Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)



First Advisor

Laura Knight, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

J. A. Mills, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Lisa Newell, Ph.D.


The purpose of this study was to address the need for greater access to social skills training and to reduce barriers encountered by rural families of children with ASDs. This study pilot-tested a parent manual designed to augment an existing social skills curriculum. The manual provided ASD psychoeducation and specific techniques parents utilized in the home to facilitate maintenance and generalization of skills their children were learning in a social skills treatment condition. Six families of children with an ASD participated in this 7-week study. Two families agreed to be in a treatment as usual comparison condition. Parents and a supervisor of SSIG completed measures of social behaviors and ASD symptoms. Parents also rated their satisfaction with the manual and completed weekly adherence questionnaires. Behavioral data was collected from two independent observers, blind to treatment conditions. The results from the analyses showed that parents adhered to and were satisfied with the manual. All parents in the treatment condition reported completing all lessons in the manual. Analyses showed that all treatment condition participants made clinically significant improvements in at least one dimension of interpersonal behavior, communication, or stereotypical/repetitive behaviors, as reported by parents. Behavioral data showed that all but one participant in the treatment condition increased prosocial behaviors and all participants in the treatment condition demonstrated fewer problem behaviors from pre- to post-treatment. Both control condition participants demonstrated fewer prosocial behaviors.