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BACA’s Dr. Carl Sundberg will be presenting at this year’s National Autism Conference at Penn State University on Aug. 4th.

The Benefits of Using Sign Language to Teach Mands and Other Verbal Operants to Nonvocal Students with Autism:

Students with autism who do not emit vocal response forms are at a tremendous disadvantage when it comes to expressive language. This is the case for all of the verbal operants but it is the lack of or a defective mand repertoire that imposes the most limitations on the student. Selection-based systems such as PECS and iPads can be very helpful, but there are many inherent limitations with a selection-based system. This workshop will focus on the benefits of teaching sign language to children and adults with autism (and other developmental disabilities). The participants will learn the difference between the two primary types of response forms: topography-based (e.g., sign language) and selection-based (e.g., picture exchange). Advantages and disadvantages of each will be discussed. The participants will learn how to use signs to teach mands, tacts and intraverbals, how sign language can actually help with listener discriminations and complex (e.g., multiple step) direction following, and the primary reasons why a sign language program may fail and how to avoid these pitfalls will also be discussed.

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