Increasing verbal responsiveness in parents of children with autism: a pilot study

Courtney E. Venker, Andrea McDuffie, Susan Ellis Weismer, Leonard J Abbeduto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Correlational studies have revealed a positive relationship between parent verbal responsiveness and language outcomes in children with autism. We investigated whether parents of young children on the autism spectrum could learn and implement the specific categories of verbal responsiveness that have been suggested to facilitate language development. Parents were taught to increase their verbal responsiveness in the context of a short-term language intervention that included group parent education sessions, as well as individual and small-group coaching sessions of parent-child play interactions. Parents in the treatment group increased their use of comments that: described their child's focus of attention; interpreted or expanded child communication acts; and prompted child communication. Preliminary treatment effects were also noted in children's prompted and spontaneous communication. These results support the use of parent-mediated interventions targeting verbal responsiveness to facilitate language development and communication in young children with autism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)568-585
Number of pages18
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • autism
  • caregiver responsiveness
  • language intervention
  • parent-mediated intervention
  • verbal responsiveness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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