Nicole Lempa » Manding Guide for Parents

Manding Guide for Parents

Manding (requesting) is asking for things you want and is strengthened by getting them.

Manding can be done in many ways. Children can mand by bringing you to what they want, pointing or gesturing towards what they want, and using different response forms (vocal, sign language, or a picture based method).


*Be sure to set up lots of opportunities throughout the day to practice manding!

Setting Up Your Home Environment

The physical environment plays a large role in motivating your child to interact and communicate with others.  Free access (having items easily available to them) to preferred items hinders the development and expansion of communication and interaction with others. To increase motivation, social opportunities, and communicative opportunities, valuable items should be placed out of reach. Manding teaches your child the value of communication and of the people within their environment. Manding cannot successfully occur when free access to preferred items is given. Therefore, it is important to arrange your home environment so that highly valued items can only be obtained through communication with others. Some ways that this can be done include:

  •      Putting items in a container (preferably clear) that your child cannot open.
  •      Breaking up food items into small pieces (break cookies and crackers into small pieces, cut fruit snacks into pieces, etc.) and placing them in clear baggies or in a container (preferably with a clear lid). For example, one baggie with oreo cookies, one baggie with chocolate chip cookies, one baggie with crackers, and one baggie with fruit snacks.
  •      Separating toys that have multiple pieces in a bin and taken apart (ex. Mr. Potato head with pieces in a bag, the farm with the animals in a container within the bin, a car ramp on a shelf with cars in a container, etc.)

This will help foster naturally occuring mands (requests)!

Setting Up For a Mand Session:

Before you begin a manding session with your child, decide which preferred items you will offer them. You want to use items and activities that your child really likes and is motivated for. What controls the mand is MOTIVATION. To keep motivation strong, we have to pay attention to different variables that influence motivation such as the variety of preferred items/activities available, the timing of your delivery, the number of times you deliver the same item, and the variety of ways you deliver the item/activity. For instance, you wouldn’t want to do a manding session with Mr. Potato head if your child just finished playing with it. However, if it is close to snack time, this would be a good opportunity to have a manding session with preferred snacks. Some tips include:

  •      Picking items that your child can request for multiple times during the session.
  •      Remembering to place the items out of your child’s reach. You can do this by holding items up high, or having the items in a container/baggie by you.
  •      Switching the activities/items often.
  •      While playing with toys/activities, make it fun! For example, hold your child’s hands on a trampoline so they can jump higher, or have the cars go fast and slow down a ramp and then drive them to different places.
  •      Varying when you offer the item/activity to your child. You don’t want your child to think they have to work too hard to get the desired item/activity. You want this to be fun for your child and not too effortful!
  •      Try to be a “giver” not a “taker.” You want your child to see you as the person who gives them good things.
  •      Stop delivering and move to another item/activity before it loses value. By doing this, it will make it more likely that when you offer the item/activity again, it will still have value.
  •      If motivation is not in place, try to make the item/activity more fun or switch to something else.

These are general guidelines. Please work with your child’s teacher and speech language pathologist.