Document Type


Date of Degree

Summer 2018

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In

Teaching and Learning

First Advisor

Hua, Youjia

Second Advisor

Woods-Groves, Suzanne

First Committee Member

Bruhn, Allison

Second Committee Member

Datchuk, Shawn

Third Committee Member

O'Brien, Matthew


Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) often require early intensive behavioral interventions (EIBI) to improve their skills in a variety of domains. Error correction is a common instructional component in EIBI programs because children with ASD tend to make persistent errors. Ineffective error correction can result in a lack of learning or undesirable behavior. To date, research has not systematically investigated the use of reinforcement during error correction for children with ASD.

This study compared the effects of correcting errors with and without reinforcement and their impact on preferences of young children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Four boys with ASD between 3 to 7 years old in China participated in this study. In the context of a repeated-acquisition design, each participant completed three sets of matching-to-sample task under the two error-correction procedures. During the error correction with reinforcement condition, the participants received the reinforcers after correct responses prompted by the researcher following errors. During the without-reinforcement condition, the participants did not receive any reinforcers after prompted responses. The number of sessions required to reach mastery criterion under the two conditions varied among the participants. Visual analysis did not confirm a functional relation between the error-correction procedures and the sessions required to reach mastery. With regard to children’s preferences, three children preferred the with-reinforcement condition and one preferred the without-reinforcement condition. The findings had conceptual implications and suggested practical implications relating to treatment preference.


autism, early intervention, error correction, reinforcement, skill acquisition, treatment preference


viii, 84 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 68-77).


Copyright © 2018 Chengan Yuan