Autism as a Contingency-Shaped Disorder of Verbal Behavior: Evidence Obtained and Evidence Needed
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Drash and Tudor’s argument that autism is a contingency-shaped disorder of verbal behavior is logical and consistent with behavioral principles, but the argument’s premises have no direct empirical support and some conflicting evidence. The quantity and quality of research needed to support such a theory is compared to that found in the area of antisocial behavior in children, which has considerable evidence for a contingency-shaped etiology. Even if autism is largely inherited, this does not weaken the necessity or importance of behavioral intervention. Drash and Tudor’s paper may serve a useful function by outlining areas in need of further study because a great deal more research is needed on how the early environment shapes the language, cognitive, and behavioral development of children.
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