Theses Doctoral

Effects of Relational Teaching on the Language Development for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Zhang, Wenhui

Through two presented experiments, I investigated the relationship between the development of non-arbitrary relational control on a) degree of incidental acquisition of both the listener and speaker components of naming (Inc-BiN), b) arbitrary derived relations, and 3) joint attention for children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

In Experiment I, three preschoolers with ASD or developmental disabilities were selected based on their incidental acquisition of the listener component of naming (Inc-UniN). The study explored the effect of non-arbitrary relational teaching across the frames of coordination, distinction, comparison, opposition, and hierarchy on the degree of Inc-BiN for familiar and novel stimuli under the brief condition (Inc-BiN) and the number of correct responses on taught and novel non-arbitrary relations during the pre- or post-intervention probes using a concurrent multiple probes design. All three participants successfully acquired the discriminative function of contextual cues across the five frames for non-arbitrary relations. However, there was no improvement in the degree of Inc-BiN across all three participants.

In Experiment II, three new preschoolers who demonstrated Inc-UniN with familiar and novel stimuli at the onset of the study went through the non-arbitrary listener/speaker MEI procedure across different frames to improve their abilities to derive arbitrary relations for coordination, distinctive, and comparison relations, advance the degree of the Inc-BiN with familiar and novel stimuli, and facilitate joint attention skills through a concurrent multiple probe design. The results showed a functional relationship between the non-arbitrary listener/speaker MEI procedure and the participants’ correct listener and speaker responses during derived arbitrary relational assessments across different frames. However, there was no effect on the degree of Inc-BiN or joint attention responses across all three participants after the intervention.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Applied Behavior Analysis
Thesis Advisors
Fienup, Daniel
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
August 16, 2023