Treatment of perseveration speech in a young adult with Autism Spectrum Disorder

  • Chantel Ritter MacEwan University


This study was implemented to evaluate a treatment approach to reduce perseverative speech in a 21 year old adult with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). This study is a brief replication of previous literature that shows differential reinforcement (DR) and extinction can be used to increase appropriate speech and decrease perseverative speech. This also intends to extend the previous literature that shows DR and extinction can be used to increase appropriate speech selected by the listener, and decrease perseverative speech. To promote appropriate speech, a turn-taking format was used during sessions while DR of non-perseverative speech and DR of on-topic speech was implemented. The turn taking sessions were presented in a multiple schedule with a discriminative stimulus that signaled the contingencies, and who was to choose the topic. Both treatments reduced perseverative speech, but only DR of on-topic speech increased appropriate turn taking during conversations. There was a rapid increasing trend of appropriate speech contingent on reinforcement, and a rapidly decreasing trend of perseverative speech. The results show that perseverative speech is sensitive to contingent attention as reinforcement, and DR and extinction can markedly reduce this speech.  

Discipline: Psychology Honours

Faculty Mentor: Miranda  Macauley