Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Child and Family Studies

Major Professor

Trevor F. Stokes, PhD.

Co-Major Professor

Debra Mowery, PhD.

Committee Member

Holly Steele, PhD.


autism, behavioral skills training, in situ training, oral hygiene, task analysis


The success of applied behavior analysis (ABA) interventions relies heavily on adherence to measures of social importance. One area identified by caregivers, educators, and researchers as having social importance is the area of daily living skills; particularly in populations of children with special needs. A number of studies employed the use of a task analysis to objectively measure toothbrushing, with various training procedures utilized. Behavioral Skills Training (BST) is an effective procedure used to train a variety of skills. Further, research indicates the addition of an in situ assessment promotes generalization of trained skills. The current study examined the use of a task analysis and BST with in situ assessment to systematically measure and train toothbrushing skills in children with special needs. Training procedures were adapted from a similar study by Poche, McCubbrey, & Munn (1982). Five children participated in this study; four male and one female; each having a medical diagnosis indicating special needs. Objective and subjective measures were obtained with a task analysis data sheet and a pre/post intervention parent surveys. Results indicate the intervention successfully increased correct toothbrushing responses in four of the five participants. For the other participant, the intervention had no effect. Fading assessments were conducted 1-5 weeks following intervention, and maintenance effects were variable. The efficacy of BST to train skills and a task analysis to measure responses has been extended to different populations based on the findings in this study.