Social Network Changes Over the School Year Among Elementary School-Aged Children with and Without an Autism Spectrum Disorder

Jill Locke, Connie Kasari, Erin Rotheram-Fuller, Mark Kretzmann, Jeffrey Jacobs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study examined the stability of children's social networks and friendship features over one academic school year. Differences in the social network salience between typically developing children, children with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and children with a non-ASD disability were explored. As a whole, social network salience increased for all students across the school year; however, children in the upper grades had higher social network salience as the school year progressed than those in the younger grades. Compared to children with a non-ASD disability and typically developing children, children with ASD had significantly lower social network salience and received significantly fewer friendship nominations and more non-preferred nominations across the school year. While these data suggest that children's social networks and patterns of peer relationships are relatively stable over time, school-based interventions that foster social development and peer engagement are still needed for children with ASD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)38-47
Number of pages10
JournalSchool Mental Health
Volume5
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Autism
  • Friendship
  • Rejection
  • Social networks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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