Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 43, Issue 9, pp 2121–2134 | Cite as

Improving Socialization for High School Students with ASD by Using Their Preferred Interests

  • Robert KoegelEmail author
  • Sunny Kim
  • Lynn Koegel
  • Ben Schwartzman
Original Paper


There has been a paucity of research on effective social interventions for adolescents with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in inclusive high school settings. The literature, however, suggests that incorporating the student with ASD’s special interests into activities may help improve their socialization with typical peers. Within the context of a multiple baseline across participants design, we implemented lunchtime activities incorporating the adolescent with ASD’s preferred interests that were similar to ongoing activities already available at the schools. Results showed this increased both level of engagement and their rate of initiations made to typical peers. Social validation measures suggest that both adolescents with ASD and typical peers enjoyed participating in these activities and that the results generalized to other similar activities.


Social High school Autism spectrum disorders Inclusion 



Thank you to the families with adolescents with ASD who participated and the high schools that collaborated with us in this research project. Funding for this research was provided by Autism Speaks. In addition, funding for this research was also provided in part by an URCA grant from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and by NIH research grant DC010924 from NIDCD. The authors also wish to thank the undergraduate research assistants: Kelsey Henry, Kelsee Kennedy, and Benjamin Baranes. Finally, Robert and Lynn Koegel are also partners in the firm, Koegel Autism Consultants, LLC.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert Koegel
    • 1
    Email author
  • Sunny Kim
    • 1
  • Lynn Koegel
    • 1
  • Ben Schwartzman
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Koegel Autism Center, Graduate School of EducationUniversity of CaliforniaSanta BarbaraUSA
  2. 2.University of CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA

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