Effects of Demand Complexity on Echolalia in Students With Autism

Abstract

Echolalia is a linguistic phenomenon common in individuals with autism spectrum disorder. We examined the relationship between demand complexity and immediate echolalia in four students with an autism diagnosis in a university-based academic setting. Mastered and novel antecedent verbal demands that required an intraverbal response were systematically alternated using a multielement design to test whether participants’ immediate echolalia was socially mediated. Results showed that immediate echolalia was more likely to occur during complex novel intraverbal tasks than in any other condition. Implications for function-based treatment strategies are discussed.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1

Data Availability

All data and materials can be made available by the first author upon request.

References

  1. Ahearn, W. H., Clark, K. M., MacDonald, R. P. F., & Chung, B. I. (2007). Assessing and treating vocal stereotypy in children with autism. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 40(2), 263–275. https://doi.org/10.1901/jaba.2007.30-06.

  2. Carr, E. G., Schreibman, L., & Lovaas, O. I. (1975). Control of echolalic speech in psychotic children. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 3, 331–351.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Colon, C. L., Ahearn, W. H., Clark, K. M., & Masalsky, J. (2012). The effects of verbal operant training and response interruption and redirection on appropriate and inappropriate vocalizations. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 45, 107–120. https://doi.org/10.1901/jaba.2012.45-107.

  4. Cunningham, A. B., & Schreibman, L. (2008). Stereotypy in autism: The importance of function. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders,2(3), 469–479. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rasd.2007.09.006.

  5. Durand, V. M., & Carr, E. G. (1987). Social influences on “self-stimulatory” behavior: Analysis and treatment application. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 20, 119–132.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Foxx, R. M., Schreck, K. A., Garito, J., Smith, A., & Weisenberger, S. (2004). Replacing the echolalia of children with autism with functional use of verbal labeling. Journal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities,16(4), 307–320. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10882-004-0688-5.

  7. Freeman, B. J., Ritvo, E., & Miller, R. (1975). An operant procedure to teach an echolalic autistic child to answer questions appropriately. Journal of Autism and Childhood Schizophrenia, 5, 169–176.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Goren, E. R., Romanczyk, R. G., & Harris, S. L. (1977). A functional analysis of echolalic speech. Behavior Modification,1, 481–498. https://doi.org/10.1177/014544557714003.

  9. Hagopian, L. P., & Adelinis, J. D. (2001). Response blocking with and without redirection for the treatment of pica. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis,34, 527–530. https://doi.org/10.1901/jaba.2001.34-527.

  10. Hetzroni, O. E., & Tannous, J. (2004). Effects of a computer-based intervention program on the communicative functions of children with autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders,34(2), 95–113. https://doi.org/10.1023/B:JADD.0000022602.40506.bf.

  11. Iwata, B., Dorsey, M., Slifer, K., Bauman, K., & Richman, G. (1982). Toward a functional analysis of self-injury (Reprinted). Analysis and Intervention In Developmental Disablities, 2, 3–20. https://doi.org/10.1016/0270-4684(82)90003-9.

  12. Iwata, B. A., Dorsey, M. F., Slifer, K. J., Bauman, K. E., & Richman, G. S. (1994). Toward a functional analysis of self-injury. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 27(2), 197–209.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Karmali, I., Greer, R. D., Nuzzlo-Gomez, R., Ross, D. E., & Rivera-Valdes, C. (2005). Reducing palilalia by presenting tact corrections to young children with autism. Analysis of Verbal Behavior,21, 145–153. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF03393016.

  14. Kavon, N. M., & McLaughlin, T. F. (1995). Interventions for echolalic behaviour for children with autism: a review of verbal prompts and the cues pause point procedure. B.C. Journal of Special Education, 19(2–3), 39–45.

  15. Mace, F. C., Lalli, J. S., & Lalli, E. P. (1991). Functional analysis and treatment of aberrant behavior. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 12(2), 155–180. https://doi.org/10.1016/0891-4222(91)90004-C.

