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Teaching Young Children to Discriminate Abusive From Nonabusive Situations Using Multiple Exemplars in a Modified Discrete Trial Teaching Format

Abstract

Personal safety programs can teach young children knowledge and skills they can utilize to avoid or escape abduction and sexual abuse (Wurtele, 1990). An appropriate escape response will not occur, however, if the child is unable to discriminate an innocuous situation from a potentially abusive one. This study examines the crucial elements involved in training the recognition or discrimination phase in personal safety programs. A multiple probe design across three typically developing children, ages 5-years 7-months through 6-years 7-months, was used to determine whether rules and discrete trial training of discriminations of appropriate and inappropriate touch and situations generalized to puppet role-play scenarios. All participants showed increases in correct responding on generalization role-play probes and maintained these increases over a 3-and 6-week follow-up.

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Correspondence to John R. Lutzker.

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Boyle, C.L., Lutzker, J.R. Teaching Young Children to Discriminate Abusive From Nonabusive Situations Using Multiple Exemplars in a Modified Discrete Trial Teaching Format. J Fam Viol 20, 55–69 (2005). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10896-005-3169-4

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Keywords

  • child sexual abuse
  • prevention
  • child maltreatment
  • discrete trial training
  • child personal safety