Date of Award


Culminating Project Type


Degree Name

Applied Behavior Analysis: M.S.


Community Psychology, Counseling and Family Therapy


School of Health and Human Services

First Advisor

Benjamin Witts

Second Advisor

Michele Traub

Third Advisor

Odessa Luna

Creative Commons License

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

Keywords and Subject Headings

problem solving, verbal behavior, autism, visual imagining


Children diagnosed with ASD may have difficulties responding to novel situations and with problem solving. Current problem solving literature does not address concerns related to generalization of repertoires to novel tasks and does not account for further training should a problem solving strategy result in failure. This study focused on developing problem solving repertoires to account for these limitations. Three children diagnosed with ASD were trained in multiple problem solving strategies (visual scanning, visual imagining, and manding for help) in a multiple probes design. After training, the participants were probed in conditions where the strategy trained failed to produce the necessary responses. The results indicated that two of the three participants were successful with using multiple trained strategies to meet the response requirement. None of the three participants were able to successfully use visual imagining. Future research is needed on developing pre-requisite skills for visual imagining and developing problem solving repertoires.


First and foremost, I would like to thank my advisor and committee chair, Dr. Ben Witts. It is an understatement to say this project would not be the way it is without your input. Thank you for the constructive criticism and encouragement. You inspired my love for research since day one and I will always be indebted to your faith in me.

Thank you to Dr. Michele Traub, Dr. Kim Schulze, and Dr. Odessa Luna, both of whom I would not be the budding behavior analyst I am today. Thank you for your patience, encouragement, and the ability to talk me down from a narrow edge at the top of a cliff.

Thank you to my research assistants: Lauren Lukasavitz, Neil Fraser, Brooke Olsen, and Katelynn Roben. This study would not have been possible without your time and dedication to running sessions. Thank you for taking my feedback in stride and being as enthusiastic for the project as I was.

Thank you to the three participants of this study who kept me on my toes and were without a doubt brought the fun and excitement to the project. And thank you to their families for the continued support.

Thank you to my family. Mom and Dad, thank you for always believing in me and always encouraging me from day one. You know when to push me and when to offer an ear to vent. I know the scientific jargon I throw at you isn’t always easy to understand but you never complained. Thank you to my sister, Lindsey, who will always be someone I look up to and respect, for asking the right questions and helping me along this journey.

Finally, thank you to my supervisors, mentors, colleagues, and now friends: Jessica Sauter, for molding me in her likeness and giving me the most valuable advice; and Ashley Johnson, for developing a workspace turned research space that I am proud to work for every single day. I owe so much of my professional development and career to you.

It is to these colleagues I dedicate this thesis. Ashley and Jess, I am constantly inspired by the both of you and hope our dedicated partnership can continue many years into the future to help all children reach their fullest potential.



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