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Psychological Record

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The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of an instructional procedure on the acquisition and generalization of metaphorical understanding for children with autism spectrum disorder. Three students (two boys, one girl, 5-8 years old) participated but only two completed the study. A multiple-probe design across two behaviors and three participants was used. The metaphors were categorized by topography: metaphors involving physical features and metaphors involving abstract properties. The instruction consisted of intraverbal training using echoic prompts, picture prompts, and textual prompts. The results indicated that the instruction was effective in establishing metaphorical understanding of target metaphors. Generalized understanding to untaught metaphors occurred for the two students who completed the study, and all metaphors were maintained at a relatively high level for two months following the instruction.


“This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedit version of an article published in Psychological Record. The final authenticated version is available online at:”.

Citation of this paper:

Lee, G. T., Xu, S., Zou, H., Gilic, L., & Lee, M. W. (2019). Teaching Children with Autism to Understand Metaphors. The Psychological Record, 1-14.

Figure 1 and 2.pdf (287 kB)

Supplemental Material 1 Metaphors (English translation).docx (31 kB)

Supplemental Material 2 Metaphors Chinese.doc (70 kB)

Supplemental Material 3 Social validity Questions.docx (18 kB)

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