Advertisement

Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 39, Issue 9, pp 1268–1277 | Cite as

Social Competence and Social Skills Training and Intervention for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders

  • Albert J. CotugnoEmail author
Original Paper

Abstract

This study examined the effectiveness of a 30 week social competence and social skills group intervention program with children, ages 7–11, diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Eighteen children with ASD were assessed with pretreatment and posttreatment measures on the Walker-McConnell Scale (WMS) and the MGH YouthCare Social Competence Development Scale. Each received the 30-week intervention program. For comparison, a matched sample of ten non-ASD children was also assessed, but received no treatment. The findings indicated that each ASD intervention group demonstrated significant gains on the WMS and significant improvement in the areas of anxiety management, joint attention, and flexibility/transitions. Results suggest that this approach can be effective in improving core social deficits in individuals with ASD.

Keywords

Autism spectrum Social competency Social skills 

References

  1. Adams, L. (2006). Group treatment for Asperger Syndrome: A social skill curriculum. San Diego: Plural.Google Scholar
  2. American Psychiatric Association. (1994). Diagnostic and statistical manual for mental disorders (4th ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association.Google Scholar
  3. Baker, T. E. (2003). Social skill training: For children and adolescents with Asperger Syndrome and social communication problems. Kansas: Autism Asperger.Google Scholar
  4. Baron, M. G., Groden, J., Groden, G., & Lipsitt, L. P. (Eds.). (2006). Stress and coping. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Baron-Cohen, S. (1995). Mindblindness: An essay on autism and the theory of mind. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  6. Baron-Cohen, S., Leslie, A. M., & Frith, U. (1985). Does the autistic child have a theory of mind? Cognition, 21, 37–46. doi: 10.1016/0010-0277(85)90022-8.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Barry, T. D., Klinger, L. G., Lee, J. M., Palardy, N., Gilmore, T., & Bodin, S. D. (2003). Examining the effectiveness of an outpatient clinic-based social skills group for high functioning children with autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 33(6), 685–701. doi: 10.1023/B:JADD.0000006004.86556.e0.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bloomquist, M. L. (1996). Skills training for children with behavior disorders: A parent and therapist guidebook. New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  9. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2007). Prevalence of autism spectrum disorders in multiple areas of the United States, surveillance years 2000 and 2002. Surveillance Summaries, February 9, 2007. MMWR; 56 (No. SS#1).Google Scholar
  10. Cotugno, A. J. (2008). Social competency groups for children with Asperger’s Disorder: A discussion and a test of effectiveness. Poster session at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association, Boston.Google Scholar
  11. Cotugno, A. J. (2009). Group interventions for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.Google Scholar
  12. Frith, U. (1989). Autism: Explaining the enigma. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.Google Scholar
  13. Frith, U., & Happe, F. (1994). Autism: Beyond “theory-of-mind”. Cognition, 50, 115–132. doi: 10.1016/0010-0277(94)90024-8.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Givers, C., Clifford, P., Mager, M., & Boer, F. (2006). Brief report: A theory-of-mind social cognition training program for school-aged children with pervasive developmental disorders: An open study of its effectiveness. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 36(4), 567–571. doi: 10.1007/s10803-006-0095-0.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Gresham, F. M. (1981). Social skills training with handicapped children: A review. Review of Educational Research, 51, 139–176.Google Scholar
  16. Hollinger, J. (1987). Social skills for behaviorally disordered children as preparation for mainstreaming: Theory, practice and new directions. Remedial and Special Education, 8(4), 17–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hops, H., & Finch, M. (1985). Social competence and skill: A reassessment. In B. H. Schneider, K. H. Rubin, & J. E. Ledingham (Eds.), Children’s peer relations: Issues in assessment and intervention (pp. 23–40). New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  18. Hwang, B., & Hughes, C. (2000). The effects of social interactive training on early social communicative skills of children with autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 30, 331–343. doi: 10.1023/A:1005579317085.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Klin, A., Jones, W., Schultz, R., Volkmar, F., & Cohen, D. (2002). Defining and quantifying the social phenotype in autism. The American Journal of Psychiatry, 159(6), 895–908. doi: 10.1176/appi.ajp.159.6.895.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Krasney, L., Williams, B. J., Provencal, S., & Ozonoff, S. (2003). Social skills interventions for the autism spectrum: Essential ingredients and a model curriculum. Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America, 12(1), 107–122. doi: 10.1016/S1056-4993(02)00051-2.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. LaGreca, A. M. (1993). Social skills training with children: Where do we go from here? Journal of Clinical Child Psychiatry, 22, 288–298. doi: 10.1207/s15374424jccp2202_14.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Matson, J. L., & Swiezy, N. B. (1994). Social skills training with autistic children. In J. L. Matson (Ed.), Autism in children and adults: Etiology, assessment, and intervention. Sycamore, IL: Sycamore.Google Scholar
