Current Psychiatry Reports

, Volume 14, Issue 6, pp 713–725

Interventions Addressing Social Impairment in Autism


    • Center for Autism Research and Treatment68-268 Semel Institute UCLA
  • Stephanie Patterson
    • Center for Autism Research and Treatment68-268 Semel Institute UCLA
Autism Spectrum Disorders (D Mandell, Section Editor)

DOI: 10.1007/s11920-012-0317-4

Cite this article as:
Kasari, C. & Patterson, S. Curr Psychiatry Rep (2012) 14: 713. doi:10.1007/s11920-012-0317-4


Children with an autism spectrum disorder have significant impairment in social skills. This area of development has also been the focus of many intervention studies. In this article we review intervention studies published over the past two years. Three topical areas were addressed in current interventions: social skills knowledge, peer relationships, and joint attention/joint engagement. Younger children most often received interventions on joint attention/joint engagement and older, higher functioning children received interventions on social knowledge and peer relationship development. Both single subject research designs and group designs were reviewed. One advancement was that more randomized controlled trials were reported, as well as effectiveness trials in the community. Study quality was also rated. More group than single subject designs were rated as adequate or strong in quality. Overall, moderate to large effects were found for interventions targeting joint attention/joint engagement and peer relationships with mixed effects on interventions targeting social skills knowledge. Future studies should focus on isolating the active ingredients of interventions and include broader participant representation.


InterventionsSocial impairmentAutismAutism spectrum disorderSocial skillsRandomized controlled trialsSingle subject research designsJoint attentionJoint engagementPeer relationshipsSocial knowledgePsychiatry

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012