Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences



Committee Chair

Regina A Carroll

Committee Co-Chair

Karen Anderson

Committee Member

Julie Hicks-Patrick


Instructive feedback is a procedure that involves presenting secondary targets during a learning trial. The child is not required to respond to the secondary targets, and if the child does respond the therapist does not provide differential consequences. Instructive feedback has been shown to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of discrete-trial instruction for children with autism. We evaluated maintenance of previously learned skills when they were and were not presented as instructive feedback during teaching sessions. We used an adapted-alternating treatments design to compare three conditions, in which previously learned skills were presented as secondary targets five times per week, once per week, and when previously learned skills were not presented during the learning trial. We measured the percentage of trials with a correct response during maintenance and follow-up sessions, which we conducted for nine weeks. We also measured the number of sessions and amount of teaching time required for participants to meet a pre-specified mastery criterion in conditions with and without instructive feedback. Finally, we measured the percentage of trials in which a participant repeated the therapist's presentation of the secondary target. Results indicate that presenting target responses as instructive feedback did not improve or reduce the efficiency of teaching sessions with non-target responses. We will discuss clinical implications, limitations, and suggestions for future research.