Knowledge Library

Differentiated Effects of Paper and Computer-Assisted Social Stories™ on Inappropriate Behavior in Children With Autism

Despite evidence from previous studies that support using Social Stories™ for problem behaviors, research conducted with more rigorous controls is needed to examine whether or not Social Stories constitute an evidence-based practice.This study employed an ABABCBC single-subject design comparing a Social Story presented in two formats across three elementary-age students with autism. Interpretation of the results documents a decrease in the frequency of problem behavior for each participant. Outcomes were slightly better for the PowerPoint™ format than for the paper format. Results were maintained in the training setting and were generalized to another setting with a single verbal prompt. Teachers reported that the PowerPoint format was easily implemented, and students indicated that they liked the computer-assisted format.

Utilizing Social Stories to Increase Prosocial Behavior and Reduce Problem Behavior in Young Children with Autism

The purpose of this paper was to evaluate the effects of a Social Story intervention on the behavior rates of 4 young children
with autism using a multiple-baseline across participants design. The results of this paper indicate that the Social Story was
modestly effective in increasing prosocial behavior rates in 3 of the 4 participants, though none of the participants reached the
prosocial behavior rates of age and gender-matched peers. The problem behaviors of the participants modestly decreased with
the intervention. Maintenance of skills over a 1-month period was demonstrated for all of the participants. The variable and
inconsistent results of the research add to the current literature base in support of the use of Social Stories for some children with

Social Intervention for Adolescents With Autism and Significant Intellectual Disability: Initial Efficacy of Reciprocal Imitation Training

Individuals with autism have difficulty with social skills across the lifespan. Few social interventions have been examined for older individuals with autism who also have significant intellectual disabilities (ID). Previous research suggests that reciprocal imitation training (RIT) improves imitation and social engagement in young children with autism. This study used a multiple-baseline design to examine whether RIT could improve social behaviors in four adolescents with autism and significant ID. All adolescents improved their spontaneous imitation and two improved their joint engagement. In addition, two adolescents decreased their rate of self-stimulatory behaviors over the course of treatment. Overall, these results suggest that RIT may be effective at improving social interaction and decreasing self-stimulatory behavior in adolescents with autism and significant ID.


The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of manual sign mand training combined with prompt delay and vocal prompting on the production of vocal responses in nonvocal children with developmental disabilities. A multiple baseline design across participants verified the effectiveness of this intervention. All participants showed increases in vocal responses following the implementation of the independent variables.

The Benefits of Skinner’s Analysis of Verbal Behavior for Children with Autism

Behavior analysis has already contributed substantially to the treatment of children with autism,
and further gains can result from more use of Skinner’s analysis of language in Verbal Behavior
(1957) and in the resulting conceptual and experimental work. The approach emphasizes a unit
of analysis consisting of the relations between behavior, motivative and discriminative variables,
and consequences. Skinner identifies seven types of verbal operants—echoic, mand, tact,
intraverbal, textual, transcriptive, and copying a text—which function as components of more
advanced forms of language. This approach focuses on the development of each verbal operant
(rather than onwords and their meanings) and on the independent training of speaker and listener
repertoires. Five more specific contributions are described that relate to the importance of (a) an
effective language assessment, (b) mand training in early intervention, (c) establishing operations,
(d) an intraverbal repertoire, and (e) automatic reinforcement.