Date of Award

January 2013

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

F. Richard Ferraro


The importance of social skills training for youth with visual impairments has been widely researched within educational and rehabilitation settings. To date, social skills training curricula for visually impaired youth have largely utilized verbally-based methods for instruction and training. Given the non-visual aspects of human communication, it is proposed that verbal approaches to nonverbal social skills training may not be sufficient for visually impaired individuals. To address this issue, an experiential curriculum of nonverbal social skills training was developed that emphasized hands-on learning and practice of nonverbal social skills. This curriculum was administered to seventeen visually impaired youth attending short-term rehabilitative programming in North Dakota. Outcomes of this intervention were measured through repeated administrations of the Social Skills Rating Scales, Social Skills Assessment Tool for Children with Visual Impairments, and a modified nonverbal social skills checklist. Results of the current investigation yielded statistically insignificant effects of the nonverbal social skills curriculum intervention. Alternatively, visual analysis indicated trends of improved general social skills during and immediately after participation in the social skills intervention and improved nonverbal social skills during the intervention. Discussion of limitations, clinical implications, and suggested future directions of this study follows.