Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Early Childhood, Multilingual, and Special Education

First Committee Member

Jenna Weglarz-Ward

Second Committee Member

Wendy Rodgers

Third Committee Member

Joseph Morgan

Fourth Committee Member

Chyllis Scott

Fifth Committee Member

Heather Dahl-Jacinto

Number of Pages



The ability to communicate effectively to others is a pivotal skill necessary to get one’s needs and wants met; however, children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) often have significant delays in communication skills. Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) devices provide an alternative means for children with complex communication needs to express their needs and wants. Communication interventions involving AAC have been largely conducted in school and clinical settings, despite young children spending a significant amount of their time at home and in the community. Family involvement plays a critical role in improved outcomes for young children with disabilities. Recent shifts in how education has been delivered (e.g., virtual, distance, hybrid) provide early childhood professionals with innovative ways to work more intimately with families. However, research assessing the generalization and use of AAC from the school or clinical setting to the home environment and implemented by family members is limited. This study examined virtual training and coaching to families of children with ASD to implement a picture exchange communication intervention in the child’s natural environment. Using a multiple probe across participant design, this study compared and evaluated the effects of asynchronous training and direct coaching provided to caregivers of young children with ASD. Results indicated that online training and coaching positively impacted caregiver capacity, with three out of four participants reaching high levels of fidelity. Further, all child participants learned to use picture exchange to communicate.


AAC; ASD; caregivers; coaching; communication interventions


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

File Format


File Size

23000 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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