Training and generalization of yes and no as mands in two autistic children
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This study presented a practical and replicable procedure to train and generalize the use of “yes” and “no” as mands by a nonverbal boy and a previously echolalic girl, both diagnosed as autistic. The procedure used systematic modeling and reinforcement with detailed criterion for introducing and terminating the training stimuli. The subjects were first trained to use yes and no to mand three food items, following the stimulus question “Do you want ...?” and presentation of a food item. The teachers then tested the subjects for generalization of the two mands to successive sets of new food items. The results showed that the nonverbal subject needed to be trained on five sets of food items before generalization occurred. The previously echolalic subject generalized and maintained the two mands after being trained on only one set of items. The study thus demonstrated that the procedure was effective in training two useful mands for the autistic children, and that after such training, the behavior may then generalize to new items without training. Specific response patterns and the importance of intermittent modeling and arrangement of reinforcers in the training are discussed.
KeywordsFood Item School Psychology Response Pattern Specific Response Autistic Child
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