Date Thesis Awarded
Honors Thesis -- Open Access
Bachelors of Arts (BA)
Students with high-functioning autism in the general education setting may receive support in their academic development, though assistance in their social-emotional development and creation of relationships is little-to-nonexistent. In a population where social and communicative functioning is a primary deficit for labeling, it is critical that research develops evidence-based practices to support social growth. Peer-mediated interventions are a recognized practice in supporting students with severe disabilities and autism, particularly in their early elementary years and in high school (Bambara et al., 2016; Goldstein et al., 1991). The present study strove to find a connection between the utilization of peer-mediated interventions and the increase in social interactions while maintaining high levels of academic engagement for students with high-functioning autism in middle school general education classrooms. Three students with high-functioning autism were followed throughout the course of a one-semester intervention, and data were collected through use of a paper-and-pencil graphic organizer in parallel with a 15-second interval timing application. Following the course of intervention, researchers determined a strong link between peer-mediated intervention and increases in social interaction with continued high academic engagement, as demonstrated through use of visual analysis along with inferential statistics. Peer-mediated interventions may therefore be recognized and further researched as an evidence-based practice for students with less severe disabilities at the middle school level.
Keywords: autism, high-functioning autism, peer-mediated interventions, peer support arrangements, social supports, evidence-based practice, middle school, education, intervention, adolescence
Birchfield, Katelyn, "Peer-Mediated Interventions for Middle School Students with High-Functioning Autism" (2019). Undergraduate Honors Theses. William & Mary. Paper 1290.