Social involvement of children with autism spectrum disorders in elementary school classrooms.

Erin Rotheram-Fuller, Connie Kasari, Brandt Chamberlain, Jill Locke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

119 Scopus citations

Abstract

Children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are increasingly included in general education classrooms in an effort to improve their social involvement. Seventy-nine children with ASD and 79 randomly selected, gender-matched peers (88.6% male) in 75 early (K-1), middle (2nd-3rd), and late (4th-5th) elementary classrooms across 30 schools completed social network surveys examining each child's reciprocal friendships, peer rejection, acceptance, and social involvement. Across grade levels, peers less frequently reciprocated friendships with children with ASD than students in the matched sample. While children with ASD were not more likely to be rejected by peers, they were less accepted and had fewer reciprocal friendships than matched peers at each grade level. Although 48.1% of children with ASD were involved in the social networks of their classrooms, children with ASD were more likely to be isolated or peripheral to social relationships within the classroom across all grade levels, and this difference is even more dramatic in later elementary grades. In inclusive classrooms, children with ASD are only involved in peers' social relationships about half of the time, and appear to be even less connected with increasing grade level. Promoting children with ASD's skills in popular activities to share with peers in early childhood may be a key preventive intervention to protect social relationships in late elementary school grades.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1227-1234
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of child psychology and psychiatry, and allied disciplines
Volume51
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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