Date of Award

Spring 2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Communication Disorders & Special Education


Special Education

Committee Director

Peggy Hester

Committee Member

Laura Chezan

Committee Member

Sabra Gear

Committee Member

Kim Murphy


A well-established research base indicates that many children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) experience deficits in reading comprehension skills. There is currently limited research which examines the relation between the communication and language impairments in ASD and emergent literacy skills in early childhood. Listening comprehension has been identified as one emergent literacy skill closely linked to reading comprehension development. The purpose of the study is to examine the effects of the question-answer relationship strategy (QAR) and QAR cue cards as a shared book reading intervention package on the listening comprehension skills of children with ASD. A single-subject concurrent multiple-baseline design across participants with continuous acquisition probes was used to evaluate the effect of the QAR strategy on the correct answers to four levels of comprehension questions: Fact, Search, Inference, and Connection. Visual analysis and Tau-U statistical analysis were used to determine the treatment effects on each participant. Results showed that all or some aspects of the intervention were effective for each of the five participants in the study. Practitioners and participants reported positive social validity of the intervention. An examination of the results, along with implications for future research and educational practices are discussed.


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