Date of Conferral







Kimberly Cox


Children with social skills deficits in verbal and nonverbal communication can face a variety of social challenges in many aspects of their lives. Given the increasing social needs of many students in today's classrooms, there is a need for increased social skills instruction and support in public schools. Inclusion opportunities in public schools can have a positive impact on the development of social skills and can increase peer understanding and empathy for students with special needs. Although there is research in the area of inclusion and its benefits, there is little known about the impact of the instructional setting on the ability of children to generalize social skills to other school settings. Based on social development theory and social learning theory, this quantitative study used secondary data (N = 129) from 2 primary schools in Connecticut to determine whether elementary age children are more likely to generalize social skills if they are taught social skills in the general education classroom setting compared to those who are taught social skills in the resource room setting or receive no instruction in social skills controlling for natural social skills growth. The result of an ANCOVA revealed that children who were taught social skills in the general education setting were more likely to generalize social skills across settings. The results of this study contribute to positive social change by helping inform school administrators and teachers about how to best support children with social deficits in reaching their academic and social potential. The findings may also help to create an environment that is more accepting of the varying needs of students and as a result can help to create a positive school climate and increase acceptance and friendships among elementary age students that can last into adulthood.