Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational & Clinical Studies

First Committee Member

John Filler

Second Committee Member

Catherine Lyons

Third Committee Member

Jeffrey Gelfer

Fourth Committee Member

Scott Loe

Number of Pages



Young children with autism often experience delays in social play skills. These delays result in poor relationships with adults and peers, decreased social interactions, and engagement, and eventually social isolation and withdrawal. Social play skill deficits are essential to the development of self-regulation and cognitive skills. Addressing these delays is critical to improve social functioning and minimize any detrimental effects on future engagement and academic achievement.

The purpose of this study was to use an alternating treatment design to determine whether PIPRT intervention or a VMO intervention would be effective to increase social play skills in two settings for four young children with autism. The PIPRT and VMO interventions were both implemented in the classroom prior to structured play centers and on during recess on the playground. Data were collected daily during structured play centers and recess.

Results of this study suggest that there was a significant difference between the PIPRT and VMO interventions for all four participants, favoring the PIPRT intervention in both settings. Visual analysis of the data also indicated that the PIPRT intervention had a higher increase in social play skills for all four participants in class and at recess on the playground.


Autism; Autistic children; Inclusion; Mainstreaming in education; Pivotal response training; Play; Preschool; Social interaction; Social skills – Study and teaching; Typical peers; Video modeling


Education | Pre-Elementary, Early Childhood, Kindergarten Teacher Education | Special Education and Teaching

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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