<bold>Purpose</bold>: Limited or unusual syntax may reduce the functional use of language for children with ASD and exacerbate difficulties with academic and social skill development. The current study evaluated an explicit instructional approach to teach novel grammatical forms to children with ASD.<bold>Method</bold>: Eleven children with ASD between the ages of 4:4 and 9:9 years who demonstrated weaknesses in expressive grammatical language were randomly assigned to complete two space-themed computer games. In each game participants attempted to learn a novel grammatical form after receiving explicit or implicit instruction. During explicit instruction, the examiner presented a rule guiding the novel form to be learned as well as models of the form. During implicit instruction, only models of the grammatical form were presented. Learning was assessed during each of four treatment sessions and after a 1-week delay in two contexts.<bold>Results</bold>: Nonparametric analyses revealed a trending advantage for learning novel grammatical morphemes with an explicit instructional approach. Successful learners tended to have stronger expressive language skills then unsuccessful learners. Successful and unsuccessful learners did not differ in nonverbal intelligence or severity of autism- related behaviors.<bold>Conclusions</bold>: Explicit instruction may lead to more robust learning of targeted grammatical forms for children with ASD. Future research should continue to examine this effect using true grammatical forms.
University of Minnesota M.A. thesis. June 2014. Major:Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences. Advisors: Lizbeth H. Finestack, Ph.D., CCC-SLP
Joe Reichle, Ph.D. 1 computer file (PDF); v, 63 pages.
Miller, Danneka Joy.
Evaluation of an explicit instructional approach to teach novel grammatical forms to children with autism spectrum disorders.
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