This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Evaluation of a Treatment Package to Teach Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder to Tact Past Events




Zuckerman, Carrie

Type of Degree

PhD Dissertation




Speaking about past events is an important part of a functional verbal repertoire. Social interactions, personal safety, and academic success may be enhanced by learning to speak about past events. Unfortunately, children with language delays may have deficiencies in their ability to tact past events. Despite the importance of this skill, few studies have evaluated how to teach children to speak about past events. Experiment 1 evaluated the effectiveness of a treatment package to teach tacts of previously seen items with three children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The treatment package consisted of differential reinforcement, intraverbal and stimulus prompt fading, and an increasing delay between seeing an item and being asked “What was in the box?" All three participants reached mastery at a delay of 64 min. Two participants demonstrated generalization to novel items and locations. Experiment 2 evaluated components of the treatment package. The add-in component analysis found that stimulus-prompt fading is an important component of the treatment package and that differential reinforcement was not sufficient to teach delayed tacts. One participant did not meet mastery criterion after all components of the treatment package were implemented. The remaining two participants met mastery criterion at a 4 min delay and demonstrated generalization to novel items in novel locations after all of the components of the treatment package were implemented.