Pró-Fono Revista de Atualização Científica
Print version ISSN 0104-5687
LOPES-HERRERA, Simone Aparecida and ALMEIDA, Maria Amélia. The use of verbal communicative abilities to increase the mean length of utterance in high-functioning autism and Asperger Syndrome. Pró-Fono R. Atual. Cient. [online]. 2008, vol.20, n.1, pp. 37-42. ISSN 0104-5687. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0104-56872008000100007.
BACKGROUND: high-functioning autism (HFA) and Asperger Syndrome (AS) are pervasive developmental disorders that present alterations in the communicative and social skills. AIM: to use verbal communicative skill strategies (VCS) to increase the mean length of utterance (MLU) produced by individuals with HFA and AS. METHOD: participants were three 12-year-old males with HFA or AS. Data was collected from videotape recordings of structured verbal interaction sessions with the researcher and each participant during eight months. In order to verify the effects of the intervention, a multiple baseline research design across the participants was used, being composed by two phases: baseline (BL) and intervention (I). In the BL phase, spontaneous interaction situations occurred between the researcher and each participant. In the first phase of I, the intervention sessions occurred twice a week and gradually worked their way to once a week, but only after each participant had reached the goal of increasing the MLU. The number of sessions decreased gradually to avoid any drop in performance. The strategies which were used were divided in blocks of activities: spontaneous conversation; activities involving specific language difficulties; games with rules; story/report telling; and meta-linguistic activities. RESULTS: the application of the proposed strategies for verbal communicative abilities achieved the purpose of increasing the MLU of all three participants. CONCLUSION: suggestions are made for further researches that investigate the maintenance of the results in other environments and during the interaction with different communication partners.
Keywords : Autism; Asperger Syndrome; Language; Special Education.