Making the connection: Randomized controlled trial of social skills at school for children with autism spectrum disorders

Connie Kasari, Erin Rotheram-Fuller, Jill Locke, Amanda Gulsrud

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

156 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: This study compared two interventions for improving the social skills of high functioning children with autism spectrum disorders in general education classrooms. One intervention involved a peer-mediated approach (PEER) and the other involved a child-assisted approach (CHILD). Method: The two interventions were crossed in a 2 Ã 2 factorial design yielding control, PEER, CHILD, and both PEER and CHILD conditions. Sixty children participated from 56 classrooms in 30 schools. Interventions involved 12 sessions over 6 weeks, with a 3-month follow-up. Outcome measures included self, peer and teacher reports of social skills and independent weekly observations of children on their school playground over the course of the intervention. Results: Significant improvements were found in social network salience, number of friendship nominations, teacher report of social skills in the classroom, and decreased isolation on the playground for children who received PEER interventions. Changes obtained at the end of the treatment persisted to the 3-month follow-up. Conclusions: These data suggest that significant improvements can be made in peer social connections for children with autism spectrum disorders in general education classrooms with a brief intervention, and that these gains persist over time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)431-439
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines
Volume53
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2012

    Fingerprint

Keywords

  • Social skills
  • autism spectrum disorders
  • peer relationships
  • school
  • sociometrics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

Cite this