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Psychology

Western Michigan University

Theses/Dissertations

Autism

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Teaching Matching-To-Sample To Low-Performing Children With Autism, Blaire E. Michelin Jun 2018

Teaching Matching-To-Sample To Low-Performing Children With Autism, Blaire E. Michelin

Dissertations

Matching-to-sample is a basic procedure used in most programs for pre-school children with autism. However, a few children fail to acquire this skill with standard matching-to-sample procedures. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to evaluate an alternative method for teaching matching-to-sample to those children when the traditional methods are likely to fail. First, simple discriminations with the matching materials were taught, then the discriminations were made more complex across successive sessions. Initially, all discriminations were taught using bins to separate the comparison stimuli. All three children acquired matching-to-sample, which generalized to matching novel two-dimensional stimuli, not placed in bins.


Increasing Waiting And Turn-Taking Among Preschool Aged Children With A Verbal-Delay Diagnosis, Alexa Hill Apr 2018

Increasing Waiting And Turn-Taking Among Preschool Aged Children With A Verbal-Delay Diagnosis, Alexa Hill

Honors Theses

The goal of this thesis was to create and implement an intervention that used errorless teaching and focused on increasing a sharing and waiting response for a student who had a verbal delay diagnosis. The two students involved in the project were both two-year-olds who attended an early childhood special education (ECSE) classroom with other preschool-aged children who had similar diagnoses. A single-subject simple baseline design was used and involved several phases designed with multiple responses to show the effectiveness of icons to facilitate sharing among two non-verbal students. Each response was prompted (when necessary) and they were all reinforced ...


Application Of Response-To-Intervention In A Pre-Kindergarten Special Education Classroom, Justin J. Daigle Apr 2018

Application Of Response-To-Intervention In A Pre-Kindergarten Special Education Classroom, Justin J. Daigle

Dissertations

Lovaas (1987) applied behavior analysis to the treatment of autism and demonstrated a 47% “recovery” rate. He also reported that around 10% of the population that received his services made little-to-no improvement. The present study used a response-to-intervention framework to systematically identify and treat students in an early childhood, special-education classroom who were in danger of falling within that 10%. This study set out to identify, classify, and differentiate the treatment based on the student’s response to the standard classroom intervention. Improvements in multiple students’ rates of acquisition based on this system were recorded. This indicated a possibility of ...


Web-Based Stimulus Preference Assessment And Reinforcer Assessments For Videos, Hugo Curiel Apr 2018

Web-Based Stimulus Preference Assessment And Reinforcer Assessments For Videos, Hugo Curiel

Dissertations

Stimulus preference assessments and reinforcer assessments are integral components of positive reinforcement-based interventions. Web-based brief multiple-stimulus without replacement (MSWO) preference assessments have recently been shown to be effective in identifying preference hierarchies for videos (Curiel, Curiel, Li, Deochand, & Poling, 2018). The purpose of the current studies was to replicate Curiel et al.’s web-based MSWO assessment and assess the reinforcing function of the highest and lowest identified stimuli using novel web-based reinforcer assessments. Study 1 employed single-operant arrangements (SOAs) and Study 2 employed concurrent-operants arrangements (COAs) to assess the absolute and relative reinforcing function of the identified stimuli, respectively. The ...


Teaching Students Who Have Difficulty Mastering Lmitation, Jennifer Mrljak Dec 2017

Teaching Students Who Have Difficulty Mastering Lmitation, Jennifer Mrljak

Dissertations

Some children with autism are unable to acquire imitation despite receiving early intensive behavioral intervention (EIBI) meant to teach that and other important skills. Many EIBI programs use physical-prompting hierarchies either as a component of the discriminative stimulus or the correction procedure following an error (Lovaas, 1981; Maurice, Green, & Luce, 1996). But even after lengthy exposure to these teaching techniques, some children still do not acquire imitative repertoires. In the present study, working with students who were not acquiring imitative repertoires, we started with shaping the initial imitative responses as a method to gain stimulus control and then introduced physical ...


