No AccessJournal of Speech, Language, and Hearing ResearchResearch Article1 Jun 2006

Enhancing Generalized Teaching Strategy Use in Daily Routines by Parents of Children With Autism


    The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of facilitating generalized use of teaching strategies by parents of children with autism within daily routines.


    Five preschool children with autism participated in intervention with a parent within daily routines in the family’s home. Parents learned to include 2 teaching strategies in target routines to address their child’s communication objectives. Parent–child interactions in routines were videotaped for data coding and analysis. Proactive programming of generalization occurred by systematic selection of intervention routines and by embedding intervention in multiple routines. Generalization data were collected by measuring strategy use in untrained routines. A multiple baseline design across teaching strategies was used to assess experimental effects.


    All parents demonstrated proficient use of teaching strategies and generalized their use across routines. The intervention had positive effects on child communication outcomes. All parents perceived the intervention to be beneficial.


    Results from this study add to the limited body of evidence supporting parent-implemented interventions in natural environments with young children with autism spectrum disorder. Additional research that replicates this approach with children of varying ages and disabilities and families with diverse characteristics is needed to support the generality of these findings.


    • Albin, R., McDonnell, J., & Wilcox, B. (1987). Designing interventions to meet activity goals.In B. Wilcox, & G. T. Bellamy (Eds.), A comprehensive guide to The Activities Catalog: An alternative curriculum for youth and adults with severe disabilities (pp. 63–88). Baltimore: Brookes.
    • Anderson, S., Avery, D., DiPietro, E., Edwards, G., & Christian, W. (1987). Intensive home-based early intervention with autistic children.Education and Treatment of Children, 10, 352–366.
    • Baer, D., Peterson, R., & Sherman, J. (1967). The development of imitation by reinforcing behavioral similarity to a model.Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 10, 405–416.
    • Bakeman, R., & Gottman, J. (1997). Recording behavioral sequences.In R. Bakeman, & J. Gottman (Eds.), Observing interaction: An introduction to sequential analysis (pp. 38–81). Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.
    • Bibby, P., Eikeseth, S., Martin, N., Mudford, O., & Reeves, D. (2001). Progress and outcomes for children with autism receiving parent-managed intensive interventions.Research in Developmental Disabilities, 22, 425–447.
    • Bronfenbrenner, U. (1979). The ecology of human development: Experiences by nature and design. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
    • Charlop, M., & Walsh, M. (1986). Increasing autistic children’s daily spontaneous speech.Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 19, 307–314.
    • Cohen, J. (1988). Statistical power analysis for the behavioral sciences (2nd ed.). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
    • Cordisco, L., Strain, P., & Depew, N. (1988). Assessment for generalization of parenting skills in home settings.Journal of the Association for Persons With Severe Handicaps, 13, 202–210.
    • Dunst, C., Hamby, D., Trivette, C., Raab, M., & Bruder, M. (2000). Everyday family and community life and children’s naturally occurring learning opportunities.Journal of Early Intervention, 23, 151–164.
    • Engelmann, S., & Carnine, D. (1982). Theory of instruction: Principles and applications. New York: Irvington.
    • Farrar, M. (1990). Discourse and the acquisition of grammatical morphemes.Journal of Child Language, 17, 607–624.
    • Fey, M., Cleave, P., Long, S., & Hughes, D. (1993). Two approaches to the facilitation of grammar in children with language impairment: An experimental evaluation.Journal of Speech and Hearing Research, 36, 141–157.
    • Gallimore, R., Weisner, T., Bernheimer, L., Guthrie, D., & Nihira, K. (1993). Family responses to young children with developmental delays: Accommodation activity in ecological and cultural context.American Journal of Mental Retardation, 98, 185–206.
    • Garcia, E., Baer, D., & Firestone, I. (1971). The development of generalized imitation within topographically determined boundaries.Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 4, 101–112.
