Verbal modules are a very important part of teaching. They allow one to assess and teach the child to discriminate between multiple verbal SDs about a single item. Many children on the Autism spectrum may pay more attention to the visual stimulus provided than to the verbal question asked. If a separate visual stimulus (picture or object) is used to teach and review each of the mastered skills, it is easy to get an inaccurate view of the child's ability to respond to each specific verbal SD. Therefore, it is imperative that multiple SDs be given regarding the same visual stimulus to be sure the child is discriminating the questions.
Verbal modules can be thought of as a "conversation" about a single item present. Early on, this will be a pretty "one sided" conversation as the instructor will be doing most of the question "asking" and the child will be doing most of the question "answering". As the child learns and is reinforced by asking different forms of mands for information (asking questions), this "conversation" will become more typical.
To be sure the verbal module doesn't turn into a "drill session", be sure to mix in a many different verbal operants (receptive, tact, intraverbal). Only ask known responses. If the child has difficulty responding, use fill-ins as prompts. The following is an example of a verbal module for a child who has mastered many features, functions and classes as well as tacts of adjectives, parts, functions and some reversal fill-ins.
Instructor: Wow! Look at this elephant! Can you find his tusks? Child: touches tusks (receptive) What else does an elephant have? Child: a trunk (tact part) Inst: I think he's hungry! When we're hungry we Child: eat (intraverbal fill-in) Inst: I think elephants like to eat p-nuts. Can you find a p-nut? Child: Gets p-nut (receptive) Inst: What do elephant's eat? Child: p-nuts (prompted tact feature) Inst: Let's feed the elephant. Child: feeds elephant (receptive) Inst: What size is an elephant? Child: big (tact feature/adjective) Inst: That's right smartie! And what color is an elephant? (tact feature/adjective) Child: gray Inst: Wow! You sure know a lot about elephants! I think the elephant wants to go home. An elephant lives in a Child: zoo (prompted tact feature) Inst: Right! Let's take him to the zoo! (put elephant out of sight in a pretend zoo) Inst: Where does an elephant live? Child: zoo (prompted intraverbal reversal "Where" question)