Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. James E. Carr

Second Advisor

Dr. Linda A. LeBlanc

Third Advisor

Dr. Cynthia J. Pietras

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


Mand training, a common component of language training programs for children with autism, is associated with several clinical benefits (Sundberg & Michael, 2001), yet mand training sometimes results in high-rate responding that is difficult to maintain. One method of reducing high-rate mands to manageable rates is known as graduated signaled delay to reinforcement. The current investigation involved a series of three studies to evaluate the ability of three independent variables (a) highly preferred toys, (b) signal duration, and (c) schedule thinning methods to enhance signaled delay to reinforcement. The results of the three studies indicate that 7 of the 8 evaluations of signaled delay to reinforcement resulted in reduced mand rates without extinction of the response. Ultimately, all of the findings contrast to previous research results, indicating that either each independent variable had near-equal effects or that a confound, most likely multiple treatment interference, was responsible for the discrepant results. Future research in this area should utilize a between group design in order to prevent this confound and determine clear recommendations for clinicians and applied researchers.