The Effect of Aided Language Modeling on Symbol Comprehension and Production in 2 Preschoolers With Autism Purpose The purpose of the present study was to examine the effectiveness of an instructional procedure called aided language modeling (ALM) on symbol comprehension and expression in 2 preschool children with autism who used few words functionally. ALM consists of engaging the child in interactive play activities and providing models ... Clinical Focus
Clinical Focus  |   May 01, 2006
The Effect of Aided Language Modeling on Symbol Comprehension and Production in 2 Preschoolers With Autism
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Kathryn D. R. Drager
    The Pennsylvania State University, University Park
  • Valerie J. Postal
    The Pennsylvania State University, University Park
  • Leanne Carrolus
    The Pennsylvania State University, University Park
  • Megan Castellano
    Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit, Lewisburg, PA
  • Christine Gagliano
    The Pennsylvania State University, University Park
  • Jennifer Glynn
    The Pennsylvania State University, University Park
  • Contact author: Kathryn Drager, Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Penn State University, 110 Moore Building, University Park, PA 16802. Email: kdd5@psu.edu
Article Information
Augmentative & Alternative Communication / Special Populations / Autism Spectrum / Clinical Focus
Clinical Focus   |   May 01, 2006
The Effect of Aided Language Modeling on Symbol Comprehension and Production in 2 Preschoolers With Autism
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, May 2006, Vol. 15, 112-125. doi:10.1044/1058-0360(2006/012)
History: Received November 12, 2004 , Revised August 12, 2005 , Accepted December 29, 2005
 
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, May 2006, Vol. 15, 112-125. doi:10.1044/1058-0360(2006/012)
History: Received November 12, 2004; Revised August 12, 2005; Accepted December 29, 2005
Web of Science® Times Cited: 40

Purpose The purpose of the present study was to examine the effectiveness of an instructional procedure called aided language modeling (ALM) on symbol comprehension and expression in 2 preschool children with autism who used few words functionally. ALM consists of engaging the child in interactive play activities and providing models of use of augmentative and alternative communication symbols during play.

Method A multiple-baseline design across sets of symbol vocabulary was used with 2 children who had autism. Four vocabulary items were taught in each of 3 legs of the design, for each child.

Results Both participants demonstrated increased symbol comprehension and elicited symbol production. In addition, both participants demonstrated that symbol comprehension and symbol production could be maintained. For both children, performance on symbol production lagged behind rate of responses on symbol comprehension.

Conclusions The current research presents preliminary evidence that a modeling intervention may be effective in increasing symbol comprehension and production, and may be an appropriate intervention strategy for some preschoolers with autism. Future research should continue to investigate this strategy and its effects on functional communication.

Acknowledgments
This research was funded in part by the Robert N. Eisman Family Advised Fund for the Study of Autism and was completed as part of the requirements for a PhD degree in special education by the second author. We are grateful to staff at Snyder, Union, Mifflin Child Development for their cooperation and support during the study. Special thanks are extended to the children who participated in the study and their families. Portions of this article were presented at the Annual Convention of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, Chicago, November 2003, and the Annual Conference of the Pennsylvania Speech-Language-Hearing Association, State College, April 2004.
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