William H. Ahearn, Kathy M. Clark, Rebecca P. F. MacDonald, & Bo In Chung

Assessing and Treating Vocal Stereotypy in Children with Autism

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Ahearn, W. H., Clark, K. M., MacDonald, R. P., & Chung, B. O. (2007). Assessing and treating vocal stereotypy in children with autism. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 40(2), 263-275.

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Abstract

Previous research implies that stereotypic behavior tends to be maintained by the sensory consequences produced by engaging in the response. Few investigations, however, have focused on vocal stereotypy. The current study examined the noncommunicative vocalizations of 4 children with an autism spectrum disorder. First, functional analyses were conducted in an attempt to identify the function of each child’s behavior. For each of the participants, it was found that vocal stereotypy was likely not maintained by the social consequences. Following assessment, response interruption and redirection (RIRD) was implemented in an ABAB design to determine whether vocal stereotypy could be successfully redirected. RIRD involved a teacher issuing a series of vocal demands the child readily complied with during regular academic programming. Vocal demands were presented contingent on the occurrence of vocal stereotypy and were continuously presented until the child complied with three consecutively issued demands without emitting vocal stereotypy. For each child, RIRD produced levels of vocal stereotypy substantially lower than those observed in baseline. For 3 of the children, an increase in appropriate communication was also observed. The children’s teachers were trained to implement RIRD. Brief follow-up probes and anecdotal information implied that the treatment had a positive impact in the natural environment.

 

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Jaba 40 02 263

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