Degree Name

Master of Science

Department or Program

Behavior Analysis and Therapy


Boydston, Paige


Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability with persistent deficits in communication, social interactions, and the occurrence of repetitive or restricted patterns of behavior. Individuals with ASD also commonly engage in challenging behaviors. Early intensive behavioral intervention (EIBI), based on applied behavioral analysis (ABA), is a recommended treatment for children with ASD to address these deficits and excesses. Challenging behaviors in those with ASD have been derived by the presentation of instructions. To circumvent challenging behaviors during instruction periods, research has recommended that pre-session pairing should occur prior to initiating demands. In the present study, three children diagnosed with ASD participated in four pre-session pairing conditions to determine which duration of pre-session pairing results in higher occurrences of compliance and lower levels of challenging behaviors. Pairing conditions consisted of 0, 15 min, 30 min, and 45 min followed by a 20-question instructional period. The present study determined that 15 min of pre-session pairing resulted in higher occurrences of compliance and lower levels of challenging behaviors consistently across all participants.