Evaluating Matrix Training to Teach Children With Autism to Tact Private Events
The research on teaching tacts has primarily focus on visual stimuli, with relatively little attention to teaching tacts of nonvisual stimuli. The present study extended the literature to different types of tactile stimulation by teaching 2-component tacts of body-part sensation combinations in the presence of tactile stimulation. Multiple objects were used to produce the sensations to encourage generalization. Two additional exemplars for each sensation were probed for generalization to novel objects. The experimenters used matrix training, in which target responses were arranged in such a way as to facilitate recombinative generalization to untrained combinations. We arranged 6 body part targets and 6 sensation targets along two axes of a matrix, resulting in 36 total target responses. Of those targets, we directly trained 6 body part-sensation combinations and probed for recombinative generalization to the remaining 30 untrained relations. A multiple-probe design across matrices (Axe & Sainato, 2010) evaluated the effects of the intervention procedures on the directly trained and untrained responses. Participants were two young children between the ages of 2 and 4 with ASD. The results of one participant demonstrated acquisition of body part-sensation tacts in response to tactile stimulation in the absence of the visual stimuli. The results support a matrix training approach to acquisition of private event tacts. Findings and implications in regard to teaching children with autism are discussed.