Child & Youth Care Forum

, Volume 39, Issue 5, pp 305–322 | Cite as

Therapist and Parent Ratings of Changes in Adaptive Social Skills Following a Summer Treatment Camp for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Preliminary Study

  • Anne Nehlig Walker
  • Tammy D. Barry
  • Stephanie H. Bader
Original Paper


The current study examined whether both parents and therapists perceived changes in adaptive social behaviors in children with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) following a summer treatment camp. Participants included 12 children (11 male, 1 female; 83% Caucasian; aged 3–7 years) diagnosed with an ASD who attended a 4-week summer camp designed to promote social skills building and peer interaction in the context of sensory-motor and language-based play. Analyses of data collected using a measure developed for the current study (the Adaptive Social Skills Measure; ASSM) to examine children’s improvements in the context of peer interactions revealed that both parents and therapists reported positive changes from pre- to post-treatment based on the total scale. Findings from pre- to post-treatment revealed that therapists perceived significant improvement in children for all four subscales (verbal communication, social interaction, attention to task, and transitions), and parents perceived significant improvement in children’s verbal communication and social interaction skills. Finally, the overall ratings from pre- to post-treatment did not differ between therapist and parent ratings, suggesting that the improvements perceived at camp were perceived concurrently in the home environment. Overall, the current study provides preliminary evidence of the positive role that summer treatment camps may play in building social skills for children with ASDs.


Autism Social skills Summer treatment camp Peer interaction 



The authors would like to thank the parents and therapists who assisted with this data collection, as well as the staff at Crane Rehabilitation Center, particularly Kimberly Bradley, OTR/L, and Sharon Crane, OTR/L, for their assistance with this project.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anne Nehlig Walker
    • 1
  • Tammy D. Barry
    • 2
  • Stephanie H. Bader
    • 2
  1. 1.Mitchell’s PlaceBirminghamUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyThe University of Southern MississippiHattiesburgUSA

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