  16. Neely, L., Gerow, S., Rispoli, M., Lang, R., & Pullen, N. (2016). Treatment of echolalia in individuals with autism spectrum disorder: A systematic review. Review Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 3, 82–91. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40489-015-0067-4.

  17. Nientimp, E. G., & Cole, C. L. (1992). Teaching socially valid social interaction responses to students with severe disabilities in an integrated school setting. Journal of School Psychology, 30(4), 343–354. https://doi.org/10.1016/0022-4405(92)90002-M.

  18. Pizant, B. M., & Duchan, J. (1981). The functions of immediate echolalia in autistic children. Journal of Speech and Hearing Disorders,46, 241–249. https://doi.org/10.1044/jshd.4603.241.

  19. Prizant, B. M., & Rydell, P. J. (1984). Analysis of functions of delayed echolalia in autistic children. Journal of Speech and Hearing Research,27, 183–192. https://doi.org/10.1044/jshr.2702.183.

  20. Rapp, J. T., & Vollmer, T. R. (2005). Stereotypy I: A review of behavioral assessment and treatment. Research in Developmental Disabilities,26, 527–547. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ridd.2004.11.005.

  21. Rydell, J., & Mirenda, P. (1994). Effects of high and low constraint utterances on the production of immediate and delayed echolalia in young children. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders,24(6), 719–734. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02172282.

  22. Schreibman, L., & Carr, E. G. (1978). Elimination of echolalic responding to questions through the training of a generalized verbal response. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 11(4), 453–463. https://doi.org/10.1901/jaba.1978.11-453.

  23. Smith, R. G., Iwata, B. A., Goh, H. L., & Shore, B. A. (1995). Analysis of establishing operations for self-injury maintained by escape. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 28, 515–535. https://doi.org/10.1901/jaba.1995.28-515.

  24. Stribling, P., Rae, K., & Dickerson, P. (2007). Two forms of spoken repetition in a girl with autism. International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders,42, 427–444. https://doi.org/10.1080/13682820601183659.

  25. Taylor, B. A., Hoch, H., & Weissman, M. (2005). The analysis and treatment of vocal stereotypy in a child with autism. Behavior Interventions,20, 239–253. https://doi.org/10.1002/bin.200.

  26. Valentino, A. L., Schillingsburg, M. A., Conine, D. E., & Powell, N. M. (2012). Decreasing echolalia of the instruction “say” during echoic training through use of the cues-pause-point procedure. Journal of Behavioral Education,21, 315–328. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10864-012-9155-z.

  27. Walenski, M., Tager-Flusberg, H., & Ullman, M. (2006). Language in autism. In S. Moldin & J. Rubenstein (Eds.), Understanding autism: From basic neuroscience to treatment (pp. 175–204). CRC Press/Taylor & Francis.

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Matthew L. Edelstein.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare they have no conflicts of interest.

Ethical Approval

The current study was approved by the Institutional Review Board of Rutgers University (#E14-676) and was performed in accordance with the ethical standards as laid down in the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from legal guardians.

Code Availability

Not applicable.

Additional information

Publisher’s Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Research Highlights

• Antecedent relationships to target behavior can be idiosyncratic and often depend heavily on individuals’ prior learning histories.

• Modifications of more widely used antecedent-based assessments may be important to determine variables evoking challenging behavior.

• Functional assessments of target topographies of challenging behavior are useful for developing appropriate treatments.

This research was based on a dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the doctoral degree by the first author (IRB Approval E14-676).

Supplementary Information

ESM 1

(DOCX 17.5 kb)

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Edelstein, M.L., Sloman, K. & Selver, K. Effects of Demand Complexity on Echolalia in Students With Autism. Behav Analysis Practice (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40617-020-00535-7

Download citation

Keywords

  • Functional assessment
  • Echolalia
  • Functional communication training