An observational investigation of two elementary-age autistic children during free-play

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Two observational systems were employed to measure the behavior patterns of two elementary-age autistic children and their classroom peers during a free-play period. Results obtained from the total behavior repertoire system indicated that the subjects spent the majority of the free-play period manipulating various toys and objects. Data obtained from the social interaction system revealed that the subjects' encounters with peers typically were negative. Additionally, the subjects were observed to respond more frequently to vocal-verbal social behavior by peers, than they were to motor-gestural responses. The observational methodology employed and the results obtained were discussed in terms of their significance for the clinical treatment of autistic behavior, and the evaluation of such treatment.