    • Girolametto, L. (1988). Improving the social-conversational skills of developmentally delayed children: An intervention study.Journal of Speech and Hearing Disorders, 53, 156–167.
    • Griffiths, H., & Craighead, W. (1977). Generalization in operant speech therapy for misarticulation.Journal of Speech and Hearing Disorders, 37, 485–494.
    • Hampson, J., & Nelson, K. (1993). The relation of maternal language to variation in rate and style of language acquisition.Journal of Child Language, 20, 313–342.
    • Horner, R., Jones, D., & Williams, J. (1985). Teaching generalized street crossing to individuals with moderate and severe mental retardation.The Journal of the Association for the Severely Handicapped, 10(2)71–78.
    • Horner, R., McDonnell, J., & Bellamy, G. (1986). Teaching generalized behaviors: General case instruction in simulation and community settings.In R. Horner, L. Meyer, & H. Fredrick (Eds.), Education of learners with severe handicaps: Exemplary service strategies (pp. 289–315). Baltimore: Brookes.
    • Horner, R., Sprague, J., & Wilcox, B. (1982). General case programming for community activities.In B. Wilcox, & G. Bellamy (Eds.), Designing high school programs for severely handicapped students (pp. 61–97). Baltimore: Brookes.
    • Hwang, B., & Hughes, C. (2000). The effects of social interactive training on early social communicative skills of children with autism.Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 30, 331–343.
    • Kaiser, A., Hancock, T., & Nietfeld, J. (2000). The effects of parent implemented enhanced milieu teaching on the social communication of children who have autism.Early Education and Development, 11, 423–446.
    • Kelly, J., & Barnard, K. (2000). Assessment of parent–child interaction: Implications for early intervention.In J. Shonkoff, & S. Meisels (Eds.), Handbook of early childhood intervention (2nd ed., pp. 258–289). Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.
    • Koegel, L. K. (2000). Interventions to facilitate communication in autism.Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 30, 383–391.
    • Koegel, R., Bimbela, A., & Schreibman, L. (1996). Collateral effects of parent training on family interactions.Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 26, 347–359.
    • Koegel, R., & Rincover, A. (1974). Treatment of psychotic children in a classroom environment: I. Learning in a large group.Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 7, 45–59.
    • Krantz, P., MacDuff, M., & McClannahan, L. (1993). Programming participation in family activities for children with autism: Parents' use of photographic activity schedules.Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 26, 137–138.
    • Laski, K., Charlop, M., & Schreibman, L. (1988). Training parents to use the natural language paradigm to increase their autistic children’s speech.Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 21, 391–400.
    • Lucyshyn, J., Horner, R., Dunlap, G., Albin, R., & Ben, K. (2002). Positive behavior support with families.In J. Lucyshyn, G. Dunlap, & R. Albin (Eds.), Families and positive behavior support: Addressing problem behavior in family contexts (pp. 3–44). Baltimore: Brookes.
    • Mahoney, G., & Powell, A. (1988). Modifying parent–child interaction: Enhancing the development of handicapped children.The Journal of Special Education, 22(1)82–96.
    • Mahoney, G., Finger, I., & Powell, A. (1985). Relationship of maternal behavioral style to the development of organically impaired mentally retarded infants.American Journal of Mental Deficiency, 90, 296–302.
    • McCollum, J., & Hemmeter, M. (1997). Parent–child interaction intervention when children have disabilities.In M. M. Guralnick (Ed.), The effectiveness of early intervention (pp. 549–576). Baltimore: Brookes.
    • McCollum, J. A., & Yates, T. J. (1994). Dyad as focus, triad as means: A family centered approach to supporting parent–child interaction.Infants and Young Children, 6(4)54–63.
    • McDonnell, A. (1996). The acquisition, transfer, and generalization of requests by young children with severe disabilities.Education & Training in Mental Retardation & Developmental Disabilities, 31, 213–234.
