“I Think He Wants You to Play the Guitar:” Use of Behavioral Interpretation as a Strategy for Facilitating Peer Interaction Across Autistic and Nonautistic Peers Purpose The study examined the nature and potential impact of a relatively novel clinician strategy, behavioral interpretation, on peer interactions involving an autistic child. Method This extended qualitative analysis reviewed 49 instances of a clinician using behavioral interpretation as part of a music education program. The program was ... Article
Article  |   April 27, 2018
“I Think He Wants You to Play the Guitar:” Use of Behavioral Interpretation as a Strategy for Facilitating Peer Interaction Across Autistic and Nonautistic Peers
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Verónica Vidal
    Department of Speech and Hearing Science, University of Illinois, Champaign, IL
  • Carissa Ernat
    Department of Speech and Hearing Science, University of Illinois, Champaign, IL
  • Laura DeThorne
    Department of Speech and Hearing Science, University of Illinois, Champaign, IL
  • Disclosures
    Disclosures ×
  • Financial: Verónica Vidal has no relevant financial interests to disclose. Carissa Ernat has no relevant financial interests to disclose. Laura DeThorne has no relevant financial interests to disclose.
    Financial: Verónica Vidal has no relevant financial interests to disclose. Carissa Ernat has no relevant financial interests to disclose. Laura DeThorne has no relevant financial interests to disclose.×
  • Nonfinancial: Verónica Vidal has no relevant nonfinancial interests to disclose. Carissa Ernat has no relevant nonfinancial interests to disclose. Laura DeThorne has no relevant nonfinancial interests to disclose.
    Nonfinancial: Verónica Vidal has no relevant nonfinancial interests to disclose. Carissa Ernat has no relevant nonfinancial interests to disclose. Laura DeThorne has no relevant nonfinancial interests to disclose.×
Article Information
Special Populations / Autism Spectrum / School-Based Settings / Part 2
Article   |   April 27, 2018
“I Think He Wants You to Play the Guitar:” Use of Behavioral Interpretation as a Strategy for Facilitating Peer Interaction Across Autistic and Nonautistic Peers
Perspectives of the ASHA Special Interest Groups, April 2018, Vol. 3, 68-83. doi:10.1044/persp3.SIG1.68
History: Received September 28, 2017 , Revised January 15, 2018 , Accepted January 23, 2018
Perspectives of the ASHA Special Interest Groups, April 2018, Vol. 3, 68-83. doi:10.1044/persp3.SIG1.68
History: Received September 28, 2017; Revised January 15, 2018; Accepted January 23, 2018

Purpose The study examined the nature and potential impact of a relatively novel clinician strategy, behavioral interpretation, on peer interactions involving an autistic child.

Method This extended qualitative analysis reviewed 49 instances of a clinician using behavioral interpretation as part of a music education program. The program was designed to facilitate peer interaction across a 7-year-old autistic child. Aaron, and 4 of his nonautistic peers from the same classroom. After reviewing the 21 video-recorded sessions, the research team selected the most salient examples of behavioral interpretation for microanalyses.

Findings By focusing on a detailed review of the 6 most clear, concise, and compelling examples, we found that behavioral interpretation took 2 forms aimed at helping explain an unclear behavior: narrating (e.g., “I see you looking at strings”) and offering possible meanings (e.g., “I think he wants you to play guitar”). After limited exposure to behavioral interpretation, peers began displaying similar patterns of interaction that drew attention and speculation regarding Aaron's nonverbal forms of communication.

Conclusions Behavioral interpretation, a relatively undocumented strategy in the autism literature, appeared as a feasible and promising strategy for shaping egalitarian peer interaction. Important nuances regarding the implementation and limitations of this strategy are also discussed.

Acknowledgments
Special thanks to the participating schools and families for their trust. Thanks as well to Abigail Clark, Jacey Ernd, Colleen Hogan, Carley Serena, Theresa Versaci, and Anna Gottby, who assisted with the data collection and coding for this project and Arianna Planey for her suggestions in an earlier version of this manuscript. The authors are also grateful to Julie Hengst and Cynthia Johnson for their insights and suggestions. The first author was financially supported by the Becas Chile, PhD Scholarship abroad and the Goldstick Family Fellowship for the Study of Communication Disorders.
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