Behavior Analysis in Practice

, Volume 12, Issue 1, pp 1–11 | Cite as

Modeling Training of Child’s Echoic Conversational Response for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder: To Be a Good Listener

  • Natsumi Ishikawa
  • Mikimasa OmoriEmail author
  • Jun-ichi Yamamoto
Research Article


Students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) often have difficulties in responding to conversation with verbal language. These students often repeat what they hear, and their echoic behavior has a potentially communicative function. We define the echoic behavior when an individual repeats a peer’s topic word with appropriate prosody within 3 s as the child’s echoic conversational response. In this study, we examined the acquisition of the child’s echoic conversational response skills and whether these skills could provide and generalize natural conversation for 4 students with ASD. During the training, students were instructed to imitate the topic word that the experimenter had used in the latest conversation. Students learned the child’s echoic conversational response skills and improved their conversation skills. They even showed a slight generalization for nontraining materials through trainings and improvements in responding with new verbal responses. These findings suggested that expanding speakers’ repertoires for students with ASD might facilitate improvement of natural conversation skills.


Students with autism spectrum disorder Child’s echoic conversational response Conversation skills Echoic Intraverbal 



This research was supported in part by a grant-in-aid from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) Research Fellowship (Grant No. 26-3116) and the JSPS KAKENHI (Grant No. 26285213).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

All three authors report no conflicts of interest.

Human Subjects

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the Keio University Institutional Review Board of the Faculty of Letters and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study and their parents.


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Copyright information

© Association for Behavior Analysis International 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Natsumi Ishikawa
    • 1
    • 2
  • Mikimasa Omori
    • 1
    • 3
    • 4
    Email author
  • Jun-ichi Yamamoto
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of Psychology, Graduate School of Human RelationsKeio UniversityTokyoJapan
  2. 2.Department of Child PsychiatryThe University of Tokyo Hospital, Bunkyo-kuTokyoJapan
  3. 3.Department of Psychology, Faculty of Human and Social SciencesShowa Women’s UniversityTokyoJapan
  4. 4.Research Fellow of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science Chiyoda-kuTokyoJapan
  5. 5.Department of Psychology, Faculty of LettersKeio UniversityTokyoJapan

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