Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Document Type



The right of individuals with developmental disabilities to live fulfilling and normalized lives has been a focus of federal legislation and applied research over the past 30 years. Research has primarily focused on the identification and incorporation of preferred items and activities into the home and community environments of these individuals. Because of cognitive and communication limitations, some individuals with developmental disabilities require training to make choices that accurately reflect their preferences. Verbal choice methods are commonly used in everyday clinical practice; however, the accuracy of these methods for identifying actual preferences depends on the individual’s ability to make auditory discriminations. Discrimination training is a strategy commonly used to teach a variety of discriminations to individuals with developmental disabilities. However, no studies to date have evaluated the efficacy of discrimination training for teaching individuals with developmental disabilities to make auditory discriminations for the purpose of improving choice-making accuracy during symbolic preference assessments. The present study evaluated the direct and generalized effects of discrimination training on the choice-making abilities of three individuals with developmental disabilities. Results indicated that training was successful for improving choice-making accuracy for all three participants when a limited number of choices was presented. A generalization strategy of training multiple choice exemplars was moderately successful in transferring the effects of training to choices in the context of a larger assessment.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

George Noell



Included in

Psychology Commons