Date of Defense


Date of Graduation




First Advisor

Richard Malott

Second Advisor

Stephanie Peterson

Third Advisor

Jessica Frieder


One of the most basic pre-requisite skills for learning is simple visual discrimination. Unfortunately, the literature is lacking in how to teach simple visual discrimination to children with difficulty learning. To address this problem, the current study set out to teach a child with autism, and exceptional learning difficulty, simple visual discrimination. To do this, the researchers used a simple reversal design using a prompt fading strategy. To shape the independent behavior of selecting the correct stimulus in the presence of two other stimuli, the researchers started by reinforcing touching the stimuli when there were no other distractor stimuli present, phase one, and once mastery was reached, adding in a distractor stimulus (phase two). Once mastery criteria was reached for phase two, the third distracter stimulus was added (phase three). Next, the correct stimulus was switched to each of the other stimuli to help achieve generalization of the discrimination skills. The results of this study were positive, with the child mastering the procedure for each of the stimuli in between 43 and 46 sessions. This study expands the literature on effectively teaching children with Autism and exceptional learning difficulties discrimination.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Open Access