Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 45, Issue 9, pp 2961–2980 | Cite as

Improving the Social Skills of Children with HFASD: An Intervention Study

Original Paper


The present study examines the efficacy of a social skills and Theory of Mind (S.S.ToM) intervention for children with high-functioning ASD. Children were taught to identify and consider their peer’s mental states, e.g., knowledge, emotions, desires, beliefs, intentions, likes and dislikes, while learning friendship-making skills and strategies, through the use of visual scaffolds in story format. Compared to two control groups, S.S.ToM participants demonstrated significantly greater gains on measures of Theory of Mind and social responsiveness. At a 3-month follow-up assessment, improvements appeared to have been maintained and continued gains were observed. These results provide support for the utility of a visually supported Theory of Mind and social skills intervention that may be delivered in community settings.


Theory of mind Visual supports Social skills High-functioning autism Friendship training Community intervention 



We would like to thank the parents/caregivers and children who participated in our study. We would also like to thank the staff and volunteers of Autism Ontario–Durham Region and Precious Minds Support Services for their time and assistance.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest with respect to the authorship and/or publication of this article.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Ontario Institute for Studies in EducationUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada

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