Library of the History of Autism Research



Attention Training: The Use of Overcorrection Avoidance to Increase the Eye Contact of Autistic and Retarded Children

Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 1977, no. 10, pp. 489-499 (1977)

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A crucial first step in teaching and training the retarded and autistic is to develop and maintain eye contact with the therapist. Functional movement training (an overcorrection procedure) plus edibles and praise were compared with edibles and praise alone as a method of developing eye contact in three such children. In both conditions, the child was given food and praise when eye contact occurred within 5 sec of the therapist's verbal prompt: "Look at me." Functional movement training avoidance plus edibles and praise produced about 90% attention for the three children, while edibles and praise alone were less effective (eye contact never exceeded 55%). Functional movement training avoidance combined with edibles and praise appears to be an effective method of teaching eye contact and possibly other forms of instruction-following to behaviorally disordered children who are not always responsive to positive consequences.


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