Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Early Childhood, Multilingual, and Special Education

First Committee Member

Joseph Morgan

Second Committee Member

Josh Baker

Third Committee Member

Tracy Spies

Fourth Committee Member

Cori More

Fifth Committee Member

Chyllis Scott

Number of Pages



Non-verbal children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) often struggle with functional communication, and are often not able to express their wants, needs, emotions, or engage in meaningful conversations (Hudry et al., 2010; Luyster et al., 2008; Weismer et al., 2010). Picture exchange systems as well as AAC devices (e.g., the iPad) have emerged as viable options to teach this population how to communicate effectively (Charlop-Christy et al., 2002; Couper et al., 2014; Dogoe et al., 2010; Ganz et al., 2015; Greenberg et al., 2012; Logan et al., 2017). PECS has been widely established as an evidence-based practice and is often implemented with children with ASD (Charlop-Christy et al., 2002; Couper et al., 2014; Dogoe et al., 2010). Although PECS has a standardized set of steps for implementation, there is no such set of steps for communication applications on the iPad. No established protocol has emerged to ensure that the implementation of Proloquo2Go on the iPad a smooth, streamlined, and successful transition (Lorah et al., 2014; Lorah et al., 2015; Lorah et al., 2018).This study examined the use of a graduated guidance to implement a communication protocol via a forward chained task analysis to teach children with ASD to effectively utilize Proloquo2Go on the iPad to get their wants and needs met. A design that most closely aligns with changing criterion was implemented across four young children diagnosed with ASD. Parents and RBTs implemented the intervention in the home. Two children demonstrated three changes in criterion, showing a strong functional relation. One progressed through two changes, and one only made one change in criterion. Graduated guidance was effective for all children, yet difficulties with the iPad halted some progression onto new steps. Social validity questionnaires were sent out to all parents and RBT’s involved.


Communication protocol; Graduated guidance; iPad; Functional communication training; Nonverbal children; ASD; Autism spectrum disorders


Special Education and Teaching

File Format


File Size

1025 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




IN COPYRIGHT. For more information about this rights statement, please visit