The Effect of Delay to Reinforcement and Response Effort on Response Variability for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder
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Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) is a tool used by individuals unable to communicate or experience difficulty communicating vocally. Previous research has demonstrated that individuals will vary their communicative responding when reinforcement is delayed and when the response effort to communicate is increased. This study evaluated the effect of adjusting these variables to alter responding of three elementary age individuals with autism spectrum disorder who used AAC. A reversal design allowed for an evaluation of a functional relation between delay to reinforcement, response effort, and communication response allocation. When these parameters were changed, two participants shifted their responding while the third participant maintained his response allocation. This research provides further evidence that altering delay to reinforcement and response effort may aid in moving an individual from an AAC to spoken language. The researchers discuss outcomes in terms of how these variables can be manipulated in practice and the potential for altering other parameters of reinforcement in context of communication training.
KeywordsAugmentative and alternative communication Autism spectrum disorder Response effort Delay to reinforcement Response variability
Compliance with Ethical Standards
This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
Conflict of Interest
Rachel Cagliani declares that she has no conflict of interest. Kevin Ayres declares that she has no conflict of interest. Joel Ringdahl declares that she has no conflict of interest. Erinn Whiteside declares that she has no conflict of interest.
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