Document Type

Thesis

Date of Degree Completion

Fall 2016

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Applied Behavior Analysis

Committee Chair

Dr. Ralf Greenwald

Second Committee Member

Dr. Sadie Lovett

Third Committee Member

Dr. Heath Marrs

Abstract

Transitioning is described as moving from one activity or place to another and has been often recognized as an event that can provoke problem behaviors in children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (Sainato et al., 1987). Past research has concentrated on facilitating transitions by using both functional behavior assessments and visual aids. A type of functional behavior assessment is the Questions About Behavioral Function, which is a measurement system designed to determine the function of a given behavior and the environmental stimuli that surround that behavior. This questionnaire rates how often the individual engages in the behavior for situations where it usually occurs in order to identify the reasons why that behavior is occurring by identifying the functional purpose. Additionally, visual aids that have been used in past research included tools that resembled a picture schedule that were presented to various participants at the end of one activity and before beginning another activity in order to facilitate that transitional period. The purpose of this study was to train a child to utilize a picture schedule by using a least-to-most prompting strategy to help facilitate transitions and reduce those problem behaviors associated with transitions. The findings from the current study were expected to show two different outcomes. First, the problem behavior would occur at a high frequency or for longer durations prior to implementing the condition with the visual aid. Secondly, the proposed method of presenting a picture schedule to each participant before transitioning between activities would reduce the frequency or duration of problem behaviors that occur during that time. The results demonstrated that the implementation of the picture schedule reduced the occurrences of both of the problem behaviors for the participant. In addition, using the least-to-most prompting strategy helped him learn how to use the picture schedule independently so he could transition to activities with little prompting.

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