Rebecca P. Fallows MacDonald


William H. Ahearn, Chata Dickson

Date of Award


Date Accepted


Degree Grantor

Northeastern University

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Science

Department or Academic Unit

Bouvé College of Health Sciences. Department of Counseling and Applied Educational Psychology.


Autism, Pretend play, Video modeling

Subject Categories

Sensory Art Therapies - Methods, Autism in children - Treatment, Play therapy


Art Therapy | Child Psychology


The purpose of this study was to combine video modeling with matrix training to teach play skills in young children with autism. Three children with autism were taught scripted vocalizations and actions for three play sets. Scripted play scenarios were developed using a 3 x 3 x 3 matrix involving characters, vehicles and objects. A within subject multiple probe design across play sets was used to demonstrate experimental control with each participant. Additionally, a multiple probe design across participants was used to demonstrate experimental control across participants. Baseline data were collected for each participant with each play set. During training the participant watched a video model consisting of an adult engaging in the scripted scenario. After the participant watched the video twice they had five minutes to play with the toys. Once mastery criteria were achieved, untrained stimuli were presented to the participant to assess the emergence of recombinative play behaviors. Results showed that after training on at least one of the play sets, 1 of the 3 participants demonstrated emergence of script recombination. Recombination was performed by the second and third participant after a brief recombination training session. The use of a matrix was a beneficial way to systematically teach pretend play skills to the three participants of this study.

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Rights Holder

Lauren M. Dannenberg

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