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Verbal Acquisition in Children with Autism

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Since Leo Kanner’s initial description of autism in 1943, research has made great strides in developing scientifically based interventions to treat autism. There are many treatments for autism, however, children continue to face communication impairments, where they struggle with speech and language development (Simpson, 2005). Although there are many effective interventions, studies suggest that when treatment is intensive, continuous and targeted directed towards the child, better outcomes are generated, in contrast to an eclectic model, where a variety of approaches are implemented (Howard, 2005). The implications of this line of research are great, as they suggest that when implementing interventions, careful considerations must be taken in assuring that children are receiving quality intervention, rather than a high quantity of interventions. In light of these results, research suggests that using Pivotal Response Treatment with embedded social interactions in motivational components, question asking, and orienting cues are effective approaches in increasing verbal acquisition in children with autism.

Research suggests that implementing motivational components of Pivotal Response Treatment is effective in increasing verbal acquisition in children with autism. PRT is an approach that is implemented in a child’s daily routines and targets pivotal areas of behavior that lead to collateral gains in other behaviors—including verbal acquisition (Koegel, Robinson, & Koegel, 2009). The motivational components effective in verbal acquisition are child choice, task variation, reinforcing attempts, the interspersal of maintenance and acquisition tasks, and providing natural reinforcers. (Lynn K. Koegel et al., 2009). As we can see, th...

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Koegel, L. K., Koegel, Robinson, S., Koegel R. L. (2009). Empirically Supported Intervention Practices For Autism Spectrum Disorders in School and Community Settings: Issues and Practices. Handbook of Postive Behavior Support. 149-176.

Koegel, R. L., Koegel, L. K., Vernon, W. T. (2009). Improving Social Initiations in Young Children with Autism Using Reinforcers with Embedded Social Interactions. Journal of Autism and Development Disorders, 39 (9). 1240-1251

Koegel, R. L., Shirotova L., Koegel L. K. (2009). Brief Report: Using Individualized Orienting Cues to Facilitate First-Word Acquisition in Non-Responders with Autism. Journal of Autism and Development Disorders, 39 (11). 1587-1592.

Simpson, L., Richard. (2005). Autism Spectrum Disorders: Interventions and Treatments for Children and Youth. Thousand Oaks, California: Corwin Press.
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