Lindsey Brady Dissertation Final Defense

The College of Education, Health and

Human Sciences

Announces the Final Examination of

Lindsey Lawrence Brady

for the degree of

Doctor of Education

July 6, 2015 at 2:00 pm

405 Ball Hall, University of Memphis

Memphis, TN


Biographical Sketch

Bachelor of Science, Special Education, The University of Memphis

Master of Science, Educational Leadership, Christian Brothers University

Advisory Committee

James Meindl, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Instruction and Curriculum Leadership, Committee chair

Neal Miller, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Instruction and Curriculum Leadership

Todd Whitney, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Instruction and Curriculum Leadership

Laura Casey, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Instruction and Curriculum Leadership

Major Field of Study

Instruction and Curriculum Leadership

Period of Preparation: 2011 – 2013

Comprehensive Examination Passed: October 2013

Effect of Social Stories on attention maintained inappropriate behaviors




Social Stories are narratives written to explain a social situation, social skill, or concept to individuals with an Autism Spectrum Disorder diagnosis or developmental disabilities. Although the main goal of a Social Story is to increase the individual’s understanding of the targeted situation, skill, or concept, this intervention is commonly implemented by to increase appropriate behaviors and decrease inappropriate behaviors. Researchers have investigated Social Story efficacy when applied to both increasing appropriate and decreasing inappropriate behaviors. Results to date have been contradictory with some research supporting Social Stories and other research showing the intervention to be ineffective. These conflicting results could be related to the many procedural variations across studies. Additionally, few studies conducted either a functional analysis or functional behavior assessment prior to implementing a Social Story intervention when attempting to decrease behavior. This may also contribute to the contradictory evidence. It is possible, for example, that a Social Story could possibly serve as an abolishing operation for attention maintained inappropriate behaviors. By providing attention prior to the emission of the attention maintained inappropriate behavior, the value of attention could decrease and the likelihood that the individual will engage in the behavior that produces attention could decrease. This might suggest a Social Story was effective when it was the noncontingent provision of attention that produced the effect. The purpose of this study is to investigate whether a Social Story could serve as an abolishing operation for attention maintained inappropriate behaviors if read prior to the problem behavior. Five participants were identified as engaging in inappropriate behaviors that were possibly maintained by attention. The participants were exposed to an alternating treatment design that manipulated the temporal location of the Social Story. The latencies of the targeted behavior were measured. Shorter latencies were present in baseline indicating that the individuals were quickly engaging in the behaviors that produced attention. The latency of the target behavior was increased for only one participant indicating that they were no longer engaging in the attention maintained target behavior, but it is unclear what variable was responsible for this change. For the other four participants, latencies varied greatly with no discernable patterns across conditions. These findings and suggestions for future research are discussed.