Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. Richard, W. Malott

Second Advisor

Dr. Jessica Frieder

Third Advisor

Dr. Steven Ragtozy

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Carmen Jonaitis


Auditory discrimination, autism, receptive language, discrimination training, children, teaching


Simple and conditional visual and auditory discrimination repertoires are critical components of many skills necessary for daily functioning, including communication, academic, and daily-living skills (Green, 2001). When auditory discrimination is not under instructional stimulus control, it can result in delayed acquisition of new skills and limit academic progress. The purpose of this study was to teach auditory discrimination to children with autism who had little to no progress on classroom procedures that required auditory discrimination, such as selecting an object from an array when given the name of the object as the direction. Auditory discrimination was taught starting with teaching a particular motor response in the presence of an environmental sound, then slowly introducing other sound and response pairings. We used a variety of teaching methods based on the learners’ progress (e.g., trial-and-error, shaping, and physical prompts). This set of interventions was implemented with three children enrolled in an early elementary special education classroom and were not demonstrating auditory discrimination under instructional stimulus control. Two children mastered the discrimination between a sound S^D and no-sound S^Δ and the discrimination between a sound S^D and sound S^Δ. One child discriminated between three auditory S^Ds, but did not maintain over time.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access