Date of Award

Winter 1-25-2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)


Education and Human Development

First Advisor

Carole Pelttari


This project is an initial investigation into effective methods of literacy instruction for teenage boys with autism. This study specifically focused on the Words Their WayTM Program incorporating Word Study for Spelling Instruction. The program focuses on developmental levels, differentiated based on ability, and uses a variety of multi-modal activities. Through a mixed-methods approach, both qualitative and quantitative data is collected and significant themes are developed (improvement in handwriting, characteristics of autism becoming academic obstacles, issues with the program, and ways motivation and engagement have influenced student performance). It was concluded that the program does improve spelling ability though its relevance with the population varies based on severity of disability. The program requires modification for special education, as each student’s learning needs differ.