A comparison of fixed and repetitive models to teach object imitation to children with autism

Mary Halbur, Elizabeth Preas, Regina Carroll, Madison Judkins, Catalina Rey, Mikayla Crawford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A well-established imitative repertoire can facilitate the acquisition of functional communication, social behaviors, and observational learning. Although early intensive behavioral intervention programs for young children with autism incorporate imitation training, learners with autism may exhibit difficulties in acquiring an imitative repertoire. Few studies have evaluated the types of models responsible for acquisition when teaching imitation to children with autism. A preliminary evaluation with fixed and repetitive model targets suggested that children with autism may acquire imitation more rapidly when taught with repetitive models (Deshais & Vollmer, 2020). The purpose of the current study was to compare the rates of acquisition when teaching with repetitive and fixed models for six children with autism. The findings suggested that (a) fixed models resulted in the most efficient acquisition for 10 of 16 comparisons, (b) fixed and repetitive models had similar efficacy for four comparisons, (c) and the repetitive condition was most efficient for two comparisons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)674-686
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of applied behavior analysis
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • autism
  • fixed model
  • object imitation
  • repetitive model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Applied Psychology


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