Graduation Date

Winter 12-16-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Applied Behavior Analysis

First Advisor

Kevin C. Luczynski

Second Advisor

Nicole M. Rodriguez


Children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are at high risk of being bullied but research on teaching children with ASD self-protection skills for bullying situations is scant. We assessed the generality of teaching procedures used in Stannis et al. (2019) to teach adults self-protection skills with autistic children. We taught five children self-protection skills for two types of bullying (threats and unkind remarks) in a one-on-one format. In addition, we taught children a self-protection skill for repeated bullying occurrences. We first evaluated behavioral skills training to teach children to report threats of physical or material harm, provide a disapproving statement after a first unkind remark, and occupy themselves with an activity away from a bully after a second unkind remark. Second, we evaluated using a textual prompt as an error-correction procedure during simulated bullying situations. Additional tactics were necessary to aid in the discrimination of bullying situations for two children. We observed increases in the self-protection skills with all children. Results further support that an active-learning approach is efficacious in teaching children responses to bullying. Considerations for teaching these skills while maintaining trust and rapport with children and caregivers are discussed.


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