Date of Award

8-1-2012

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department

Behavior Analysis and Therapy

First Advisor

Rehfeldt, Ruth Anne

Abstract

Interrupted chain procedures have been shown to be effective for teaching initial communication skills in individuals with disabilities. In this study, we examined the effects of implementing an interrupted chain procedure to train mands. Next, determine if it would allow for the emergence of tacts without direct training. Four male children, ages 6-11 diagnosed with autism were used as participants in this study. A multiple probe design across participants was utilized to assess the effects of the interrupted chain procedure on the participant's behavior. Prior to the implementation of the study, a naturalistic assessment was conducted in order to determine potentially highly reinforcing activities for each participant. Tact pre/posttest probes were conducted prior to and following mand training. The results of the study indicated that the interrupted chain procedure allowed for the emergence of tacts for all four participants without direct training. Though, only one participant attained 100% correct responding in the tact posttest phase, the other three participants increased their tact posttest responses compared to tact pretest probes. Although the participant's behavior increased over posttest measures, it did not improve significantly due to variable responding. DESCRIPTORS: interrupted chain procedure, contrived establishing operation, autism, emergence of tacts, graduated prompt delay

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