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Assessing the Efficacy of Pictorial Preference Assessments for Children with Developmental Disabilities




Heinicke, Megan

Type of Degree





A pictorial preference assessment is a potentially valuable tool because it allows clinicians to quickly assess preferences for complex stimuli that cannot easily be presented during an assessment. Past research has demonstrated that pictorial preference assessments are effective for individuals with developmental disabilities only when access to the stimulus is provided contingent on a pictorial selection. The purpose of this investigation was to extend this line of research by assessing the feasibility of the pictorial format with children with developmental disabilities. In Experiment 1, matching and mand assessments were conducted to further evaluate the role of prerequisite skills. The role of contingent reinforcer access was also assessed by comparing the results from the pictorial format without access to the results of a progressive-ratio reinforcer assessment. If access was found to be necessary, the effects of schedule thinning were evaluated to determine if a pictorial format could be made more practical in Experiment 2. In general, results indicated that the pictorial format without access was only successful with some participants. However, schedule thinning was found to be an effective method to establish conditioned reinforcement properties for pictorial stimuli to create a more practical preference assessment for a subset of participants.