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Fading a concurrent activity during self-control training for children with autism

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Abstract

We evaluated a modified technique for teaching self-control and increasing the duration of waiting for access to a preferred item among 3 children with autism. Participants initially chose an immediate small reinforcer over a delayed large reinforcer and a delayed large reinforcer with a concurrent activity requirement for the duration of the delay. When the delay to the larger reinforcer with the concurrent activity requirement was gradually increased from 0 s to the terminal delay, participants switched to and maintained selection of that option, thereby demonstrating increased self-control. Finally, the duration of the concurrent activity was gradually reduced without changing the duration of the delay to the large reinforcer. All 3 participants continued to select the delayed large reinforcer, showing self-controlled responding in the absence of a concurrent activity.

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