Social Skills Training for Adolescents with Asperger Syndrome and High-Functioning Autism

Abstract

The effectiveness of a social skills training group for adolescents with Asperger syndrome and high-functioning autism (AS/HFA) was evaluated. Parents of six groups of adolescents (n = 46, 61% male, mean age 14.6) completed questionnaires immediately before and after the 12-week group. Parents and adolescents were surveyed regarding their experience with the group. Significant pre- to post-treatment gains were found on measures of both social competence and problem behaviors associated with AS/HFA. Effect sizes ranged from .34 to .72. Adolescents reported more perceived skill improvements than did parents. Parent-reported improvement suggests that social skills learned in group sessions generalize to settings outside the treatment group. Larger, controlled studies of social skills training groups would be valuable.

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Acknowledgments

The authors thank Micha Huynh and Sylvie Lafleur for their help in the preparation of this paper. Preliminary results of this project were presented at the Joint Annual Meeting of the American and Canadian Academies of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry in Toronto, 2005.

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Correspondence to Eric Fombonne.

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Tse, J., Strulovitch, J., Tagalakis, V. et al. Social Skills Training for Adolescents with Asperger Syndrome and High-Functioning Autism. J Autism Dev Disord 37, 1960–1968 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-006-0343-3

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Keywords

  • Social skills training
  • Adolescents
  • Asperger syndrome
  • High-functioning autism
  • Pervasive developmental disorder