Feasibility and Initial Efficacy of a Comprehensive School-Based Intervention for High-Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorders


  • The research reported in this article was supported by Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences Grant R324A080136. Findings and conclusions are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the funding agency.

Correspondence to: Christopher Lopata, Institute for Autism Research, Canisius College, Science Hall 1016C, 2001 Main Street, Buffalo, NY 14208. E-mail: lopatac@canisius.edu


This study examined the feasibility and initial efficacy of a comprehensive school-based intervention (CSBI) for 12 children with high-functioning autism spectrum disorders, aged 6 to 9 years. Treatment included a 3-week summer preparation program followed by a 10-month CSBI, comprising social skills groups, therapeutic activities, face and voice emotion recognition instruction, an individual daily note, and parent training. Feasibility was supported in high levels of treatment fidelity and teacher- and parent-reported acceptability and satisfaction. Pre–post comparisons suggested that children significantly improved their knowledge of target social skills, ability to identify emotions in facial and vocal expressions taught in the program, and broader emotion recognition skills in child faces. According to parent and teacher ratings, children displayed gains in their use of target social skills and broader social performance. Parents also reported a significant reduction in autism spectrum disorder-related features.