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Is there an electronic version of the assessment?

 Yes, the VB-MAPP App is available from the Apple iTunes store. The VB-MAPP App allows the user to complete the assessment on the Apple iPad. The App offers portability and does not require an internet connection once it has been downloaded. The App has no monthly or yearly subscription, and additional students can be added as needed. For more information go to or the iTunes store.

There is also a

new web-based VB-MAPP

that can be used with any device or platform that has internet access (

For what ages can the VB-MAPP be used?

The VB-MAPP can be helpful for an individual of any age whose language skills are not commensurate with the language skills of a 4-year-old typically developing child. Keep in mind that a typically developing 4-year-old has some very sophisticated language skills. The Barriers Assessment and the Transition Assessment components in the VB-MAPP may reveal problems that affect individuals of any age, such as prompt dependency, difficulty adapting to change, or when demands weaken their motivation.

Can the VB-MAPP be used for individuals with other developmental disabilities?

The VB-MAPP can be helpful for any individual who demonstrates language delays, regardless of the disability.

How does the VB-MAPP compare to other assessments?

There are two studies that compare commonly used assessments for children with autism or other developmental disabilities with the VB-MAPP. A study by Esch, LaLonde, & Esch, J. W. (2010) reviewed 28 commonly used assessments for the treatment of autism and concluded, “Most speech-language assessments in widespread use today evaluate response topographies (forms of responses) alone, without regard for a functional analysis of the causal variables” (p. 166). For example, 26 of the 28 assessment programs reviewed failed to provide a measure of a student’s ability to mand. These authors point out that the VB-MAPP contains a functional analysis of language, and includes a mand assessment component.

A similar study by Gould, Dixon, Najdowski, Smith, & Tarbox (2011) is also available (with that journal's subscription) and compares 30 assessments, including the ABLLS-R, Bayley, Brigance... and the VB-MAPP. These authors reviewed the 30 assessments in the following categories: comprehension, targets child development, considers behavior function not just topography, link from the assessment to curricula targets, and useful for tracking child progress over time. The authors concluded: “After reviewing the assessments described above, only four meet our original five criteria most closely: the VB-MAPP, Brigance IED-II, VABS-II, and CIBS-R.” 

Does the VB-MAPP assess self-care skills?

The VB-MAPP does assess some self-care skills. However, the main focus of the VB-MAPP is on communication, social skills, barriers, and behavioral characteristics that are often demonstrated by individuals with autism. Self-care skills are an important part of the child’s growing independence and should be assessed and taught using procedures derived from applied behavior analysis (e.g., prompting, fading, breaking down tasks as needed). On the website there is checklist of self-care skills which can be downloaded and printed as needed to complete your child’s program. See the Self-care checklist among the Downloads at 

Is the VB-MAPP standardized?

The VB-MAPP is a criterion-referenced assessment - it is not a standardized (norm referenced) assessment. 

How does ABA that includes Verbal Behavior (VB) compare to other ABA approaches?

 A verbal behavior approach to language assessment and intervention shares many common aspects with other ABA approaches. Both are based on the procedures, teaching techniques, and accumulated evidence-based data derived from the field of Applied Behavior Analysis. The approaches differ in terms of the analysis of language that provides the foundation for the assessment program and intervention curriculum used in each approach. The foundation for the verbal behavior approach is based on Skinner’s (1957) analysis of language where he provides an alternative to the traditional cognitive view of language characterized by the expressive-receptive framework common to most ABA programs. For more information on the value of Skinner’s analysis of verbal behavior for children with autism, and some distinctions between the two general approaches the reader is referred to Petursdottir and Carr, (2011), and Sundberg and Michael (2001).

How long does it take to conduct the assessment?

The amount of time it takes to conduct the VB-MAPP depends on the level of the individual being tested, his or her cooperation, availability of materials, and the skill of the assessor. In general, for a trained assessor it will take approximately 1-3 hours for a child who scores at Level 1 (beginner), 3-6 total hours for a child at Level 2 (intermediate), and 6-10 total hours for a child scoring at Level 3 (advanced).

Who can conduct the assessment?

