, Volume 30, Issue 4, pp 331-343

The Effects of Social Interactive Training on Early Social Communicative Skills of Children with Autism

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Abstract

Growing attention has been directed at the relation between early social communicative skills of children with autism and subsequent development of these children's social and communicative functioning. We reviewed 16 empirical studies that investigated the effects of social interactive interventions designed to increase early social communicative skills of young children with autism by increasing their role as initiator of social interactions. To identify factors relating to treatment effectiveness, we analyzed studies in relation to participant characteristics, settings, target behaviors, training methods, and results. To determine durability of treatment, we analyzed generalization effects across persons, settings, stimuli, and time. Increases were found for social and affective behaviors, nonverbal and verbal communication, eye contact, joint attention, and imitative play. Limited generalization or maintenance of target behaviors was reported. Findings are discussed in relation to critical variables that may relate to treatment effectiveness in future research and practice efforts.