Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Document Type



Discrete Trial Training (DTT), a skill acquisition paradigm using Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) principles, is an empirically validated early intervention method for children with ASD. However, one disadvantage of this treatment is its highly structured method that hinders generalization. Since generalization is essential for independence and overall functioning in children with ASD, programming for generalized behavior change is an important treatment component. Training sufficient exemplars is one generalization programming technique that has led to the transfer of skills across several stimulus contexts. Very few scientific investigations have evaluated the use of sufficient exemplars within a DTT format. Experiment 1 evaluated multiple therapist and setting exemplars using DTT to produce generalized responding in children with ASD within a multidisciplinary clinic. One participant was unable to acquire the target skill during standard DTT sessions, while the other two participants acquired the skill and showed moderate generalized responding. Programming multiple therapist exemplars within DTT sessions produced over selective responding in the second participant; whereas, generalized behavior change was observed in the third participant. Experiment 2 investigated two procedural methods of programming sufficient exemplars during DTT sessions: Sequential and concurrent presentations. Differential results of acquisition and generalization efficiency were observed in children with ASD. All participants acquired responses in fewer sessions with concurrent presentations, though more errors were produced. Generalization occurred for both concurrent and sequential presentations with minimal differential effects. Results for both studies suggest that DTT may promote stimulus generalization in some children; however, programming for generalization using sufficient exemplars within DTT sessions may generate acquisition and generalized results more efficiently.



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Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Noell, George



Included in

Psychology Commons