Original Paper

Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 39, Issue 4, pp 596-606

Parent-Assisted Social Skills Training to Improve Friendships in Teens with Autism Spectrum Disorders

  • Elizabeth A. LaugesonAffiliated withUCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior Email author 
  • , Fred FrankelAffiliated withUCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human BehaviorUCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior
  • , Catherine MogilAffiliated withUCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human BehaviorUCLA Center for Community Mental Health
  • , Ashley R. DillonAffiliated withUCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human BehaviorUCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior

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Abstract

This study examines the efficacy of a manualized parent-assisted social skills intervention in comparison with a matched Delayed Treatment Control group to improve friendship quality and social skills among teens 13–17 years of age with autism spectrum disorders. Targeted skills included conversational skills, peer entry and exiting skills, developing friendship networks, good sportsmanship, good host behavior during get-togethers, changing bad reputations, and handling teasing, bullying, and arguments. Results revealed, in comparison with the control group, that the treatment group significantly improved their knowledge of social skills, increased frequency of hosted get-togethers, and improved overall social skills as reported by parents. Possibly due to poor return rate of questionnaires, social skills improvement reported by teachers was not significant. Future research should provide follow-up data to test the durability of treatment.

Keywords

Social skills Autism Asperger’s Disorder Friendship Adolescents PEERS