Language assessment is not an easy process. While we tried to make the VB-MAPP as user friendly as possible, there are still several necessary prerequisite skills to conduct the assessment. Here are five skills sets: 1) It is essential that the tester have a basic understanding of Skinner’s (1957) analysis of verbal behavior. For example, in order to assess a child’s mand repertoire, the tester must understand what a mand is, and how the mand is related to motivating operations (MOs); 2) knowledge in basic behavior analysis. For example, being aware of the subtleties of the various types of prompts, and being able to determine if a response is controlled by inadvertent prompting, is essential for determining exactly what skills a child has truly mastered; 3) it is also important that the assessor be familiar with basic linguistic structure; 4) be familiar with the linguistic development of typically developing children; 5) and, have a good understanding of autism and other types of developmental disabilities. Finally as with any language assessment tool, one must read and study the manual, and practice administering the tool. The more skilled a person is in all of these areas the more s/he will get out of the assessment.
Are there translations of the VB-MAPP into other languages?The VB-MAPP is now available in Chinese, French (app/web-based only), Italian, Polish, Russian, and Spanish (app/web-based only). It will be available in several other languages by later 2016. If you would like to receive a notice about the VB-MAPP translations join the VB-MAPP Facebook and we will post information as it becomes available.
Are there on-line courses available to learn how to do the VB-MAPP?There are on-line courses on Verbal Behavior assessment and intervention available from the Florida Institute for Technology. These courses offer CEU's for Board Certified Behavior Analysts www.fit.edu/bst/ceu/distinguished.php#Sundberg There is also a two-hour on-line VB-MAPP course for scoring the assessment offered by www.autismtrainingsolutions.com
Are there specific materials that should be used to conduct the assessment?The person conducting the assessment should have a VB-MAPP Guide and each individual being assessed should have their own Protocol. Many of the materials recommended to conduct the assessment can often be found in classrooms and/or home. There is a suggested materials list in the VB-MAPP Guide. There is also a VB-MAPP Kit sold through Different Roads to Learning.
Can I get an idea of how to set up an ABA/VB program?There is a free webinar that will give you starting points for your program available through Autism Training Solutions; click on Resources, then webinar, and scroll down to the talk by Mary Lynch Barbera, Ph.D., BCBA, Ten Key Components Needed for an Effective Autism Program Regardless of Age, Ability Level or Setting.
Are there demonstrations of how the VB-MAPP is being used?If you are interested in seeing how the VB-MAPP is being used by professionals and parents, there are presentations available on-line. For a few examples see:
On YouTube “BACA Parent/Therapist Testimonial Jace” or “Mia’s Journey, the Verbal Behavior Approach” or “Behavior Analysis Center for Autism – BACA”
Through the Florida Institute of Technology, Applied Behavior Analysis Program Presentation by Amiris DiPuglia, M.D., BCBA from the Pennsylvania Training and Technical Network titled “Large Scale Implementation of the Verbal Behavior Model.” This presentation demonstrates meaningful gains, and use of the VB-MAPP throughout 170+ public school classrooms www.fit.edu/bst/programs/autism/index.php.
Presentation by Mary Barbera, Ph.D., BCBA “The Verbal Behavior Approach: Home Programming for Children with Autism,” also available at www.fit.edu/bst/programs/autism/index.php
Are there downloadable materials from the web that can be used?There are several websites that offer free downloadable pictures that can be used for teaching skills such as tacting/labeling, listener/receptive, matching to sample, listener responding by feature, function and class (LRFFC), and some websites offer clever ideas and tips for both assessment and intervention. For example browse the links at www.marksundberg.com.
Where can I attend a training?The author of the VB-MAPP, Dr. Mark Sundberg, presents at conferences, and does 2-3 day trainings that are either private or open to the public (see the schedule at www.marksundberg.com).
Esch, B. E., LaLonde, K. B., & Esch, J. W. (2010). Speech and language assessment: A verbal behavior analysis. The Journal of Speech-Language Pathology and Applied Behavior Analysis, 5, 166-191.
Gould, E., Dixon, D. R., Najdowski, A. C., Smith, M. N., & Tarbox, J (2011). A review of assessments for determining the content of early intensive behavioral intervention programs for autism spectrum disorders. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders.
Petursdottir, A.I., Carr, J.E. A review of recommendations for sequencing receptive and expressive language instruction, Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 44, 859-876 2011
Skinner, B. F. (1957). Verbal behavior. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts.
Sundberg, M. L., & Michael, J. (2001). The value of Skinner’s analysis of verbal behavior for teaching children with autism. Behavior Modification, 25, 698-724.
Sundberg, M. L., & Sundberg, C. A. (2011). Intraverbal behavior and verbal conditional discriminations in typically developing children and children with autism. The Analysis of Verbal Behavior, 27, 23-43.