Publication Date

Summer 2017

Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Carl Myers (Director), Christina Noel, Jenni Redifer, Ryan Farmer

Degree Program

Doctor of Psychology in Applied Psychology

Degree Type

Doctor of Psychology


Reading comprehension deficits are common for students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and the rise in prevalence of this disorder has resulted in an increased demand for evidence-based strategies for teaching reading comprehension to this population. Research has found an increase in desired behaviors when a restricted interest (RI) or interests, a diagnostic feature of ASD, is utilized in intervention techniques. In a pilot study, El Zein, Solis, Lang, and Kim (2016) found that embedding the RI of a student with ASD in text increased that student’s reading comprehension performance. The current study further investigated the effect of embedding the RI of students with ASD in text on reading comprehension performance by replicating the pilot study and examining the impact of frequency of RI embedded with two high school students with ASD using a single-subject, multi-element research design. Neither participant showed an in increase in the number of relevant words shared during oral retell and only one participant showed an increase in the percent of correctly answered reading comprehension questions. Frequency of RI embedded in text did not impact reading comprehension performance. Results suggest that there are limitations to the results of the pilot study completed by El Zein et al. (2016) and indicate potential variables that may impact the effect of embedding the RI of students with ASD in text on reading comprehension. Findings are discussed in regards to directions for future research.


Education | Educational Psychology | Language and Literacy Education