Teaching auditory-auditory identity matching to persons with developmental disabilities and children with autism
Recognizing that two sounds are the same is a part of accurate vocal imitation, and the teaching of vocal imitation is an important part of language training for persons with developmental disabilities (DD) and children with autism. Researchers have developed an Auditory-Auditory Identity Matching Prototype Task (AAIM PT) to assess whether persons with DD can identify whether two sounds are the same (Harapiak, Martin, & Yu, 1999). Thus far, the one study (Sewell, 2005) that attempted to teach AAIM tasks to persons with DD who failed the AAIM PT had little success in doing so. The purpose of this research was to evaluate several procedures for teaching AAIM tasks to persons with DD and children with autism. In Experiment 1, the trainer said a word, a matching word was played out of one computer speaker, and a non-matching word was played out of another. The participant was required to point to the speaker that played the matching word. In a single-subject alternating-treatments design, volume fading of the non-matching word (from zero to full volume) was compared to the fading out of a pointing prompt to the speaker that played the matching word. Only one of five participants learned an AAIM task, and that participant did not pass the AAIM PT. Three pilot studies were then conducted to explore various prompting and fading strategies for teaching AAIM tasks, and all were unsuccessful. In Experiment 2, I examined a procedure for teaching AAIM in which the participant was actively involved in producing the sample sound and the matching and non-matching comparison sounds. This procedure also incorporated visual cues and sounds from the operation of a toy airplane as a possible natural, built-in reinforcer. In a single-subject AB design with replication within and across three participants (one person with DD and two children with autism), all three participants learned two AAIM tasks, two participants generalized to a third AAIM task, and one participant passed the AAIM PT. The encouraging results from Experiment 2 provide a promising starting point for future research on teaching AAIM tasks to persons with DD and children with autism.
auditory-auditory identity matching, auditory discrimination training