Generalization across Modalities of Expressive and Receptive Language Acquisition through the Use of Multiple Exemplar Training and Errorless Teaching
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Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) tend to display deficits with language acquisition and generalization of language skills after acquisition. Discrete trial teaching (DTT) includes general procedures used to teach language acquisition skills (such as receptive and expressive language) to children with ASD. Multiple exemplar teaching (MET) is a specialized type of DTT that includes multiple discriminative stimuli used during teaching trials, as opposed to only one target during the initial teaching. This present study assessed the efficacy of a general DTT procedure and MET for acquisition and generalization of two modalities of language skills: receptive and expressive. Goals of the study included determining (1) whether DTT or MET produced more efficient teaching of language acquisition skills, (2) which order the modalities should be taught, and (3) the modality for the greater propensity for generalization. In general, therapists taught individuals a target in one modality and then tested for generalization in the untrained modality, across all individuals with both teaching procedures. Results suggested that both teaching procedures readily produced acquisition of targets, and that generalization across modalities was idiosyncratic across participants. For all three participants, expressive targets generalized to receptive targets. Receptive targets generalized to expressive targets for two of the participants. For the one participant for whom generalization was not evident in the expressive modality, the target was taught until mastery criteria were met.