Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


College of Humanities and Social Sciences



Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Peter Vietze

Committee Member

Jennifer Yang

Committee Member

Nicole Lytle


Rising numbers in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) diagnoses lead to concerns about resources and personnel to support these children in home and school settings. Early intervention and ABA therapy has been demonstrated to show the most beneficial outcomes for children diagnosed with ASD (Peters-Scheffer et al., 2011, Eikeseth et al., 2007). The literature has yet to review the differential effects Natural Environment Training (NET) and Discrete Trial Training (DTT) on adaptive skills. A sample of 110 children diagnosed with ASD or a Developmental Disorder between the ages of 16 and 35 months was collected. The participants either received DTT, NET, or both interventions (NET+ DTT). All participants received the Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development™, Third Edition (Bayley™-3) Adaptive Subscale and the Verbal Behavior Milestones Assessment and Placement Program (VB-MAPP) Barriers Assessment at intake to be used as baseline measures and again when discharged from the program. Analysis of covariance with pretest scores as the covariate was conducted. A main effect for group for barriers and adaptive behaviors controlling for pretest scores was found (p = .001, p= .001). NET and NET+DTT conditions showed statistically significant improvements compared to the DTT condition (p=.000, p=.000). These results show that NET can increase adaptive skills in young children with ASD. These findings lay the groundwork for further research and refinement of behavioral interventions in young children in the area of Applied Behavior Analysis and early intervention, and protocols for teaching adaptive skills to toddlers.

File Format


Available for download on Friday, June 30, 2023

Included in

Psychology Commons