Title: Communicative spontaneity of children with autism: A preliminary analysis
Source:Chiang, H. (2008). Communicative spontaneity of children with autism: A preliminary analysis. Autism, 12(1), 9-21. DOI: 10.1177/1362361307085264

The author of this preliminary study wanted to explore the factors that are associated with communicative spontaneity in children with autism. Communicative spontaneity usually refers to “uncued communication”, or communication that is child-initiated and not elicited by direct prompts (questions, requests, etc). The author commented that although current treatments interventions have been effective in teaching communication skills in some non-verbal children, teaching spontaneity has been much more difficult. The participants included 32 children and pre-adolescents with a previous autism diagnosis (unclear how this was determined) but the diagnosis was confirmed via the Childhood Autism Rating Scale (Mean 38.9 with a range of 30-48.5). The children were observed in various naturalistic settings at school, including class time, lunch time, free play, circle time, etc. The video tapes of these kids were then analyzed to determine the type of communication interactions observed. The author divided communication spontaneity into 4 levels representing degrees of spontaneity as a function of the antecedents of the communication. Level 1 represented the most spontaneous communication, that is communication that was merely preceded by natural cues, such as the simple presence of an object or person. Level 4 represented the least spontaneous communication, such as communication preceded by a direct prompt (instruction, physical prompt, etc). The authors found that “surprisingly” most acts of communication coded were at the highest level of spontaneity (unprompted). This may reflect the frequency of antecedents available. For example, a child may have many more opportunities to make spontaneous comments about an object (high level of spontaneity) than in response to a teacher instruction (low level of spontaneity). But the results clearly show some level of spontaneous communication in this sample of children. The authors also found that most spontaneous communicative actions were in the “rejecting” or “requesting” domains as opposed to other domains such as greeting, farewell, or comments. From a behavioral perspective, the rejecting and requesting communicative actions have a more clear reward contingency (immediate result), which may help increase the rate of these behaviors. On the other hand, the contingency for “greetings” and “farewell” actions seem less clear, and arguably more social, which may explain the low rates of these behaviors. This is an interesting (I know, albeit a bit predictable) finding that could inform the design of communication interventions in children with autism.

ResearchBlogging.org

Post to Twitter

Tagged with:
 

One Response to Autism and Spontaneous Communication

  1. “The authors also found that most spontaneous communicative actions were in the “rejecting” or “requesting” domains as opposed to other domains such as greeting, farewell, or comments. From a behavioral perspective, the rejecting and requesting communicative actions have a more clear reward contingency (immediate result), which may help increase the rate of these behaviors. On the other hand, the contingency for “greetings” and “farewell” actions seem less clear, and arguably more social, which may explain the low rates of these behaviors. This is an interesting (I know, albeit a bit predictable) finding that could inform the design of communication interventions in children with autism.”

    The findings are interesting … and predictable as you said.

    Without getting too fancy about it. The described language patterns, requesting and rejecting, have immediate utilitarian value and are observable in autistic children like my son for whom language is a huge deficit.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*


7 + = ten

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Looking for something?

Use the form below to search the site:


Still not finding what you're looking for? Drop a comment on a post or contact us so we can take care of it!

Set your Twitter account name in your settings to use the TwitterBar Section.