Date Approved


Embargo Period


Document Type


Degree Name

MA Special Education


Interdisciplinary and Inclusive Education


College of Education


Kuder, Sydney J.

Committee Member 1

Accardo, Amy


autism, discrete trial, functional play, intervention, play skills, preschool


Autistic children--Education (Preschool); Play


Special Education and Teaching


This study examined the effects that discrete trial training could have on the functional play skills of four male preschool students diagnosed with autism. In order to determine the effectiveness of discrete trial training as an intervention, baseline data was first collected for two weeks on the four students through observations of a thirty minute group playtime in the morning of their MD preschool classroom. The baseline data demonstrated that all four students were only engaging in functional play for a limited amount of time. Next, a discrete trial training program was created for each individual student focusing on functional play skills. The teacher implemented discrete trial training as an intervention method for seven weeks. During these seven weeks, the four students continued to be observed once a week during the thirty minute group playtime to monitor how often each student was engaging in functional play. The results over the seven weeks demonstrated an increase in the amount of time all four students engaged in functional play. These results suggest that discrete trial training can increase the amount of time preschoolers spend engaged in functional play skills during group playtimes.