, Volume 17, Issue 2, pp 187-200

A natural language teaching paradigm for nonverbal autistic children

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Abstract

The purpose of this study was to attempt to improve verbal language acquisition for nonverbal autistic children by manipulating traditional teaching techniques so they incorporated parameters of natural language interactions and motivational techniques. Within a multiple baseline design, treatment was conducted in a baseline condition with trials presented serially in a traditional analogue clinical format where the therapist presented instructions, prompts, and reinforcers for correct responses. Then, these variables were manipulated in the natural language teaching condition such that (a) stimulus items were functional and varied, (b) natural reinforcers were employed, (c) communicative attempts were also reinforced, and (d) trials were conducted within a natural interchange. Treatment and generalization data demonstrated that manipulation of these variables resulted in broadly generalized treatment gains. Implications for language intervention are discussed.