A Comprehensive Peer Network Intervention to Improve Social Communication of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Randomized Trial in Kindergarten and First Grade
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The purpose of this randomized control group study was to examine the effects of a peer network intervention that included peer mediation and direct instruction for Kindergarten and First-grade children with autism spectrum disorders. Trained school staff members provided direct instruction for 56 children in the intervention group, and 39 children participated in a comparison group. Results showed children in the intervention group displayed significantly more initiations to peers than did the comparison group during non-treatment social probes and generalization probes. Treatment session data showed significant growth for total communications over baseline levels. Children in treatment also showed more growth in language and adaptive communication. Finally, teachers’ ratings of prosocial skills revealed significantly greater improvements for the intervention group.
KeywordsPeer networks Social-communication skills Text cues
The research was funded by the Institute of Education Sciences, Department of Education (R324A090091). Opinions expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the position of the funding agency. We gratefully acknowledge our graduate research assistants: Marissa Congdon, Sarah Feldmiller, Shane Herriot, Emily Kroman, Alison Marti, Brandon McFadden, Todd Miller, Lindsay Myatich, and Veronica Pamparo, and research assistants: Tonya Evans and Amy Turcotte, for their assistance in consultation with school staff and data collection; and the participating teachers, students, and families for their time and ongoing support.
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