Original Paper

Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 38, Issue 1, pp 86-103

Observational and Incidental Learning by Children with Autism during Small Group Instruction

  • Jennifer R. LedfordAffiliated withT. Carl Buice School, Gwinnett County Public SchoolsCommunication Sciences and Special Education Department, University of Georgia Email author 
  • , David L. GastAffiliated withCommunication Sciences and Special Education Department, University of Georgia
  • , Deanna LuscreAffiliated withCommunication Sciences and Special Education Department, University of Georgia
  • , Kevin M. AyresAffiliated withCommunication Sciences and Special Education Department, University of Georgia

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Abstract

This study evaluated the acquisition of incidental and observational information presented to 6 children with autism in a small group instructional arrangement using a constant time delay (CTD) procedure. A multiple probe design across behaviors, replicated across 6 participants, was used to evaluate the effectiveness of the CTD procedure and to assess each student’s ability to read another student’s words and identify related pictures. Generalization was assessed in natural conditions using a pre- and post-test paradigm. Results indicate that, despite their documented deficits in social awareness and imitation, students learned observational and incidental information during small group instruction. Educational implications with regard to small group instruction are discussed.

Keywords

Autism Observational learning Incidental learning Small group instruction Instructive feedback Sight word reading Constant time delay (CTD)