Count and Mand Procedure
If any of you have experience with ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) or the Verbal Behavior Approach (VBA) then you have probably heard the word "mand". A "mand" is generally a "request." Initially, we taught our non-verbal child to "mand" for candy. When he would use sign language to ask for "candy" then we would give him the candy. If your child uses PECS or an Augmentive Communication Device then they would either point to or hand you the "candy" picture or press the "candy" button when requesting candy from you.
Sometimes, our kiddos think it is better to scream, yell, flop on the ground or even aggressively get that candy (or another item, or your attention, or any other desired reinforcer or activity.) This is where "Count and Mand" comes in!
Here is a VERY BASIC description of the procedure:
1. Calmly tell your child to stop the particular behavior (no kicking, no screaming, or simply say "quiet!")
2. Begin Counting (not out loud, but by showing your fingers). When you first start using this strategy start by counting to FIVE, then work up to counting to TEN.
3. If problem behavior continues during the time you are "counting" - RESTART THE COUNT at ONE! *** If your child runs away, stop counting and do your own thing (go back to what you were doing). Don't follow the child (unless they are in imminent danger). - Did I really need to put that last "disclaimer" in there? LOL
4. When you reach your "Count" (5 or 10) without the undesired behavior then prompt your child to "mand" or request the thing they wanted (candy, hug, snowcone, park, whatever) with their acceptable form of communication (Words, Signing, PECS, Communication Device) without the previous negative behavior.
5. Immediately deliver the reinforcer (candy, etc.) when they "mand" for the item properly.