Date Approved

12-19-2001

Embargo Period

5-24-2016

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A. in School Psychology

Department

Educational Services and Leadership

College

College of Education

First Advisor

Klanderman, John

Subject(s)

Autism; People with mental disabilities--Behavior modification

Disciplines

Educational Psychology

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to determine if an increase in communication skills, over an 80 week period, in adults with autism would decrease challenging behaviors. The sample in this study consisted of 3 adult males diagnosed with autism and no verbal communication skills. The participants were between the ages of 24 and 27 and attended a data treatment center, which was used as the training environment in the current study.

The Picture Exchange Communication System was the primary treatment for three adults who have no verbal language and are diagnosed with autism. Treatment sessions were conducted throughout the course of the day through both mass and situational trials.

The results of this study found no consistent evidence that adults who utilize PECS will have a decrease in challenging behaviors exhibited. However there is evidence that functional communication can increase with training in PECS.

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