Teaching a Child With Autism to Request Breaks While Concurrently Increasing Task Engagement Purpose An intervention package, including teaching break requests and tolerance for delay in reinforcement delivery to increase task engagement, was implemented with a 4-year-old child with an autism spectrum disorder who did not engage for a duration commensurate with individual education program team expectations. Method A multiple-probe design ... Research Article
Research Article  |   July 2015
Teaching a Child With Autism to Request Breaks While Concurrently Increasing Task Engagement
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Shelley R. Kreibich
    University of Minnesota–Twin Cities, Minneapolis
  • Mo Chen
    University of Minnesota–Twin Cities, Minneapolis
  • Joe Reichle
    University of Minnesota–Twin Cities, Minneapolis
  • Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.×
  • Correspondence to Joe Reichle: reich001@umn.edu
  • Editor: Marilyn Nippold
    Editor: Marilyn Nippold×
  • Associate Editor: Jeannene Ward-Lonergan
    Associate Editor: Jeannene Ward-Lonergan×
  • Copyright © 2015 American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
Article Information
Special Populations / Autism Spectrum / Research Articles
Research Article   |   July 2015
Teaching a Child With Autism to Request Breaks While Concurrently Increasing Task Engagement
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, July 2015, Vol. 46, 256-265. doi:10.1044/2015_LSHSS-14-0081
History: Received September 3, 2014 , Revised January 27, 2015 , Accepted April 16, 2015
 
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, July 2015, Vol. 46, 256-265. doi:10.1044/2015_LSHSS-14-0081
History: Received September 3, 2014; Revised January 27, 2015; Accepted April 16, 2015

Purpose An intervention package, including teaching break requests and tolerance for delay in reinforcement delivery to increase task engagement, was implemented with a 4-year-old child with an autism spectrum disorder who did not engage for a duration commensurate with individual education program team expectations.

Method A multiple-probe design across tasks was implemented. Dependent measures taken included engagement duration and the production of spoken break requests after work completion. Intervention was implemented with tasks involving short periods of engagement prior to the learner's disengagement. The possibility of the learner's overgeneralized production of break requests with tasks originally associated with longer engagement was also examined.

Results The participant learned to request breaks in short engagement tasks. In addition, engagement increased dramatically without off-task behavior. Overgeneralized use of break requests with long engagement tasks did not occur. Generalization of break requests to untrained short engagement tasks that were not the focus of intervention (but were associated with escape and short engagement) did not occur until the intervention package was implemented.

Conclusions The combination of teaching break requests and tolerance for delay in reinforcement delivery was effective in addressing problem behavior. Implications for enhancing properly generalized and moderated use of break requests across different tasks or contexts are discussed.

Acknowledgments
This research was supported, in part, by Maternal and Child Health Bureau Grant 2-T73MC12835-03-00, awarded to the University of Minnesota. We wish to acknowledge Quannah Parker-McGowen and Hannah Julien, doctoral students at the University of Minnesota. We thank Paige Berland, Camille Hayman, Emily Tuatges, and Julie Kraft for their assistance.
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