Keywords

Autism; virtual environments; social skills

Abstract

This phenomenological study examined the social interactions during online game play in a virtual environment for five young adults with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) who attended a large metropolitan university, enrolled in the first 60 credits of a science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) field of study. Given the evolution of technology and opportunities to socialize in virtual communities, it is becoming increasingly important to understand how young adults with ASD assimilate into new social opportunities that provide supports for extraneous variables such as face-to-face situations. As research begins to emerge on virtual environments there is little research addressed specific to socialization and the development of interpersonal relationships. Further, there is a distinct lack of research specific to young adults with ASD who engage socially in virtual environments. A phenomenological research method was used to explain the social activities as they occurred for this specific group of individuals. Structured and unstructured interviews, observations, document analysis, and a self-reporting survey were conducted and collected. Analysis used emergent coding following Moustakas* modified Van Kaam method (1994). Common themes were identified and reported through lists and tables. In summary, this study described how young adults with ASD socialized within a virtual community. This study provided findings that individuals with ASD actively seek friendships, recognize emotions, understand roles within the game and real life use skills necessary for success in postsecondary education and STEM related careers, and lays the foundation for continuing research using virtual environments to support interpersonal relationships that may support greater postsecondary outcomes.

Notes

If this is your thesis or dissertation, and want to learn how to access it or for more information about readership statistics, contact us at STARS@ucf.edu

Graduation Date

2015

Semester

Summer

Advisor

Little, Mary

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

College

College of Education and Human Performance

Degree Program

Education; Exceptional Education

Format

application/pdf

Identifier

CFE0005796

URL

http://purl.fcla.edu/fcla/etd/CFE0005796

Language

English

Release Date

August 2020

Length of Campus-only Access

5 years

Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Campus-only Access)

Subjects

Dissertations, Academic -- Education and Human Performance; Education and Human Performance -- Dissertations, Academic

Share

COinS