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Comparing Acquisition, Generalization, Maintenance, and Preference Across Three AAC Options in Four Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

  • Laurie McLay
  • Larah van der Meer
  • Martina C. M. Schäfer
  • Llyween Couper
  • Emma McKenzie
  • Mark F. O’Reilly
  • Giulio E. Lancioni
  • Peter B. Marschik
  • Vanessa A. Green
  • Jeff Sigafoos
  • Dean Sutherland
ORIGINAL ARTICLE

Abstract

We compared acquisition, generalization, maintenance, and preference for three AAC options. Four children with autism spectrum disorder were taught to use (a) a manual sign, (b) a picture exchange card, and (c) a speech-generating device to request toys. Intervention was staggered across children in a delayed multiple-probe design with acquisition and maintenance compared in an alternating treatments design. Generalization to new settings and people and preference for using each option were assessed. Three of the four children reached the acquisition criterion with each AAC option in 15 to 65 trials. One child learned to use the speech-generating device and picture exchange card in 20 and 40 trials, respectively, but failed to learn the manual sign. Two children showed generalization across settings and people with picture exchange and the speech-generating device and one child showed generalization with all three options. One child showed generalization across settings with the picture exchange card. Maintenance was relatively better with the speech-generating device and picture exchange card and the children most often chose the speech-generating device during the preference assessments. The results suggest comparable acquisition, but better generalization and maintenance with AAC options that involve selecting a graphic symbol.

Keywords

Augmentative and alternative communication Autism spectrum disorder Maintenance Manual signing Picture exchange Preference Generalization Requesting Speech-generating device 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The study was supported by a grant from the New Zealand Government through the Marsden Fund Council, administered by the Royal Society of New Zealand; and by Victoria University of Wellington, The University of Canterbury, and The New Zealand Institute of Language, Brain & Behaviour. We acknowledge and appreciate all the time and energy contributed by the children, their families and school staff who participated in this study.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Laurie McLay
    • 1
  • Larah van der Meer
    • 2
  • Martina C. M. Schäfer
    • 1
  • Llyween Couper
    • 1
  • Emma McKenzie
    • 1
  • Mark F. O’Reilly
    • 3
  • Giulio E. Lancioni
    • 4
  • Peter B. Marschik
    • 5
    • 6
  • Vanessa A. Green
    • 2
  • Jeff Sigafoos
    • 2
  • Dean Sutherland
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Health Sciences, College of EducationUniversity of CanterburyChristchurchNew Zealand
  2. 2.School of EducationVictoria University of WellingtonKaroriNew Zealand
  3. 3.Meadows Center for Preventing Educational RiskThe University of Texas at AustinAustinUSA
  4. 4.Department of Neuroscience and Sense OrgansUniversity of BariBariItaly
  5. 5.Institute of Physiology, iDN-Interdisciplinary Developmental NeuroscienceMedical University of GrazGrazAustria
  6. 6.Center for Neurodevelopmental DisordersKarolinska InstitutetStockholmSweden

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