Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Special Education and Rehabilitation Counseling

Department name when degree awarded

Special Education and Rehabilitation

Committee Chair(s)

Thomas S. Higbee


Thomas S. Higbee


Sarah E. Pinkelman


Kaitlin Bundock


P. Raymond Joslyn


Maryellen McClain Verdoes


Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) often demonstrate difficulty communicating with others, and this may impact the extent to which they can engage in language during play. Previous researchers have used interventions to increase commenting during play with caregivers, siblings, and adult play partners. In these previous studies, researchers have taught participants to use text-based or audio recorded scripted phrases to facilitate communication. However, because these interventions include multiple components such as physical guidance and verbal reminders from another individual in addition to the textual or auditory scripted phrase, it is unclear the extent to which the specific words associated with the scripted phrases are necessary to evoke responding. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine the effects of an intervention using generic picture cues on the number of play-based statements for children with ASD. We also examined the extent to which participants engaged in play statements when the cues were attached to novel toy sets and provided an analysis of the types of play statements participants emitted. Three participants engaged in more play-based communication in the training condition as compared to the baseline and no cue conditions. Further, two out of three participants continued to engaged in play-based communication when we introduced novel toy sets. We also found that all participants emitted a variety of different play statements. Potential limitations and future research related to using generic picture cues to promote communication during play for children with ASD are discussed.