The researcher examined the academic engagement in Circle Time activities and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) activities for three young children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) who attended a large Orange County Public School, enrolled in an ASD preschool classroom. Given the increasing number of children diagnosed with ASD each year and many STEM job opportunities for individuals with ASD, it is becoming important to know how young children with ASD learn and engage in STEM activities. Strengths of individuals with ASD in the STEM field have been reported in several research studies (Chen & Weko, 2009; Kirchner, Ruch & Dziobek, 2016; Samson & Antonelli, 2013). Although this study focuses on academic engagement of young children with ASD, there has been limited research investigating the learning in academic activities for this population. Moreover, there is a distinct gap in the literature specific to young children with ASD and the academic engagement in STEM learning. A single case study with an alternating treatment design and three participants was used to investigate the difference in academic engagement of children with ASD in STEM activities compared to Circle Time activities. Data were collected using observations and a social validity questionnaire. Data were analyzed and then presented using a Time Series Line Graph. The results of this study indicated all three young children with ASD had more engaged time during STEM activities than during Circle Time activities. Furthermore, the teacher's social validity questionnaire revealed she strongly agreed that STEM activities were beneficial for children with ASD. Overall, findings from this study gave direction for future studies and intervention programs focusing on improving academic engagement and learning in STEM activities for children with ASD that may support better learning outcomes. Implications and recommendations for teachers of students with ASD were discussed.
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Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
College of Education and Human Performance
Education; Early Childhood Education
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)
Ji, Yixuan, "STEM Academic Engagement in Young Children with Autism: A Single Case Design Study" (2018). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 5973.