Several studies have suggested that contingent adult imitation increase nonverbal communication, such as attention and proximity to adults, in children with autism spectrum disorders. However, few studies have shown the effect of contingent imitation on verbal communication. This study examined whether children with autism were able to promote verbal interaction such as vocal imitation, vocalization, and vocal turn-taking via contingent imitation. We used an alternating treatment design composed of the conditions of contingent imitation and control for six children with autism (aged 33-63 months). For contingent imitation condition, adults imitated children's vocalization immediately. For control condition, adults did not imitate but gave a vocal response immediately. Results showed that in contingent imitation condition, all children increased the number of vocal imitations and vocal turn-takings compared with control condition. The number of vocalizations increased in both condition for all children. Overall, it is suggested that all children promote verbal interaction via contingent imitation.
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