Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Special Education

Major Professor

David Allsopp, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Ann Cranston-Gingras, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Lise Fox, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Mary Armstrong, Ph.D.


Autism, circumscribed interests, appropriate social interactions, appropriate social behaviors, nonconcurrent multiple baseline design


The purpose of this study was to investigate the extent to which the use of social stories that integrate a child’s particular restricted and repetitive behaviors results in differential social outcomes compared to the use of social stories that do not integrate restricted and repetitive behaviors. A non-concurrent multiple baseline experimental design across participants was used to examine the effects of two Social Story interventions on the frequency of appropriate social behaviors made by participants in a school setting. Field notes were also completed during each day of data collection in order to document the social context, events, activities, moods and behaviors of participants associated with each data collection session. Field notes also included the researcher’s thoughts, observations, and reflections on these variables. Overall, the intervention that included participants’ restricted interests within the Social Story had the effect of increasing participants’ appropriate social behaviors in contrast to the intervention that did not employ restricted interests. This research substantiates the principle that the restricted interests of children with ASD should not be viewed as a form of deficiency that needs to be eliminated. Rather, restricted interests should be viewed as reinforcing agents that increase children’s motivation to pursue activities that involve social initiations and interactions with their peers.