Title

Assessment and treatment of psychotic speech in an autistic child.

SelectedWorks Author Profiles:

V. Mark Durand

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1987

Date Issued

January 1987

Date Available

April 2013

ISSN

0162-3257

Abstract

The psychotic speech of autistic and other developmentally disabled children can be defined as words or phrases that are intelligible, but appear out of context. In the present investigation we conducted an analysis of the psychotic speech of a 9-year-old autistic boy. Three experiments were constructed to determine the functional significance of this child's psychotic speech and a method of intervention. The first study involved an analysis of the role of adult attention and task demands in the maintenance of psychotic speech. When task demands were increased, the frequency of psychotic speech increased. Varying adult attention had no effect on psychotic speech. We then performed a second analysis in which the consequence for psychotic speech was a 10-second time-out. Psychotic speech increased, suggesting that it may have been maintained through escape from task demands. Finally, the third experiment involved teaching an appropriate escape response ("Help me"). Psychotic speech was greatly reduced by this intervention. Thus, teaching an appropriate equivalent phrase proved to be a viable alternative to interventions using aversive consequences. The present study represents the first observation that psychotic speech may serve to remove children from unpleasant situations and also introduces a nonaversive intervention for this behavior.

Comments

Abstract only. Full-text article is available only through licensed access provided by the publisher. Published in Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 17, 17 28. doi: 0.1007/BF01487257. Members of the USF System may access the full-text of the article through the authenticated link provided.

Language

en_US

Publisher

Springer

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.