Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 34, Issue 6, pp 649–668 | Cite as

A Social Adjustment Enhancement Intervention for High Functioning Autism, Asperger’s Syndrome, and Pervasive Developmental Disorder NOS

  • Marjorie Solomon
  • Beth L. Goodlin-Jones
  • Thomas F. Anders

Abstract

This paper reports the findings of a 20-week social adjustment enhancement curriculum for boys aged 8–12. The curriculum was designed to address three areas hypothesized to be deficient in persons with HFA, AS, and PDDNOS: emotion recognition and understanding; theory of mind; and executive functions/real life type problem solving. Parents attended a semi-structured concurrent psychoeducational training meeting during children’s sessions. Statistically significant improvements in facial expression recognition, and problem solving were reported for intervention group children compared to waiting list control group children. For the intervention group (the only group for whom data were available), older and less cognitively able boy’s scores on a depression inventory decreased significantly more than younger children’s. Mother’s depression scores tended to decrease and there were significant reductions in child problem behaviors reported. Results are discussed in the context of individual differences in participant cognitive levels and profiles, symptom severity, and affect-related variables.

Keywords

High functioning autism Asperger’s syndrome PDDNOS social skills intervention training groups 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Adolphs, R., Sears, L., Piven, J. 2001Abnormal processing of social information from faces in autismJournal of Cognitive Neuroscience13232240Google Scholar
  2. Avia, M. D., Ruiz, M. A., Olivares, M. E., Crespo, M., Guisan, M. 1996The meaning of psychological symptoms: Effectiveness of a group intervention with hypochondriacal patientsBehavior Research and Therapy342331Google Scholar
  3. APA2000Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders IV: Text revision4American Psychiatric AssociationWashington, D.C.Google Scholar
  4. Baron-Cohen, S., O’Riordan, M., Stone, V., Jones, R., Plaisted, K. 1999Recognition of faux pas by normally developing children with Asperger syndrome or high-functioning autismJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders29407418Google Scholar
  5. Baron-Cohen, S., Wheelwright, S., Hill, J., Raste, Y., Plumb, I. 2001The “Reading the mind in the eyes” Test revised version: A study with normal adults, and adults with Asperger syndrome or high-functioning autismJournal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry42241251Google Scholar
  6. Bauminger, N. 2002The facilitation of social-emotional understanding and social interaction in high-functioning children with autism: Intervention outcomesJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders32283298Google Scholar
  7. Bauminger, N., Kasari, C. 1999Brief report: Theory of mind in high-functioning children with autismJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders298186Google Scholar
  8. Beck, A. T. 1970Depression: Causes and treatmentUniversity of Pennsylvania PressPhiladelphiaGoogle Scholar
  9. Beck, A. T. 1987Beck depression inventory: Manual.Psychological CorporationSan Antonio, TXGoogle Scholar
  10. Berninger, V.W., Richards, T.L. 2002Brain Literacy for EducatorsAcademic PressSan DiegoGoogle Scholar
  11. Bloomquist, M. L. 1996Skills training for children with behavior disorders: A parent and therapist guidebookGuilford PressNew YorkGoogle Scholar
  12. Boyd, B. A. 2002Examining the relationship between stress and lack of social support in mothers of children with autismFocus on Autsim and Other Developmental Disabilities17208216Google Scholar
  13. Bowler, D. M., Matthews, N. J., Gardiner, J. M. 1997Asperger’s syndrome and memory: Similarity to autism but not amnesiaNeuropsychologia356570Google Scholar
  14. Bowler, D. M., Strom, E. 1998Elicitation of first-order “theory of mind” in children with autismAutism23344Google Scholar
  15. Boyce, W. T., Quas, J., Alkon, A., Smider, N. A., Essex, M. J., Kupfer, D. J., MacArthur Assessment Battery Working, G. 2001Autonomic reactivity and psychopathology in middle childhoodBritish Journal of Psychiatry179144150Google Scholar
  16. Braverman, M., Fein, D., Lucci, D., Waterhouse, L. 1989Affect comprehension in children with pervasive developmental disordersJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders19301316Google Scholar
  17. Buitelaar, J. K., Wees, M., Swaag-Barneveld, H., Gaag, R. J. 1999Theory of mind and emotion-recognition functioning in autistic spectrum disorders and in psychiatric control and normal childrenDevelopment and Psychopathology113958Google Scholar
  18. Capps, L., Rasco, L., Losh, M., Heerey, E. 1999Understanding of self-conscious emotions in high-functioning children with autismAlbuquerqueNew MexicoPaper presented at the Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research in Child DevelopmentGoogle Scholar
  19. Capps, L., Yirmiya, N., Sigman, M. 1992Understanding of simple and complex emotions in nonretarded children with autismJournal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry3311691182Google Scholar
  20. Chakrabarti, S., Fombonne, E. 2001Pervasive developmental disorders in preschool childrenJAMA2430933099Google Scholar
  21. Channon, S., Charman, T., Heap, J., Crawford, S., Rios, P. 2001Real-life-type problem-solving in Asperger’s syndromeJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders31461469Google Scholar
  22. Cohen, J. 1988Statistical power analysis for the behavioral sciences2ErlbaumHillsdale, N. J.Google Scholar
  23. Cohen, J., Cohen, P., West, S. G., Aiken, L. S. 2003Applied multiple rergression/correlation analysis for the behavioral sciences.ErlbaumMahwah, New JerseyGoogle Scholar
  24. Dunn, M. E., Burbine, T., Bowers, C. A., Tantleff-Dunn, S. 2001Moderators of stress in parents of children with autismCommunity Mental Health Journal373952Google Scholar
  25. Elliott, S. A., Brown, J. S. L. 2002What are we doing to waiting list controls?Behavior Research and Therapy2010471052Google Scholar
  26. Faherty, C. 2000What does it mean to me?Future Horizons, IncArlington, TXGoogle Scholar
  27. Frankel, F. 1996Good friends are hard to find: Help your child find, make and keep friendsPerspective PublishingLos AngelesGoogle Scholar
  28. Friedrick, F., Rader, S. 1996

