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Changes in language development among autistic and peer children in segregated and integrated preschool settings


Five young children with autism enrolled in a segregated class, five other children with autism in an integrated class, and four normally developing peer children in the integrated class were compared for developmental changes in language ability as measured by the Preschool Language Scale before and after training. The results, based on Mann- Whitney U tests, showed that (a) all of the children as a group made better than normative progress in rate of language development, (b) the scores of the autistic children were significantly lower than the peers before and after treatment, and (c) there were no significant differences in changes in language ability between the autistic children in the segregated and integrated classes.

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Author information

Correspondence to Sandra L. Harris.

Additional information

Our thanks to our young participants and their parents and to the staff members who created these fine environments for learning. Thanks also to Felicia Fuentes for help with assessment, to Michael Alessandri and Mary Jane Gill who coordinated the research, and to Maria Arnold for coordinating educational planning.

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Harris, S.L., Handleman, J.S., Kristoff, B. et al. Changes in language development among autistic and peer children in segregated and integrated preschool settings. J Autism Dev Disord 20, 23–31 (1990).

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  • Young Child
  • School Psychology
  • Developmental Change
  • Language Development
  • Autistic Child