Graduation Date

Spring 2020

Document Type



Master of Arts degree with a major in Psychology, option Academic Research

Committee Chair Name

Chris Walmsley

Committee Chair Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Second Committee Member Name

Ian Jewett

Second Committee Member Affiliation

Community Member or Outside Professional

Subject Categories



Language is a collection of verbal skills which allows the speaker to have some control over how others interact with them. Saying the words “yes” and “no” are fundamental language abilities; The words impact the speaker’s environment by communicating acceptance or rejection of stimuli and experiences. Caregivers, teachers, and friends may have to make choices for an individual who cannot respond to yes-no questions. This skill deficit deprives the individual of autonomy and can lead to challenging behaviors occurring in place of clear communication. Applied Behavior Analysis offers techniques to teach language skills such as saying “yes” and “no” in response to verbal and environmental stimuli. This study used the techniques of mand training in discrete trial format while systematically fading prompts to teach two individuals with autism to correctly respond to the question “do you want this?” paired with the presentation of a highly preferred or lesser preferred item. Correct responding was predetermined with paired stimulus preference assessments by identifying “yes” items and “no” items. The results from this study suggest that these procedures are effective at producing correct responses to trained and untrained stimuli, thereby allowing the individual to functionally communicate their wants and needs.

Citation Style