Towards a Balanced Account of Autism Etiology
- 5 Downloads
Drash and Tudor describe six sets of reinforcement contingencies which may be present in the environments of some children eventually diagnosed with autism and suggest that these contingencies account for the etiology of “autistic” behaviors. Nevertheless, merely observing such contingencies in the environments of these children is insufficient to establish a positive correlation between the contingencies and “autistic” behaviors, let alone a causal relationship. To demonstrate a positive correlation, it is necessary to present evidence that the relevant contingencies are present more often in the environments of children exhibiting these behaviors than in the environments of children not exhibiting these behaviors. This condition has not been met, since no evidence to the effect that such contingencies are absent in the environments of typical children or children with disabilities other than autism has been presented. In fact, the opposite appears to be true, as is argued in the present commentary. It appears that Drash and Tudor’s account of autism etiology is incomplete in that it neglects the role of unlearned differences between children and their possible interactions with the social environment in shaping “autistic” behaviors. Despite the misconception held by some that behavior analysis is a radically environmental approach, unlearned differences may be discussed within a behavioral framework. A “completely behavioral” account may discuss such differences in terms of susceptibility to reinforcement or punishment, speed of conditioning, or other unlearned characteristics which are potentially testable.
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- Barkley, Russell A. (2000). Taking charge of ADHD: The complete, authoritative guide for parents. New York/London: Guilford.Google Scholar
- Bijou, Sidney W., & Ghezzi, Patrick M. (1999). The behavioral interference theory of autistic behavior in young children. In P. M. Ghezzi, W. L. Williams, & J. E. Carr (Eds.), Autism: Behavior analytic perspectives (pp. 33–43). Reno: Context.Google Scholar
- Catania, A. Charles (1998). Learning. New Jersey: Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
- Forehand, Rex L., & McMahon, Robert J. (1981) Helping the noncompliant child: A clinician s guide to parent training. New York/London: Guilford.Google Scholar
- Gillberg, Christopher, & Coleman, Mary (1992). The biology of the autistic syndromes. Oxford/New York: Mac Keith Press.Google Scholar
- Green, Gina (1996). Early behavioral intervention for autism: What does the research tell us? In C. M. Maurice, G. Green, & S.C. Luce (Eds.), Behavioral intervention for young children with autism (pp. 29–44). Austin, TX: Pro-Ed.Google Scholar
- Hart, Betty, & Risley, Todd R. (1995). Meaningful differences in the everyday experience of young American children. Baltimore/ London/Toronto/Sydney: Brooks.Google Scholar
- Johnson, S. M., Wahl, G., Martin, S., & Johansson, S. (1973). How deviant is the normal child? A behavioral analysis of the preschool child and his family. In R. D. Rubin, J. P. Brady, & J. D. Henderson (Eds.), Advances in behavior therapy (Vol. 4). New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
- Lovaas, O. Ivar (2003). Teaching individuals with developmental delays: Basic intervention techniques. Austin, TX: Pro-Ed.Google Scholar
- Spradlin, Joseph E., & Brady, Nancy E. (1999). Early Childhood autism and stimulus control. In P. M. Ghezzi, W. L. Williams, & J. E. Carr (Eds.), Autism: Behavior analytic perspectives (pp. 33–43). Reno: Context.Google Scholar
- Skinner, B. F. (1969). The phylogeny and ontogeny of behavior (pp. 172–217). Contingencies of reinforcement: A theoretical analysis. New Jersey: Englewood Cliffs.Google Scholar