Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Child and Family Studies

Major Professor

Timothy M. Weil


autism, sign training, verbal behavior



Verbal behavior encompasses a wide range of aspects in our everyday lives and in the activities of a society. Many verbal behavior interventions often include programs to teach answering questions, these responses are referred to as intraverbals. Previous research has demonstrated a higher rate of acquisition of verbal targets such as mands and tacts for children with a limited verbal repertoire when a presentation of both sign and vocal prompts occur simultaneously (Total Communication), in comparison to sign-alone or vocal-alone trainings. However, an important variable not often examined in the literature is the comparison of Total Communication (TC) and Prompt Delay (PD) to further evaluate which leads to higher rates of acquisition. The current study extends previous research by evaluating the relative effectiveness of TC and PD in teaching intraverbal skills to three children who have been diagnosed with autism. During the TC condition the participants were required to emit a vocal and sign response simultaneously during training. During the PD condition, participants were required to emit only a vocal response during training. The results suggest that there was no clinically relevant difference between the two conditions in the acquisition of intraverbals for these participants.