Date of Award
Master of Science
Behavior Analysis and Therapy
The use of a concurrently running differential reinforcement of alternative behavior intervention was used to manipulate manding behavior in a small sample of young adults with autism. Three young adults with autism aged 17-21, two males and one female, who had severely limited verbal language and communication devices participated in this study. Differential reinforcement was used to alter the mand topography chosen by each participant during manding sessions. Results indicate that by altering the quantity of highly preferred items individuals with autism can demonstrate flexibility in the topography of their language and respond with the mode of communication that is programmed for more reinforcement without the use of punishment or extinction. This research expands on the functional communication training (FCT) literature and the use of differential reinforcement in the use of mand training and also replicates previous research suggesting that punishment and extinction may not be necessary to reduce less preferred behavior.
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