Increasing Vocalization And Echoic Stimulus Control, Logan Wurster Apr 2017

Increasing Vocalization And Echoic Stimulus Control, Logan Wurster

Honors Theses

Deficits in verbal behavior can be harmful to children’s growth and development of other crucial skills and can also increase problem behavior (Eldevik, Eikeseth, Jahr, & Smith, 2006; Charman, Magiati, & Howlin, 2007; Cividini-Motta, 2014). Results from previous research show that vocal imitation training, stimulus-stimulus pairing, rapid motor imitation, and mand-model approaches have been successful in teaching echoic behavior. However, there is little evidence to show that these methods are successful for children who are making little to no verbal responses. (Carroll & Klatts, 2008; Bennett & Yoon, 2000; Greer & Ross, 2003; & Hawkins & Schuster, 2007). The purpose of this project is to increase vocalizations and establish echoic stimulus control in three young boys ...


Assessing The Effects Of Interactive Video Modeling On The Fidelity Of Implementation Of Skill-Acquisition Procedures, Steven Sparks Dec 2016

Assessing The Effects Of Interactive Video Modeling On The Fidelity Of Implementation Of Skill-Acquisition Procedures, Steven Sparks

Dissertations

Behavior-analytic study has led to many advances in staff training over the last several decades. The effectiveness of modeling, role-play, and video modeling are well demonstrated in scientific literature but these techniques are often time consuming for those conducting the training which often leads to their being quite costly. Interactive video modeling is an alternative that is potentially more cost and time efficient. This type of modeling consists of embedding response opportunities in traditional video models that require the trainee to answer questions in order to complete the video. Being required to answer the embedded questions causes the trainee to ...


Transitioning Children With Autism From One-On-One Discrete-Trial Settings To Special Education Classrooms, Jennifer L. Freeman Dec 2016

Transitioning Children With Autism From One-On-One Discrete-Trial Settings To Special Education Classrooms, Jennifer L. Freeman

Dissertations

The goal of an early intensive behavioral intervention (EIBI) program is to teach each child the skills necessary to make meaningful progress in less-restrictive environments (Fox, Dunlap & Crushing, 2002). However, few studies have detailed the steps necessary for a “successful” transition into these educational settings. We transitioned two children, who received 20 hours a week of one-on-one discrete-trial therapy and attended a half-day special education pre-school classroom, to a full-time educational setting. With the goal of aiding each during his/her transition, this study used the Verbal Behavior Milestones Assessment and Placement Program (VB-MAPP) (Sundberg, 2008), particularly the barriers and ...


The Effects Of Electronic Data Collection, Immediate Graphic Feedback, And Automated Scheduled Prompts On Data Collection Adherence, Cody Morris Jun 2016

The Effects Of Electronic Data Collection, Immediate Graphic Feedback, And Automated Scheduled Prompts On Data Collection Adherence, Cody Morris

Master's Theses

While data are essential to behavior analysis, collecting the type of data that behavior analysts often require can be a labor-intensive and time-consuming task. There have been many attempts to reduce the amount of time and effort required to collect behavioral data; most research in this area has been focused on computerized or electronic ways to do this (Dixon, 2003). While electronic data collection seems to be gaining popularity within applied behavior analysis, many obstacles still exist. The purpose of this project was to design a data collection system that is cost-efficient, adaptable, easy to use, and effective at increasing ...


Descriptive Analysis Of Activity Transition Data In An Intensive Autism Treatment Center, Ashley Marie Kotsiris Jun 2016

Descriptive Analysis Of Activity Transition Data In An Intensive Autism Treatment Center, Ashley Marie Kotsiris

Master's Theses

Children with autism often display challenging behaviors (e.g., tantrums, aggression, etc.) when transitioning between activities. Most of the current literature focuses on antecedent interventions for increasing compliance during transitions (e.g., visual schedules, two minute transition warnings, etc.). There is a minimal number of studies examining how environmental variables may affect transitions. This study was a descriptive analysis that examined different environmental variables and their effects on transitions. Observations were conducted with four children diagnosed with autism. A transition-tracking sheet was used to gather specific descriptive data during transitions. Results suggest that two-minute warnings were not correlated with more ...


