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J Autism Dev Disord. 1987 Mar;17(1):115-31.

Autistic children exposed to simultaneous communication training: a follow-up.


Fourteen originally mute, low-functioning autistic children, exposed to intensive simultaneous communication training, were followed up 1 to 4 years later. Psychometric testing, communication assessment, and teacher and parent interviews were employed. Results showed that at least half of the children who had become verbal by program termination remained verbal at follow-up. Higher-functioning and verbal children performed overall better than their lower-functioning and mute peers. Children exposed longer to the intensive program and those exposed to good schooling after termination fared better at follow-up, as did those whose parents were more involved in their training. Yet teachers and parents employed mainly speech rather than signs to communicate with these children, despite the children's difficulty with speech. Compared to the verbal children, who recalled signs and words equally well, the mute children recalled signs better than words. The findings are discussed for their relevance to choice of communication training with different subgroups of autistic children.

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