Date Approved

10-5-2012

Date Posted

4-23-2013

Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Psychology

Committee Member

James Todd, PhD, Chair

Committee Member

Renee Lajiness-O’Neill, PhD

Committee Member

Kenneth Rusiniak, PhD

Committee Member

Ivy Chong, PhD, BCBA-D

Abstract

Vocal stereotypy is a common, skill-disruptive behavior in children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Response interruption and redirection (RIRD), the delivery of demands contingent on the occurrence of vocal stereotypy, is an intervention that is gaining empirical support for reducing vocal stereotypy and increasing appropriate language. However, little is known about the efficacy of RIRD when combined with early intensive behavioral intervention (EIBI), the recommended treatment approach for children with ASD, and its effects on the acquisition of language skills. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of RIRD when delivered during EIBI programming. Participants were six 4- and 5-year-old boys with ASD, assigned across three groups: experimental (EIBI + RIRD), clinical control (EIBI only), and traditional treatment control. Pre- and post-language skills were measured with the Preschool Language Scale-4 (PLS-4). Results indicated that significant group differences were noted in PLS-4 scores from pre- to posttesting, with large effects noted in the experimental group and small effects observed in the clinical control group. However, the participants in the traditional treatment control group outperformed all other participants across the PLS-4 language domains. EIBI + RIRD was successful in reducing vocal stereotypy for only one participant in the experimental group. Vocal stereotypy levels persisted in clinical control group participants during EIBI, confirming previous research that vocal stereotypy typically does not decrease without intervention. This study extends the literature on RIRD by demonstrating that it can be successfully integrated during EIBI programs; however, the necessary and sufficient conditions for RIRD to be effective have yet to be identified.

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