Original Paper

Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 42, Issue 9, pp 1895-1905

First online:

Exploring the Social Impact of Being a Typical Peer Model for Included Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

  • Jill LockeAffiliated withSchool of Medicine, Center for Mental Health Policy and Services Research, University of PennsylvaniaCenter for Autism Research, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Email author 
  • , Erin Rotheram-FullerAffiliated withTemple University
  • , Connie KasariAffiliated withGraduate School of Education and Information Studies, University of California

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This study examined the social impact of being a typical peer model as part of a social skills intervention for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Participants were drawn from a randomized-controlled-treatment trial that examined the effects of targeted interventions on the social networks of 60 elementary-aged children with ASD. Results demonstrated that typical peer models had higher social network centrality, received friendships, friendship quality, and less loneliness than non-peer models. Peer models were also more likely to be connected with children with ASD than non-peer models at baseline and exit. These results suggest that typical peers can be socially connected to children with ASD, as well as other classmates, and maintain a strong and positive role within the classroom.


Peer models Autism Social networks