Anissa Johns

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


School Psychology

First Advisor

Kate Helbig


ASD is a developmental disability, or group of conditions which begin during the developmental period and impact day-to-day functioning, which can cause significant social, communication, and behavioral challenges (CDC, 2019). According to the CDC (2014) Autism Spectrum Disorder occur in every 1 in 36 children. ASD is characterized by persistent deficits in social communication and social interaction across multiple contexts (American Psychiatric Association, 2020). The diagnosis also requires the presence of restricted repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, or activities. Among the number of social skills training modalities used to promote positive social skill development for children with ASD, the Superheroes Social Skills (Jenson et al., 2011) program appears to be an effective approach to promoting positive social interactions and social communication skills for children with ASD, while also promoting generalization of learned skills to other settings. The current study examines the effects of the Superheroes Social Skills program on social skill development for children with ASD, generalized to the physical education study. The primary dependent variable in the study is skill acquisition in the training setting, while the secondary dependent variable is skill acquisition generalized to a physical education setting. A multiple probe embedded within a multiple baseline design across skills replicated across participants was used to evaluate the effects of the Superheroes social skills program. The purpose of the current research is to support the idea of children with ASD participating in physical education, while learning the necessary social skills to be part of physical team activities.

Subject Categories

Psychology | School Psychology


Autism Spectrum, P.E. Setting, Physical Education, School Setting, Social Skills Intervention, Superheroes Social Skills

Number of Pages



University of South Dakota



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