Date of Defense


Date of Graduation




First Advisor

Kelly Kohler

Second Advisor

Richard Malott

Third Advisor

Ashley Ballard


autism, mands, communication


Mands are a building block for all communication and are therefore important to teach to individuals who do not consistently use mands. Skinner defined a mand as a “verbal operant in which the response is reinforced by a characteristic consequence and is under the control of relevant conditions of deprivation or aversive stimulation” (Hall & Sundberg 1987). By providing individuals with a way to express their desires and needs, individuals display less problem behaviors. A functional form of communication is imperative to typically developing children and children with autism spectrum disorders alike. The goal of the current study was to increase the frequency of manding as well as the variety of mands in a naturalistic teaching format. Through the manipulation of the environment, and the implementation of prompts, researchers were able to train an echoic into a mand and generalize those mands to a more natural environment. The study began by teaching mands in a discrete-trial setting, using four phases to increase independent responses; upon mastery, the study was implemented in a naturalistic setting for maintenance. By the end of the study, the individual showed significant differences from baseline.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Open Access