Using a tactile prompt to increase the number of social initiations emitted by typically-developing preschool children

Tzanakaki et al. (2014) used a tactile prompt and artificial reinforcement to increase social initiations among children with ASD. Tzanakaki et al. (2014) were the first to successfully fade out an effective initiation intervention. This study looked at increasing social initiations using a tactile prompt among four typically developing preschool children found to approach their peers less frequently than their model peers. Theoretically, it is more likely that typically-developing children will find social contingencies reinforcing once they come into contact with them, than children with ASD. Therefore, artificial reinforcement was only provided during training in order to establish the tactile stimulation as a prompt. Two multiple baseline designs across two participants were conducted. Three out of four participants completed the training phase and went on to show a slight increase in initiations. Initiations were significantly lower when the device was present but turned off. Despite receiving few negative peer responses, the social contingencies alone were not sufficient at maintaining social initiations. In agreement with Tzanakaki et al., (2014), it is concluded that tactile prompt interventions and artificial reinforcement should be systematically faded. Future research should explore further explore non-intrusive interventions and fading methods that allow social behaviors to be naturally maintained. Keywords: tactile prompt, social initiations, typically-developing