Teaching Advanced Manding Skills to Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder Using Systematic Instruction, Speech-Generating Devices, and Skinner’s Analysis of Verbal Behaviour
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is characterized by marked impairments in social and communication skills, as well as restricted and/or repetitive patterns of behaviour or interests. Approximately 25-30% of children with ASD do not develop speech. As a result they may require augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) interventions. However, most interventions discussed in our present body of research focuses on basic communication skills like requesting. As such, it is important to investigate systematic teaching strategies for more complex requesting (i.e., manding) skills like requesting actions or requesting information. This research aims to extend previous manding literature by investigating effective methods for teaching advanced manding skills to children with ASD who communicate using an SGD. Three empirical intervention studies that a presented in this thesis evaluated the use of behaviour chain interruption strategy (BCIS) and systematic teaching procedures based on the principals of applied behaviour analysis (ABA), to teach advanced manding skills (i.e., manding for actions, manding for “where” questions, and persistence of “where questions”) for individuals with ASD who use speech-generating devices (SGD). Single-case research methodology was used via variations of the multiple baseline design (i.e., multiple probe multiple baseline design across participants and multiple probe multiple baseline across participants and behaviour chains) to evaluate the effectiveness of the interventions. A total of three participants (2 boys and 1 girl, ages 13, 10, and 5) participated in the interventions that were designed to teach the targeted mand. Results of each study yielded positive results, in that each participant acquired the targeted skill. Generalisation (i.e., across stimuli, over time, and across communication partners) results were mixed, however with additional teaching with the use of systematic instruction they were also acquired. Although these results are preliminary, they indicated that advanced manding skills should be taught to children with ASD who communicate using SGDs and can be acquired with the use of systematic instruction.