Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. Richard W. Malott

Second Advisor

Dr. Ron Van Houten

Third Advisor

Dr. Stephanie Peterson

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Steve Ragotzy


A pre-test showed that three pre-school children with autism had difficulty learning to match spoken words to objects (receptive identification). Therefore, they were first taught to match environmental sounds to objects (e.g., to touch a tambourine, when they heard the sound of the tambourine) and then to match spoken words to other objects while continuing to match the mastered environmental sounds to the original objects.

For all three children, simply learning the environmental-sound/object matching did not facilitate learning spoken-word/object matching; however intermixing the training of spoken-word/object matching with the previously mastered environmentalsound/ object matching did result in the mastery of those intermixed spoken-word/object matches, which, in turn, led to the mastery of additional spoken-word/object matches without further involvement of environmental-sound/object matching. Incidentally, for the environmental-sound/object matching, the objects had been modified to produce no auditory feedback when touched by the children, demonstrating that auditory feedback was not needed to learn the environmental-sound/object matching.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access