Graduation Date

Summer 8-11-2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Applied Behavior Analysis

First Advisor

Regina A. Carroll

Second Advisor

Bethany Hansen

Third Advisor

William Higgins

Fourth Advisor

Amanda Zangrillo


Peer imitation is a skill that serves to promote the acquisition of new play skills, problem-solving skills, and academic skills through observation of one’s peers. Although peer imitation is an important pre-requisite for learning from peers, many autistic children experience deficits in this area. In the present study, we evaluated a video model treatment package to teach autistic children to imitate their peers. Additionally, we conducted free play probes pre- and post-training to assess the transfer of training to a natural play setting. The results of the current study are mixed. One participant’s imitation skills generalized to the in-vivo sessions and to untrained targets after training with only one set of video models. Two participants mastered imitation of one set of video models; however, their skills did not generalize across sets nor to in-vivo conditions. Data from free play probes show that one participant attended to his peer more, but there were only slight changes in imitation across participants following video model training. Hypotheses for these results and ideas for future research are discussed.


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