Behavior Analysis in Practice

, Volume 12, Issue 1, pp 124–132 | Cite as

Effects of a Lag Schedule with Progressive Time Delay on Sign Mand Variability in a Boy with Autism

  • Bryant C. SilbaughEmail author
  • Terry S. Falcomata
Research Article


For some children with autism, mand training can produce highly repetitive manding unless the environment is arranged in a manner that promotes mand variability. Prior research demonstrated that mand training using a lag schedule and progressive time delay increased variability in vocal manding in children with autism. Whether lag schedules have similar effects on sign mand topographies is unknown. The current study evaluated the effects of mand training with a Lag 1 schedule of reinforcement and progressive time delay (TD) on topographical variability and the development of a sign mand response class hierarchy in a boy with autism. The results suggest independent use of all sign mand topographies occurred, a mand response class hierarchy was developed, and topographically variant sign manding increased under the Lag 1 + TD schedule compared to a Lag 0 schedule of reinforcement. Implications for practitioners, limitations, and directions for future research are discussed.


Lag schedule Mand Operant variability Response class hierarchy Time delay 



We thank the families for participating in our research, and Samantha Swinnea for her assistance with data collection. We also thank Allen Neuringer for his helpful insights and comments on an earlier version of the manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

We report no conflicts of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Association for Behavior Analysis International 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Interdisciplinary Learning and Teaching, College of Education and Human DevelopmentUniversity of Texas at San AntonioSan AntonioUSA
  2. 2.Department of Special EducationUniversity of Texas at AustinAustinUSA

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