Increasing the Vocalizations of Individuals With Autism During Intervention With a Speech-Generating Device


This study aimed to teach individuals with autism spectrum disorder and limited vocal speech to emit target vocalizations while using a speech-generating device (SGD). Of the four participants, three began emitting vocal word approximations with SGD responses after vocal instructional methods (delays, differential reinforcement, prompting) were introduced. Two participants met mastery criterion with a reinforcer delay and differential reinforcement, and one met criterion after fading an echoic model and prompt delay. For these participants, vocalizations initiated before speech outputs were shown to increase, and vocalizations generalized to a context in which the SGD was absent. The fourth participant showed high vocalization rates only when prompted. The results suggest that adding vocal instruction to an SGD-based intervention can increase vocalizations emitted along with SGD responses for some individuals with autism spectrum disorder.


Gevarter, C., O’Reilly, M., Kuhn, M., Mills, K., Ferguson, R., Watkins, L., . . . Lancioni, G. E. (2016). Increasing the vocalizations of individuals with autism during intervention with a speech-generating device. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 49, 17–33.