Hulac, David

Committee Member

Bardos, Achilles

Committee Member

Wright, Stephen


School Psychology


University of Northern Colorado

Type of Resources


Place of Publication

Greeley (Colo.)


University of Northern Colorado

Date Created



152 pages

Digital Origin

Born digital


Young children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) often have difficulty transitioning from one activity to the next without verbal prompts from caregivers, but caregivers may not always be readily available. Binder-based visual schedules can be used to increase independence in transitioning but can be stigmatizing and cumbersome for the student. The purpose of the current study was to compare the effects of an iPadbased electronic visual to a traditional binder based visual activity schedule for elementary-aged children with ASD to increase independence activity completion and transition. Data were collected using a single-subject, alternating treatment design (A-B-CA- B-C) with three participants. Independent activity completion was defined as completing a four-activity sequence with one or fewer verbal prompts. The researcher also measured latency, or the duration (in seconds) between the initial verbal prompt instructing the students to complete their activity schedules and the student’s behavior of beginning the activity. The researcher also collected data comparing a baseline measure of verbal prompts only to the use of either schedule to see if any schedule provided more reinforcement to students than verbal prompt alone. Finally, students and teachers completed measures of social validity. This study found that for two students, the iPad schedules resulted in an increase in independent activity-schedule following behavior as well as a decrease in latency from the initial prompt instructing them to follow their schedules. All students showed a decrease in latency when using either type of schedule as compared to hearing verbal prompts only, which was the baseline condition. All teachers indicated they preferred the iPad schedules over the binder-based schedules, though only two students preferred them. Finally, the students generalized the schedule following behavior to new sequences and activities for both types of schedules. Implications for practice in schools and other settings are that visual activity schedules, regardless of format, were more effective for independent transitioning than having a list of tasks presented orally, which was the baseline condition. Participants’ teachers rated iPad schedules highly on social validity; teachers are more likely to use interventions with high social validity. Visual schedules on an iPad were effective for increased independence in transitioning as well as decreased latency, thus, they may help students with ASD function effectively in light of increased mainstreaming and inclusion practices in schools. Individual differences and preferences should be taken into account when considering the use of a visual activity schedule on an iPad or a binder-based visual activity schedule.

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