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Title: Tacting 'private events' : an investigation into the social and emotional experience of children with autism spectrum disorder
Author: Conallen, Kevin Joseph
Awarding Body: Swansea University
Current Institution: Swansea University
Date of Award: 2008
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Recognizing how another person feels remains one of the greatest challenges children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) face in developing social language and behaviour. This deficit makes it difficult to build friendships and experience genuine empathy for others. In order to overcome this, children with ASD need to be taught to tact their own private events, and the public correlates associated with the display of the 'emotions' of others. This investigation tested the ability of children with ASD to tact private events, while measuring the subsequent relational outcomes in spontaneously emitted language interactions, engagement in inappropriate behaviours and generalization to other forms of verbal behaviour. Ten school aged children, with diagnosis of ASD disorders participated in a series of studies, designed to shape tacts for private events as conditioned reinforcers, teach conversational skills based on observation and comment, to tact the private events of others, and to recognize changes in emotion as they occur. A 'Control Group' of ten additional children with ASD, who did not receive any instruction in tacting private events, was then compared to the 'Intervention Group' to determine any subsequent changes that may have resulted from the training. The results from these studies provides some evidence that suggests children with autism can reliably be taught to tact private events, both their own and the public correlates of others, which can lead to generative spontaneous language social language interactions, reduce engagement in inappropriate behaviour repertories, which suggests that the deficits of perspective taking may not be entirely static. Suggestions for future research and investigations are provided in the discussion, and possibilities for improving the methods used in this series of experiments are reviewed. Practical and theoretical implications and limitations are also summarized.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available