Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. R. Wayne Fuqua

Second Advisor

Dr. Cynthia Pietras

Third Advisor

Dr. James Carr

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Linda LeBlanc


Early and intensive behavioral intervention (EIBI) is an approach to treating the behavioral deficits and excesses observed in children with autism spectrum disorders. The magnitude of improvement in the overall functioning of children receiving EIBI has stimulated additional research and widespread clinical dissemination through the publication of EIBI curricular manuals. Many EIBI manuals recommend teaching conditional discriminations using the simple/conditional method. Initially, component simple discriminations are taught in isolation and in the presence of a distracter stimulus. Finally, conditional discriminations, which include stimuli previously taught as simple discriminations, are presented to the learner. Although the simple/conditional method is often recommended in EIBI curricular manuals, issues of faulty stimulus control and overselectivity may arise as a result of the simple/conditional method. As a result, there has been a call for the use of alternative teaching procedures such as the conditional only method which involves conditional discrimination training from the onset of intervention. No studies to date have compared simple/conditional and conditional only methods for teaching conditional discriminations in applied settings. Therefore, the purpose of the current study was to compare the simple/conditional and conditional only methods for teaching auditory-visual conditional discriminations to children with autism spectrum disorders. Three children between the ages of 4 and 7 participated in the study. An adapted alternating treatments design was used to compare the two teaching procedures. The results indicated that the conditional only method was a more reliable teaching method. In addition, problematic error patterns emerged during training using the simple/conditional method. The results are discussed in terms of the implications for current teaching practices in EIBI programs.


5th Advisor: Dr. Ivy Chong

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access