Control over Therapist Interactions as a Reinforcer for a Child with Autism Page: 2
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or to another room). Prompting and verbal praise were delivered by the experimenter to
each of the children contingent on the child following his/her role. After training, the
children were placed back into their classroom and social interactions were assessed
during free play periods with the same scenario play materials. During these play periods
prompting was delivered, if necessary, by the classroom teacher. The classroom teachers
were instructed to deliver general prompts (e.g., prompts related to the scenario topic) and
not to use specific prompts (i.e., tell the children what behaviors to emit). This procedure
was effective in increasing the overall number of social interactions between children
with autism and their peers, as well as producing greater variability in the form of those
Some research has focused on arranging the natural environment to ensure the
reinforcement of social interactions of children with autism. For example, McGee, et al.,
(1992) evaluated the effects of peer implemented incidental teaching on the reciprocal
interactions of children with autism. Typical children were taught a four component
incidental teaching procedure that included: a) waiting for the targeted child to initiate a
request (e.g., reach for a ball), b) asking the targeted child for the label of the item (e.g.,
"Say ball"), c) giving the targeted child the item after the child labeled it, and d) praise
the correct answer (e.g., "That's the ball"). After training, the children were exposed to a
free play period and were instructed to use the incidental teaching procedures. Typical
children were given items previously identified as high preference for the children with
autism. Data were collected on reciprocal interactions between the children in the free
play setting. As a result of these procedures, interactions between the children with
autism and their peers increased during the free play period.
Research addressing the issue of decreasing the aversiveness of social interactions
has examined the type of activities conducted during the those interactions (Koegel, Dyer,
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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/m1/9/: accessed November 18, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .