Facilitating Transitions in Children with Challenging Behavior

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




Brian K. Martens


Abolishing operations, Autism, Picture Schedules, Transitions

Subject Categories

Education | Medicine and Health Sciences | Psychiatry and Psychology


Activity transitions can be problematic for children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Research suggests that both pre- and post-transition conditions affect behavior during transitions. The present study sought to (a) evaluate the effectiveness of picture schedules in facilitating transitions, (b) determine if an abolishing operation would decrease transition latency and transition-related problem behavior beyond use of a PS alone, and (c) evaluate the effects of fading the AO. Three children diagnosed with ASD, who engaged in problem behavior during transitions, participated. An adapted alternating treatment design with a reversal was implemented to evaluate the effects of a picture schedule alone and in combination with an abolishing operation across two equivalent high-preferred to low-preferred activity transitions. Results suggest that for 2 of the 3 participants a picture schedule in combination with an abolishing operation reduced latency times beyond the use of a picture schedule alone.


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