Acquisition of Tacting Using a Speech-Generating Device in Group Learning Environments for Preschoolers with Autism
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Skinner (1957) described the tact as the most important verbal operant; however, there remains a disproportionate amount of research evaluating mand training compared to tact training for young children with autism. The current study sought to alleviate some of this disparity by evaluating the effectiveness of the iPad® and application Proloquo2Go™ as a speech-generating device, using a multiple baseline design, on the acquisition of a tact repertoire in three preschool aged children with autism. The procedures employed a time delay with full physical prompts, during a “circle time” routine. During the circle time routine, the classroom teacher would read the lift-the-flap children’s book “Where’s Spot?” and pause for five-seconds upon reaching the targeted animal for each respective student. During this time delay if the student independently selected the picture that corresponded to the animal, evoking the SGD’s digitized output, the teacher provided verbal praise. If the child did not respond or responded incorrectly, a full physical prompt was used to evoke the tact of the animal. Results indicated that all three participants acquired the ability to tact at least one animal at 100% independence, across three consecutive sessions, after an average of four training sessions. This skill was also found to maintain for those two participants for whom maintenance data were taken. These results extend the evidence base on the use of the iPad® and application Proloquo2Go™ as a SGD, as well as, the research based on tacting acquisition.