    Component process analysis in experimental and clinical neuropsychology

    Marirish, M.Moses, J. eds. Theoretical Foundations of Clinical Neuropsychology for Clinical PractitionersLawrence ErlbaumHillsdale, N.J.
    Google Scholar
  29. Frith, U. 1989Autism: Explaining the enigma.BeachwellCambridge, MAGoogle Scholar
  30. Frith, U., Happe, F. 1999Theory of mind and self-consciousness: What is it like to be autisticMind & Language74122Google Scholar
  31. Garcia-Winner, M. 2000Inside out: What makes a person with social cognitive deficits tick? Michelle Garcia Winner, SLP, M.A., C.C.CSan Jose, CAGoogle Scholar
  32. Garcia-Winner, M. 2002Thinking about you thinking about me.Michelle Garcia Winner, SLP, M.A., C.C.CSan Jose, CAGoogle Scholar
  33. Ghaziuddin, M., Ghaziuddin, N., Greden, J. 2002Depression in persons with autism: Implications for research and clinical careJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders32299306Google Scholar
  34. Gillot, A., Furniss, F., Walter, A. 2001Anxiety in high-functioning children with autismAutism5277286Google Scholar
  35. Gray, C. A. 1998

    Social stories and comic strip conversation with students with Asperger syndrome and high-functioning autism

    Schopler, E.Mesibov, E.Kunce, L. J. eds. Asperger Syndrome or High-Functioning Autism?Plenum PressNew York
    Google Scholar
  36. Green, J., Gilchrist, A., Burton, D., Cox, A. 2000Social and psychiatric functioning in adolescents with Asperger Syndrome compared with conduct disorderJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders30279293Google Scholar
  37. Greenspan, S. I., Wieder, S. 1998The child with special needs: Encouraging intellectual and emotional growth.Perseus BooksReading, MAGoogle Scholar
  38. Grice, H. 1975

