The impact of trained peers on the generalization of social competence of adolescents with autism spectrum disorders participating in a school-based social competence program
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT REQUEST OF AUTHOR.] Although the social competence literature shows that individuals with HFA/AS can acquire social skills, these skills often do not consistently generalize into natural environments. Peer-mediated interventions have proven successful in teaching a number of social behaviors to individuals with ASD and have also shown to promote generalization and maintenance. The purpose of this study was to explore the efficacy of two peer-mediated interventions for three adolescent males with HFA/AS ages 12 and 13 in natural settings and the effects of these interventions on the generalization and maintenance of social skills acquired in a school-based social competence program. Using a single subject multiple treatments design the interventions were introduced and then compared to adjacent conditions. The results indicate that participants with HFA/AS made substantial improvements in social competence as a result of participating in the school based social competence program. There is also evidence that some skills acquired in the program generalized naturally to untrained settings. However, by training peers to deliver social interventions in natural environments, social interaction increased above natural levels found in baseline and above levels found during the social competence program alone. Finally, the results indicate that the peer mediated initiation intervention is more effective at eliciting social interaction with adolescents with HFA/AS than the peer mediated proximity intervention.
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