Increasing the saliency of behavior-consequence relations for children with autism who exhibit persistent errors

Wayne W. Fisher, Tamara L. Pawich, Nitasha Dickes, Amber R. Paden, Karen Toussaint

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Some children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) display persistent errors that are not responsive to commonly used prompting or error-correction strategies; one possible reason for this is that the behavior-consequence relations are not readily discriminable (Davison & Nevin, 1999). In this study, we increased the discriminability of the behavior-consequence relations in conditional-discrimination acquisition tasks for 3 children with ASD using schedule manipulations in concert with a unique visual display designed to increase the saliency of the differences between consequences in effect for correct responding and for errors. A multiple baseline design across participants was used to show that correct responding increased for all participants, and, after 1 or more exposures to the intervention, correct responding persisted to varying degrees across participants when the differential reinforcement baseline was reintroduced to assess maintenance. These findings suggest that increasing the saliency of behavior-consequence relations may help to increase correct responding in children with ASD who exhibit persistent errors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)738-748
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of applied behavior analysis
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2014


  • acquisition
  • autism
  • conditional discrimination
  • discrete-trial training
  • discriminated operant
  • error correction
  • response cost
  • schedule discrimination
  • second-order schedule

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Applied Psychology


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