Authors: Ingersoll B, Meyer K, Bonter N, Jelinek S
Title: A Comparison of Developmental Social-Pragmatic and Naturalistic Behavioral Interventions on Language Use and Social Engagement in Children With Autism
Source: Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research 2012 55(5): 1301-1313
Year: 2012
Research Design: Single Case Design

Purpose: Developmental social-pragmatic and naturalistic behavioral interventions share a number of features, but they differ in their use of facilitative strategies and direct elicitation of child language. In this study, the authors investigated whether these approaches produce different language and social outcomes in young children with autism. Method: The authors used an ABACAD design to compare the effects of a developmental social-pragmatic, naturalistic behavioral, and combined intervention on language type and function and social engagement in 5 children with autism. Results: Milieu teaching and the combined intervention produced higher rates of language targets than did responsive interaction. An analysis of the type and function of language targets suggested that differences between conditions were driven primarily by prompted - and, to a lesser extent, spontaneous - requests. Social engagement ratings were higher during each intervention than at baseline, but differences between treatment conditions were not consistent across children. Conclusions: For children with autism, naturalistic interventions that use direct elicitation of child language lead to greater short-term gains in the use of expressive language targets - in particular, prompted requests - than interventions that use facilitative strategies only. All 3 naturalistic language interventions can promote social engagement. For some children, the combined use of direct elicitation and responsiveness-based strategies may enhance treatment response.

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