Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Applied Behavior Analysis

Major Professor

Kelly A. Powell-Smith, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jennifer Austin, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Trevor Stokes, Ph.D.


Behavior, Autism, Tacting, Prompting, Verbal


The focus of the current study was to determine the most effective way to teach tacts, or labels, to children with autism who have a language deficit. Two participants were included in the study, which compared two prompting procedures, the verbal prompting condition and the gestural prompting condition.

The verbal prompting condition included presenting a target picture and the verbal prompt, “What is it?” In the gestural prompting condition, a picture was presented, but rather than the verbal prompt, a pointing prompt was offered. Approximately 32 sessions were conducted 2-3 times per week. The effects of the two interventions were evaluated using an alternating treatment design.

The results showed that both participants could effectively gain new tacts, or labels, regardless of the prompting condition. Although, participant 1 showed higher percentages of skill acquisition with the verbal prompting condition while participant 2 showed higher percentages with the gestural prompting condition. Therefore, this study has implications for the design and implementation of future language programs for children with autism or similar disorders.