Speech and Hearing Sciences ETDs

Publication Date

Spring 5-13-2023


This study used dynamic assessment (DA) with graduated prompting to evaluate whether preschool-aged children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) demonstrated learning potential with verb-based augmentative alternative communication (AAC) symbols. Four participants completed DA sessions across three instructional conditions: (a) requesting actions embedded in play, (b) labeling actions embedded in play, and (c) labeling actions presented via video. Performance across these conditions along with a control condition was compared using an adapted multielement single-case design. Three participants demonstrated learning in at least two instructional conditions, and only one showed progress in the control condition. Overall, participants initially required less cueing to use verb symbols to request actions than to label actions. Although there were initial advantages of the requesting condition, all but one participant showed progress in learning to label verbs with fewer supports. Across participants, there were minor differences between labeling conditions. Findings have implications for the design of AAC assessments and interventions involving AAC verb symbols.

Degree Name

Speech-Language Pathology

Level of Degree


Department Name

Speech and Hearing Sciences

First Committee Member (Chair)

Cindy Gevarter

Second Committee Member

Cathy Binger

Third Committee Member

Mary Hartley




augmentative and alternative communication, autism spectrum disorder, verbs, dynamic assessment, pragmatic functions, embedded instruction, discrete trial training

Document Type