The broad purpose of this study was to examine professionals’ perceptions of self-stimulatory behaviors in school-age children who have autism and the relation of these behaviors to communication. More specifically, I investigated whether and how speech-language pathologists and applied behavior analysis therapists address these behaviors during therapy by analyzing what factors may influence the selection of intervention methods and how these methods may be used to shape restrictive behaviors into functional communication. Through pursuing this topic, I hoped to increase research concerning the ways that echolalia and self-stimulatory behaviors are perceived by clinicians who work with clients on the autism spectrum and how clinicians approach these behaviors in therapy. Data for this study were collected using a quantitative, electronic survey that was completed by 52 speech-language pathologists and 2 applied behavior analysis therapists. The results revealed that professionals believe that self-stimulatory behaviors can be both purposeful and communicative. In addition, participants reported that they believed the needs and opinions of clients and their families were the most important factors to consider when deciding interventions for self-stimulatory behaviors.


Furey, Joan


Communication Studies


Communication | Disability Studies | Speech Pathology and Audiology


autism, self-stimulatory behaviors, speech-language pathologist (SLP), applied-behavior analysis therapist (ABA therapist), echolalia

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis Exemplar



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