Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Melissa Pearrow

Second Advisor

Lindsay Fallon

Third Advisor

Abbey Eisenhower


Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) affect 1 in 59 children (CDC, 2018). With significant deficits in social communication and interaction, which impact well-being and academic performance (Meier, DiPerna, & Oster, 2006), research related to direct instruction and intervention is essential for these children, their families, and the professionals who aim to support their goals. The present study utilized a novel, game-based direct instruction program incorporating the skill of interpreting hand gestures for middle school students with high functioning ASD. The intervention led to improvements including decreases of parent and teacher ratings of participants’ social communication, social awareness and social cognition, and suggests the impact and importance of student usability in increasing the utility of this intervention.


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