Date of Award

8-2016

Culminating Project Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Applied Behavior Analysis: M.S.

Department

Community Psychology, Counseling and Family Therapy

College

School of Health and Human Services

First Advisor

Benjamin Witts

Second Advisor

Kimberly Schulze

Third Advisor

Eric Rudrud

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Abstract

Deficits in generating varied responding across repertoires is often observed in individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Existing research explored the use of lag reinforcement schedule in promoting both verbal and non-verbal response variability in individuals with developmental disabilities. However, current research in this area is deemed minimal and with limitations. In this study, the effectiveness of an alternative lag reinforcement schedule, which incorporates both within response and between response lag criteria in promoting response variability was investigated with 5 participants in ASD using a block-building activity. The study also extended the investigation to a social game, I Spy game. Results of the study showed that the proposed lag reinforcement schedule was effective in promoting response variability in 2 participants in the block-building task. Furthermore, possible generalization effect of the intervention to promote varied responding in I Spy game was found in 1 of the participants. The study demonstrated that the proposed lag reinforcement schedule is feasible in promoting response variability in individuals with ASD, which hopefully can support future research in exploring possibilities to alleviate the problem of stereotyped responding.

Comments/Acknowledgements

I first want to express my utmost gratitude to my thesis supervisor, Dr. Benjamin Witts. Thank you for providing me with extensive support and guidance throughout the study. I also want to thank my committee chairs, Dr. Kimberly Schulze and Dr. Eric Rudrud, for their valuable and inspiring comments on my work.

I secondly want to thank Mr. Toby Mountjoy, Associate Director of Autism Partnership Hong Kong, who supported the project and allowed me to conduct the project with clients in Autism Partnership Hong Kong.

I also want to thank my colleagues, Ms. Emma Wong, Ms. Ivy Chan, and Ms. Christy Lai, for being the experimenters and observer for my study. The project would not be completed smoothly without their generous help.

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