Date of Conferral







Suzette Zientara


People with intellectual disabilities (ID) struggle with social interactions that are vital to the development of a high quality of life. Although evidence exists to support the use of technology as cognitive aids for youth with ID, little exists on the use of common hand-held devices for social support. The use of such devices has the potential to level the playing field in adult social roles, helping people with ID make and keep relationships. It is unclear how applications like video chatting might be used to support transition-age youth with ID in adult social roles. Using a framework of modeling (i.e., social learning), generalization across settings (i.e., ecological systems), and self-determination, this single-case study was developed to learn the effect of direct instruction of youth with ID on initiation of and responses to others in adult social roles while using common hand-held devices. Three participants, selected from 9 youth participating in a structured social skills class, were taught to initiate interaction and respond to initiations made by others with modeled support in self-selected adult social settings. Visual analysis of graphed data showed generally increased initiations and responses. Percent of nonoverlapping data (PND) and percent of all nonoverlapping data (PAND) found varied effect size from one participant to the next. Quality of interactions had mixed results across participants. The results found these 3 transition-age youth with ID to be quite adept in their use of common hand-held devices, and they all used them successfully to access support. These findings suggest that the use of well known devices may increase the number of people who can provide social support, reduce the cost of devices and live supports, and reduce the of stigma of having a paid staff shadowing the individual.