Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. Malott

Second Advisor

Dr. Alan Poling

Third Advisor

Dr. Dale Brethower

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Steven P. Ragotozy


After deciding that a need existed for writing a textbook on autism from a behavior analytic perspective, Dr. Malott and I developed Behavior Analysis. Autism and Related Disabilities (BAARD) for use by the students enrolled in the autism practicum at Western Michigan University. As in a circular relationship, the practicum students evaluated and guided the subsequent revisions of the manuscript, and the revisions influenced the subsequent evaluations. BAARD covers all the principles and concepts of behavior analysis that are relevant to treatments and issues in autism and related disabilities and numerous treatments and phenomena specific to developmental disabilities.

During its development, the textbook was evaluated at two levels: the students' evaluation and their performance. The four independent groups of students evaluated three versions of the textbook. These evaluations guided the textbook revisions. Each of the 13 chapters and 50 sections were evaluated three times (with the exception of Chapters 7, 10, 11, and 12 which were evaluated twice). In total, 36 chapter evaluations and 143 section evaluations were administered sequentially. All 13 chapters were revised at least once and 8 of those chapters were revised twice. Twenty-nine revisions were made to the sections as a result of the evaluations of first and second version of BAARD. The students' evaluations improved across semesters, independently of revisions, and the overall ratings were positive. After reading the final draft of BAARD. practicum students and non-practicum, psychology students (who had not read BAARD') took a conceptual test. The practicum students and the non-practicum students tended to use the same amount of mentalistic terms. However, the non-practicum students made a few more errors in describing or applied the concepts, and the practicum students used considerably more concepts and procedures in their answers.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access