Date of Award

Spring 3-8-2008

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Education (MAE)




Students who receive special education services for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) all share similar characteristics, but to different degrees. These characteristics include impaired social interaction, impairment in communication, and restrictive and repetitive interests and activities. The challenges students with ASD have can often result in stress and anxiety in school. This stress can cause students to have negative behaviors such as verbal and/or physical escalations or shutdowns. (Mesibov et al. p.26) Students with ASD learn differently than typical students. They also interpret the school environment and the situations that arise very uniquely. Because of this, some authors have said that it is imperative that teachers have knowledge of have an understanding of how students with autism learn and think. Teachers may benefit from learning more about effective ways to teach and communicate with students with ASD to reduce anxiety and promote effective learning. Many teachers do not have a good understanding of what ASD is or ways to more effectively teach or communicate with a student with ASD. (Mesibov et al. p.25). The significant issues that need to be addressed for education of children with ASD are successful teaching methods/tools, effective forms of communication, and a better understanding of how a person with ASD functions or thinks. This study's intent was to investigate how different teaching and communication styles affect the anxiety level of students with ASD and identify environmental factors that contribute to an increase in discomfort in students with ASD. It also examined tools to help the students become more comfortable and independent in the school environment. Results from social stories and contingency mapping interventions indicate that these strategies are effective in reducing problem behaviors in students with autism.


SC 11.MAE.2007.Eisen.HC

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