Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Child and Family Studies

Major Professor

Sarah E. Bloom, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Nicole Hanney, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Catia Cividini-Motta, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Andrew L. Samaha, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Eric Storch, Ph.D.


functional communication training, indirect assessments, problem behavior, signaled reinforcement, waiting skills


Indirect assessments are widely used to identify environmental factors that may be manipulated or integrated in the development of direct assessments and behavior interventions for individuals with developmental disabilities. To date, there are no indirect assessments that can be used to evaluate the extent to which children who engage in problem behavior wait to receive reinforcement. However, there are effective behavior interventions to increase waiting. A treatment package consisting of functional communication training (FCT) and schedule thinning (i.e., multiple schedules) has been identified as an effective intervention to increase waiting in children who engage in problem behavior maintained by social contingencies. Nonetheless, in studies in which a schedule thinning procedure has been used, the terminal waiting durations are typically selected arbitrarily. Therefore, we conducted three studies to evaluate the use of an indirect assessment to increase waiting within an FCT and schedule treatment package in children with developmental disabilities. The purpose of Study I was to develop the Waiting Assessment Interview Tool (WAIT) to obtain current waiting durations for subjects who engaged in problem behavior maintained by social contingencies. The purpose of Study II was to complete the WAIT with caregivers and behavior service providers and to compare their results to a latency functional analysis (FA) conducted with all children. Finally, the purpose of Study III was to use the WAIT completed by informants to systematically individualize the initial component durations used during the schedule thinning procedure. A second purpose was to use the informants’ preferred waiting times as final waiting targets for all subjects.