Date of Award

5-1-2011

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Psychology

Committee Chair

Heather Sterling-Turner

Committee Chair Department

Psychology

Committee Member 2

Daniel Tingstrom

Committee Member 2 Department

Psychology

Committee Member 3

Joe Olmi

Committee Member 3 Department

Psychology

Committee Member 4

Brad Dufrene

Committee Member 4 Department

Psychology

Committee Member 5

Sara Jordan

Committee Member 5 Department

Psychology

Abstract

The purpose of the current study was to compare the effectiveness of Social Stories TM (Gray, 2004) used in isolation and when combined with a reinforcement component to increase appropriate behaviors and decrease inappropriate behaviors. Treatment effects for socially inappropriate behaviors and appropriate replacement behaviors were tracked. The setting of the current study was in a school district. The diagnoses of two of the participants included Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS), and the other two participants were diagnosed with Autistic Disorder. All participants read a social story to their teacher prior to the time at which the target behaviors were occurring. The data revealed that the social story combined with reinforcement was more effective for decreasing inappropriate behaviors for two participants. For one of the participants, both treatment phases were equally effective in decreasing the participant’s inappropriate behaviors. Finally, the data revealed that neither treatment phase effectively decreased one participant’s inappropriate behaviors. However, a third treatment phase consisting of a prompting procedure decreased one of the participant’s inappropriate behaviors. The results also revealed that social stories were generally more effective when combined with the reinforcement component for increasing appropriate behaviors for three participants. For one of the participants, minimal increases in appropriate behaviors were observed across all treatment phases, including a modified treatment procedure which consisted of prompting for appropriate behaviors.

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