    • McWilliam, R. (2000). It’s only natural …to have early intervention in the environments where it’s needed.In S. Sandall, & M. Ostrosky (Eds.), Young Exceptional Children Monograph Series, No. 2 (pp. 17–26). Denver, CO: Division for Early Childhood of the Council for Exceptional Children.
    • Mobayed, K., Collins, B., Strangis, D., Schuster, J., & Hemmeter, M. (2000). Teaching parents to employ Mand-model procedures to teach their children requesting.Journal of Early Intervention, 23, 165–179.
    • Moran, D., & Whitman, T. (1991). Developing generalized teaching skills in mothers of autistic children.Child and Family Behavior Therapy, 13(1)13–37.
    • Mullen, E. (1995). The Mullen Scales of Early Learning. Circle Pines, MN: AGS.
    • National Research Council. (2001). Educating children with autism. Committee on Educational Interventions for Children with Autism, Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.
    • Olson, S., Bayles, K., & Bates, J. (1986). Mother–child interaction and children’s speech progress: A longitudinal study of the first two years.Merrill-Palmer Quarterly, 32, 1–20.
    • O’Neill, R. (1990). Establishing verbal repertoires: Toward the application of general case analysis and programming.Analysis of Verbal Behavior, 8, 113–126.
    • O’Neill, R., & Reichle, J. (1993). Addressing socially motivated challenging behaviors by establishing communicative alternatives: Basics of a general case approach.In J. Reichle, & D. P. Wacker (Eds.), Communicative alternatives to challenging behaviors (pp. 205–235). Baltimore: Brookes.
    • Ozonoff, S., & Cathcart, K. (1998). Effectiveness of a home program intervention for young children with autism.Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 28, 25–32.
    • Petersen, G., & Sherrod, K. (1982). Relationship of maternal language to language development and language delay in children.American Journal of Mental Deficiency, 86, 391–398.
    • Pino, O. (2000). The effect of context on mother’s interaction style with Down syndrome and typically developing children.Research in Developmental Disabilities, 21, 329–346.
    • Reichle, J., & Johnston, S. (1999). Teaching the conditional use of communicative requests to two school-age children with severe developmental disabilities.Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 30, 324–334.
    • Rincover, A., & Koegel, R. (1975). Setting generality and stimulus control in autistic children.Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 8, 235–246.
    • Scherer, N., & Olswang, L. (1984). Role of mothers' expansions in stimulating children’s language production.Journal of Speech and Hearing Research, 27, 387–396.
    • Schopler, E., Reichler, R., & Renner, B. (1998). The Childhood Autism Rating Scale. Los Angeles: Western Psychological Services.
    • Sheinkopf, S., & Siegel, B. (1998). Home-based behavioral treatment of young children with autism.Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 28, 15–23.
    • Smith, T., Buch, G., & Gamby, T. (2000). Parent-directed, intensive early intervention for children with pervasive development disorder.Research in Development Disabilities, 21, 297–309.
    • Sprague, J., & Horner, R. (1984). The effects of single instance, multiple instance and general case training on generalized vending machine use by moderately and severely handicapped students.Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 17, 273–278.
    • Stokes, T., & Baer, D. (1977). An implicit technology of generalization.Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 10, 349–367.
    • Stokes, T., Baer, D., & Jackson, R. (1974). Programming the generalization of a greeting response in four retarded children.Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 7, 599–610.
    • Tannock, R., & Girolametto, L. (1992). Reassessing parent-focused language intervention programs.In S. Warren, & J. Reichle (Eds.), Causes and effects in communication and language intervention (pp. 49–79). Baltimore: Brookes.
    • Wetherby, A., & Prizant, B. (2002). Communication and Symbolic Behavior Scales—Diagnostic Profile, First normed edition. Baltimore: Brookes.
    • Woods, J., Kashinath, S., & Goldstein, H. (2004). Effects of embedding caregiver implemented teaching strategies in daily routines on children’s communication outcomes.Journal of Early Intervention, 26, 175–193.
    • Yoder, P., Davis, B., & Bishop, K. (1994). Reciprocal sequential relations in conversations between parents and children with developmental delays.Journal of Early Intervention, 18, 362–379.

    Additional Resources