Behavioral Interventions

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Volume 18 Issue 4 (November 2003), Pages 227-302

Generalization between receptive and expressive language in young children with autism (pages 245-266)


Generalization between expressive and receptive language was studied in six boys with autism (chronological age 47–76 months, language age 13–42 months). Each participant received training on three or four word pairs (e.g. hot/cold). Half the pairs were taught expressively and then receptively; the other half were taught in the reverse order. Data were obtained on generalization from the trained to untrained modality, generalization errors, and between‐ and within‐subject differences. Across participants, the ‘expressive first’ condition led to cross‐modal generalization more often than the ‘receptive first’ condition. However, one child displayed the opposite pattern, and three other children's patterns varied across training stimuli. Error analyses indicated that, when children failed to demonstrate receptive‐to‐expressive generalization, they did generalize in another manner: responding based on physical resemblance between cues used in the study and those used in previous training. The results suggest ways to individualize instruction and better understand cross‐modal generalization. Copyright © 2003 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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