Stimulus Equivalence and Spanish/English Care providers of Children with Autism

The present study proposes to use stimulus equivalence procedures (via Match to sample) to teach relationships between English and Spanish language stimuli to children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders who live with monolingual Spanish speaking parents in the home and participate with monolingual English speaking teachers at school.

Each child’s receptive language in English (via the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test – 4th edition) and in Spanish (via the Test de Vocabulario en Imagenes Peabody) will be tested prior to training.

Next, MTS training procedures for reflexive and symmetrical relations between pictures and Spanish written words (across 3 stimulus classes) will be conducted by a parent in the home setting (Spanish word to picture).

MTS training procedures for reflexive and symmetrical relations between pictures and English written words (across the same 3 stimulus classes) will be conducted by an English language teacher in the classroom setting.

Emergent relations (transitivity) will then be probed after training by researchers (two independent observers collecting data) with reliability of at least 30% of all sessions.

The results of this initial investigation will be discussed in terms of possible improvements (teaching explicit relations across languages, stimulus classes, and care providers) in bilingual pedagogy and second language acquisition with children diagnosed with ASD.

This project began in January of 2008 under the supervision of Andrew Gardner, PhD (Department of Psychology and Institute for Human Development) and teachers from Flagstaff Cooperative Preschool and Puente de Hozho Bilingual Magnet School, as well as undergraduate and graduate students.