Effects of response-contingent pairing on vocalizations of nonverbal children with autism

by Tracy Lynn. Lepper

Institution: Texas Christian University
Year: 2014
Keywords: Autism in children.
Record ID: 2036589
Full text PDF: https://repository.tcu.edu/handle/116099117/6049


In Experiment 1, an adapted alternating treatment design was used to compare the effects of a response-contingent pairing (RCP) and a response-independent pairing (RIP) procedure on the vocalizations of 3 nonverbal boys with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). During RCP, adult-delivered sounds that were either paired with a preferred item (target sounds) or not followed by a programmed consequence (nontarget sounds), were presented contingent on the participant making a button-press response. During RIP, the timing of sound presentations (either target or nontarget) was determined by yoking the interstimulus interval (ISI) to the corresponding ISI in a preceding RCP session. Experiment 2 used a multiple baseline design across behaviors to evaluate the effects of differential reinforcement of target vocalizations while thinning the number of presentations during RCP. Experiments 3a and 3b consisted of functional analyses of pairing-induced speech sounds. All participants' data suggested that RCP had greater effects on target vocalizations than RIP, and that the rate of target sounds induced through RCP could be increased through differential reinforcement while thinning pairings. Results of Studies 3a and 3b indicate that target vocalizations were functioning as requests for 1 of the 3 participants following differential reinforcement.