Language assessment is not an easy process. While we tried to make the VB-MAPP as user friendly as possible, there are still several necessary prerequisite skills to conduct the assessment. Here are five skills sets: 1) It is essential that the tester have a basic understanding of Skinner’s (1957) analysis of verbal behavior. For example, in order to assess a child’s mand repertoire, the tester must understand what a mand is, and how the mand is related to motivating operations (MOs); 2) knowledge in basic behavior analysis. For example, being aware of the subtleties of the various types of prompts, and being able to determine if a response is controlled by inadvertent prompting, is essential for determining exactly what skills a child has truly mastered; 3) it is also important that the assessor be familiar with basic linguistic structure; 4) be familiar with the linguistic development of typically developing children; 5) and, have a good understanding of autism and other types of developmental disabilities. Finally as with any language assessment tool, one must read and study the manual, and practice administering the tool. The more skilled a person is in all of these areas the more s/he will get out of the assessment.

Are there translations of the VB-MAPP into other languages?

The VB-MAPP is now available in Chinese, French (app/web-based only), Italian, Polish, Russian, and Spanish (app/web-based only). It will be available in several other languages by later 2016. If you would like to receive a notice about the VB-MAPP translations join the VB-MAPP Facebook and we will post information as it becomes available.

Are there on-line courses available to learn how to do the VB-MAPP?

There are on-line courses on Verbal Behavior assessment and intervention available from the Florida Institute for Technology. These courses offer CEU's for Board Certified Behavior Analysts There is also a two-hour on-line VB-MAPP course for scoring the assessment offered by

Are there specific materials that should be used to conduct the assessment?

The person conducting the assessment should have a VB-MAPP Guide and each individual being assessed should have their own Protocol. Many of the materials recommended to conduct the assessment can often be found in classrooms and/or home. There is a suggested materials list in the VB-MAPP Guide. There is also a VB-MAPP Kit sold through Different Roads to Learning.

Does the VB-MAPP have validity?

Validity for the intraverbal section of the VB-MAPP is demonstrated in a study by Sundberg and Sundberg (2011) “Intraverbal behavior and verbal conditional discriminations in typically developing children and children with autism.”

Can I get an idea of how to set up an ABA/VB program?

There is a free webinar that will give you starting points for your program available through Autism Training Solutions; click on Resources, then webinar, and scroll down to the talk by Mary Lynch Barbera, Ph.D., BCBA, Ten Key Components Needed for an Effective Autism Program Regardless of Age, Ability Level or Setting.

Are there demonstrations of how the VB-MAPP is being used?

If you are interested in seeing how the VB-MAPP is being used by professionals and parents, there are presentations available on-line. For a few examples see:

On YouTube “BACA Parent/Therapist Testimonial Jace” or “Mia’s Journey, the Verbal Behavior Approach” or “Behavior Analysis Center for Autism – BACA”

Through the Florida Institute of Technology, Applied Behavior Analysis Program Presentation by Amiris DiPuglia, M.D., BCBA from the Pennsylvania Training and Technical Network titled “Large Scale Implementation of the Verbal Behavior Model.” This presentation demonstrates meaningful gains, and use of the VB-MAPP throughout 170+ public school classrooms

Presentation by Mary Barbera, Ph.D., BCBA “The Verbal Behavior Approach: Home Programming for Children with Autism,” also available at

Are there downloadable materials from the web that can be used?

There are several websites that offer free downloadable pictures that can be used for teaching skills such as tacting/labeling, listener/receptive, matching to sample, listener responding by feature, function and class (LRFFC), and some websites offer clever ideas and tips for both assessment and intervention. For example browse the links at

Where can I attend a training?

The author of the VB-MAPP, Dr. Mark Sundberg, presents at conferences, and does 2-3 day trainings that are either private or open to the public (see the schedule at

Has the VB-MAPP been used in research?

The VB-MAPP has been used as a tool to measure the participants' verbal skills in studies published in several different journals including the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis (JABA), The Analysis of Verbal Behavior Journal (TAVB), Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, Behavior Analysis in Practice, and Education and Treatment of Children (ETC). It has also been used in several studies presented at conferences. Below are some of the research studies that have used the VB-MAPP as a measurement tool.

