Examining communication repairs of 2 young children with autism spectrum disorder: The influence of the environment

Hedda Meadan, James W. Halle, Ruth V. Watkins, Janis G. Chadsey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to examine the repair strategies of 2 young children with autism spectrum disorder from an environmental rather than a developmental perspective. Method: A scripted protocol that included opportunities for requests and repair was followed. The environmental variables investigated were activity type (e.g., puzzle, shapes, book) and breakdown type (i.e., request for clarification, wrong response, and ignore). The sessions were videotaped, and each child's behavior was coded. Results: The results revealed that (a) both participants repaired the majority (70%) of their unsuccessful initial requests and (b) the repair strategies varied across children, activities, and breakdowns. Conclusions: The findings of this study suggest that the 2 young children with autism and limited expressive language discriminated among environmental variables (i.e., type of activity and type of breakdown). The participants modified their repair topographies to correspond to changes in the environment. The findings from this study offer ways to enhance assessment and intervention of early communication. Implications for future research and practice are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)57-71
Number of pages15
JournalAmerican journal of speech-language pathology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2006


  • Autism
  • Communication repair
  • Nonverbal language

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation
  • Health Professions(all)
  • Linguistics and Language


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