Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational & Clinical Studies

First Committee Member

Kyle Higgins

Second Committee Member

Susan Miller

Third Committee Member

Jeff Gelfer

Fourth Committee Member

Richard Tandy

Number of Pages



Problem-solving skills are imperative to a child's growth and success across multiple environments, including general and special education. Problem solving is comprised of: (a) attention to the critical aspects of a problem, (b) generation of solution(s) to solve the problem, (c) application of a solution(s) to the identified problem, and (d) evaluation of the consequences of the solution. Children with developmental disabilities may experience difficulty with the problem-solving process.

The purpose of this study was to determine an effective method to teach young children with developmental disabilities to problem solve. Specifically, this study compared two types of problem-solving instruction. The two interventions compared for this study were, Literacy-Based Structured Problem-Solving instruction followed by embedded problem solving opportunities and Literacy-Based Structured Problem-Solving followed by Center-Based Direct Instruction.

Results of this study support the use of problem-solving instruction among young children with developmental disabilities. Both interventions were effective for improving the ability of young children with developmental disabilities to learn and apply the steps within the problem-solving process. Significant gains were made at posttest for both instructional groups on the acquisition of identifying a problem, identifying a solution, and evaluating a problem solution. Although both interventions were significant over time, further comparison indicated that children who received the combined method of instruction (Literacy-Based Structured Problem-Solving and Center-Based Direct Instruction) were more capable of applying problem-solving strategies.


Developmentally disabled children – Education (Preschool); Early Childhood Special Education; Education; Preschool; Preschool; Problem solving – Study and teaching (Preschool); Problem-Solving Instruction; Problem-Solving Skills


Child Psychology | Developmental Psychology | School Psychology | Special Education and Teaching

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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