The effect of adult interactive style on the spontaneous communication of young children with autism at school

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Colleges, School and Institutes


Relatively little is known about the effect of adult interactive style on children's communication. The aim of this study, written by Lila Kossyvaki, Glenys Jones and Karen Guldberg, all from the University of Birmingham, was to explore the effects of adult interactive style on children's spontaneous communication. The study used an action research methodology. Six children aged between four and five years with autism and three members of staff participated. Each child was video recorded for a total of two hours across four activities. The staff, in collaboration with the researcher, developed and put into practice an Adult Interactive Style Intervention (AISI) intended to promote spontaneous communication. Two months later each child was recorded for two hours across the same activities with staff using AISI. Cohen's d effect size was calculated to measure the differences pre- and post-intervention. The increase in total initiations post-intervention for all six children was significant. The findings suggest that attention should be paid to adult style when developing communication in children with autism.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)173-184
JournalBritish Journal of Special Education
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2012