Teaching children with autism a basic component skill of perspective-taking



Perspective-taking is an area of human functioning that is rarely studied by behavior analysts but likely entails a complex repertoire of verbal and relational behavior. Perspective-taking is generally acknowledged to be an important skill for successful social functioning and a significant amount of research has documented deficits in these skills in individuals with autism. However, little previous research has examined behavioral intervention procedures for remediating these deficits. The current study evaluated the effectiveness of a multiple exemplar training procedure for teaching three children with autism to identify what other people can see, a simple component skill of perspective-taking. All participants demonstrated generalization to novel table-top tasks but generalization to natural environment probes was less consistent. Results are discussed in terms of the behavioral history required to develop perspective-taking repertoires, as well as for the development of effective interventions. Descriptors: Perspective-taking, autism, Theory of Mind, conditional discrimination, and multiple exemplar training. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.