Teaching Left-right Spatial Relations to Individuals with Autism and Intellectual Disability

ABSTRACT The recognition of the left-right concept is an evidence of the body notion development and is part of a process of symbolic lateralization. In this sense, the goal of the present study was to teach listener responses to left-right spatial relations involving body parts and to verify the use of these relations in a different context. Two experiments were conducted, which differed in terms of the age and the input repertoire of the participants and and in terms of experimental design. In the first, an A-B design was used and the participants were a boy with autism and two adolescents with intellectual disabilities. In the second, a concurrent multiple baseline design across participants was used and the participants were four boys with autism. The teaching phase involved the use of a multiple exemplar instruction (MEI) and prompt fading (imitation, gestural, verbal and physical prompts) procedure. The results indicated that the participants learned the taught relations and used those relations in a different context (generalization). The use of MEI and fading showed to be promising in teaching left-right spatial relations to participants with a small verbal repertoire.