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Abstract

The acquisition of verbal behavior can be difficult for some individuals with severe developmental disabilities. For two individuals who previously did not acquire picture exchange communication despite extensive efforts, we evaluated the effectiveness of using representative objects to teach mands for preferred items. In addition, we replicated and extended the findings of our previous research manipulating motivating operations (MO) for functional discriminated mands. Two individuals with developmental disabilities participated in a training procedure designed to teach two separate mands for two separate preferred items. Participants were taught to mand (e.g., for chips) using representative objects (e.g., empty bag of chips). Following training, the MO manipulation was used to assess for discriminated manding. This manipulation involved providing free access to one of the preferred items, such that there should be no motivation to ask for it, while motivation to ask for the other item remained in place. Results showed that both participants acquired at least a degree of discriminated manding using representative objects. At a minimum, a method was established to test complex discrimina- tions for preferred objects. Although we previously used this procedure in teaching picture card exchange discriminations, the current research extended previous research to individuals who were previously unresponsive to training and by using representative objects. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.