ERIC Number: EJ796682
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Reference Count: 0
Increasing the Use of Empathic Statements in the Presence of a Non-Verbal Affective Stimulus in Adolescents with Autism
Argott, Paul; Townsend, Dawn Buffington; Sturmey, Peter; Poulson, Claire L.
Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, v2 n2 p341-352 Apr-Jun 2008
Previous studies have shown that most individuals with autism do not show empathic responding. The present study is an attempt to teach such skills. Script-fading procedures have been used to teach other social-interaction skills, so they are applied here to teach empathic responding. This study included three adolescents with autism, two males and one female. A non-verbal affective stimulus was presented and students' empathic responding was recorded. Data were collected on scripted and unscripted verbal statements of empathy in the presence of training discriminative stimuli and on unscripted verbal statements of empathy in the presence of non-training discriminative stimuli. A multiple-baseline-across-participants experimental design was used to assess the effectiveness of a script-fading procedure on increasing verbal statements of empathy. With the successive introduction of scripts and a script-fading procedure across participants, the percentage of opportunities on which scripted and unscripted statements of empathy occurred, in the presence of the training stimuli, increased systematically. Additionally, an increase in the percentage of opportunities on which an unscripted statement of empathy occurred in the presence of generalization stimuli was observed. These data show that adolescents with autism can learn to differentiate non-verbal affective stimuli and display differential empathic responses with behavioral interventions.
Descriptors: Scripts, Stimuli, Autism, Adolescents, Empathy, Affective Behavior, Responses, Interpersonal Communication, Interpersonal Competence, Nonverbal Communication, Generalization
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
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