Date of Award


Document Type



Edith Cowan University

Degree Name

Master of Education


Faculty of Education

First Supervisor

Professor Peter Cole


Social skills have been widely regarded by researchers and educators to be crucial to successful school performances as well as an individual's overall social functioning. The need to be competent in social skills increases for children with autism or autistic characteristics. A teaching strategy was modelled and taught to increase appropriate verbal and nonverbal responses of the participants through sociodramatic play with the researcher and trained peers. Hats and toys belonging to various occupations were used as training material. The two dependent variables measured were the number of appropriate verbalizations and total length of eye contact time given by each participant within each 2 minute session of role-play activities. The individual studies in this research were based on a single-subject A-B-C-D-E-A experimental research design with a follow-up period. A was the baseline, and B, C, D and E were the intervention conditions. The participants were three boys aged between 5 to 7 years old who met the DSM-IV diagnostic criteria for autism. Their IQ scores ranged from 110 to 117 and are considered by child psychologists and therapists to be high functioning autistic children with deficits in social communication and interaction skills.