Date of Award

Winter 1-21-2020

Thesis Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Master in Applied Behavior Analysis and Clinical Science


Health Professions

Committee Member(s)

Stephanie Kincaid

Kara Wunderlich

Elizabeth Solley

Supervising Faculty Member

Stephanie Kincaid


The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends children get 60 min of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity each day, but few children with intellectual and developmental disabilities meet these guidelines. Determining the function of physical activity may lead to more effective interventions for increasing physical activity levels in these children. The present study adapted the methods of Larson, Normand, Morley, and Miller (2014) to conduct a functional analysis of physical activity in children with intellectual and developmental disabilities. For two subjects, rates of physical activity were measured using pedometers in five conditions: Verbal attention, adult interaction, music, ignore, and control. This multi-element functional analysis was embedded within a treatment analysis in an attempt to increase the child’s rate of physical activity during their typical playground time. An automatic function was found in one subject, and a successful treatment was implemented and generalized to the subject’s teacher. In the second subject, an interaction function was found but an intervention analysis was unable to be conducted due to lack of baseline stability. This study begins to shed light on automatically reinforced physical activity and variations in physical activity functions across populations.

Rights Holder

Alexandra Knerr