Author ORCID Identifier

Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)

Document Type

Master's Thesis




Early Childhood, Special Education, and Rehabilitation Counseling

First Advisor

Dr. Melinda J. Ault

Second Advisor

Dr. Justin D. Lane


Individuals with extensive support needs, including those who have autism spectrum disorder and are classified as level 3 in the area of social communication, are more likely than same-age peers to display delays in age-appropriate social communication and engagement in activities. To address these issues, special education teachers, in collaboration with related-service providers, should create social communication and engagement objectives. Once objectives are identified, teachers can plan for and implement environmental arrangement (EA) strategies to promote these behaviors in a natural context. EA strategies are a long-standing approach to creating a communication-rich environment and can be used alone or paired with systematic teaching strategies. In addition, embedding opportunities for social communication and engagement within and across activities can be challenging and, as such, requires careful planning. Teachers can use a communication matrix to create a plan for addressing these social communication objectives throughout the school day.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)