Date of Award:

2015

Document Type:

Dissertation

Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department:

Special Education and Rehabilitation

Advisor/Chair:

Thomas S. Higbee

Abstract

Children with autism spectrum disorders often have deficits in the area of social skills. Because of this deficit many children with autism avoid engaging in play activities with typically developing peers. The purpose of this study was to identify the utility of a photographic activity schedule, with embedded scripts, to teach three children with autism to play a complex social game with typically developing peers. In this study we used activity schedules to train children with autism to play hide-and-seek in a group with typically developing peers. All participants were prompted using physical guidance to follow the activity schedules to play hide-and-seek. Two activity schedules were present during teaching sessions, one was the seeker schedule and the other was the hider schedule. Each group member played the role of the seeker once and then the game ended. All of the participants were able to follow the activity schedules to play hide-andseek. We then systematically faded the activity schedules to the least intrusive version necessary. We were able to fade all of the scripts and several components of the activity schedules. For two of the three participants with autism we were able to fade the schedule from two binders to a visual cue displaying the order of the seekers. For the third participant we were able to fade one binder and the majority of the components in the second binder. The participants were able to continue to play hide-and-seek with the faded versions of the schedules in a novel environment and 2-weeks after treatment concluded.

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