Date of Award

May 2017

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Tiffany Kodak

Committee Members

Tiffany Kodak, Jeffrey Tiger, Jay Moore


Autism, Differential Reinforcement, Early Intervention, Extended Response Interval, Prompt Dependence, Prompt Fading


Prior research has focused on identifying effective strategies to prevent prompt dependence from occurring during the training of novel skills. This has been targeted in a variety of ways, including differential reinforcement, prompt fading, and allowing extended response intervals. Current literature has also indicated that the relative efficacy and efficiency of different prompting procedures may be idiosyncratic across learners, suggesting the potential benefit of an individualized assessment. The purpose of the current study was to extend the literature on prompt dependence by comparing interventions for skills for which four participants with developmental disabilities consistently engaged in correct responses following prompts but did not perform independently. This was done using an assessment-based strategy that compared the efficacy and efficiency of differential reinforcement, prompt fading, and extended response interval interventions. The intervention that led to skill mastery first was considered the most efficient procedure for each participant. Results were idiosyncratic across participants, indicating that the most efficacious and efficient intervention for prompt dependence must be determined via assessment-based intervention strategies.