Original Paper

Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 43, Issue 9, pp 2121-2134

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

  • Robert KoegelAffiliated withKoegel Autism Center, Graduate School of Education, University of California Email author 
  • , Sunny KimAffiliated withKoegel Autism Center, Graduate School of Education, University of California
  • , Lynn KoegelAffiliated withKoegel Autism Center, Graduate School of Education, University of California
  • , Ben SchwartzmanAffiliated withKoegel Autism Center, Graduate School of Education, University of CaliforniaUniversity of California

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Abstract

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.

Keywords

Social High school Autism spectrum disorders Inclusion