Authors: Johnston S, Nelson C, Evans J, Palazolo K
Title: The use of visual supports in teaching young children with autism spectrum disorder to initiate interactions
Source: Augmentative and Alternative Communication 2003 19(2): 86-103
Year: 2003
Research Design: Single Case Design

Three preschool-aged children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) were taught to utilize a visual support (a graphic symbol representing 'Can I Play?') to request entrance into play activities. Acquisition of graphic symbol use resulted from the implementation of a naturalistic intervention strategy that included creating communicative opportunities, providing a model of the desired behavior, prompting the participant to engage in the desired behavior (via a least-to-most prompting hierarchy and time delay), and providing access to natural consequences for appropriate participant responses. Intervention occurred in the context of ongoing play activities in the classroom. Results showed that the intervention strategy was effective in teaching participants to request entrance into play activities for all three participants. The collateral impact of the graphic symbol use on the participant's 'off-task' behavior and use of verbal language, and survey data on the acceptability of the intervention to preschool staff are also discussed.

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