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Individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have difficulty generalizing—i.e., relating new stimuli to past experiences. Few experimental studies have addressed this weakness, despite its impact on intervention effects. In a reanalysis of data (de Marchena et al. Cognition 119(1):96–113, 2011), we tested a novel form of generalization—the ability to transfer a strategy used in one context to a similar context—in verbally fluent youth with ASD and matched typically developing controls. Participants with ASD were subtly less likely to learn from experience; their generalizations were less consistent. Generalization in ASD correlated with receptive vocabulary but not age, suggesting a link to language development. A richer understanding of how to promote generalization in ASD will advance both theory and practice.
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- Brief Report: Generalization Weaknesses in Verbally Fluent Children and Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder
Ashley B. de Marchena
Benjamin E. Yerys
- Springer US