Advanced Social Communication Skills for Young Children with Autism: a Systematic Review of Single-Case Intervention Studies

  • Sarah G. Hansen
  • Rebecca J. Frantz
  • Wendy Machalicek
  • Tracy J. Raulston
Review Paper


The extant literature on social communication interventions for young children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has been well reviewed. However, current reviews of the literature indicate more research is needed on advanced social skills for young children with ASD. These more complex social skills, such as sustaining a conversation, showing empathy, or telling a joke, are critical for peer acceptance in the elementary school years. In the current paper, we reviewed the existing single-case literature on social communication interventions for advanced social skills for young (4–12-year-old) children with ASD. We define advanced social skills using the task analysis of the Social Behavior and Social Play—Level 3 subsection of the Verbal Behavior Milestones Assessment and Placement Program (VB-MAPP). Electronic database searches of Education Resources Information Center (ERIC), Academic Search Premier, and PsycINFO were conducted. Results revealed a library of useful interventions for a specific set of social communication skills; however, some crucial skills for children with ASD were missing from the results. Directions for future research and practice are discussed.


Autism spectrum disorder Social skills Social pragmatics Intervention 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

This article does not contain any studies with humans or animals performed by any of the authors.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Early Childhood Special Education, College of Education & Human DevelopmentGeorgia State UniversityAtlantaUSA
  2. 2.University of OregonEugeneUSA

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