Master's Theses



Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


A non-verbal child was conditioned by operant techniques to imitate verbal items and name objects in pictures. The subject was rewarded for accurate imitations of the training items. Training was done by the concurrent method in which three items were learned to criterion before another group of three items was presented. There were three experimental conditions. In Condition One, the subject was rewarded for correctly imitating a word. Reinforcement in Condition Two was contingent upon the subject being able to name an object in a picture. A single session of preemptive reinforcement followed Condition Two. Condition Three was the imitation of word phrases. The subject attained high rates of correct responses during Conditions One and Two and demonstrated some ability to imitate word phrases in Condition Three. An increase of correct verbalizations was noted at the end of the training program. Generalization effects were not noted. The study indicates the effectiveness of operant techniques in increasing speech in non-verbal children. It also suggests the importance of continued operant training for some subjects by teaching parents the training method and continuing the reinforcement program in the home.


Robert Adams

Date of Award

Spring 1975

Document Type

Thesis - campus only access


© 1975 John S. Petty


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