Charania, S.M., LeBlanc, L.A., Sabanathan, Narmatha, Ktaetch, I.A., Carr, J.E., & Gunby, K., (2010). Teaching effective hand raising to children with autism during group instruction. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 43, 493-497.

Geiger, K.B., LeBlanc, L.A., Dillon, C.M., & Bates, S.L. (2010). An evaluation of preference for video and in vivo modeling, Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 43, 279-283.

Grannan, L., & Rehfeldt, R.A. (2012). Emergent intraverbal responses via tact and match-to-sample instruction. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 45, 601-605.

Gunby, K.V., Carr, J.E., & LeBlanc, L.A. (2010). Teaching abduction-prevention skills to children with autism, Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 43, 107-112.

Humphreys, T., Polick, A. S., Howk, L. L., Thaxton, J. R, & Ivancic, A. P. (2013). An evaluation of repeating the discriminative stimulus when using least-to-most prompting to teach intraverbal behavior to children with autism. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 46, 534-538.

Kaitlin G., Causin, K. G., Albert, K. M., Carbone, V. J., & Sweeney-Kerwin, E. J. (2013). The role of joint control in teaching listener responding to children with autism and other developmental disabilities. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 7, 997-1011.

Kobari-Wright, V.V., & Miguel, C. F. (2014). The effects of listener training on the emergence of categorization and speaker behavior by children with autism. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 47, 431-436.

Koehler-Platten, K., Grow, L. L., Schulze, K. A., Bertone, T. (2013). Using a lag schedule of reinforcement to increase phonemic variability in children with autism spectrum disorders. The Analysis of Verbal Behavior, 29, 71-83.

Lepper, T.A., Petursdottir, A. I., & Esch, B. A. (2013). Effects of operant discrimination training on the vocalizations of nonverbal children with autism. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 46, 656–661.

Lorah, E., Tincani, M., Dodge, J., Gilroy, S, Hickey, A., & Hantula, D. (2013). Evaluating picture exchange and the iPad as a speech generating device to teach communication to young children with autism. Journal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities, 25, 637-649.

Loughrey, T. O., Betz, A. M., Majdalany, L. M., & Nicholson, K. (2014). Using instructive feedback to teach category names to children with autism. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 47, 425-430.

Marchese, N.V., Carr, J.E., LeBlanc, L.A., Rosati, T.C., & Conroy, S.A. (2012). The effects of the question “what is this?” on tact training outcomes of children with autism. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 45 (3) 539-547

Polick, A.S., Carr, J.E., & Hanney, N.M.A., (2012). A comparison of general and descriptive praise in teaching intraverbal behavior to children with autism. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 45, 593-605.

Vandbakk, M., Arntzen, E., Gisnaas, A., Antonsen, V., & Gundhus, T., (2012). Effect of training different classes of verbal behavior to decrease aberrant verbal behavior. The Analysis of Verbal Behavior, 28, 137-144.

Watts, A. C., Wilder, D. A., Gregory, M. K., Leon, Y. & Ditzian, K. (2013). The effects of rules on differential reinforcement of other behavior. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 46, 680-684.


Esch, B. E., LaLonde, K. B., & Esch, J. W. (2010). Speech and language assessment: A verbal behavior analysis. The Journal of Speech-Language Pathology and Applied Behavior Analysis, 5, 166-191.

Gould, E., Dixon, D. R., Najdowski, A. C., Smith, M. N., & Tarbox, J (2011). A review of assessments for determining the content of early intensive behavioral intervention programs for autism spectrum disorders. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders.

Petursdottir, A.I., Carr, J.E. A review of recommendations for sequencing receptive and expressive language instruction, Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 44, 859-876 2011

Skinner, B. F. (1957). Verbal behavior. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts.

Sundberg, M. L., & Michael, J. (2001). The value of Skinner’s analysis of verbal behavior for teaching children with autism. Behavior Modification, 25, 698-724.

Sundberg, M. L., & Sundberg, C. A. (2011). Intraverbal behavior and verbal conditional discriminations in typically developing children and children with autism. The Analysis of Verbal Behavior, 27, 23-43.