Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Major Professor

David F. Cihak

Committee Members

David Cihak, Marion Coleman-Lopatic, Tara Moore, Christopher Skinner


The purpose of this dissertation was to investigate the research available on the use of peer-mediated instruction and interventions (PMIIs) to improve the transition behavior of children and young adolescents with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and intellectual and developmental disorders (IDD). PMIIs are evidence-based practices that involve the use of peers without disabilities to engage children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in positive and meaningful social interactions. The use of PMIIs is founded is on the premise that practitioners can use an individual with ASD/IDD’s possible response to a peer or peer’s social initiation as a teaching tool (McConnell, 2002). Though the research on the use of PMIIs to improve social behavior, language development, and academic skills with children with disabilities has been reviewed extensively, review of the research on its use to improve in-school transitions is limited.

A systematic review of studies available on the use of PMIIs on the transition behavior of children with ASD was conducted to evaluate their effectiveness. Three studies were reviewed, and internal validity was assessed based on WWC single-case design standards and CEC standards for practices in special education. Results showed that the use of PMIIs on the transition behavior of students with ASD and IDD appeared to demonstrate a positive effect but were limited due to lack of internal validity.

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