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Including unfamiliar stimuli in preference assessments for young children with autism


  • We thank Alanah Burkhardt, Angela Persicke, and Jessica Belokas for their assistance with this study.

Address correspondence to Amy Kenzer, Center for Autism & Related Disorders, Inc., 1620 N 48th Street, Phoenix, Arizona 85008 (e-mail:


This study examined the inclusion of familiar and unfamiliar stimuli in a paired-stimulus preference assessment and subsequent progressive-ratio reinforcer assessment for 3 children with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Results showed that highly preferred unfamiliar stimuli functioned as reinforcers. These findings suggest that the inclusion of unfamiliar stimuli in preference assessments may facilitate the identification of additional reinforcers for children with an ASD.