Exploring the Social Impact of Being a Typical Peer Model for Included Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder
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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.
KeywordsPeer models Autism Social networks
This study was supported by NIH 5-U54-MH-068172 (co-funded by NIMH, NICHD, NINDS, NIDCD, and NIEHS) and HRSA UA3MC11055, clinical trials number NCT00095420. We thank the children, parents, schools and teachers who participated, and the graduate students who contributed countless hours of assessments, intervention, data collection, and coding, Amanda Gulsrud, Laudan Jahromi, Lisa Lee, Eric Ishijima, Kelly Goods, Nancy Huynh, Mark Kretzmann, Tracy Guiou, and Steve Johnson.
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