Teaching Eye Contact to Children with Autism: A Conceptual Analysis and Single Case Study


Eye contact occurs very early in development and serves many functions for the young child. It has been implicated in the development of social, cognitive, and language skills. A substantial number of children with autism fail to develop this important skill and therefore experimenters with both developmental and behavior analytic perspectives have researched methods to teach eye contact. However, only a few researchers have recently attempted to condition the response of the communication partner as a reinforcer for social behavior and thereby arrange the conditions under which typical children develop social responses. The purpose of this case study was to extend the analysis of typical development of social skills to the teaching of eye contact as a language pragmatic skill to a child with autism. Data from a single case study of a child with autism are provided.