Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Committee Chair

Jennifer Putnam


This study employed a qualitative method, multiple case study design to examine teacher perceptions of the impact of digital photo stories used as an instructional strategy with students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Five highly qualified teachers of students with ASD from four public schools in a western North Carolina school district participated in open-ended interviews before and after creating and completing a digital photo story utilizing a digital photo-story tool with students with ASD.

The guiding question for this study was “How does the use of digital photo stories as an instructional tool impact teacher perceptions of students with ASD?” Qualitative methods of observation and open-ended interview questions were used to collect data to answer three research questions. (RQ1) How do various teachers approach the experience of utilizing digital photo stories with students with ASD? (RQ2) What are teacher perceptions of the impact of the digital photo-story production experience on communication skills for their students with ASD? (RQ3) What are teacher perceptions of the impact of the digital photo-story production experience on social skills for their students with ASD? The results obtained from the data collection of pre and postproject interview responses and from observations of teacher-student interactions during the lessons indicated the teachers perceived the digital photo-story process had a positive impact on the communication and social skills of their students with ASD.

Participants emphasized the connections the digital photo-story processes had with evidence-based practices such as activating prior knowledge, joint attention, technology-aided instruction and intervention (TAII), repeated readings, social stories, visual cues, use of a prompt hierarchy, feedback as reinforcement, and promoting appropriate communication skills and social behavior. Recommendations addressed further training for teachers and paraprofessionals in utilizing the digital photo-story strategy for children with ASD.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.