  23. McAfee, J. (2002). Navigating the social world: A curriculum for individuals with Asperger’s Syndrome, high functioning autism and related disorders. Arlington, TX: Future Horizons.Google Scholar
  24. McConnell, S. R. (2002). Interventions to facilitate social interaction for young children with autism: Review of available research and recommendations for educational interventions and future research. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 32, 351–372. doi: 10.1023/A:1020537805154.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. McConnell, S. R., & Odom, S. L. (1986). Sociometrics: Peer-referenced measures and the assessment of social competence. In P. S. Strain, M. S. Guralnick, & H. M. Walker (Eds.), Children’s social behavior: Development, assessment, and modification (pp. 215–284). New York: Academic Press. Google Scholar
  26. Mesibov, G. B. (1984). Social skills training with verbal autistic adolescents and adults: A program model. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 14, 395–404. doi: 10.1007/BF02409830.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Mesibov, G. B. (1986). Social skills training for elementary school autistic children with normal peers. In E. Schopler, E. Mesibov, & L. J. Kunce (Eds.), Social behavior in autism (pp. 305–319). New York: Plenum Press.Google Scholar
  28. Minshew, N. J., & Goldstein, G. (1998). Autism as a disorder of complex information processing. Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities Research Reviews, 4, 129–136. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1098-2779(1998)4:2<129::AID-MRDD10>3.0.CO;2-X.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Ozonoff, S. (1995). Executive functions in autism. In E. Schopler & G. B. Mesibov (Eds.), Learning and cognition in autism (pp. 199–219). New York: Plenum Press.Google Scholar
  30. Parker, J. G., & Asher, S. R. (1987). Peer relations and later personal adjustment: Are low-accepted children at risk? Psychological Bulletin, 102, 357–387. doi: 10.1037/0033-2909.102.3.357.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Pennington, B. F., & Ozonoff, S. (1996). Executive functions and developmental psychopathology. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines, 37(1), 51–87. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-7610.1996.tb01380.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Perner, J., & Wimmer, H. (1985). “John thinks that Mary thinks that…” Attribution of second-order beliefs by 5–10 years old children. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 39, 437–471. doi: 10.1016/0022-0965(85)90051-7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Rogers, S. (2000). Interventions that facilitate socialization in children with autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 30, 399–409. doi: 10.1023/A:1005543321840.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Rosenn, D. (2002). Is it Asperger’s or ADHD? AANE News, 10, 3–5.Google Scholar
  35. Santangelo, S. L., & Tsatsanis, K. (2005). What is known about autism: Genes, brain, and behavior. American Journal of Pharmacogenomics, 5, 71–92. doi: 10.2165/00129785-200505020-00001.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Shopler, E., & Mesibov, G. B. (Eds.). (1983). Autism in adolescents and adults. New York: Plenum Press.Google Scholar
  37. Steerneman, P., Jackson, S., Pelzer, H., & Muris, P. (1996). Children with social handicaps: An intervention program using a theory-of-mind approach. Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 1, 252–263. doi: 10.1177/1359104596012006.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Tse, J., Strulovitch, J., Tagalakis, V., Meng, L., & Fombonne, E. (2007). Social skills training for adolescents with Asperger Syndrome and high-functioning autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, Online paper #S108033-006-0343-3.Google Scholar
  39. Walker, H. M., & McConnell, S. R. (1995). The Walker-McConnell scale of social competence and school adjustment: Elementary version. SanDiego, CA: Singular Publishing.Google Scholar
  40. Welsh, M., Park, R. D., Widaman, K., & O’Neil, R. (2001). Linkages between children's social and academic competence: A longitudinal analysis. Journal of School Psychology, 39, 463–481.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Williams, T. I. (1989). A social skills group for autistic children. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 19, 143–155. doi: 10.1007/BF02212726.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Williams, S. K., Koenig, K., & Scahill, L. (2006). Social skills development in children with autism spectrum disorders: A review of intervention research. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, Online Paper #1573-3432.Google Scholar
  43. Wimmer, H., & Perner, J. (1983). Beliefs about beliefs: Representations and constraining function of wrong beliefs in young children’s understanding of deception. Cognition, 13, 103–128. doi: 10.1016/0010-0277(83)90004-5.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Wing, L., & Gould, J. (1979). Severe impairments of social interaction and associated abnormalities in children: Epidemiology and classification. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 9, 11–29. doi: 10.1007/BF01531288.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital/YouthCareHarvard Medical SchoolWellesleyUSA

Personalised recommendations