Date of Award

8-1-2013

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Rehabilitation

First Advisor

Dixon, Mark

Abstract

The current set of experiments sought to evaluate and address current, empirically based assessments and treatment protocols for children who have autism and/or other developmental disabilities. The past few decades of research have been successful in developing effective behavioral treatments, however, the dissemination of these strategies has not been maximized in applied settings. Furthermore, many existing treatments are outdated or not widely used in school or social settings. The current experiments evaluate existing effective assessments and treatments and extend them with the implementation of a novel package based off of commonly utilized discrete trial training behavioral techniques in behavior analysis. This treatment protocol was shown to have high inter observer reliability scores throughout the use of this assessment, as well as a high correlation with a commonly used language assessment in Experiment 1. Experiment 2 examined the positive effects of this treatment curriculum guide following skills training. Experiment 3 evaluated the validity of the programs that examined higher order learning from Skinner's (1957) analysis of verbal behavior. The results suggest that this assessment and training protocol has significant potential in efficiently training students with and without disabilities. Implications of these finding are discussed in terms of future progress of translational research in applied settings. Furthermore, the present set of experiments contributes largely to the dissemination of emerging research and practice in behavior analysis.

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