Effectiveness of a Manualized Summer Social Treatment Program for High-Functioning Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders

  • Christopher Lopata
  • Marcus L. Thomeer
  • Martin A. Volker
  • Robert E. Nida
  • Gloria K. Lee
Original Paper

Abstract

This paper presents findings from the final two years of a four-year study investigating a manualized social treatment program for high-functioning children with autism spectrum disorders. The study sought to (1) replicate and expand findings from years one and two; (2) compare outcomes of participants who received response-cost feedback versus non-categorical feedback; and (3) provide further evidence of program feasibility. Results indicated significant improvements in social skills and problem behaviors, however no significant differences for face emotion recognition. Measures of several socially-related behaviors yielded mixed results based on rater. While parent ratings did not appear to favor one feedback format, staff ratings appeared to favor the response-cost format on some measures. Results also provided support for program feasibility.

Keywords

Social skills groups Intervention High-functioning autism Asperger’s PDDNOS 

References

  1. Abell, F., & Hare, D. J. (2005). An experimental investigation of the phenomenology of delusional beliefs in people with Asperger syndrome. Autism, 9(5), 515–531.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. American Psychiatric Association (2000). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (4th ed.), text revision. Washington, DC: Author.Google Scholar
  3. Attwood, T. (2000). Strategies for improving the social integration of children with Asperger’s syndrome. The National Autistic Society, 4(1), 85–100.Google Scholar
  4. Barnhill, G. P., Cook, K. T., Tebbenkamp, K., & Myles, B. S. (2002). The effectiveness of social skills intervention targeting nonverbal communication for adolescents with Asperger syndrome and related pervasive developmental disorders. Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, 17(2), 112–118.Google Scholar
  5. Bregman, J. D., Zager, D., & Gerdtz, J. (2005). Behavioral interventions. In F. R. Volkmar, R. Paul, A. Klin, & D. Cohen (Eds.), Handbook of autism and pervasive developmental disorders: Vol 2. Assessment, interventions, and policy (3rd ed., pp. 897–924). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.Google Scholar
  6. Carrington, S., Templeton, E., & Papinczak, T. (2003). Adolescents with Asperger syndrome and perceptions of friends. Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, 18(4), 211–218.Google Scholar
  7. Carter, C., Meckes, L., Pritchard, L., Swensen, S., Wittman, P. P., & Velde, B. (2004). The friendship club: An after-school program for children with Asperger syndrome. Family Community Health, 27(2), 143–150.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Church, C., Alisanski, S., & Amanullah, S. (2000). The social, behavioral, and academic experiences of children with Asperger syndrome. Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, 15(1), 12–20.Google Scholar
  9. Cohen, J. (1988). Statistical power analysis for the behavioral sciences (2nd ed.). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  10. Cragar, D. E., & Horvath, L. S. (2003). The application of social skills training in the treatment of a child with Asperger’s disorder. Clinical Case Studies, 2(1), 34–49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Golan, O., & Baron-Cohen, S. (2006). Systemizing empathy: Teaching adults with Asperger syndrome or high-functioning autism to recognize complex emotions using interactive multimedia. Development and Psychopathology, 18, 591–617.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Goldstein, A. P., McGinnis, E., Sprafkin, R. P., Gershaw, N. J., & Klein, P. (1997). Skillstreaming the adolescent: New strategies and perspectives for teaching prosocial skills (Rev. ed.). Champaign, Il: Research Press.Google Scholar
  13. Hays, W. L. (1994). Statistics for psychologists (5th ed.). Fort Worth, TX: Hartcourt Brace.Google Scholar
  14. Howlin, P., Baron-Cohen, S., & Hadwin, J. (1999). Teaching children with autism to mind-read: A practical guide for teachers and parents. West Sussex, England: Wiley & Sons.Google Scholar
  15. Kasari, C., & Rotheram-Fuller, E. (2005). Current trends in psychological research on children with high-functioning autism and Asperger disorder. Current Opinion in Psychiatry, 18, 497–501.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Kim, J. A., Szatmari, P., Bryson, S. E., Streiner, D. L., & Wilson, F. J. (2000). The prevalence of anxiety and mood problems among children with autism and Asperger syndrome. Autism, 4(2), 117–132.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Klin, A., McPartland, J., & Volkmar, F. R. (2005). Asperger syndrome. In F. R. Volkmar, R. Paul, A. Klin, & D. Cohen (Eds.), Handbook of autism and pervasive developmental disorders: Vol 1. Diagnosis, development, neurobiology, and behavior (3rd ed., pp. 88–125). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.Google Scholar
  18. Klin, A., Sparrow, S. S., Marans, W. D., Carter, A., & Volkmar, F. R. (2000). Assessment issues in children, adolescents with Asperger syndrome. In A. Klin, F. R. Volkmar, & S. S. Sparrow (Eds.), Asperger syndrome (pp. 309–339). New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
  19. Klin, A., & Volkmar, F. R. (2000). Treatment and intervention guidelines for individuals with Aspergers syndrome. In A. Klin, F. R. Volkmar, & S. S. Sparrow (Eds.), Asperger syndrome (pp. 340–366). New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
  20. LeGoff, D. B. (2004). Use of Lego as a therapeutic medium for improving social competence. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 34, 557–571.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Little, C. (2002). Which is it? Asperger’s syndrome or Giftedness? Defining the differences. Gifted Child Today Magazine, 25(1), 58–63.Google Scholar
  22. Lopata, C., Thomeer, M. L., Volker, M. A., & Nida, R. E. (2006). Effectiveness of a cognitive-behavioral treatment on the social behaviors of children with Asperger’s disorder. Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, 21, 237–244.Google Scholar
  23. Marans, W. D., Rubin, E., & Laurent, A. (2005). Addressing social communication skills in individuals with high-functioning Autism, Asperger syndrome: Critical priorities in educational programming. In F. R. Volkmar, R. Paul, A. Klin, & D. Cohen (Eds.), Handbook of autism and pervasive developmental disorders: Vol. 2. Assessment, interventions, and policy (3rd ed., pp. 977–1002). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.Google Scholar
