Teaching Autistic Children to Use Extra-Stimulus Prompts

Document Type



Psychology (CMC)

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Autistic children often do not transfer from extra-stimulus prompts, and thus do not utilize a frequent learning aid. It has been hypothesized that this is due to stimulus overselectivity; a failure to respond to simultaneous multiple cues. This study was designed to determine if autistic children who initially respond only to single cues can be taught a set to respond to two cues and subsequently utilize an extra-stimulus (pointing) prompt. Four autistic children were pretested to determine if they could learn a complex visual discrimination by either trial and error or an extra-stimulus prompt fading procedure. Since they did not, the children were then taught to respond to two cues through a multiple-cue training procedure and subsequently tested to determine if they could now utilize a pointing prompt. Results indicated that while all four children initially did not transfer from an extra-stimulus (pointing) prompt, they did so subsequent to multiple-cue training. The results are discussed in terms of implications for treatment (remediating overselectivity) and in relation to normal child development.

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© 1982 Elsevier

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