Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Special Education and Rehabilitation Counseling

Committee Chair(s)

Thomas S. Higbee


Thomas S. Higbee


Sophia D’Agostino


P. Raymond Joslyn


Audrey Hoffmann


Katherine Brown


Previous research has shown that children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) may struggle to engage in social play, which may impact their willingness to engage in contextually appropriate cooperative play (Koegel et al., 2014). Researchers suggest that activity schedules targeting cooperative play may increase appropriate play for children with ASD (Brodhead et al.,2014; Pellegrino, 2018). However, previous studies did not include opportunities for interactive choice responding or the implementation of generic picture cues during script training. We investigated the impact of a linked digital activity schedule on promoting cooperative thematic play in children with ASD. Six children with ASD engaged in cooperative thematic play scenarios with a peer while utilizing the linked digital activity schedule with time delay prompts. Results indicate that the implementation of the linked digital activity schedule with time delay prompts facilitated appropriate thematic play responding for all participants. However, the intervention did not produce significant evidence of increased novel vocal responses, higher affect, or consistent generalization of contextually appropriate cooperative play to the home setting. Overall, caregivers expressed support for the linked digital activity schedule teaching procedures. These findings suggest that linked digital activity schedules may be an effective approach to promoting cooperative thematic play in children with ASD. However, further research is needed to explore strategies for enhancing the efficacy of this approach for broader developmental outcomes.