Increasing Vocalizations In Children With Autism, Nicholette Christodoulou Apr 2016

Increasing Vocalizations In Children With Autism, Nicholette Christodoulou

Honors Theses

This study focuses on increasing vocalizations for students with Autism spectrum disorder. A three-part intervention was used to attempt to establish an echoic repertoire in students who had little to no vocalizations. Both students attended an early intervention classroom with a special education school. Students were selected from their classroom if they showed little to no vocalization or echoic skills. The goal during the first phase was to collect all sounds being made by the student to increase the overall number of vocalizations being made. This was done by continuous reinforcement using edible reinforcers. In phase two, the student’s ...


Sensor-Enabled Reduction Of Stereotypy, Aaron Brzezinski Apr 2016

Sensor-Enabled Reduction Of Stereotypy, Aaron Brzezinski

Honors Theses

The goal of this study was to create and implement an intervention to reduce stereotypic behavior in a child with Autism. The participant was chosen based on a high occurrence of target behavior and was recruited through his treatment center. The target behaviors were selected based on the subjective evaluation of his treatment provider and parents. The dependent variable in this study was hand-flapping. The independent variable was DRO training that included a buzzer and a chime noise contingent on the presence or absence of stereotypy respectively. A Microsoft Kinect© 2.0 was used to track occurrence of target behavior ...


Increasing Vocal Behavior And Establishing Echoic Stimulus Control In Children With Autism, Joseph Shane Apr 2016

Increasing Vocal Behavior And Establishing Echoic Stimulus Control In Children With Autism, Joseph Shane

Dissertations

Many children with autism fail to demonstrate vocal-verbal behavior, including echoic behavior, as early as their typically developing peers. Some also make very limited vocal sounds in general, remaining mostly mute aside from crying or engaging in stereotypy. Echoic behavior involves auditory discrimination and matching, and functions as a beneficial, if not necessary, prerequisite for many other vocal-verbal skills. The purpose of this study was to develop and implement an echoic training procedure for primarily non-vocal children who did not demonstrate auditory discrimination in baseline. The intervention consisted initially of sessions in which any vocal sounds were reinforced. Then differential ...


Teaching Children Who Have Difficulty Mastering Auditory Discriminations, Sarah Lichtenberger Apr 2016

Teaching Children Who Have Difficulty Mastering Auditory Discriminations, Sarah Lichtenberger

Dissertations

Simple and conditional visual and auditory discrimination repertoires are critical components of many skills necessary for daily functioning, including communication, academic, and daily-living skills (Green, 2001). When auditory discrimination is not under instructional stimulus control, it can result in delayed acquisition of new skills and limit academic progress. The purpose of this study was to teach auditory discrimination to children with autism who had little to no progress on classroom procedures that required auditory discrimination, such as selecting an object from an array when given the name of the object as the direction. Auditory discrimination was taught starting with teaching ...


Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Case Study Of Mikey, Gabrielle Lober Dec 2015

Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Case Study Of Mikey, Gabrielle Lober

Honors Theses

This paper describes Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) including diagnostic criteria, suspected causes, prevalence, comorbidities, and influences on client factors. A hypothetical case study is presented to give readers an illustration of what someone with ASD might look like. Possible treatment based on evidence and selected frame of references will be given for the hypothetical client. This paper is not all inclusive of the role of occupational therapy in the treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorder, but gives an illustrative example.


Assessing The Effectiveness Of A Picture Exchange Communication System On Increasing Manding And Vocal Speech In Identical Twin Adults With Autism, Laura C. Hilton May 2015

Assessing The Effectiveness Of A Picture Exchange Communication System On Increasing Manding And Vocal Speech In Identical Twin Adults With Autism, Laura C. Hilton

Dissertations

This study examined the effectiveness of a Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) on increasing manding (i.e., making requests) and spontaneous vocalizations. Participants were a set of identical twin adult women, both with a diagnosis of autism. The main dependent variable was the number of mands emitted by the participants while utilizing PECS. During each phase of training, participants had to meet a specific criterion before receiving a preferred item. Once the participants met the criterion for each phase of PECS training, a new phase began. Spontaneous vocalizations were tracked during each phase of training to determine if, as previous ...


