Tacting – Way More than Just a Label


Submitted by:  Star Lipe, M.S., BCBA

A great way to increase production of spontaneous language is to encourage and develop your child’s tacting repertoire. Tacting is a fancy term for saying labeling. For example, if you ask your child, “What is this?” while showing a picture of a dog and they respond with “It’s a dog,” that is a tact.

Typically developing children will label or tact an item because they are provided with social attention. A child may point to a bug and say, “Bug!” and most likely their parent will make some sort of comment about the bug such as, “Wow, that’s a huge bug. Watch out or it might get you!” and start to tickle their child. This beginning interaction opens the door for conversation skills.

At Reaching Milestones we have started an Intensive Tacting procedure. We place posters of different items that our kiddos like around the clinic. We stop in front of the posters and teach our kiddos to touch one of the pictures and label it. After they label it, we make a comment about it, much like a parent would do naturally and provide social attention and maybe even an edible. The more praise and social attention we provide for their labeling around the clinic, the more it will happen. Our eventual goal is for our kiddos to point to something that’s in the natural environment and label it. When this happens, we provide a bunch social attention and praise – our kiddo just began a conversation!