Conflict of interest statement: No conflicts declared.
Making the connection: randomized controlled trial of social skills at school for children with autism spectrum disorders
Article first published online: 26 NOV 2011
© 2011 The Authors. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry © 2011 Association for Child and Adolescent Mental Health
Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry
Volume 53, Issue 4, pages 431–439, April 2012
How to Cite
Kasari, C., Rotheram-Fuller, E., Locke, J. and Gulsrud, A. (2012), Making the connection: randomized controlled trial of social skills at school for children with autism spectrum disorders. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 53: 431–439. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-7610.2011.02493.x
- Issue published online: 13 FEB 2012
- Article first published online: 26 NOV 2011
- Accepted for publication: 12 September 2011 Published online: 26 November 2011
- Social skills;
- autism spectrum disorders;
- peer relationships;
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 × 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.