Date of Award:

8-2018

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Special Education and Rehabilitation

Advisor/Chair:

Thomas Higbee

Abstract

Research has shown noncontingent reinforcement (NCR) to be an effective intervention in reducing inappropriate behavior (i.e., problem behavior) when implemented prior to its occurrence in both clinical and applied settings. Some research suggests problem behavior of teenagers and adults with disabilities may be reduced at greater rates when NCR is implemented in combination with signals (e.g., visual timers). Additional research is warranted to investigate if the positive effects of NCR can be enhanced using signals when working with young children with autism. This study evaluated the effects of NCR when implemented with and without a visual timer on the problem behavior of three preschoolers with autism attending a special education day treatment program. All interventions were implemented by classroom staff during typical learning activities. Overall results were inconsistent in determining if NCR with signals may be an effective intervention for reducing problem behavior of preschoolers with autism. However, results suggest NCR with signals may contribute to a reduction in problem behavior for some preschoolers with autism. Additional research will be needed to verify these tentative conclusions.

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