Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational & Clinical Studies

First Committee Member

Susan Miller

Second Committee Member

Peggy Schaefer-Whitby

Third Committee Member

Tom Pierce

Fourth Committee Member

Catherine Lyons

Number of Pages



The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of PECS phase III application training on independent mands in young children with autism. Participants were five children with autism ranging from ages 2 to 4 years old. A multiple baseline across participants was used to evaluate acquisition of independent correct mands across baseline and treatment conditions during training with the PECS Phase III iPadTMapplication.

Data for Participant Four did not demonstrate experimental control directly, as he showed high levels of mands during baseline. The functional relationship for Participant One was questionable as she too likely learned to mand by contacting the contingency during baseline procedures. Participant Three successfully acquired all skills taught during training with the PECS Phase III iPadTM application and his data suggested experimental control. Two participants (Participant Two and Participant Five) were unable to complete the study within its time frame, but their data also suggested a functional relationship. Data for Participant Five suggested a delayed, but beneficial treatment effect.

For all participants who completed the study, mands generalized at moderate to high accuracy (60% to 100%) in a novel setting across all generalization probes. Maintenance measures indicated moderate to high durability of treatment effects (70% to 100%). Mand preference assessments were also conducted to evaluate participant preference between paper icons and the iPadTM. All participants indicated a preference for mands using the iPadTM. Parent report indicated that four out of five parents of study participants felt that the iPadTM would be easier to use in their daily routine. Parents were also confident that they would be able to use the iPadTM to support their child's communication (if given training).


Assistive technology; Augmentative/alternative communication; Autistic children; Autistic children – Means of communication; Autism; Communication devices for autistic children; Early childhood special education; iPads; Picture exchange communication system


Education | Pre-Elementary, Early Childhood, Kindergarten Teacher Education | Social and Behavioral Sciences | Special Education and Teaching

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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