Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2014

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Speech, Language & Hearing Sciences

First Advisor

Christie Yoshinaga-Itano

Second Advisor

Amy Thrasher

Third Advisor

Pui Fong Kan

Abstract

Joint attention skills are important during development because they help children learn language and social competence. Often these skills are decreased in children with autism, depriving them of learning opportunities. The current study examined three children with autism who participated in treatment to increase their joint attention skills. Initiations of joint attention and responses to cues for joint attention were examined for each participant across two semester sessions of Story of Friendship, a social communication group at CU Boulder. Factors that influenced participants' joint attention behaviors included learning curves, prompt dependency, treatment intensity, and use of scripts and visual strategies. Factors that influenced all three participants included use of multisensory stimuli and the clinician's responsiveness. These findings are consistent with literature regarding learning, joint attention treatment, and cueing hierarchies used with children with autism. It is suggested that these influencing factors are considered in treatment plans for children with autism.

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