Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Special Education

First Committee Member

Kyle Higgins

Number of Pages



Social competence is a major focus in early childhood education and there is a need for effective teaching methods to increase social skills for both children with and without disabilities. Even though technology is used as a tool for teaching young children, there is limited research on the use of structured teaching coupled with assistive technology to facilitate social skill development in young children; This study investigated the impact of teacher facilitation during computer activities on the social skill development and concurrent interactions of young children. The study compared dyads comprised of children with and without disabilities who received teacher facilitation during computer activities to a matched group of children who did not receive teacher facilitation. The sessions were videotaped for the purpose of analyzing the social interactions and behaviors of the children. Pre-and post-measures of social skills and systematic observation of social interactions during the study were analyzed using statistical tests. Because younger preschool children often exhibit different social skills and interactions than pre-kindergarten children, the social skills and interactions of the younger children were compared to the older children; In this study preschool teachers perceived that the children with disabilities improved their social skills more than the children without disabilities, regardless of the intervention group assignment. All of the children in the study exhibited few negative social interactions regardless of their age, disability status, or intervention group assignment. The children with and without disabilities in the teacher facilitated computer group had more positive social interactions and demonstrated more effective social behaviors than the children in the computer only group. The older children exhibited more effective social interaction behaviors than the younger children; Qualitative analysis of interviews conducted with the two participating special education teachers also were analyzed. Domain and componential analyses of the interviews indicated that the teachers believed that the computer activities provided an effective context for the facilitation of social interaction. They also believed that the children in the teacher facilitated computer group improved their social competence more than the children in the computer only group.


Activities; Children; Classroom; Computer; Facilitation; Improve; Inclusive; Interactions; Preschool; Social; Social Interaction; Teachers; Teacher Facilitation

Controlled Subject

Special education; Early childhood education; Educational technology

File Format


File Size

5662.72 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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