The autistic child is a socialization failure. One of the major characteristics of autism which both illustrates and perpetuates this failure is defective speech development. The staffs of the Neuropsychiatric Institute School at the University of California, Los Angeles, have been exploring operant conditioning techniques for teaching communication skills to autistic children. Peter is a four-and-a-half-year-old Caucasian boy diagnosed as autistic at age two. Food and candy are generally effective positive reinforcers, although autistic children may be quite variable in their preference. The teacher-child relationship which began at this early stage is not discussed. Once Peter had been introduced to the booth, he was removed from isolation on the ward and allowed to participate in activities with the other children. Twenty-minute social imitation training sessions were held both morning and afternoon. Peter learned to place his hand on the teacher's face in order to obtain a segment of childrens' music.