Effects of a Self-Management with Peer Training Intervention on Academic Engagement for High School Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder

  • Garrett J. RobertsEmail author
  • Min Mize
  • Colleen K. Reutebuch
  • Terry Falcomata
  • Philip Capin
  • Briana L. Steelman
Original Paper


Self-management interventions have been shown to improve behavioral, social, and academic outcomes across age-groups and settings; yet, a dearth of research exists on the impact of self-management interventions on academic engagement of high school students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The present study uses an ABAB withdrawal design to examine the effects of a self-management with peer trainer (SM + PT) intervention on the academic engagement of two high school students with ASD. The peer trainer in this study also had ASD. Additionally, the study examines the extent to which the peer trainer with ASD implemented a peer training session with fidelity and the social validity of the SM + PT intervention. Based on the What Works Clearinghouse Procedures and Standards Handbook guidelines (Institute of Education Sciences 2017), this study found moderate evidence for a causal relationship of the SM + PT intervention and academic engagement for both students. Data suggest that the peer trainer implemented the peer training component with fidelity. Social validity results suggest that the intervention was feasible, acceptable, and effective. Limitations include the presence of naturally occurring variations in the teacher-assigned tasks, school-imposed time constraints, and data outliers in both students’ second baseline phases. Future research is needed to investigate the extent to which SM + PT interventions can be effectively implemented and generalized to more inclusive high school settings.


Autism Self-management Classroom interventions High school Engagement 



This study was funded by the Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, through Grant R324C120006. The opinions expressed represent those of the authors and do not represent the views of the Institute of Education Sciences or the U.S. Department of Education.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


