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      The effectiveness of using colors in L1 and L2 vocabulary development of autistic children

      , ,

      Advances in Autism

      Emerald Publishing

      Teaching strategies, Vocabulary, Children with ASD, Colours, Language acquisition

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          The purpose of this paper is to examine the effectiveness of using colors and learner’s intelligence quotient (IQ) in teaching new vocabulary in Arabic (L1) and English (L2) to children with autism spectrum disorder (henceforth, ASD).


          To this end, 12 autistic children whose ages ranged between 7 and 12 were observed while they were being taught ten new words. The children were divided into two groups based on their IQ: Low (70–74) and High (76–79). The children were also divided into two groups: Group 1 studied the words written in a black font, whereas Group 2 studied the same words, but written in colors (each letter in the word in a different color), and an illustrative picture was provided with each word for both groups. The pictures were also different in color in the former group, while the picture was in black and white in the latter. The children involved in the study have a relatively slight ability to read letters based on an annual language assessment conducted by the center, and they learn a new word by learning its shape and by repetition. The experiment took place over a two-week period that involved teaching, revising and testing.


          The results of the study showed that the children’s IQ played a crucial role in learning L1 and L2 vocabulary. The results also demonstrated that using colors had no significant impact on the children’s performance in the test. Finally, the results showed that teaching new words to children with ASD through repetition and drilling could be regarded as a useful technique. The study concludes with some recommendations for further studies.


          The study shows that using pictures is a very useful tool in teaching L1 and L2 vocabulary to children with ASD.

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          Most cited references 28

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          Executive dysfunction in autism☆

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            Why is joint attention a pivotal skill in autism?

             Tony Charman (2003)
            Joint attention abilities play a crucial role in the development of autism. Impairments in joint attention are among the earliest signs of the disorder and joint attention skills relate to outcome, both in the 'natural course' of autism and through being targeted in early intervention programmes. In the current study, concurrent and longitudinal associations between joint attention and other social communication abilities measured in a sample of infants with autism and related pervasive developmental disorders at age 20 months, and language and symptom severity at age 42 months, were examined. Extending the findings from previous studies, joint attention ability was positively associated with language gains and (lower) social and communication symptoms, and imitation ability was also positively associated with later language. Some specificity in the association between different aspects of joint attention behaviours and outcome was found: declarative, triadic gaze switching predicted language and symptom severity but imperative, dyadic eye contact behaviours did not. Further, although joint attention was associated with later social and language symptoms it was unrelated to repetitive and stereotyped symptoms, suggesting the latter may have a separate developmental trajectory. Possible deficits in psychological and neurological processes that might underlie the impaired development of joint attention in autism are discussed.
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              A natural language teaching paradigm for nonverbal autistic children.

              The purpose of this study was to attempt to improve verbal language acquisition for nonverbal autistic children by manipulating traditional teaching techniques so they incorporated parameters of natural language interactions and motivational techniques. Within a multiple baseline design, treatment was conducted in a baseline condition with trials presented serially in a traditional analogue clinical format where the therapist presented instructions, prompts, and reinforcers for correct responses. Then, these variables were manipulated in the natural language teaching condition such that stimulus items were functional and varied, natural reinforcers were employed, communicative attempts were also reinforced, and trials were conducted within a natural interchange. Treatment and generalization data demonstrated that manipulation of these variables resulted in broadly generalized treatment gains. Implications for language intervention are discussed.

                Author and article information

                Advances in Autism
                Emerald Publishing
                03 January 2020
                20 July 2020
                : 6
                : 3
                : 215-226
                Al Ain University of Science and Technology , Al Ain, United Arab Emirates
                Al Nasha’a Al Saleh Private School, Al Ain, United Arab Emirates
                Al Dhafra Private School, Al Ain, United Arab Emirates
                Author notes
                Abdel Rahman Mitib Altakhaineh can be contacted at:
                639278 AIA-10-2019-0032.pdf AIA-10-2019-0032
                © Emerald Publishing Limited
                Page count
                Figures: 4, Tables: 6, Equations: 0, References: 34, Pages: 11, Words: 5864
                research-article, Research paper
                cat-HSC, Health & social care
                cat-LID, Learning & intellectual disabilities
                Custom metadata

                Health & Social care

                Teaching strategies, Colours, Language acquisition, Children with ASD, Vocabulary


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