Updated: Feb 28
What are mandsManding, or requesting, is a critical skill for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) to learn. Manding refers to asking for something or making a request for a particular item, activity, or interaction. It is an essential component of communication and can help children with ASD to better express their needs and wants, as well as interact with their environment and others around them. Here are some strategies that can be used to increase manding in children with autism:
Teach functional communication: One of the most effective ways to increase manding in children with autism is to teach functional communication. This involves teaching the child to use words, gestures, pictures, or other means to make requests for things they need or want. The goal is to provide the child with a way to communicate their needs and wants in a way that is meaningful and effective. A speech-language pathologist (SLP) can work with the child and their family to develop a communication system that works best for them.
Use naturalistic teaching strategies: Naturalistic teaching strategies, such as incidental teaching and mand-modeling, can be used to increase manding in children with autism. These strategies involve teaching manding within the context of the child's natural environment and activities. For example, if the child is playing with blocks, the therapist might encourage them to request a specific block by holding it up and waiting for the child to ask for it. Over time, the therapist can gradually increase the level of prompting required for the child to make the request.
Use prompting and fading: Prompting and fading is a strategy used to help the child learn new skills by gradually reducing the level of assistance provided. For example, if the child is learning to make requests, the therapist might start by providing a full prompt, such as saying "I want," and waiting for the child to fill in the blank. Over time, the therapist can gradually fade the prompt by saying "I w-" and waiting for the child to complete the request. This helps the child to gradually learn how to make requests independently.
Reinforce manding: Reinforcement is a key component of increasing manding in children with autism. When the child makes a request, it is important to provide them with a positive reinforcement, such as praise, a high-five, or access to the requested item. This helps to reinforce the behavior and increase the likelihood that the child will make requests in the future. It is important to provide reinforcement immediately after the child makes the request, as this helps to strengthen the connection between the behavior and the consequence.
Use motivating items and activities: It is important to use motivating items and activities to encourage manding in children with autism. This can help to increase the child's interest in making requests and make the learning process more enjoyable. For example, if the child is motivated by toys, the therapist might use a specific toy to encourage the child to make a request for it. This can help to increase the child's motivation to communicate and increase the likelihood that they will make requests in the future.
Create opportunities for manding: Creating opportunities for manding is another effective strategy for increasing manding in children with autism. This can involve setting up situations where the child is likely to make requests, such as putting their favorite toy out of reach or giving them only a small amount of a preferred snack. This can encourage the child to make requests for the things they want or need, and provide opportunities for reinforcement.
Use peer modeling: Peer modeling is a strategy that involves using other children to model appropriate behavior. This can be particularly effective for increasing manding in children with autism, as they may be more likely to imitate the behavior of their peers. The therapist can use peer modeling to encourage the child to make requests.
Use visual supports: Visual supports can be a helpful tool for increasing manding in children with autism. This can include visual schedules, picture cards, or other visual aids that help the child to communicate their needs and wants. These visual supports can help to reduce the child's frustration and increase their ability to make requests in a structured and predictable way.
Use technology: Technology can be a useful tool for increasing manding in children with autism. There are a variety of apps and software programs available that can help to teach functional communication and increase manding. These tools can be customized to the child's individual needs and preferences, and can provide a fun and interactive way to learn new skills.
Use positive behavior support: Positive behavior support is a strategy used to promote positive behavior and reduce challenging behavior in children with autism. This approach focuses on identifying the underlying reasons for the child's behavior and developing strategies to address these underlying needs. By providing the child with the supports they need to communicate effectively, manding can be increased and challenging behavior can be reduced.
Involve the family: It is important to involve the child's family in the process of increasing manding. This can include providing the family with training and support to help them reinforce manding skills at home, as well as involving them in the therapy process. By working together, the child's family and therapist can create a consistent and supportive environment that promotes the development of manding skills.
Use natural consequences: Natural consequences are consequences that occur naturally as a result of a behavior. For example, if the child asks for a toy, the natural consequence is that they get the toy. By using natural consequences to reinforce manding, the child can learn that making requests leads to positive outcomes. This can help to increase the likelihood that the child will continue to make requests in the future.
Use task analysis: Task analysis is a strategy used to break down complex skills into smaller, more manageable steps. This can be a helpful tool for increasing manding in children with autism. The therapist can use task analysis to identify the specific steps involved in making a request, and provide the child with opportunities to practice each step individually before putting them together.
Use video modeling: Video modeling is a strategy that involves showing the child a video of someone else making a request. This can be a helpful tool for increasing manding in children with autism, as it provides them with a visual example of how to make a request. The therapist can use video modeling to demonstrate the steps involved in making a request, and provide the child with opportunities to practice these skills in a supportive and structured environment.
Overall, increasing manding in children with autism is an important component of communication and can help to improve the child's quality of life. By using a variety of strategies, including functional communication, naturalistic teaching strategies, prompting and fading, reinforcement, motivating items and activities, peer modeling, visual supports, technology, social stories, positive behavior support, involving the family, using natural consequences, task analysis, and video modeling, therapists and families can work together to help children with autism develop the communication skills they need to interact effectively with their environment and the people around them.