Extending the Mand Repertoire: Skill Sequence

Mand training doesn’t stop after the child can ask for a few things. As noted early in this training, we all ask for many things throughout the course of our day to day activities.

When teaching the mand, instructors need to consider when to introduce various specific mand skills. The following chart provides one possible sequence for teaching mands. The skills shaded in green represent skill items that are to be taught early in the mand training process and in sequence from the top of the chart toward the bottom. The skills shaded in blue represent skill items to be taught in sequence from top to bottom when the learner has acquired many exemplars of the skills listed in the initial sequence. Finally when the student has acquired the intermediate skills to strength, the areas shaded in lavender can be taught, again in sequence from top to bottom. Keep in mind that this skill sequence represents only a guide for decision making, the actual sequence for teaching individual students may vary based upon their rate of acquisition and motivational issues both between and across skills.

Colored squares on this chart indicate skill areas to be actively taught at each level.

This skill sequence was derived from the author’s experiences in the process of teaching mands as well as from sequences presented in both the ABLLS (Partington, 2007; Partington &Sundberg, 1998) and The VB-MAPP (Sundberg, unpublished manuscript). The sequence is presented as a general guide to an instructional sequence; the actual sequence in which students are taught may vary according to a number of variables.

Chart 13


Mand Skill AreaInitial InstructionIntermediate InstructionAdvanced Instruction
Establishing Social Interaction as Source of Reinforcement: Critical throughout   
Mands with Item/SD Present and Prompts   
Mands with Item/SD Present   
Extend Number of Items/Actions   
Mands Across Instructors   
Mands Across Settings   
Peer to Peer Manding   
Mands for Missing Items   
Mands Solely under Control of MO   
Establishes Audience Contact   
Mands for Negation: Remove item or stop activity   
Mands for Assistance: specifics (actions) and help   
Mands for People   
Mands for others to Attend to Specific Stimuli (items, activities, etc)   
Mands for others to Comment/Respond to Actions, Features, Possessions of Speaker   
2 component manding (action + noun, adjective + noun, action + adverb, action + action, noun + noun)   
Multiple Component (more than 2 components)   
Mands in Response to an MO related Question with Yes, No   
Mands with Prepositions   
Mands with Pronouns   
Manding for Peer Participation in Play or Activities   
Mands for Information   
Mands for Future Events   
Increasing Mean Length of Utterances to Sharpen Audience Control (Autoclitics)   
Conversational Mands   
Mands for Sympathy and Emotional Support   

In the following sections of this training manual we will describe the specific teaching procedures for the various skill areas identified in the skill sequence chart.