The Effects of Behavioral Skills Training on Reciprocal Greetings With Individuals With Autism Spectrum Disorder

Date of Award


Call Number


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)


School Psychology

First Advisor

Steege, Mark

Second Advisor

Wickerd, Garry

Third Advisor

Blair, Sammantha


PsyD; Autism Spectrum Disorder; Behavioral Skills Training; Generalization; Social skills


Social skills are a pragmatic and vital part of living and functioning. While typically developing children are able to naturally pick up on social skills and cues from adults, peers, and siblings, many individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) have more difficulty and need to be explicitly taught these skills (Christopher & Shakila, 2015). Examples of early prerequisite social skills include orienting oneself to the other person and making eye contact during social interactions (Christopher & Shakila, 2015). However, such social interactions may not be innately motivating for individuals with ASD (Harper et al., 2007). Research by Hobson & Lee (1998) found that individuals with ASD were less likely to make eye contact even after being greeted by an adult. Additionally, individuals with ASD imitate less and are less interested in symbolic play (Harper et al., 2007). Teaching students with ASD how to interact with others is as important as pre-academic skills and should begin in preschool years. Evidence-based approaches for teaching individuals with ASD include Behavior Skills Training (Nuernberger et al., 2013) and Social Stories™ (Chung et al., 2007). The current study implemented a short-term intensive treatment package that combined these approaches and utilized Social Stories™ as the didactic component in the model. The goal was to increase the participant’s reciprocal greeting skills using the Behavioral Skills Training Model with Social Stories™. In combination with peer exposure, adult training was used to increase the participant's greeting responses across settings and people. This study demonstrated that the treatment package was effective in increasing reciprocal greetings and facilitated the generalization of the skill to peers and familiar adults.