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The occurrence of autistic children's self-stimulation as a function of familiar versus unfamiliar stimulus conditions

Abstract

The present study was conducted to determine whether certain stimulus conditions were associated with high and low rates of autistic children's self-stimulation. Six autistic boys were assessed in situations varying along three dimensions: familiarity or unfamiliarity of setting, learning task, and therapist. Each child was observed in 10 10-min stimulus conditions, and trained observers recorded the occurrence of self-stimulation within each condition. The results of a 2 × 2 × 2 ANOVA indicated that self-stimulation occurred significantly more often with an unfamiliar than with a familiar therapist. Unfamiliar versus familiar setting and task were not significant effects, and there were no significant interactions. Also, significant differences were found within each condition, with self-stimulation increasing in frequency as the sessions progressed. Finally, there was a significant and negative correlation between the occurrence of self-stimulation and correct responding. These findings suggest several treatment strategies for facilitating a generalized suppression of autistic children's self-stimulation.

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This research was supported by U.S. Public Health Service Research Grants MH 28231 and MH 28210 from the National Institute of Mental Health.

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Runco, M.A., Charlop, M.H. & Schreibman, L. The occurrence of autistic children's self-stimulation as a function of familiar versus unfamiliar stimulus conditions. J Autism Dev Disord 16, 31–44 (1986). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01531576

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01531576

Keywords

  • Negative Correlation
  • Significant Interaction
  • Treatment Strategy
  • Stimulus Condition
  • Autistic Child