An evaluation of delay to reinforcement and variant responding
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Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders and other developmental disabilities often exhibit invariant responding (i.e., restricted behavioral repertoires), deficits in communication, and challenging behavior. A variety of interventions have targeted increasing variant responding such as extinction, lag schedules of reinforcement, and percentile schedules of reinforcement. An additional variation studied in the basic literature entails the inclusion of a delay to reinforcement. Results of basic studies indicate that the inclusion of a delay to reinforcement leads to an increase in the variety of responses. The purpose of the current study was to evaluate the effects of a delay to reinforcement on the variability of communication responses during functional communication training with children with developmental disabilities with histories of engagement in challenging behavior. Results indicated that the delay to reinforcement increased variant communicative responding with all four participants.