The Effects of Positive and Negative Reinforcement on Manding by Young Children with Autism
AuthorCoffman, Christine M.
AdvisorGhezzi, Patrick M.
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The focus of behavior analytic research on teaching manding to young children with autism is positive reinforcement. Mands maintained by negative reinforcement are understudied. The present study centers on both types in terms of their respective rates to acquisition, effects on inappropriate behaviors and impact on socially desirable behaviors. Following a baseline period, three young children with autism were taught to mand for preferred items (positive reinforcement) and for the removal of non-preferred items (negative reinforcement). Stimulus generalization probes were conducted at various points throughout the teaching phase. Once mastery was achieved, a one week follow-up was conducted to assess for maintenance of the mastered mands. The data show that teaching young children with autism to mand under conditions of both positive and negative reinforcement is beneficial to the development of socially appropriate behavior.