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Title: Teaching Conversation to Children with Autism - Scripts and Script Fading
Author: McClannahan, Lynn E. Ph.D; Krantz, Patricia J. Ph.D.
Teaching Conversation to Children with Autism describes scripts that parents and teachers can use to help children learn to initiate conversation, thereby improving communication. Drs. McClannahan and Krantz—-authors of Activity Schedules for Children with Autism—-have successfully used scripts and script-fading techniques based on their clinical observations and research, and founded on applied behavior analysis principles. The authors begin by thoroughly explaining the script and script-fading processes and include many examples to support the instructions. A script is an audiotaped or written word, phrase, or sentence that often reflects the child’s preferences and interests. For very young children and nonreaders, scripts are paired with pictures of desired objects or activities. The process starts when a child engages in conversation with an interaction partner by reading a script or playing it on an audio card reader to start the conversation (e.g., "I like yogurt"). The partner supports the conversation with a response (e.g., "Yogurt is good," or "You had yogurt for lunch"). After the child masters a few scripts, the script-fading process begins. The last word of the script is removed, then the next to last, and so on, until the script is absent. After scripts have been introduced and faded, many children learn to spontaneously initiate and pursue social interaction. Teaching Conversation to Children with Autism also covers prompts and rewards, observing, evaluating, and measuring results, activity schedules, card readers, and voice recorders, conversation activities, and scripts for readers and non-readers. Teaching Conversation to Children with Autism demonstrates that scripts are a valuable tool to improve interaction for children and even adolescents and adults. Use scripts at home, in school, in the workplace, and in the community.