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Journal of autism and childhood schizophrenia

, Volume 4, Issue 4, pp 301–312 | Cite as

The effects of stimulus-fading on acquisition of a visual position discrimination in autistic, retarded, and normal children

  • T. W. Sherman
  • C. D. Webster
Articles

Abstract

Trial-and-error training on a visual position-discrimination task was given to 8 autistic children, 8 retarded children, and 8 children of approximately normal intelligence. Subjects sat before an apparatus containing 3 translucent response panels (left, right, and center). A correct response was to press whichever outside panel was closer to a small black square projected to the right or left of center on the center panel (criterion discrimination). Apart from 3 additional normal-IQ subjects who learned the criterion discrimination (and who were excluded from the experiment proper), performance remained at a chance level for all 3 groups. The remaning 24 children received a 60-trial stimulus-fading program designed to teach the discrimination. Normal-IQ subjects performed best on the program, followed by retarded and autistic subjects. Statistical analysis revealed that the autistic and retarded groups did not differ in performance and that the normal-IQ subjects performed reliably better than the autistic subjects. All 3 groups improved markedly on the criterion-discrimination task as a result of the stimulus-fading program. The significance of this observation and its implications for teaching autistic children are discussed.

Keywords

Correct Response School Psychology Normal Child Autistic Child Chance Level 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1975

Authors and Affiliations

  • T. W. Sherman
    • 1
  • C. D. Webster
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Toronto and Clarke Institute of PsychiatryToronto

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