Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 34, Issue 2, pp 95-113

Effects of a Computer-Based Intervention Program on the Communicative Functions of Children with Autism

  • Orit E. HetzroniAffiliated withSpecial Education, Faculty of Education, University of Haifa
  • , Juman TannousAffiliated withSpecial Education, Faculty of Education, University of Haifa

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This study investigated the use of computer-based intervention for enhancing communication functions of children with autism. The software program was developed based on daily life activities in the areas of play, food, and hygiene. The following variables were investigated: delayed echolalia, immediate echolalia, irrelevant speech, relevant speech, and communicative initiations. Multiple-baseline design across settings was used to examine the effects of the exposure of five children with autism to activities in a structured and controlled simulated environment on the communication manifested in their natural environment. Results indicated that after exposure to the simulations, all children produced fewer sentences with delayed and irrelevant speech. Most of the children engaged in fewer sentences involving immediate echolalia and increased the number of communication intentions and the amount of relevant speech they produced. Results indicated that after practicing in a controlled and structured setting that provided the children with opportunities to interact in play, food, and hygiene activities, the children were able to transfer their knowledge to the natural classroom environment. Implications and future research directions are discussed.

Autism functional communication computers echolalia