Activity schedules, guided compliance, and differential reinforcement are often used to reduce transition-related problem behavior in children with autism. One potential way to increase the effectiveness of these procedures when transitioning children from preferred to nonpreferred activities is to alter the motivating operations for noncompliance. In Experiment 1, we used an alternating treatments design to compare the effects of activity schedules plus guided compliance alone and when combined with four brief interruptions, each followed by attention and immediate resumption in the preferred activity. Two preschool-aged children with autism participated. Although the combined procedure was more effective, the extent to which it temporarily reduced the reinforcing value of the pretransition activity was unclear. Experiment 2 addressed this limitation by directly examining the value-altering effect of brief interruptions. Two different preschool-aged children participated. Using a reversal design, response-restriction preference assessments were conducted with and without brief interruptions. Results indicated that both children's preferred activity was engaged in less when interrupted, but engagement levels immediately resumed when interruptions were withdrawn. Possible functions of brief interruptions followed by attention and resumption in a preferred activity are discussed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology