Education and Human Sciences, College of (CEHS)


Date of this Version



A DISSERTATION Presented to the Faculty of the Graduate College at the University of Nebraska in Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Major: Educational Studies, Under the Supervision of Professor Ellin B. Siegel. Lincoln, Nebraska: August, 2010
Copyright 2010 Laura L. Maddox


A systematic social skills training intervention to teach reciprocal sharing was designed and implemented with triads of preschool-age children, including one child with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and two untrained classroom peers who had no delays or disabilities. A multiple-baseline research design was used to evaluate effects of the social skills training intervention on social-communication and sharing behaviors exhibited by the participants with ASD during interactive play activities with peers. Social-communication behaviors measured included contact and distal gestures, touching peers and speaking. Four sharing behaviors were also measured, including sharing toys and objects, receiving toys and objects, asking others to share, and giving requested items.

Results indicated considerable gains in overall social-communication behaviors. The greatest improvements were observed in the participants’ use of contact gestures and speaking. Slightly increasing trends were noted and suggested that participants with ASD made modest gains in learning the sharing skills taught during social skills training lessons. Social validity data indicate that participants with ASD and peer participants found the intervention appropriate and acceptable, and staff perception ratings indicated significant changes in the social skills of participants with ASD. Study outcomes have practical implications for educational practitioners related to enhancing social-communication and social interactions of young children with ASD. Study limitations and future directions for research are discussed.