Date of Degree

6-2014

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Program

Psychology

Advisor(s)

Emily A. Jones

Subject Categories

Psychology

Keywords

Autism Spectrum Disorder, Eye gaze, Gaze shift, Joint attention, Requesting

Abstract

Impairment in eye gaze, including gaze shifting (GS) and making eye contact in early social communication is severely impaired in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). This study examined the effectiveness of prompting and reinforcement to teach GS in the context of responding to a request and initiating joint attention to four toddlers with ASD. Intervention lasted 3-9 weeks with all toddlers demonstrating GS to mastery across both contexts. Toddlers also showed generalization to a repertoire of social-communication behavior, including increases in smiling. Some improvements in symptoms of autism and overall functioning were observed. Results suggest a promising brief intervention to address the earliest form of social communication that remains a part of successful social-communication interactions throughout life.

Included in

Psychology Commons

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