Date of Graduation

Spring 2017

Document Type

Honors Research Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Speech-Language Pathology & Audiology

Research Sponsor

Dr. Charles Carlin, PhD, CCC-SLP

First Reader

Mrs. Katie Boarman, MA, CCC-SLP

Second Reader

Mrs. Andrea Brewer, MA, CCC-SLP


Individuals diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder have complex communication needs, and many use challenging behaviors to express themselves. This study focused on the effectiveness of the three-step Functional Communication Training process to decrease self-injurious behaviors, when used with a child with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. After conducting an extensive review of existing studies, the current project focused on areas of weakness in the literature. One case study subject participated in therapy that utilized Functional Communication Training. The participant was taught to functionally communicate via a speech generating device and picture symbols, while the numbers of self-injurious behaviors were recorded. At the end of therapy, this training was effectively shown to increase the usage of functional communication, while simultaneously decreasing the participant’s self-injurious behaviors.