Analysis of demand conditions associated with reluctant speech

J Behav Ther Exp Psychiatry. 1986 Dec;17(4):285-94. doi: 10.1016/0005-7916(86)90065-0.


An analysis of five demand conditions affecting the reluctant speech of a preschool child was conducted in the classroom. Results indicated that demand conditions that did not permit escape from academic demand tasks, ignored mute responses, prompted answers and enthusiastically praised verbal responses resulted in higher rates of speech. Further, replication of these procedures across escape conditions resulted in increased speech rates that approximated those of a non-mute peer in the same classroom. Follow-up data at 8 months indicated that in the classroom the subject spoke more often to more people using a greater number of words, subsequent to analysis and intervention. The classroom teacher also reported a marked improvement in speech rate and quality and considered the time spent in analysis worthwhile. The study provides a model for further analysis of conditions associated with reluctant speech.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Behavior Therapy / methods*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cues
  • Escape Reaction
  • Generalization, Psychological
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mutism / therapy*
  • Reinforcement, Psychology
  • Speech