Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Education



First Reader/Committee Chair

Dr. Jemma Kim


The purpose of this study was to investigate how special education teachers implement evidence-based practices for non-verbal communication skills of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This study interviewed six early childhood special education teachers from preschools in the Southern California. According to the teacher interviews, joint attention deficits in children with ASD were overcome using visual aids, toys, and basic sign gestures. Peer tutoring, functional communication training and drawing were found to improve nonverbal communication skills. In addition, children with ASD regularly played with their typically developing peers. In conclusion, a co-teaching model can benefit children with ASD and also reduce the stigma typically developing children may have of their peers in special education classes. However, a larger sample size is needed so that findings from this research can be generalized to a larger population of special education teachers and children with ASD.

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