Defense Date


Graduation Date

Spring 5-5-2023


Immediate Access

Submission Type


Degree Name



Counseling, Psychology, & Special Education


School of Education

Committee Chair

Bridget Green

Committee Member

Reva Mathieu-Sher

Committee Member

Elizabeth McCallum


Autism, Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, Soft Skills, Problem-solving, Video Modelling, Virtual Learning, Post-secondary transition


Individuals with Autism (ASD) and Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD) exhibit poor post-secondary education employment outcomes compared to their disabled and non-disabled peers (Shattuck et al., 2012; Taylor et al., 2015). In addition, due to the COVID-19 pandemic school closures, students with ASD and/or IDD in post-secondary transition programs may have lost crucial instruction time, possibly putting them at risk for unemployment and underemployment. Consequently, this research study sought to establish through multiple-baselines across participants design how effective VM can be in teaching problem-solving skills as a soft skill for employment to post-secondary transition education students with ASD and/or IDD in a virtual learning environment. The study was conducted in a post-secondary transition program and included four 20-year-old participants with ASD and/or IDD. The participants learned how to solve work-related problems using a variety of VM demonstrations through a virtual learning platform. The VMs shown to the participants utilized a self-determined learning model (SDLM) for problem-solving (i.e., a three-step process for systematically solving problems through self-talk). The study results revealed that VM was highly effective (d = 2.0; SE = 0.44; 95% CI [1.04 – 2.89]) in teaching problem-solving skills to the four participants through a virtual learning platform. Despite observed variability in participant performance, they maintained the learned problem-solving skills and generalized them to solve new problems in an actual work setting. Data from the social validity questionnaire also indicated that the intervention had a desirable effect on the participants and their teachers/job coaches who participated as observers in the study. The participants reported that they enjoyed learning about problem-solving skills using VM in a virtual learning environment and believed their peers not involved in the study could also benefit from the intervention. The teachers/job coaches also said they would be willing to apply VM to teach problem-solving skills in their classrooms post-study.