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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Improving Joint Engagement and Commenting Language in Minimally Verbal Children with ASD

  • Author(s): Holbrook, Alison
  • Advisor(s): Kasari, Connie L
  • et al.

The purpose of this study was to determine if children with ASD receiving an intervention increased in the amount of time they spent in joint engagement (JE) episodes and used more spontaneous comments inside JE than outside JE. Fifty-seven school-aged children, classified as minimally verbal, participated in a 6-month intervention aimed at improving JE and language. We found significant increases in the mean duration of JE episodes. Comparing language inside and outside episodes of JE, children used more language in the context of JE. Results yielded a significant interaction between JE and time on spontaneous comments, indicating growth during episodes of JE. Results of this study emphasize the importance of targeting commenting and JE for minimally verbal children with ASD.

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