  1. Bowman-Perrott, L., Davis, H., Vannest, K., Williams, L., Greenwood, C., & Parker, R. (2013). Academic benefits of peer tutoring: A meta-analytic review of single-case research. School Psychology Review, 42, 39–55.Google Scholar
  2. Briesch, A. M., Daniels, B., & Beneville, M. (2018). Unpacking the term “self-management”: Understanding intervention applications within the school-based literature. Journal of Behavioral Education. Scholar
  3. Carr, M. E., Moore, D. W., & Anderson, A. (2014). Self-management interventions on students with autism: A meta-analysis of single-subject research. Exceptional Children, 81, 28–44. Scholar
  4. Chafouleas, S. M., Briesch, A. M., & Riley-Tillman, T. C. (2009). Usage rating profile. Storrs, CT: University of Connecticut.Google Scholar
  5. Chan, J. M., Lang, R., Rispoli, M., O’Reilly, M., Sigafoos, J., & Cole, H. (2009). Use of peer-mediated interventions in the treatment of autism spectrum disorders: A systematic review. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 3, 876–889. Scholar
  6. Cihak, D. F., Wright, R., & Ayres, K. M. (2010). Use of self-modeling static-picture prompts via a handheld computer to facilitate self-monitoring in the general education classroom. Education and Training in Autism and Developmental Disabilities, 45, 136–149.Google Scholar
  7. Clemons, L. L., Mason, B. A., Garrison-Kane, L., & Wills, H. P. (2016). Self-monitoring for high school students with disabilities: A cross-categorical investigation of I-Connect. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, 18, 145–155. Scholar
  8. Cochran, L., Feng, H., Cartledge, G., & Hamilton, S. (1993). The effects of cross-age tutoring on the academic achievement, social behaviors, and self-perceptions of low-achieving African–American males with behavioral disorders. Behavioral Disorders, 18, 292–302.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Cooper, J. O., Heron, T. E., & Heward, W. L. (2007). Applied behavior analysis (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.Google Scholar
  10. de Bruin, C. L., Deppeler, J. M., Moore, D. W., & Diamond, N. T. (2013). Public school-based interventions for adolescents and young adults with an autism spectrum disorder: A meta-analysis. Review of Educational Research, 83, 521–550.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Delano, M. E. (2007). Improving written language performance of adolescents with Asperger syndrome. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 40, 345–351. Scholar
  12. Dunlap, G. (1999). Consensus, engagement, and family involvement for young children with autism. The Journal of the Association for Persons With Severe Handicaps, 24, 222–225.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Dunlap, L. K., Dunlap, G., Koegel, L. K., & Koegel, R. L. (1991). Using self-monitoring to increase independence. Teaching Exceptional Children, 23, 17–22. Scholar
  14. Holifield, C., Goodman, J., Hazelkorn, M., & Heflin, L. J. (2010). Using self-monitoring to increase attending to task and academic accuracy in children with autism. Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, 25, 230–238. Scholar
  15. Institute of Education Sciences. (2017). What works clearinghouse procedures and standards handbook (Version 4.0). Retrieved June 27, 2018 from
  16. Kamps, D. M., Dugan, E., Potucek, J., & Collins, A. (1999). Effects of cross-age peer tutoring networks among students with autism and general education students. Journal of Behavioral Education, 9, 97–115. Scholar
  17. Koegel, R. L., & Koegel, L. K. E. (1995). Teaching children with autism: Strategies for initiating positive interactions and improving learning opportunities. Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brookes.Google Scholar
  18. Koegel, L. K., Koegel, R. L., Frea, W., & Green-Hopkins, I. (2003). Priming as a method of coordinating educational services for students with autism. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 34, 228–235.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Koegel, L. K., Koegel, R. L., Harrower, J. K., & Carter, C. M. (1999). Pivotal response intervention I: Overview of approach. Research and Practice for Persons with Severe Disabilities, 24, 174–185. Scholar
  20. Koegel, L. K., Singh, A. K., & Koegel, R. L. (2010). Improving motivation for academics in children with autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 40, 1057–1066. Scholar
  21. Kratochwill, T. R., Hitchcock, J., Horner, R. H., Levin, J. R., Odom, S. L., Rindskopf, D. M., & Shadish, W. R. (2010). Single-case designs technical documentation. Retrieved June 27, 2018 from
  22. Lane, K. L., Bocian, K. M., MacMillan, D. L., & Gresham, F. M. (2004). Treatment integrity: An essential—but often forgotten—component of school-based interventions. Preventing School Failure: Alternative Education for Children and Youth, 48, 36–43. Scholar
  23. Loftin, R. L., Odom, S. L., & Lantz, J. F. (2008). Social interaction and repetitive motor behaviors. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 38, 1124–1135. Scholar
  24. Morrison, L., Kamps, D., Garcia, J., & Parker, D. (2001). Peer mediation and monitoring strategies to improve initiations and social skills for students with autism. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, 3, 237–250. Scholar
  25. Parker, D., & Kamps, D. (2011). Effects of task analysis and self-monitoring for children with autism in multiple social settings. Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, 26, 131–142. Scholar
  26. Silverman, R. D., Martin-Beltran, M., Peercy, M. M., Hartranft, A. M., McNeish, D. M., Artzi, L., et al. (2017). Effects of a cross-age peer learning program on the vocabulary and comprehension of English learners and non-English learners in elementary school. The Elementary School Journal, 117, 485–512. Scholar
  27. Simonsen, B., Fairbanks, S., Briesch, A., Myers, D., & Sugai, G. (2008). Evidence-based practices in classroom management: Considerations for research to practice. Education and Treatment of Children, 31, 351–380. Scholar
  28. Southall, C. M., & Gast, D. L. (2011). Self-management procedures: A comparison across the autism spectrum. Education and Training in Autism and Developmental Disabilities, 46, 155–171.Google Scholar
  29. State, T. M., & Kern, L. (2011). A comparison of video feedback and in vivo self-monitoring on the social interactions of an adolescent with Asperger syndrome. Journal of Behavioral Education, 21, 18–33. Scholar
  30. Tincani, M., & Travers, J. (2018). Publishing single-case research design studies that do not demonstrate experimental control. Remedial and Special Education, 39(2), 118–128. Scholar
  31. Watts, G. W., Bryant, D. P., & Carroll, M. L. (2018). Students with emotional–behavioral disorders as cross-age tutors: A synthesis of the literature. Behavioral Disorders. Scholar
  32. Wechsler, D. (2003). Wechsler intelligence scale for children (4th ed.). San Antonio, TX: Psychological.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Teaching and Learning Sciences, Morgridge College of EducationThe University of DenverDenverUSA
  2. 2.Department of Counseling, Leadership and Educational Studies, Richard W. Riley College of EducationWinthrop UniversityRock HillUSA
  3. 3.The Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk, College of Education SZB 228The University of Texas at AustinAustinUSA
  4. 4.Department of Special Education SZB 532E, The Meadows Center for Preventing Educational RiskThe University of Texas at AustinAustinUSA
  5. 5.Center for ASDCrowleyUSA

Personalised recommendations