Graduation Date

Spring 5-7-2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Medical Sciences Interdepartmental Area

First Advisor

Nicole M. Rodriguez


Children with autism often require direct instruction to learn skills (e.g., discrete-trial instruction [DTI]). Despite its advantages, DTI has been criticized for producing rote responding (e.g., Cihon, 2007). Although there is little research supporting this claim, if true, this may be problematic given the propensity of children with autism to engage in restricted and repetitive behavior (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). In Experiment 1, we evaluated the effects of modeling rote versus varied target responses during DTI on producing varied responding and efficiency of skill acquisition in learning intraverbal categorizations. For all four children, all increases in varied responding were temporary, and, for two participants, acquisition was slowed in the variable-modeling condition. In Experiment 2, we evaluated the effects of introducing a Lag-1 schedule to the variable-modeling condition, and varied responding increased for all participants, but only when combined with modeling of varied responding with a progressive-prompt delay.