Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Behavioral Analysis

First Advisor

Catherine A. Nicholson

Second Advisor

Bryon Neff

Third Advisor

Vida L. Tyc

Fourth Advisor

Nicholas L. Weatherly


This study evaluated whether providing the opportunity to mand during instruction affects the rate of acquisition of new skills for learners with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Additionally, researchers sought to compare the rate of acquisition utilizing the opportunity to mand as a consequence with an instructor-selected condition. A non-concurrent multiple baseline across participants was conducted to demonstrate the effects of providing the opportunity to mand as a reinforcer. Contingent on a correct response, participants were allowed to communicate to the researcher (either vocally or through PECs) a preferred reinforcer. All reinforcer selections were recorded and used to yoke reinforcer presentations for the instructor-selected conditions. Participants learned at similar rates during both conditions; however, all chose the opportunity to mand condition when a preference evaluation was conducted. Participants were taught to tact noun-verb combinations or community helpers. Participants learned at similar rates during both conditions.


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