Date of Award

Summer 2019

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Committee Chair

Evan Dart

Committee Chair School


Committee Member 2

Keith Radley

Committee Member 2 School


Committee Member 3

Brad Dufrene

Committee Member 3 School


Committee Member 4

Lauren McKinley

Committee Member 4 School



Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) affects one in 59 children (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2018). Impairments in social communication and restricted and repetitive behaviorsare often associated with debilitating outcomes for individuals with ASD. Therefore, it is critical to identify successful treatments to address the social deficits characteristic of ASD. This study investigated the effects of a role-playing game (RPG) on social skill acquisition for individuals with ASD. The primary dependent variable was skill acquisition within the context of the RPG setting. Generalization of skill acquisition outside of the game-context and social functioning was also evaluated. Results indicated that the role-playing game improved social skill acquisition across all participants and was rated as a socially valid intervention by both parents and participants. Furthermore, there were mixed results for participants generalized skill acquisition. Future research should incorporate a specific strategy within the role-playing game to promote generalization of skill acquisition.