A Novel Method for Teaching the First Instances of Simple Discrimination to Nonverbal Children with Autism in a Laboratory Environment

UMMS Affiliation

University of Massachusetts Medical School

Publication Date


Document Type



Life Sciences | Medicine and Health Sciences


A novel method for initiating discrimination training with nonverbal children combines a delayed S+ procedure that requires children to refrain from responding to either of 2 physically different choice stimuli until a prompt stimulus is added onto 1 of the choices, and a delayed prompting procedure that presents the same 2-choice stimulus display, but stimuli are initially added onto both choices. After a short delay, the added stimulus on the S- is removed, and the choice of the S+ is thus prompted. If the children learn to observe and respond to the defining features of the S+ choice stimulus, then they may respond to the S+ prior to the added-stimulus removal. Implementation was successful with 8 nonverbal children who had not previously exhibited simple simultaneous discrimination, suggesting a useful methodology for initiating discrimination training with populations for whom verbal instruction is ineffective.


Psychol Rec. 2008;58(2):229-244.

Journal/Book/Conference Title

The Psychological record

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Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID