Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Psychology (Ph.D.)



First Advisor

Lauren Moskowitz

Second Advisor

Tamara Del Vecchio

Third Advisor

Mark Terjesen


Community participation, particularly in leisure/recreational activities such as swimming, can improve quality of life for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). However, youth with ASD generally participate in fewer leisure activities than those without ASD. Although previous studies have demonstrated the benefits of parent training interventions and swim programs for children with ASD, there is a lack of research examining the effectiveness of using parents as intervention agents to teach swim skills to their children with ASD. In this single-case study, the researcher delivered an individual parent training program to the mother of a child with ASD to investigate its effects on the parent’s use of evidence-based instructional strategies (positive reinforcement, prompting, modeling, social stories), child compliance, and child swim skill acquisition. Results indicated that the swim intervention had a strong effect on the parent’s use of 3 of 4 strategies, child compliance, and child swim skill acquisition. Additionally, results were maintained for at least 6 months post-intervention and the parent was able to generalize the instructional strategies to a novel, skill-based activity. In terms of social validity, the parent rated the intervention as acceptable, feasible, and effective. These findings contribute to the limited literature on parent-implemented interventions to teach leisure skills to children with ASD and to the nonexistent research on using parents as intervention agents in swim studies with this population.