Advancements in Verbal Behavior

AVB Press was started in June, 2008 by Mark Sundberg, Ph.D., BCBA-D ( The primary focus of AVB Press is to publish materials on the application of B. F. Skinner’s analysis of verbal behavior to language assessment and intervention for persons with autism or other intellectual disabilities. AVB Press offers both paper and electronic versions of the VB-MAPP.


The Verbal Behavior Milestones Assessment and Placement Program: The VB-MAPP — A language and social skills assessment program for children with autism or other intellectual disabilities.

From the founder and Past Editor of the journal The Analysis of Verbal Behavior, and the original co-author of the ABLLS and Teaching Language to Children with Autism or Other Developmental Disabilities, the VB-MAPP offers a new generation of language assessment for children and adults with autism or other developmental disabilities. The VB-MAPP is a criterion-referenced assessment tool, curriculum guide, and skill tracking system based on applied behavior analysis (ABA), Skinner’s analysis of verbal behavior (VB), and established developmental milestones. The assessment program provides a clear and accurate picture of the whole child, including the child’s abilities, possible language, and learning barriers, and the type of instructional model and educational setting that might best suit an individual child. The overall program contains the following five components.

The Milestones Skills Assessment – Assesses 170 milestones balanced across 3 levels of typical development (0-18 months; 18-30 months; and 30-48 months). The milestones are quantifiable and measurable and can be used to document baseline and skill acquisition. The milestones cover 16 key domains (e.g., mand, tact, intraverbal, listener, visual perceptual, play, social, and early academic skills). One of the 16 areas, the echoic, includes the Early Echoic Skills Assessment (EESA) developed by Dr. Barbara Esch, SLP-CCC, BCBA-D.

The Barriers Assessment – Assesses 24 language and learning barriers that may be preventing a child of any age from making progress (e.g., prompt dependency, non-compliance, behavior problems, impaired minds, demand weakens motivation, sensory defensiveness). The VB-MAPP Guide contains an analysis of the results from each of the 24 areas and general suggestions that can be used to help establish intervention priorities.

The Transition Assessment – Assesses 18 different areas that can assist the IEP team in making a transition and educational placement decisions for a child (e.g., overall Milestones and Barriers scores, social skills, group learning, independent work, self-care skills, adaptability to change). The VB-MAPP Guide contains an analysis of the results from each of the 18 areas and general suggestions for types of educational services.

Teaching Language to Children with Autism or Other Developmental Disabilities

Teaching Language to Children with Autism or Other Developmental Disabilities is the foundation for anyone looking to implement a Verbal Behavior program.

Based on B.F. Skinners behavioral analysis of language and the extensive body of empirical research that supports it, Teaching Language presents a concrete language assessment and intervention program. Relying on the notion of errorless teaching, this manual explains the theory and methodology behind the Verbal Behavior approach to teaching children language. The first section of the book provides information regarding preparation for language intervention, including a brief language assessment with an interpretive guide in order to determine the best place to start intervention according to an individual child’s needs. There is also information on augmentative communication and how to assess it’s importance and necessity, as well as the form it should take. Section Two focuses on the development of initial communication skills for nonverbal children while Section Three focuses on teaching more advanced language and social skills. Section Four presents issues relevant to the implementation of a language program in a child’s natural and school environments. There are a variety of data sheets and tracking forms to guide you throughout the book.

The Authors

Mark L. Sundberg, Ph.D., BCBA-D

Mark Sundberg, Ph.D., BCBA-D received his doctorate degree in Applied Behavior Analysis from Western Michigan University (1980) under the direction of Dr. Jack Michael. He is the author of the VB-MAPP, and co-author of the original ABLLS and the book Teaching Language to Children with Autism or Other Developmental Disabilities. He has published over 50 professional papers and 6 book chapters. He is the founder and past editor of the journal The Analysis of Verbal Behavior, a twice past-president of The Northern California Association for Behavior Analysis, a past-chair of the Publication Board of ABAI, and has served on the Board of Directors of the B. F. Skinner Foundation.

Barbara Esch, Ph.D., BCBA-D, CCC-SLP

Barbara Esch, Ph.D., BCBA-D, CCC-SLP, is a behavior analyst and speech pathologist with over 30 years of experience in behavioral interventions for individuals with developmental disabilities.

She has worked in school, home, clinic, and hospital settings. Her workshops, training symposia, and research have been presented in the US, Canada, Europe, and Australia and focus on the use of behavioral procedures to improve speech, language, and feeding skills for individuals of all ages with a wide range of medical and educational diagnoses. Dr. Esch received her Ph.D. in Applied Behavior Analysis from Western Michigan University and her M.A. in Speech Pathology from Michigan State University.

James W. Partington Ph.D., BCBA-D 

James received his doctorate degree from Florida State University (1981) under the direction of Dr. Jon Bailey. He is the co-founder (along with Mary Ann Powers, Ph.D., BCBA-D) of Behavior Analysts, Inc.

He is a licensed psychologist with more than 45 years of experience working with children with autism or developmental disabilities.

Prior to co-founding Behavior Analysts, Inc., Dr. Partington taught undergraduate and graduate level courses in psychology and behavior analysis at a variety of academic institutions.


The VB-MAPP app provides an electronic scoring system for the VB-MAPP and much more. Learn more about the app on our site –

How do I pay via purchase order?

AVB Press accepts purchase orders (POs) from educational institutions, established companies, resellers, and government entities. Learn More

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Approved resellers may enter their purchase orders directly on this website. Learn More

How do I get a pricing quote?

To get a printable pricing quote for your order, assemble your order as usual and proceed to the “cart page.” You will see a “download cart as PDF button” you can use for this purpose.

Are there online courses available to learn how to do the VB-MAPP?

Yes, there are online courses available to learn how to conduct the VB-MAPP, many of which offer BCBA CEUs. Learn More

Is the VB-MAPP available in additional languages?

Yes, the VB-MAPP is currently available in 12 languages: Arabic, Castilian Spanish, English, French, Italian, Korean, Lithuanian, Mandarin, Polish, Russian, Mexican Spanish, and Turkish. The websites for these translations can be found on our FAQs page along with their availability as a printed or app version. Several upcoming translations are also identified

What if I have questions?

See our FAQ page or contact us via

Please Note: AVB Press staff are unable to answer clinical questions regarding individual children or programs.