Advertisement

An Examination of the Social Relationships of High School Students with Autism in General Education Settings Using Peer Nomination Methods

  • Nicole L. MatthewsEmail author
  • Erin Rotheram-Fuller
  • Beatriz C. Orr
  • Katrina Warriner
  • Mary DeCarlo
  • Jessica Kogan
  • Christopher J. Smith
Original Paper

Abstract

Despite considerable research on school social experiences among younger children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), little is known about the classroom social relationships of high school students with ASD without intellectual disability. Additional research in this area is necessary to refine and develop social skills interventions and outcome measures of social success for this age group. The current study compared peer nomination variables between 10 high school students with ASD and randomly selected gender-matched samples of their general education classmates at three time points over two academic years. All students attended schools in the Southwestern USA. Across all three time points, students with ASD were less accepted by their peers compared to their general education classmates. Among participants with ASD, social difficulties appeared to be most pervasive at the third time point. Findings suggest that some of the difficulties associated with establishing peer relationships documented among children and young adolescents with ASD are also present during high school. Feasibility of peer nomination methods in high school settings is discussed. Findings have implications for researchers, school psychologists, educators, and stakeholders, including individuals with ASD and their parents.

Keywords

Autism spectrum disorder High school students Adolescents Peer relationships Sociometric status Social network clustering 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We would like to thank the families who participated in this study, the teachers and staff at the schools and school districts in which data were collected, and the Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center staff and research assistants who contributed to participant intake assessments, data collection, and data entry. This study was funded by the 2014 Organization for Autism Research Applied Research Grant.

Funding

This study was funded by the 2014 Organization for Autism Research Applied Research Grant.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

