Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)


Graduate School

First Advisor

Michael J. Davis

First Committee Member

Martin T. Gipson

Second Committee Member

Tom S. Allison

Third Committee Member

Mary Lynn Young


Conversational skills training was administered to two developmentally delayed male residents of a board and care home to increase each subject's use of encouraging comments and on-topic questions during conversations with another resident. The effects of the skills training package of instructions, behavior rehearsal, modeling, and feedback were assessed in a multiple-baseline design across the behaviors of encouraging comments and on-topic questions. Training was successful in that each subject increased his use of both target conversational behaviors above criterion level. The two subjects who received training were also assessed to see if the conversational behavior generalized to a third subject. This subject was also an adult, developmentally delayed male resident of the home. The two target behaviors generalized to the third subject during a single follow-up observation session. In addition, follow-up assessments for the two trained subjects indicated that each subject's increased use of encouraging comments and on-topic questions in conversation persisted over a one week period. The conversational skills training also resulted in an improvement in their social speech. Four judges, blind with respect to training conditions and subjects, subjectively rated the conversational behavior of each of the subjects on a bi-polar (1 = poor, 10 = excellent) rating scale while listening to pre-training and post-training tapes. All four judges rated each of the trained subjects as a better conversationalist after training.





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