Date of Graduation

Spring 2022


Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis



Committee Chair

Michael Clayton


Social skills are imperative for individuals’ success in their daily lives because they are applied in areas such as shared interests and cooperative work and play. This study was a replication with extension of the study on a musical treatment of social skills by Finnigan and Starr (2010). The purpose of the present study was to determine the effects of musical and non-musical interventions on the sharing and turn-taking behavior of five children with autism. The participants were four boys and one girl between the ages of 4- and 8-years-old who had a diagnosis of autism and were receiving ABA therapy in a clinic setting. A single-subject, alternating treatment design was used to analyze the effectiveness of the intervention. Two conditions, a musical and non-musical condition, were tested. Both consisted of 15 minutes of treatment in which the participants would be given opportunities to share and take turns with the therapist and 15 minutes of generalization for participants to interact with each other and other peers. A baseline phase, alternating treatment phase, and adapted treatment phase were used. Participants 1 and 3 displayed increased target behaviors in musical interventions. For Participant 5, target behaviors increased in non-musical interventions. Participant 2 engaged in similar responding in both conditions, and Participant 4 displayed no increase above baseline in target behavior under either condition. Data were not conclusive but suggest musical interventions could be successful for some students.


autism spectrum disorder, music therapy, musical interventions, sharing, turntaking, social responsiveness, social skills

Subject Categories

Applied Behavior Analysis | Early Childhood Education | Special Education and Teaching


© Meghan Talarico

Open Access