References

  1. Adams, R., Taylor, J., Duncan, A., & Bishop, S. (2016). Peer victimization and educational outcomes in mainstreamed adolescents with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 46(11), 3567–3569.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-016-2931-1.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). American Psychiatric Association: Arlington, VA.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Avramidis, E., Strogilos, V., Aroni, K., & Kantaraki, C. T. (2017). Using sociometric techniques to assess the social impacts of inclusion: Some methodological considerations. Educational Research Review, 20, 68–80.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.edurev.2016.11.004.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bauminger, N., & Kasari, C. (2000). Loneliness and friendships in high-functioning children with autism. Child Development, 71, 447–456.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Brown, B. B., & Larson, J. (1999). Peer Relationships in Adolescence. In R. M. Lerner & L. Steinberg (Eds.), Handbook of adolescent psychology. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.Google Scholar
  6. Cairns, R., & Cairns, B. (1994). Lifelines and risks: Pathways of youth in our time. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Carter, E. W., Common, E. A., Sreckovic, M. A., Huber, H. B., Bottema-Beutel, K., Gustafson, J. R., et al. (2014). Promoting social competence and peer relationships for adolescents with autism spectrum disorders. Remedial and Special Education, 35, 91–101.  https://doi.org/10.1177/0741932513514618.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Chamberlain, B., Kasari, C., & Rotheram-Fuller, E. (2006). Involvement or isolation? The social networks of children with autism in regular classrooms. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 37(2), 230–242.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-006-0164-4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. de Boer, A. D., & Pijl, S. J. (2016). The acceptance and rejection of peers with ADHD and ASD in general secondary education. The Journal of Educational Research, 109(3), 325–332.  https://doi.org/10.1080/00220671.2014.958812.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Hughes, C., Golas, M., Cosgriff, J., Brigham, N., Edwards, C., & Cashen, K. (2011). Effects of a social skills intervention among high school students with intellectual disabilities and autism and their general education peers. Research and Practice for Persons with Severe Disabilities, 36(1), 46–61.  https://doi.org/10.2511/rpsd.36.1-2.46.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Humphrey, N., & Lewis, S. (2008). What does ‘inclusion’ mean for pupils on the autistic spectrum in mainstream secondary schools? Journal of Research in Special Education Needs, 8(3), 132–140.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1471-3802.2008.00115.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Humphrey, N., & Symes, W. (2013). Inclusive education for pupils with autistic spectrum disorders in secondary mainstream schools: Teacher attitudes, experience, and knowledge. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 17, 32–46.  https://doi.org/10.1080/13603116.2011.580462.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Jones, A. P., & Frederickson, N. (2010). Multi-informant predictors of social inclusion for students with autism spectrum disorders attending mainstream school. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 40(9), 1094–1103.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-010-0957-3.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Kasari, C., Dean, M., Kretzmann, M., Shih, W., Orlich, F., Whitney, R., et al. (2016). Children with autism spectrum disorder and social skills groups at school: A randomized trial comparing intervention approach to peer composition. The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 57, 171–179.  https://doi.org/10.1111/jcpp.12460.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Kasari, C., Rotheram-Fuller, E., Locke, J., & Gulsrud, A. (2012). Making the connection: Randomized controlled trial of social skills at school for children with autism spectrum disorder. The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 53, 431–439.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-7610.2011.02493.x.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Kaufman, A. S., & Kaufman, N. L. (2004). Kaufman brief intelligence test—Second edition (KBIT-2) manual. Bloomington, MN: Pearson Assessments.Google Scholar
  17. Laugeson, E. A., Ellingsen, R., Sanderson, J., Tucci, L., & Bates, S. (2014). The ABC’s of teaching social skills to adolescents with autism spectrum disorder in the classroom: The UCLA PEERS Program. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 44, 2244–2256.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-014-2108-8.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Laugeson, E. A., & Frankel, F. (2010). Social skills for teenagers with developmental and autism spectrum disorders: The PEERS Treatment Manual. New York, NY: Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group.Google Scholar
  19. Locke, J., Ishijima, E. H., Kasari, C., & London, N. (2010). Loneliness, friendship quality and the social networks of adolescents with high-functioning autism in an inclusive school setting. Journal of Research in Special Educational Needs, 10(2), 74–81.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1471-3802.2010.01148.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Locke, J., Kasari, C., Rotheram-Fuller, E., Kretzmann, M., & Jacobs, J. (2013). Social network changes over the school year among elementary school-aged children with and without an autism spectrum disorder. School Mental Health, 5(1), 38–47.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s12310-012-9092-y.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Lord, C., Rutter, M., DiLavore, P. C., Risi, S., Gotham, K., & Bishop, S. L. (2012). Autism diagnostic observation schedule, second edition (ADOS-2) manual (Part1): Modules 1–4. Torrance, CA: Western Psychological Services.Google Scholar
  22. Lounds, J. T., & Seltzer, M. M. (2010). Changes in the behavioral phenotype during the transition to adulthood. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 40, 1431–1446.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-010-1005-z.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Matthews, N. L., Orr, B. C., Warriner, K., DeCarlo, M., Sorensen, M., Laflin, J., & Smith, C. J. (2018). Exploring the effectiveness of a peer-mediated model of the PEERS curriculum: A pilot randomized control trial. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 48(7), 2458–2475.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. Orsmond, G. L., Shattuck, P. T., Cooper, B. P., Sterzing, P. R., & Anderson, K. A. (2013). Social participation among young adults with an autism spectrum disorder. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 43, 2710–2719.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-013-1833-8.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  25. Ostmeyer, K., & Scarpa, A. (2012). Examining school-based social skills program needs and barriers for students with autism spectrum disorders using participatory action research. Psychology in the Schools, 49, 932–941.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Rotheram-Fuller, E., Kasari, C., Chamberlain, B., & Locke, J. (2010). Social involvement of children with autism spectrum disorders in elementary school classrooms. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 51, 1227–1234.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-7610.2010.02289.x.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. Roux, A. M., Shattuck, P. T., Rast, J. E., Rava, J. A., & Anderson, K. A. (2015). National Autism Indicators Report: Transition into Young Adulthood. Philadelphia, PA: Life Course Outcomes Research Program, A.J. Drexel Autism Institute, Drexel University.Google Scholar
  28. Sparrow, S. S., Cicchetti, D. V., & Balla, D. A. (2005). Vineland adaptive behavior scales (2nd ed.). Circle Pines, MN: American Guidance Service.Google Scholar
  29. Symes, W., & Humphrey, N. (2010). Peer-group indicators of social inclusion among pupils with autistic spectrum disorders (ASD) in mainstream secondary schools: A comparative study. School Psychology International, 31(5), 478–494.  https://doi.org/10.1177/0143034310382496.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Vernon, T. W., Miller, A. R., Ko, J. A., Barrett, A. C., & McGarry, E. S. (2018). A randomized controlled trial of the Social Tools and Rules for Teens (START) program: An immersive socialization intervention for adolescents with autism spectrum disorder. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 48, 892–904.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Xie, H., Cairns, R. B., & Cairns, B. D. (1999). Social networks and configurations in inner-city schools: Aggression, Popularity, and Implications for Students with EBD. Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders, 7(3), 147–155.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Southwest Autism Research and Resource CenterPhoenixUSA
  2. 2.Mary Lou Fulton Teachers CollegeArizona State UniversityTempeUSA

Personalised recommendations