Date of Award

12-2014

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Richard W. Malott

Second Advisor

Dr. Stephanie Peterson

Third Advisor

Dr. Ron Van Houten

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Steve Ragotzy

Abstract

Behaviors such as toe walking, hand flapping, nonfunctional vocalizations, and rocking are all examples of stereotypy. Stereotypy can occur at high rates in children with and without developmental delays (Smith & Van Houten, 1996). These behaviors can interfere with the acquisition of new skills (e.g., Dunlap, Dyer, & Koegel, 1983; Morrison & Rosales-Ruiz, 1997) and social interactions (Jones, Wint, & Ellis, 1990). The purpose of this study was to assess the effectiveness of response interruption and redirection (RIRD), time-out, and differential reinforcement of other behavior (DRO) in reducing vocal and motor stereotypy with children who engage in automatically reinforced high-rates of stereotypy. For this intervention, during leisure skills the participant was given an iPad® or LEGOS® and a DRO was conducted with highly preferred foods as the reinforcer. Each instance of stereotypy resulted in the loss of the iPad® or LEGOS® and the presentation of a RIRD sequence. During academic instruction, the combination of RIRD and DRO were assessed. The combination of techniques decreased stereotypy from 90% to below 30% of 10-s intervals during leisure activities and to approximately 40% during academic instruction.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access

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