A further evaluation of the effects of listener training on the emergence of speaker behavior and categorization in children with autism

The purpose of the current study was to evaluate the effects of listener training on the development of categorization and tacts in four children diagnosed with autism ages three to six. We administered standardized assessments to evaluate participant’s language skills prior to the onset of the study and used a non-concurrent multiple-baseline design across participants to evaluate the effects of listener training. Two participants whose language assessment identified speaker and listener scores greater than 36 months, passed categorization and tact tests; while the two participants whose language assessment were below 30 months failed categorization and tact tests following listener training. These results support previous research suggesting that both speaker and listener behaviors (i.e., naming) may be required for the emergence of untrained categorization, and that participants whose language scores are below 30 months may not benefit from this type of training.