Comparing Tangible Symbols, Picture Exchange, and a Direct Selection Response for Enabling Two Boys With Developmental Disabilities to Access Preferred Stimuli


The authors compared how quickly two boys with developmental disabilities learned to use tangible symbols, picture exchange, and a direct selection response to access cartoon videos. Intervention, aimed at teaching the boys to use each option, was evaluated in a multiple-baseline across participants and alternating treatments design. Following intervention, the boys were allowed to choose among the three options. Both participants learned to access six cartoon videos by using the three options at comparable rates. Following acquisition, both boys most often chose to use tangible symbols. These findings are consistent with previous studies reporting comparable acquisition rates and a preference among communication options. The present study extends the literature by including a comparison of tangible symbols and a direct selection response. The results provide additional support for the use of tangible symbols as a communication option for children with developmental disabilities.


Roche, L., Sigafoos, J., Lancioni, G. E., O’Reilly, M. F., van der Meer, L., Achmadi, D., . . . Marschik, P. B. (2014). Comparing tangible symbols, picture exchange, and a direct selection response for enabling two boys with developmental disabilities to access preferred stimuli. Journal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities, 26, 249–261.