Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Abraham S. Fischler College of Education


Khrystyna Bednarchyk

Committee Member

Judith Galician


social skills, autism, autism spectrum disorder, social skills training, computer-based social skills training, alternating treatment design


This applied dissertation was designed to evaluate the effects of social skills training programs as a method to improve social skills in children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. The study sought to advance the social skills training options for children with autism spectrum disorder by comparing various evidence-based social skills training programs in hope to provide meaningful, significant, and sustainable social-emotional changes that are explicitly taught and later generalized across individuals, settings, and environments. The researcher specifically evaluated the effects of social skills group training and computer-based social skills training among the three study participants with autism spectrum disorder.

The researcher developed appropriate group training and computer-based interventions. Daily sessions provided participants with the skill-based training on nonverbal behavior, social interaction, and social engagement. Participants completed various group and computer-based training sessions and demonstrated the use of appropriate social skills.

An analysis of the data revealed that there was an improvement in social skills during both treatment conditions. However, the participants’ social skills increased at a higher rate when the social skills program included technology-based components. The research findings suggest that technology-based strategies appear to be the most effective tool to teach communication and social skills to young children with autism spectrum disorder because it produced a high rate of responding and skill acquisition across all participants.