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Manding: Applied Verbal Behaviour (AVB) Approach

Manding is “Requesting”

Communication, on the other hand, requires less ability. Communication is defined as any set of interactions ( eg. Self-injurious behaviors, body language, crying) that transits information. It this case the individual just needs to want to convey information.

Language is composed of several complex elements but has basically been defined as “the use of arbitrary symbols, with accepted referents, that can be arranged in different sequences to convey different meanings”. (Lefrancois, 1995)

Language has forms and function. Communicative forms refer to the types of behaviors used to communicate (e.g. gestures, pointing, head movements, aggression, whining, and speech). There are many communicative functions common to individuals with mild to moderate to severe disabilities. They include Requesting ( manding), Protesting, responding to social initiatives, Initiating and maintaining social interactions, Seeking comfort, Expressing interest in the environment, Communicating experiences not shared and Play acting or pretending. One such form is Manding.

Manding and a Manding session: A mand is a request. It can be for an object, attention, a break or information etc. Therefore manding is requesting. Manding session: Any time or any amount of day can be dedicated to having a child ask for desired items/activities. During the manding session:

  • All requests should be granted and no other demands should be placed on the student, with the exception of general quiet sitting and some eye contacts.
  • The student is expected to use the best quality mands he/she is capable of making ( point, word, sentence etc).

Importance of manding: It is very hard for individuals to communicate their wants and needs known. Manding can prove an effective tool as:

  • Manding can help child communicate their wants and needs. This way can help reduce their level of frustrations and therefore help behaviours.
  • Manding has also been used as an effective tool to increase the expressive language for many children with special needs. This way they can prompted to be more independent in their communication.

Mands types: A mand can take the form of a

  • Gesture ( point, grab)
  • A sound (grunt, syllable)
  • A word (Cookie)
  • A sentence ( I want cookie)
  • More complex language expression (Mom, can you get me a cookie please?)

Manding session at home: Parents can have a manding session at home with their child. They do not have to be trained as professionals to assist in the development of their kid’s language.

  • First, gather some items (foods, toys etc) that your child might enjoy. It helps to have activities with parts of puzzles missing or foods/drinks in containers with spoon or straws missing. Child will mand for the missing parts or will ask for help. This way creating opportunities to communicate the needs and wants.
  • Second, choose the time when your child is not already involved in a preferred activity and you can give your undivided attention to have a successful manding session.
  • Third, choose a place in which there are seats (floor is fine) for both you and your child. Also, you will need to have control over the items (your child can’t get to them without asking you for them).
  • Fourth, invite your child to do something fun, have them sit and attend briefly and begin to show them the fun things you have for them until they ask for something.

Finally, the session can be as frequently as every day or just once per week. Frequency can also be decided based on the needs and wants of the child and time prefer ability on parent’s side.


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