Posted: 6/07/12

TAMIU Grad, Faculty Researchers Presenting at Autism Conference



A Texas A&M International University graduate student and her faculty mentor have been selected by a program review team to present their collaborative research at the 2012 Texas Autism Research Conference in Austin in July.

Dr. Candace Baker, TAMIU assistant professor and director of the TAMIU Autism Center, and TAMIU graduate student Carmen Gwendolyn Vasquez will present  “Comparison of Textual and Echoic Prompts for Teaching Students with Autism to Answer Questions.”

Dr. Baker’s and Vasquez’ research looks at teaching intraverbal behavior, or the answering of questions, to elementary school-age autism students. Specifically, it analyzes if there is any teaching advantage or increased effectiveness to using textual versus echoic prompts.  Textual prompts provide a written prompt or script that seeks response, while echoic prompts offer a vocal prompt that seeks an echoed response.

Their research determined that neither prompt is more effective and efficient; although one prompt type may be or become more effective and efficient for some individuals with constant and continuous usage, Dr. Baker said.

“Each prompt method was found to be equally effective and efficient and both methods improved performance over traditional instruction the child was receiving.  This study found that maintenance was established for intraverbal responding, and that neither prompt method increased the chance of maintenance as compared to the other,” Dr. Baker explained.

She said that the findings are encouraging for teachers and parents of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) children.

“While there was no outright winner, it’s encouraging that with constant or continuous usage, we can see more consistent results and either option may work equally well for teaching intraverbal responding,” Baker said.

Vasquez said she was honored that her collaborative research with Dr. Baker had been selected for presentation at the state Conference.

“It’s really an honor and a privilege to be selected to present our research at this prestigious conference and I'm looking forward to meeting with other ASD researchers,” Vasquez said.

Baker said it is unusual that the State conference selects student-faculty collaborative research.

“Most University graduate students do not have an opportunity to present at this level, but Carmen did an outstanding job and her research strengths are impressive.  She will represent TAMIU and Laredo admirably,” Dr. Baker said.

Vasquez graduated from TAMIU in May with a Special Education Masters degree.  The College of Education also operates the TAMIU Autism Interventions Center, which provides special research and teaching opportunities for graduate students.

The Conference is hosted by the Texas Autism Research & Resource Center (TARRC), a program of the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS) and the Texas Health and Human Services Commission.  Over 300 academics, researchers, and licensed professional who work with individuals with ASD are expected to attend.  They will be joined by family members and caregivers who have a special interest in ASD.

For additional information, contact Dr. Baker at  956.326.2689,  email Candace.baker@tamiu.edu or visit offices in the Sue and Radcliffe Killam Library, Suite 435.

University summer hours are from 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. Monday-Thursday and from 8 a.m. – 12 noon on Fridays.

Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Relations, Marketing and Information Services at prmis@tamiu.edu