Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Behavior Analysis and Therapy

First Advisor

Baires, Natalia


AN ABSTRACT OF THE THESIS OF Cassandra Rojas, for the Master of Science degree in Behavior Analysis, presented May 2023, at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. TITLE: THE EVALUATION OF MAND PREFERENCES IN YOUNG LEARNERS WITH AUTISM MAJOR PROFESSOR: Dr. Natalia Baires Functional communication training has been demonstrated to decrease problem behavior and increase communication. Moreover, a mand repertoire helps individuals learn how to communicate with others and may decrease problem behavior. Therefore, the current study examined the effects of functional communication training on mand preferences of young learners with autism. Using a multiple baseline across behavior design, three participants diagnosed with ASD were trained using functional communication training to establish manding via sign language, and manding via an augmentative and alternative communication device. Generalization and maintenance phases were included to further examine the effectiveness of the treatment. Results demonstrated that both mand topographies increased over time. Moreover, results suggested that most participants manded more with the use of an AAC device (i.e., “preferred using the AAC device). However, such mands did not generalize with others or to different settings. Therefore, it may be that AAC devices lack functionality for young learners outside of experimental (i.e., controlled) settings.




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