Autism Project: Case Study Evaluating Behavioral Interventions For The Self-Injurious Behavior Of Biting, Brittani Rohrig Dec 2014

Autism Project: Case Study Evaluating Behavioral Interventions For The Self-Injurious Behavior Of Biting, Brittani Rohrig

Honors Theses

Self-injurious (SIB) behavior is a common problem among the autism population, and often those who engage in SIB have done so since a very early age. There was a nine-year-old boy named Jack who was diagnosed with ASD and engaged in the self-injurious behavior of biting his hand. A functional analysis was conducted and it was found that the behavior was multiply controlled across three main conditions: alone/play, demand, and attention. The goal of this case study was to review previous interventions that did not eliminate the target behavior, analyze and revise the current protocols in place, and eliminate ...


An Attempt To Establish Approval As A Learned Reinforcer, Kelly T. Kohler Dec 2014

An Attempt To Establish Approval As A Learned Reinforcer, Kelly T. Kohler

Dissertations

Approval does not function as a powerful reinforcer for many children with autism, making it difficult to reinforce appropriate behavior in a functional and consistent manner. The current study first assessed the effects of establishing approval (“Nice,” accompanied by a smile and nod) and nonsense words as discriminative stimuli, with the intent that they might also become learned reinforcers. We conducted several experiments to assess the effectiveness of approval as a reinforcer, including tests on learning new responses (receptive, expressive, freeoperant, and simple simultaneous discriminations) and tests on the performance of previously mastered responses (receptive and expressive responses). Despite the ...


A Comparison Of Two Variations Of A Stimulus-Stimulus Pairing Procedure On Novel And Infrequent Vocalizations Of Children With Autism, Andrew J. Bulla Aug 2014

A Comparison Of Two Variations Of A Stimulus-Stimulus Pairing Procedure On Novel And Infrequent Vocalizations Of Children With Autism, Andrew J. Bulla

Master's Theses

Despite the growth in a behavioral technology for the treatment of autism, a small population of individuals with autism fails to develop functional language. One procedure used for inducing vocalizations in non-verbal children is a stimulus-stimulus pairing (SSP) procedure. In an SSP procedure a vocalization is paired with a reinforcer over a period of time to establish the vocalization as a learned reinforcer, and any utterance of the target vocalization is believed to be automatically reinforced thus increasing the frequency of the vocalization. Past research has yielded mixed results with the SSP procedure, and more research is warranted to identify ...


The Gender Of Participants In Published Research Involving People With Autism Spectrum Disorders, Erin Watkins Apr 2014

The Gender Of Participants In Published Research Involving People With Autism Spectrum Disorders, Erin Watkins

Master's Theses

Research articles involving participants with an autism spectrum disorder and published from 2010-2012 in Autism, Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, Journal of Child Psychology and Child Psychiatry, and Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders were examined to determine the reported gender of participants. The overall male:female ratio was 4.62, which is similar to that reported in epidemiological studies, but the ratio was 6.07 in intervention studies. These findings suggesting that males were in a statistical sense over-represented in intervention studies, but not in other kinds of research. Most (82.21%) of these studies included both male and ...


Differential Reinforcement Of Alternative Behavior In A Child With Autism, Mackenzie M. Sullivan Apr 2012

Differential Reinforcement Of Alternative Behavior In A Child With Autism, Mackenzie M. Sullivan

Honors Theses

Some children diagnosed with autism engage in aggressive behavior with different functions. There is a great need to find ways to reduce these behaviors to protect these children and make them more suitable to interact with other child in classroom settings. A Differential Reinforcement of Alternative Behavior intervention was designed in an effort to decrease aggressive behavior in child with autism. The goal of the intervention was to train Brian, the single participant, to engage in more appropriate behaviors instead of aggressing toward other children. The participant was placed in a room with another child and instances were created where ...