School of Education


Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)


Tracey Pritchard


social skills, autism, special needs, social skills group, special education, social skills deficit




The purpose of this transcendental phenomenological study was to describe the lived experiences of high school graduates who received special education services, in part, through a pull-out program that focused on the development of social skills in the northeast region of the state of South Carolina. The theory guiding this study was Bandura's social cognitive theory as it addressed the role of the environment, modeling, goal setting, evaluation, and sense of efficacy in human development and learning. The central research question and three sub-questions were based on the triadic reciprocality causation in Bandura’s theory. The sample size was 12. Purposeful and snowball sampling were utilized. The data collection methods consisted of interviews with the graduates, a drawing to show their feelings regarding the pull-out program, and writing/dictating a letter to a current student in the pull-out program. By utilizing three different data sources, triangulation was achieved. The interview questions were centered on the participants’ perceptions and experiences with the pull-out program, and if they believe the experience helped them in their life after graduation. The participants’ responses were transcribed, organized, and coded. The memos, journals, and artifacts were logged. The data was analyzed to identify the invariant qualities and themes that emerged, which were feelings, social (skills), learned, self-efficacy, and level of life satisfaction. Overall, the graduates had a positive experience with the pull-out program and they learned valuable lessons. The graduates had a high level of life satisfaction, had jobs, went to college, volunteered, and/or had realistic goals to achieve these.

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