Control over Therapist Interactions as a Reinforcer for a Child with Autism Page: 1
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Individuals diagnosed with autism often engage in low frequencies and unusual
topographies of social interaction (Dunalp & Robbins, 1991; Koegel & Koegel, 1995;
Odom & Strain, 1986). Children with autism display behaviors such as looking away
from others, playing alone, rocking or hand flapping, and other behaviors that would
make others less likely to interact (Koegel & Koegel, 1995). Research has examined
some procedures to increase social interactions of children with autism in home,
community, and classroom settings. The focus of the research on social skills in autism
can be divided into three areas: a) social skills training to remediate deficits, b) increasing
reinforcement for desired social responding in the natural environment, and c) decreasing
the aversiveness of interactions (Goldstein & Cisar, 1992; McGee, Almeida, Sulzer-
Azaroff, & Feldman, 1992; Koegel & Koegel, 1995)
The issue of training skills needed to adequately participate in social interactions
has been addressed in many ways (Koegel & Koegel, 1995). Koegel and Koegel provide
a summary of several procedures designed to increase social skills and decrease social
isolation for those diagnosed with autism. These procedures involve teaching specific
social skills such as greetings, responding to peer initiations, language use in social
settings, or play skills. For example, Goldstein and Cisar (1992) taught social interaction
skills to preschoolers with autism using "sociodramatic scripts." The scripts (motor and
verbal actions) consisted of scenarios based on particular themes (e.g., children taking on
the role of a carnival attendant and game participant). During script training the children
were taken to an analogue setting (i.e., in either the classroom without the other children,
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Edwards, William Harrison. Control over Therapist Interactions as a Reinforcer for a Child with Autism, thesis, August 1999; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc278765/m1/8/: accessed January 24, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .