Spring 2016

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)


Teacher Education


Communication is an important aspect to social interactions and inclusion. Oftentimes, general education students are paired with students with special needs for social interaction. This study investigates if the use of physical education (P.E.) buddies and communication training impact the rate of communication initiation of students with moderate to severe intellectual disabilities. Three high school students with moderate to severe disabilities were trained to initiate communication with the P.E. buddy through a lesson that teaches potential conversation starters. Such conversations starters were, “Hello,” “How are you?” “What are we doing today?” In addition to verbal communication, the participants had access to an augmentative and alternative communication device to initiate conversation. Results indicated a functional relation was demonstrated, but not replicated. However, implementing interventions that increase communication and interactions among students with special needs and their typically developing peers are important and should be studied in the future.