Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 42, Issue 7, pp 1281–1293 | Cite as

Enhancing the Application and Evaluation of a Discrete Trial Intervention Package for Eliciting First Words in Preverbal Preschoolers with ASD

  • Ioanna Tsiouri
  • Elizabeth Schoen SimmonsEmail author
  • Rhea Paul
Original paper


This study evaluates the effectiveness of an intervention package including a discrete trial program (Rapid Motor Imitation Antecedent Training (Tsiouri and Greer, J Behav Educat 12:185–206, 2003) combined with parent education for eliciting first words in children with ASD who had little or no spoken language. Evaluation of the approach includes specific intervention targets and functional spoken language outcomes (Tager-Flusberg et al., J Speech Lang Hear Res 52:643–652, 2009). Results suggest that RMIA, with parent training, catalyzes development of verbal imitation and production for some children. Three of five participants acquired word production within the DTT framework and achieved milestones of early functional spoken language use (Tager-Flusberg et al., J Speech Lang Hear Res 52:643–652, 2009). The implications of these findings for understanding the role of discrete trial approaches to language intervention are discussed.


Speech Imitation Intervention ABA Discrete trial training 



This research was supported by funding from the Autism Speaks Foundation and National Institute of Deafness and Communication Disorders grant K24 HD045576 to the third author. We wish to thank Moira Lewis, Megan Lyons, Sarita Austin, Lauren Berkovits, Yael Fuerst, Brittany Butler, and Allison Lee for their myriad contributions to this research, as well as the children and families who participated in this research. Special thanks go to the teachers and administrators at the Skane School in Bridgeport, CT and the Helene Grant School in New Haven, CT.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ioanna Tsiouri
    • 1
  • Elizabeth Schoen Simmons
    • 2
    Email author
  • Rhea Paul
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryUniversity Hospital of LarissaLarissaGreece
  2. 2.Child Study Center, Yale UniversityNew HavenUSA

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