Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Special Education and Rehabilitation


Thomas S. Higbee


Young children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) demonstrate behavioral deficits and excesses that can adversely affect their play skills. Teaching children with ASD to use activity schedules with embedded scripts have led to increased appropriate game play with other children with autism and typically developing peers; however, there is sparse research on promoting more dynamic social play in children with ASD. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of teaching the use of activity schedules with embedded scripts on the sociodramatic play of preschoolers with ASD with their typically developing peers. We also examined the extent to which we could remove scripts and schedule components and continue to observe appropriate sociodramatic play. Two participants with ASD quickly demonstrated high levels of sociodramatic play with their typically developing peers compared to baseline, and an additional participant with ASD demonstrated similar increases with procedural modifications. The participants also continued to show these increased levels after all scripts and nearly all components of the activity schedules were systematically removed, including during 1-and 2-week follow-up sessions. In addition, all participants engaged in additional unscheduled, yet contextually appropriate, sociodramatic play behaviors.