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Keywords:

  • autism;
  • automatic reinforcement;
  • differential reinforcement;
  • engagement;
  • leisure skills;
  • play;
  • social validity;
  • stereotypy

Abstract

Use of automatically reinforced stereotypy as reinforcement has been shown to be successful for increasing socially desirable behaviors in persons with intellectual disabilities (Charlop, Kurtz, & Casey, 1990; Hanley, Iwata, Thompson, & Lindberg, 2000; Hung, 1978). A component analysis of this treatment was conducted with 3 adolescents who had been diagnosed with autism, and then extended by (a) progressively increasing the quantitative and qualitative aspects of the response requirement to earn access to stereotypy, (b) arranging objective measures of client preference for contingent access to stereotypy compared to other relevant treatments for their automatically reinforced stereotypy, and (c) assessing the social validity of this treatment with other relevant stakeholders. Implications for addressing stereotypy and increasing the leisure skills of adolescents with autism are discussed.