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Brief Report: Question-Asking and Collateral Language Acquisition in Children with Autism

  • Author(s): Koegel, Lynn Kern;
  • Koegel, Robert L.;
  • Green-Hopkins, Israel;
  • Barnes, Cynthia Carter
  • et al.

The literature suggests children with autism use communication primarily for requests and protests, and almost never for information-seeking. This study investigated whether teaching “Where” questions using intrinsic reinforcement procedures would produce the generalized use of the question, and whether concomitant improvements in related language structures, provided as answers to the children’s questions, would occur. In the context of a multiple baseline across participants design, data showed that the children could rapidly acquire and generalize the query, and that there were collateral improvements in the children’s use of language structures corresponding to the answers to the questions the children asked. The results are discussed in the context of teaching child initiations to improve linguistic competence in children with autism.

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