Document Type


Date of Degree

Spring 2014

Degree Name

MA (Master of Arts)

Degree In

Speech Pathology and Audiology

First Advisor

Richard R. Hurtig


The aim of this study was to assess the effectiveness of training preschool-aged children to support the communication of their peers with autism spectrum disorder. Four typically developing peers participated in a 12-week training study that consisted of video models, social narratives, and practice opportunities. The peers were taught to implement the strategies "show, wait, and tell" with a classmate with autism during play. Peers were also provided with instruction to make them more aware of communication via augmentative modalities and to understand the Pragmatically Organized Dynamic Display (PODD) that the classmate with autism used to communicate. A second child with autism served as a control subject to measure generalization of the training to other children with autism. The study also included a group of four control peers who received no training in order to distinguish the effect of the training from normal communicative and social developmental that one might see over the time of the study. All play sessions were video recorded and coded utilizing a coding system that identified verbal and non verbal behaviors of the peers and the children with autism. 3 of the 4 trained peers demonstrated the ability or willingness or implement the targeted strategies with the target child with autism. A single trained peer generalized the use of the trained strategies when interacting with to the control subject . Peers performed best when provided with clinician cues to implement strategies. Both children with autism increased their communication and interaction with trained peers during play when compared with their interactions with the control peers. Furthermore, the children with autism interacted maximally during sessions in which the trained peers utilized the communication strategies These results provide preliminary evidence of the effectiveness of preschool peer training to support the communication of children with autism.


AAC, autism, communication strategies, inclusive preschool, peer training


xiv, 150 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 121-123).


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Copyright 2014 Sarah Marie Labaz