  24. Marks, S. U., Schrader, C., Levine, M., Hagie, C., Longaker, T., Morales, M., & Peters, I. (1999). Social skills for social ills: Supporting the social skills development of adolescents with Asperger’s syndrome. Teaching Exceptional Children, 32, 56–61.Google Scholar
  25. Marriage, K. J., Gordon, V., & Brand, L. (1995). A social skills group for boys with Asperger’s syndrome. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 29, 58–62.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Martin, A., Scahill, L., Klin, A., & Volkmar, F. R. (1999). Higher-functioning pervasive developmental disorders: Rates and patterns of psychotropic drug use. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 38(7), 923–931.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. McGinnis, E., & Goldstein, A. P. (1997). Skillstreaming the elementary school child: New strategies and perspectives for teaching prosocial skills (Rev. ed.). Champaign, Il: Research Press.Google Scholar
  28. Mesibov, G. B. (1984). Social skills training with verbal Autistic adolescents and adults: A program model. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 14(4), 395–404.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Miller, J. N., & Ozonoff, S. (2000). The external validity of Asperger disorder: Lack of evidence from the domain of neuropsychology. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 109(2), 227–238.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Mishna, F., & Muskat, B. (1998). Group therapy for boys with features of Asperger syndrome and concurrent learning disabilities: Finding a peer group. Journal of Child and Adolescent Group Therapy, 8, 97–114.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Myles, B. S., & Simpson, R. L. (2001). Understanding the hidden curriculum: An essential social skill for children with and youth with Asperger syndrome. Intervention in School and Clinic, 36(5), 279–286.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Nowicki, S. (1997). Instructional manual for the receptive tests of the diagnostic analysis of nonverbal accuracy 2. Atlanta, GA: Peachtree.Google Scholar
  33. Ozonoff, S., & Griffith, E. M. (2000). Neuropsychological function and the external validity of Asperger syndrome. In A. Klin, F. R. Volkmar, & S. S. Sparrow (Eds.), Asperger syndrome (pp. 72–96). New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
  34. Ozonoff, S., & Miller, J. N. (1995). Teaching theory of mind: A new approach to social skills training for individuals with autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 25(4), 415–433.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Parsons, S., Mitchell, P., & Leonard, A. (2004). The use and understanding of virtual environments by adolescents with Autistic spectrum disorders. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 34(4), 449–466.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Reynolds, C. R., & Kamphaus, R. W. (1992, 1998). Behavior Assessment System for Children, Manual. Circle Pines, MN: American Guidance Service, Inc.Google Scholar
  37. Safran, S. P., Safran, J. S., & Ellis, K. (2003). Intervention ABCs for children with Asperger syndrome. Topics in Language Disorders, 23, 154–165.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Simpson, R. L., & Myles, B. S. (1998). Aggression among children and youth who have Asperger’s syndrome: A different population requiring different strategies. Preventing School Failure, 42(4), 149–153.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Smith, T., Scahill, L., Dawson, G., Guthrie, D., Lord, C., Odom, S., Rogers, S., & Wagner, A. (2007). Designing research studies on psychosocial interventions in autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 37(2), 354–366.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Solomon, M., Goodlin-Jones, B. L., & Anders, T. F. (2004). A social adjustment enhancement intervention for high functioning Autism, Asperger’s syndrome, and pervasive developmental disorder NOS. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 34(6), 649–668.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Tellegen, A., & Briggs, P. F. (1967). Old wine in new skins: Grouping Wechsler subtests into new scales. Journal of Consulting Psychology, 31, 499–506.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Thiemann, K. S., & Goldstein, H. (2004). Effects of peer tutoring and written text cueing on social communication of school-age children with pervasive developmental disorder. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 47(1), 126–144.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Tsatsanis, K. D., Foley, C., & Donehower, C. (2004). Contemporary outcome research and programming guidelines for Asperger syndrome and high-functioning Autism. Topics in Language Disorders, 24(4), 249–259.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Volkmar, F. R., & Klin, A. (2000). Diagnostic issues in Asperger syndrome. In A. Klin, F. R. Volkmar, & S. S. Sparrow (Eds.), Asperger syndrome (pp. 25–71). New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
  45. Wechsler, D. (2003). Wechsler intelligence scale for children (4th ed.) (WISC-IV). San Antonio, TX: The Psychological Corporation.Google Scholar
  46. White, S. W., Keonig, K., & Scahill, L. (2007). Social skills development in children with autism spectrum disorders: A review of the intervention research. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 37(10), 1858–1868.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Wymbs, B. T., Robb, J. A., Chronis, A. M., Massetti, G. M., Fabiano, G. A., Arnold, F. W., Brice, A. C., Gnagy, E. M., Pelham, W. E. Jr., Burrows-MacLean, L., & Hoffman, M. T. (2005). Long-term, multimodal treatment of a child with Asperger’s syndrome and comorbid disruptive behavior problems: A case illustration. Cognitive and Behavioral Practice, 12, 338–350.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christopher Lopata
    • 1
  • Marcus L. Thomeer
    • 2
  • Martin A. Volker
    • 1
  • Robert E. Nida
    • 3
  • Gloria K. Lee
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Counseling, School and Educational Psychology at the University at BuffaloState University of New YorkBuffaloUSA
  2. 2.Summit Educational ResourcesGetzvilleUSA
  3. 3.Department of Teacher EducationCanisius College in BuffaloNYUSA

Personalised recommendations