Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Behavioral Analysis

First Advisor

Catherine A. Nicholson

Second Advisor

David Wilder

Third Advisor

Vida Tyc

Fourth Advisor

Lisa Steelman


Private events are stimuli and behaviors that occur within one's own skin and are only observable to the person experiencing them. Children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have difficulty describing their private events, which can lead to difficulty in communicating and bouts of problem behavior. It is important for children diagnosed with ASD to learn to tact private events, such as emotions, to effectively communicate how they are feeling. A popular parenting practice is to teach children to tact their emotions during naturally occurring, teachable moments when they are demonstrating those emotional responses. This study looked to examine the effects of a teaching package designed to teach children to tact their negative emotions while experiencing them. The purpose of the current investigation was twofold. The first purpose was to examine the effects of contriving establishing operations on tacting one’s own emotions. The second purpose was to examine the potential collateral effects on problem behavior as the tact repertoire increased. Children with problem behavior maintained by access to tangibles, as determined through a functional analysis, participated in this study.


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