Functional analysis of verbal behavior for children with autism spectrum disorders
Dommestrup, Aila Katrine
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Functional and social communication impairments are common symptoms of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Improving assessment of the functional use of language within this population of children is ongoing and the clinical utility of linking intervention to specific assessment results is growing. The purpose of the two studies presented in this dissertation was to investigate these lines of research for children with ASD. The first study sought to replicate and extend use of a functional analysis methodology of verbal behavior (Lerman et al., 2005). Results suggested that this methodology is applicable to implement with children with ASD, and can be successfully completed in non-clinic setting (e.g., the participant’s home). In the second study, the link between assessment results and subsequent intervention was investigated. Additionally, the sensitivity of the functional analysis of verbal behavior methodology was assessed by conducting a post-intervention assessment. Findings provided limited evidence supporting the use of assessment results to select more efficient intervention strategies. Post-intervention functional analysis results were also inconsistent but provided helpful information for future directions of this line of research. The limitations and implications of these studies are also discussed.