THE VBA EXPERIENCE: WHAT MAKES US DIFFERENT
OUR BEHAVIORALLY-BASED CURRICULUM & LANGUAGE PROGRAMS EXCEED INDUSTRY STANDARDS
VBA’s language development curriculum and instructional programs are based on the Verbal Behavior Development Theory (VBDT) pioneered by Dr. R. Douglas Greer and colleagues out of Columbia University. The VBDT, in short, provides a behavioral- based account of language development that outlines a sequence of critical behavioral cusps necessary for initial language acquisition and subsequent development of more complex social repertoires.
Behavioral psychologists in developmental psychology use the terms “behavioral developmental cusp” to refer to critical developmental milestones that when acquired, result in significant changes in the environment and learning opportunities that an individual could not contact prior to acquisition of the cusp. Take, for example, walking. Once a child is able to walk, his world suddenly expands, as he is able to see, do, and explore more of his environment. All of these new opportunities set the stage for learning new skills and shaping behavior
Verbal Behavior Associates’ language intervention programs are designed to induce behavior cusps related to language acquisition and development (verbal behavior cusps). Specifically, our programs aim to teach skills under the appropriate motivational conditions, and for a particular type of reinforcer; in doing so, we don’t just teach a child to talk, we teach the child to want to talk.
In addition, Verbal Behavior Associates focuses not simply on what children learn, but more importantly, how they learn. Children cannot rely on direct instruction for all the skills they will need to know; they must be able to learn in various ways, through observing others or simply through exposure to new things happening in their environment. VBA implements instructional protocols to induce these learning repertoires for children who are missing them, increasing their chances of success across various types of environments.
OUR INSTRUCTION AND STUDENT PROGRAMMING ARE ENTIRELY LEARNER DRIVEN
We strongly believe that “the student is always right”. All children are capable of learning, and as teachers, we need to adapt our teaching strategies based on our students’ responding to ensure success. We continually measure the effectiveness of our instructional programs and procedures through moment to moment data collection on all target skills and graphical displays of progress. All of our behavior interventionists are trained to analyze student data, following an instructional decision-making protocol, and they do so daily. When it is determined that a student is having difficulty acquiring skills for any particular program, we will implement additional instructional tactics or change aspects of the instructional procedure to ensure that skill acquisition occurs. Once it is determined that the student is progressing, instructional tactics are then faded out so that the student acquires the skill at the independent level.
OUR CLINICAL TEAM PROVIDES THE HIGHEST LEVEL OF CARE AND EXPERTISE
All VBA team members have direct access to our senior clinical staff, who are experts in the science of teaching and education. Not only do our clinical directors and senior managers have much experience in practicing behavior analysis, collectively, they have decades of experience in applying behavior analysis to teaching, having worked with various populations of students across all types of classroom settings ranging from mod-severe to general education. They provide frequent, on-going training to all levels of our clinical staff to meet the needs of our students, and are available to consult, assist, or provide support for any of our students when deemed necessary.