Meta-Analysis of Stimulus Fading for Improving Children’s Discrimination Learning


Many children with intellectual or developmental problems, as well as those with autism, have trouble learning and require more prominent cues to elicit appropriate responses. Behaviors must, however, become driven by less evident, more natural environmental triggers in order for generalisation to occur. The use of stimulus fading is one way to achieve this aim. It entails gradually lowering the number and intensity of stimuli necessary to prompt discriminating learning. Despite the fact that it has been in use for over 40 years, no systematic study has been undertaken to establish its efficacy. The current study’s goal was to do a meta-analysis of the literature on stimulus fading in children and adolescents. Standard mean difference (SMD), improvement rate difference (IRD), and Tau-U were used to calculate effect sizes. The resulting effect values suggested that stimulus fading is a fairly successful strategy for helping youngsters acquire and perform tasks, with certain effect sizes in the very effective range. The effects of stimulus fading are explored, as well as the factors that influence their efficacy. The findings showed that the corpus of literature examined was only moderately successful in boosting children’s discrimination learning. The reasoning for this discovery will be discussed. Also worth noting is that stimulus fading has been applied in a wide range of applications and contexts, according to the research. Finally, issues with interpreting effect sizes in single case research design (SCRD) studies with stimulus fading processes will be discussed.

Author(S) Details

John W. Maag
University of Nebraska-Lincoln, USA.

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