Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) show difficulty in sustained social interaction such as conversation with others. In particular, they often have difficulty responding to conversational initiations. Children with ASD can continue to speak one's favorite things themselves, but it is difficult to keep talking about the same topic or keyword alternately according to the content of others talking. Therefore, teaching conversational responding is important for promoting verbal interaction in children with ASD. Adult contingent response to the child’s verbal utterance may function as a reinforcer increasing child’s conversational responding. However, it is not known what type of adult contingent responsiveness is effective in promoting child’s conversational responding. The purpose of this study is to examine whether adult contingent imitation will increase conversational responding of children with ASD compared with adult contingent response through picture book reading setting. We used a single-subject ABAB design compose of the condition of contingent imitation and contingent response for two preschool children with ASD. For contingent imitation, adult. For contingent response, adult did not repeat but gave a vocal phrase to the child’s utterances through conversation immediately, such as “that’s good!” or “great!” For contingent imitation, adult immediately repeated all or part of the child’s previous utterances. The results demonstrated that adult contingent imitation increased the rate of the child’s conversational responding. These findings suggest that contingent imitation increased reciprocal vocal interaction in children with ASD compared with contingent response. These findings also suggest that contingent imitation is a useful early intervention method for children with ASD that can be practiced in a picture book reading setting. Keywords:
Children with autism spectrum disorder; contingent imitation; conversation; echoic response; expanded response.