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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Graduation

Spring 2019

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Education (MEd)

Department

Department of Educational Foundations and Exceptionalities

Advisor(s)

Sara Snyder

Keri Bethune

Tiara Brown

Geralyn Timler

Abstract

Both Early Intervention (EI) and Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) have been proven to be effective with children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). A relationship between functional communication and behavior has also been noted and described. As individuals learn functional communication, challenging behavior decreases. Early intervention commonly uses PECS to teach children, specifically children with ASD, to communicate. Early intervention can come in different forms, ranging from very intensive daily services to weekly or biweekly visits from service providers. While the literature recommends early intervention, much of it is referencing intensive schedules that are not financially realistic or time sensitive to many families. Therefore, this paper aimed to research how to effectively teach the PECS procedure to caregivers of young children diagnosed with autism. Caregiver training was conducted within a local research center and reflected a typical early intervention schedule of services. Caregivers were taught using constant time delay (CTD) which is a common form of teaching within the world of applied behavioral analysis (ABA). Caregivers were also given a self-monitoring sheet to serve as a visual prompt to practice at home. The research aims to provide specific directions and guides for EI providers so that they can efficiently and effectively help coach families in the acquisition of the PECS procedure so that their child may develop functional communication without the necessity of an intensive schedule.

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