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ERIC Number: ED563712
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 242
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-3035-6490-1
Implementing a "Circle of Friends" Peer-Mediated Intervention for High School Students with Autism
Schlieder, Mary
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, Walden University
The number of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has increased dramatically both nationally and in Nebraska, accompanied by an equally substantial increase in public school education for this population in inclusive classroom settings. A growing body of research supports the need for teachers proficient in evidence-based practices for students with ASD. One of these strategies involves using peer support networks. A community-based nonprofit organization partnered with 3 Nebraska high schools to provide support in the implementation of Circle of Friends (CoF) groups for adolescents with ASD. The conceptual framework that guided the study was constructivism, which postulates that learners construct knowledge based on a combination of previous experiences and social interactions. A collective case study was used to investigate experiences of parents, teachers, and community agency leaders participating in this project. Interviews and program documents provided data that were inductively analyzed by coding for themes. Findings indicated positive experiences for all participant groups, particularly children with ASD and their peers. Characteristics of successful programs emerged, as well as the critical nature of the partnership in the success of this program. As a result of study findings, an interactive website and a presentation were created to foster a virtual learning community in this ongoing partnership. These findings may promote a deeper understanding for stakeholders on peer support networks to improve social skills, increase school involvement, and decrease isolation and bullying. They may also have the potential to improve the lives of youth with autism and the adults for whom this virtual community is created. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: High Schools; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Nebraska