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We are pleased to present Volume 1, No 3 of the Journal of Speech-Language Pathology and Applied Behavior Analysis. Included in this issue are five excellent papers and one book review. Three of the papers and the book review have direct application to the support of children with severe speechlanguage problems including autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Two of the papers have implications for supporting children with language learning impairments associated with other etiologies.

In the first paper, Carbone et al offer single-case evidence for the relatively greater effect of total communication (TC) (sign plus vocal) versus vocal-only communication training in the development of verbal behavior functions. Although the efficacy of a TC approach has been studied previously, few (if any) previous studies have addressed this procedure from the perspective of its impact on specific verbal behavior functions. Carbone et al's study fills this gap.

Johnston's paper addresses the unique challenges of alternative augmentative communication (AAC) systems for individuals who do not use speech as their primary mode of communication. Based on a matching model of reinforcement and behavior selection, this paper provides a succinct analysis of the impact of response efficiency in the design and use of AAC systems. A protocol is provided for analyzing potential AAC systems in consideration of response efficiency and contextual fit.

A third paper by Schoneberger analyzes the validity of evidence resulting from research into behavioral interventions for children with ASD. This paper highlights the importance of three guidelines for the design of treatment efficacy research and describes two studies, which illustrate the ways in which the internal validity of the resulting data is influenced by the degree to which these guidelines are followed.

In the fourth paper, Rondal and Docquier consider the nature of language addressed to children with language impairments and other developmental disabilities, particularly Down Syndrome. They review previous and current studies showing that language input is normally shaped by a child's language development level. However, they note that the actual analysis of this input is ultimately up to the child. Then, the authors compare the implications of this literature from the perspective of nativistic and behavioral frameworks. Taken as a whole, this information fills an important a gap within the field of behavior analysis. Specifically, while the efficacy of behavior analytic interventions has been demonstrated for a variety of target behaviors (e.g., verbal responsiveness, intelligibility, imitation, language, basic self-help skills, and social skills) since the 1970s (e.g., Farb & Thorne, 1978; MacCubrey, 1971; Nelson, Peoples, Hay, Johnson, & Hay, 1976; Clunies-Ross, 1979; Bidder, Bryant, & Gray, 1975), relatively few studies have examined features of the natural environment that support individuals with developmental disabilities. Rondal's extensive body of work has contributed substantially to an understanding of the natural processes of language development and to the development of strategies for supporting the language development of children with developmental delays (e.g., Gutmann & Rodel, 1979)

In the fifth paper, Van Kleek et al describe intervention research targeting skills reflecting phonological awareness (PA) and phonological working memory (WM). These skills play a crucial role in supporting young children's literacy development; and they art particularly challenging for preschoolers with language learning impairments. Interestingly, the results of Van Kleek et al's intervention research suggest that training in PA will generalize to improvements in phonological WM for this population.

In the last paper, Balazs reviews Schramm's (2006) new book called Educate Toward Recovery: Turning the Tables on Autism. His review suggests that this is a well-written, and substantively valuable resource for individuals new to applied behavior analysis (e.g., families of children with autism, new therapists) who wish to learn concepts and skills that are essential for teaching verbal behavior functions and other adaptive skills within an ABA framework to children with autism.

We thank all of our authors for sharing their work with us, and we hope our readers will enjoy this excellent edition of JSLP-ABA.


Bidder, R. T., Bryant, G., & Gray, O. P. (1975). Benefits to Down's syndrome children through training their mothers. Archives of Disease in Childhood, 50, 383-386.

Clunies-Ross, G.G.(1979). Accelerating the development of Down's syndrome infants and young children. The Journal of Special Education, 13, 169-177.

Farb, J., & Thorne, J. (1978). Improving the generalized mnemonic performance of a Down's syndrome child. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 11, 413-419.

Gutmann, A. & Rodel, J. (1979). Verbal operants in mothers' speec to nonretarded and Down's syndrome children matched for linguistic level. American Journal of Mental Deficiency, 92, 85-93

MacCubrey, J. (1971). Verbal operant conditioning with young institutionalized Down's syndrome children. American Journal of Mental Deficiency, 75, 696-701.

Nelson, R. O., Peoples, A., Hay, L. R., Johnson, T., & Hay, W. (1976). The effectiveness of speech training techniques based on operant conditioning: A comparison of two methods. Mental Retardation, June, 34-38.
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Author:Cautilli, Joe; Koenig, Mareile
Publication:The Journal of Speech-Language Pathology and Applied Behavior Analysis
Date:Sep 22, 2006
Next Article:A comparison of two approaches for teaching VB functions: total communication vs. vocal-alone.

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