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Differentiation of Preference Using ResponseReinforcement Delay in a Child with Autism: A Case Report and Review of the Literature

Kouji Oishi

Assess differentiation of preference in a 13-year-old autistic child with profound developmental delay. We tested the child’s response-reinforcement delay by providing a choice of two instructional tasks: a transparent bag containing either two picture cards describable by two hiragana (phonetic) characters, or six picture cards describable by three hiragana characters. We compared two conditions: 1) No-response-delay, where the child could listen to audio immediately after music presentation; 2) Response-delay, where the child had to choose one card set and complete the task before audio. Differentiation of preference was achieved by varying the time for task completion. A task with a small number of trials was necessary before the child was able to promptly select audio. He also learned what could shorten the delay before listening to his chosen audio. By choosing tasks that shortened the time between task and reward, the participant could discriminate response-reinforcement delay.

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