Effects of operant discrimination training on the vocalizations of nonverbal children with autism


  • This article is based on a study conducted by the first author in partial fulfillment of the requirements for a master's degree from Texas Christian University. The research was supported by grants from the Society for the Advancement of Behavior Analysis and the Speech Pathology and Applied Behavior Analysis Special Interest Group.

Address correspondence to Anna Ingeborg Petursdottir, Department of Psychology, Texas Christian University, TCU Box 298920, Fort Worth, Texas 76129 (e-mail: a.petursdottir@tcu.edu).


We evaluated the effects of operant discrimination training (ODT) on the vocalizations of 3 boys with autism. We compared ODT to a stimulus–stimulus pairing (SSP) condition and a control condition in an adapted alternating-treatments design. ODT increased the target vocalizations of all participants compared to the control condition, and its effects were similar to SSP. All participants preferred ODT to SSP.