Graduation Date

Fall 12-17-2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Medical Sciences Interdepartmental Area

First Advisor

Regina A Carroll


Pretend play involves carrying out routines, acting out roles, referencing absent or imaginary properties of objects, or substituting one object for another. Pretend play skills emerge in typically developing children by preschool age but are often absent or delayed in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). In the present study, we evaluated use of prompt delay, instructive feedback, and prompt delay with instructive feedback for the acquisition and maintenance of pretend play skills with children with ASD. Throughout training, we conducted free-play probes to evaluate generalization to a naturalistic setting. The results of the current study suggest that combining the prompt-delay and instructive-feedback procedures was most efficient for most participants. However, generalization to the free-play setting was limited. When clinically acceptable generalization was not observed during free-play probes, we used video modeling, contingent reinforcement, and prompts to increase responding during free-play probes.