Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Curriculum and Instruction (PhD)

Degree Level



Curriculum and Instruction


Elizabeth R. Lorah

Committee Member

Suzanne Kucharczyk

Second Committee Member

Tom E. C. Smith

Third Committee Member

Christian Z. Goering


applied behavior analysis, augmentative and alternative communication, autism spectrum disorder, core vocabulary, manding, motor planning, speech-generating device, verbal behavior


As the prevalence of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) increases, it is important for practitioners to continue to improve evidence-based practices (EBP) for the treatment of ASD symptoms (i.e., impairments in social communication and repetitive behaviors and restricted interests; American Psychiatric Association [APA], 2013). It is estimated that 30-50% of individuals with autism do not acquire functional speech (Wodka, Mathy, & Kalb, 2013). These individuals would make appropriate candidates for Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC; Mirenda, 2003). One form of AAC is the speech-generating device (SGD). Over the last ten years, tablet-based technologies including iPad minisⓇ have been emphasized in the SGD research (Lorah, Parnell, Whitby, & Hantula, 2014b). One of the limitations in the tablet-based technology literature is that there are few protocols using EBP for teaching verbal behavior using tablet-based technology as a SGD (Hedges & AFIRM Team, 2017). Practitioners working with SGD users require support in designing the screen layout, selecting the vocabulary, and determining effective teaching procedures for increasing verbal behavior. Therefore, the current study introduced the topic of motor planning with core vocabulary as considerations for use with tablet-based technology as SGDs to the behavior analytic literature. Because motor planning refers to the inner process of determining how to move, behavior analysts may be skeptical of using motor planning in practice. However, this study identified that motor planning is not an intervention but a strategy used in designing the screen layout or icon location. In addition, this study evaluated a basic protocol using motor planning with core vocabulary and a prompting package including within stimulus prompts and constant time delay with response prompts to teach manding using the iPad miniⓇ and Proloquo2GoTM as a SGD to three preschool aged children with ASD. This study also evaluated the effectiveness of the protocol on increasing vocal utterances throughout the session and decreasing problem behaviors during mand training. Results of the study indicated the protocol was effective in increasing a manding repertoire and that there were no effects on vocal utterances and problem behaviors.