Correction and Repair: a comparative analysis of a boy with ASD interacting with a parent and with an ABA trainer

John Rae, Monica Ramey

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Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) is a widely used therapeutic intervention for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) yet there has been little research into the interactional organization of ABA sessions. This study reports a comparative case study of two interactions in which the same child, a 12-year-old boy with ASD, interacts with his father and interacts with an Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) trainer. Both interactions occur at home and are drawn from a small corpus (2h) of childrenwith ASD in domestic settings. Drawing on CA to delineate the sequential relationships between the actions of the adult participant and the child, we present a quantitative and microstructural analysis of 156 directive sequences in order to examine the similarities and differences between the two interactions. We first show that the rate of the production of directives, and the use of correction initiation, is higher in the ABA session. The analysis then demonstrates the applicability of Schegloff, Jefferson and Sacks’ (1977) treatment of repair in conversation to some problems that occur in how the child responses to adults’ directives. However, we show that whilst some correction-initiations target problems with hearing, speaking, and understanding, some target substantive problems. We identify a practice, explicating an error, whereby correction-initiations are expanded to point out the nature of the error. This practice can show that the correction-target is being construed as a substantive error. In such cases, the correction-initiation is not a subtype of repair-initiation in the sense of Schegloff, Jefferson and Sacks’ (1977) analysis of repair. © 2020, Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. The attached document (embargoed until 10/07/2021) is an author produced version of a paper published in CLINICAL LINGUISTICS & PHONETICS uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self-archiving policy. The final published version (version of record) is available online at the link. Some minor differences between this version and the final published version may remain. We suggest you refer to the final published version should you wish to cite from it.
Original languageEnglish
Early online date10 Jul 2020
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020


  • Autism Spectrum Disorder, repair, correction, recruitment, Applied Behaviour Analysis

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