The researchers did this study to compare prompting techniques to teach children with autism to ask questions in the context of a conversation. The ASD population faces issues in social communication and especially in generalizing language concepts to other contexts.
Researchers used an adapted alternating treatments design to compare the efficacy of echoic and textual prompts to teach three students with autism. All the participants fall in the age range of 8–15. They instructed the participants to ask questions related to two pre-selected topics of conversation.
Instructors first required the participants to answer questions related to the issues to determine whether accurate responses were within their repertoire. After this exercise, a transfer of stimulus control procedure was done to teach participants to ask the experimenter relevant questions on the same topics. Instructors then conducted probes with a novel conversation topic in the natural environment with a peer, and follow-up probes were conducted after training.
The study concluded that questions taught using an echoic prompt were acquired in fewer trials to criterion than problems introduced using a textual prompt for two of the three participants. Limitations and implications for future research will be discussed.
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