Date Approved


Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department or School

Health Sciences

Committee Member

Elizabeth B. Francis, Ph.D., OTR/L, FAOTA, Chair

Committee Member

Gretchen Dahl Reeves, Ph.D., OT, FAOTA


In an urban, midwestern public school, six children, ages 8-10 years old, engaged in ten weeks of Integrated Play Groups (IPGs) to teach skills to students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Lasting two and a half months, IPGs met for 30 minutes, twice weekly. The participants engaged in pre- and post-tests of the revised Chedoke-McMaster Attitudes Towards Children with Handicaps scale and pre- and post-focus groups. These means were used to investigate the research question: What can be learned about typical peers’ attitudes and acceptance of students with ASD through the expert players’ reflections on Integrated Play Group involvement? The quantitative measures revealed trends towards increased acceptance of the children with ASD, but without statistical significance. The qualitative methods exposed a positive lived experience of the IPGs with a powerful change in attitudes towards the children with ASD. Future research will be beneficial to expand upon this study.