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Language is typically acquired in the context of and maintained by social interaction. Given the limited sensitivity to social stimuli in autism, interventions that aim to address social responding early may result in clinically significant outcomes for this population. Early focus on establishing people as both discriminative and reinforcing stimuli may enable children to acquire verbal behavior under more environmentally valid sources of control. The current presentation will firstly briefly review the sparse literature on naturalistic, behavioural and developmentally based interventions on early social responding; secondly, it will discuss the extent to which, as a scientific community, we can contribute both a behaviour analysis and a technology to establish this crucial repertoire in young children with autism. The presentation will particularly focus on operationally defining and illustrating strategies to establish early social responses (e.g., anticipation, eye-gaze monitoring, joint attention) through social behavioural chains and routines.

  • Melinda Dondelinger
  • Thomas Ratkos

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