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Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC)
Autism Research Database
Office of Autism Research Coordination (OARC)
 
Project Element Element Description

Project Title

Project Title

A non-interactive method for teaching noun and verb meanings to young children with ASD

Principal Investigator

Principal Investigator

Arunachalam, Sudha

Description

Description

Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are characterized by language deficits, including difficulty learning new words, as well as impaired social skills. Although children with ASD struggle with social interaction and joint attention, existing ASD therapies that teach new words to children require one-on-one social interaction between the child and a practitioner. This study focuses on a behavioral intervention with the potential to be more effective and easier to implement. As an innovative non-social, non-interactive technique for teaching new word meanings to children with ASD, it focuses on verbs as well as nouns both because verbs play an important role in grammar and because they are difficult to learn compared to nouns. The method introduces new words to children via a computerized non-social training method. The study uses nonsense words in order to assess learning without concern for knowledge of the words being presented. Children first hear novel (nonsense) words (e.g., 'blick') presented in a series of prerecorded sentences that provide some information as to the word's meaning (e.g., 'Mommy likes to blick the baby'). Next, they view a series of videotaped scenes that depict the meaning of the novel word (e.g., actors performing a simple action, like spinning). Finally, correct assignment of the word a meaning will be assessed using by presenting two new videotaped scenes to view. One depicts the verb's meaning (e.g., spinning), and the other serves as a distractor scene by depicting an incorrect meaning (e.g., running). Children hear the query, 'Where's blicking?' Their eye gaze and looking time are recorded as they view the scenes. Looking time serves as a measure of whether they have learned the new word's meaning. This method seems ideally suited for children with ASD. First, it requires them to do nothing but attend to a video for both training and assessment; and does not require social interaction or verbal responses. Second, it presents auditory and visual information at different times, rather than requiring the children to process the two kinds of information simultaneously, which may create difficulty. If successful, this training can be adapted into a low-cost easy-to-implement word learning therapy that can be used in the home.

Funder

Funder

Autism Speaks

Fiscal Year Funding

Fiscal Year Funding

58900

Current Award Period

Current Award Period

2012-2014

Strategic Plan Question

Strategic Plan Question

Question 4: Which Treatments And Interventions Will Help?

Strategic Plan Objective

Strategic Plan Objective

4O. Not specific to Question 4 objectives

Project Link

Project Link

A non-interactive method for teaching noun and verb meanings to young children with ASD (External web link)

Institution

Institution

Boston University

State/Country

State/Country

Massachusetts

Project Number

Project Number

8160

Federal or Private?

Federal or Private?

Private

Received ARRA Funding?

Received ARRA Funding?

No

History/Related Projects

History/Related Projects

A non-interactive method for teaching noun and verb meanings to young children with ASD | 59986 | 2012 | 8160
A non-interactive method for teaching noun and verb meanings to young children with ASD | 0 | 2014 | 8160
A non-interactive method for teaching noun and verb meanings to young children with ASD | 0 | 2015 | 8160

 
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