Teaching Children with Autism, continued
Intraverbals involve the ability to talk about something not present. Intraverbals play a major role in social interactions, usually in the form of answers to questions such as “How are you?” and “What did you do today?” The child’s use of intraverbals typically grows out of being taught all the many associations of a word, including the named item’s features, functions, and the broader class to which it belongs.
Teaching Feature, Function & Class
Receptive Language : “Touch cow.”
Receptive Language by Feature, Function and Class: “Show me the one that says, ‘Moo’ ” “Point to the one that gives us milk?” “Which one is an animal?”
Expressive Language by Feature, Function and Class (i.e., expecting a verbal response): “What does a cow say?” (‘Moo?’) “Which one gives us milk?” (from a number of animals) “And a cow is an…?”
Once a child is able to identify and/or describe an object by its features, functions and class while the object is present, intraverbals are taught by teaching the same responses with the object absent (usually immediately afterwards). It is intraverbals that take language beyond rote learning and make it really useful; and as McGreevy says, we want the language that the child learns to be useful within his/her social context.