Efficacy Trial of Contrasting Approaches to the Response-Contingent Learning of Young Children with Significant Developmental Delays and Multiple Disabilities

  •  Melinda Raab    
  •  Carl Dunst    
  •  Deborah Hamby    


Findings from a randomized control design efficacy trial of an asset-based vs. needs-based approach to the response-contingent learning of infants and toddlers with significant developmental delays and disabilities who did not use instrumental behavior to produce or elicit reinforcing consequences are reported. The investigation included 71 children randomly assigned to the two contrasting types of interventions. The asset-based intervention and needs-based intervention differed in terms of how child behavior were identified and used to elicit reinforcing consequences as part of response-contingent learning games implemented by the children’s parents or other primary caregivers. Children in the asset-based group were provided more learning opportunities, acquired more response-contingent behavior, and demonstrated more efficient learning compared to children in the needs-based group. Implications for improving practices for very young children with significant developmental delays and multiple disabilities are described.

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