Date of Award:

8-2022

Document Type:

Dissertation

Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department:

Special Education and Rehabilitation Counseling

Committee Chair(s)

Thomas S. Higbee

Committee

Thomas S. Higbee

Committee

Sarah E. Pinkelman

Committee

Timothy A. Slocum

Committee

P. Raymond Joslyn

Committee

Amy L. Odum

Abstract

In the last decade, the field of applied behavior analysis (ABA) has committed to working on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). The work began with call-to-action papers, empirical work on cultural accommodations, and most recently, the certifying board has changed the professional standards for board-certified behavior analysts (BCBAs). An objective and measurable step that BCBAs can take to adhere to the new ethical and professional standards is to use inclusive teaching materials. Inclusive teaching materials are teaching materials that reflect the diversity of society. This study compared the rate of learning and generalization between an inclusive and non-inclusive set of teaching materials during an occupations identification task (e.g., “Touch Scientist”). We attempted to teach six preschool-aged children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) to identify occupations using an inclusive set of 2-D stimuli and a non-inclusive set of 2-D stimuli. The purpose of this study was to begin empirically evaluating inclusion within the field of ABA by comparing the rate of learning and generalization across the two teaching materials. All of the participants had difficulty in learning to identify occupations, except for one. Two participants only met the mastery criteria of the occupations assigned to the inclusive materials conditions, and three participants were withdrawn from the study. While there were many limitations to participant learning in this study, based on an occupation by condition analysis, it did not seem that the type of teaching materials was a variable. The potential limitations and future research related to inclusive teaching materials, stimulus feature manipulation, and instructional procedures for children with ASD are discussed.

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