    Logic and conversation

    Davidson, D.Harmon, G. eds. The Logic of GrammarDickinsonEncino, CA
    Google Scholar
  39. Grossman, J. B., Klin, A., Carter, A., Volkmar, F. R. 2000Verbal bias in recognition of facial emotions in children with Asperger SyndromeJournal of Child Psychology & Psychiatry & Allied Disciplines41369379Google Scholar
  40. Gutstein, S. E. 2000Autism Aspergers: Solving the relationship puzzleFuture Horizons, IncArlington, TXGoogle Scholar
  41. Gutstein, S. E., Sheely, R. K. 2002Relationship development intervention with children, adolescents and adultsJessica KingsleyLondonGoogle Scholar
  42. Hadwin, J., Baron-Cohen, S., Howlin, P., Hill, K. 1996Can we teach children with autism to understand emotions, belief, or pretence?Development and Psychopathology8345365Google Scholar
  43. Happe, F. G. E. 1994An advanced test of theory of mind: Understanding of story characters’ thoughts and feelings by able autistic, mentally handicapped, and normal children and adultsJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders24129154Google Scholar
  44. Happe, F. G. E. 1995The role of age and verbal ability in the theory of mind performance of subjects with autismChild Development66843855Google Scholar
  45. Hastings, R. P., Brown, R. 2002Behavior problems of children with autism, parental self-efficacy, and mental healthAmerican Journal on Mental Retardation107222232Google Scholar
  46. Hobson, R. P. 1986aThe autistic child’s appraisal of expressions of emotion: A further studyJournal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry2671680Google Scholar
  47. Hobson, R. P. 1986bThe autistic child’s appraisal of expressions of emotionJournal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry27321342Google Scholar
  48. Hobson, R. P. 1990On acquiring knowledge about people and the capacity to pretend: Response to Leslie (1987)Psychological Review97114121Google Scholar
  49. Howlin, P. 2003Outcome in high-functioning adults with autism with and without early language delays: Implications for the differentiation between autism and Asperger SyndromeJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders33313Google Scholar
  50. Howlin, P., Yates, P. 1999The potential effectiveness of social skills groups for adults with autismAutism3299307Google Scholar
  51. Hughes, C. 2001

    Executive dysfunction in autism: Its nature and implications for the everyday problems experienced by individuals with autism

    Burack, J. A.Charman, R. T.Yirmiya, N.Zelazo, P. R. eds. The development of autismErlbaumMahwah, New Jersey255275
    Google Scholar
  52. Ickes, W. 1997Empathic accuracyGuilford PressNew YorkGoogle Scholar
  53. Johnson, P. F. 1998Crash course for problem solving.Lingui Systems, IncEast Moline, ILGoogle Scholar
  54. Jolliffe, T., Baron-Cohen, S. 1999The strange stories test: A replication with high-functioning adults with autism or Asperger syndromeJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders29395406Google Scholar
  55. Kaland, N., Moller-Nielsen, A., Callesen, K., Mortensen, E. L., Gottlieb, D., Smith, L 2002A new “advanced” test of theory of mind: Evidence from children and adolescents with Asperger syndromeJournal of Child Psychology, Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines43517528Google Scholar
  56. Kim, J. A., Szatmari, P., Bryson, S. E., Streiner, D. L., Wilson, F. J. 2000The prevalence of anxiety and mood problems among children with autism and Asperger SyndromeAutism4117132Google Scholar
  57. Kovacs, M. 1992Children’s Depression Inventory (CDI), manual.Multi-Health Systems, IncNorth Tonawanda, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  58. Krasny, L., Williams, B. J., Provencal, S., Ozonoff, S. 2003Social skills interventions for the autism spectrum: Essential ingredients and a model currriculumChild and Adolescent Psychiatry Clinics of North America12107122Google Scholar
  59. Levenson, R. W., Ruef, A. M. 1992Empathy: A physiological substrateJournal of Personality and Social Psychology63234246Google Scholar
  60. Liss, M., Fein, D., Allen, D., Dunn, M., Feinstein, C., Morris, R., Waterhoue, L., Rapin, I. 2001Executive functioning in high-functioning children with autismJournal of Child Psychology, Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines42261270Google Scholar
  61. Liss, M., Harel, B., Fein, D., Allen, D., Dunn, M., Feinstein, C., Morris, R., Waterhouse, L., Rapin, I. 2001Predictors and correlates of adaptive functioning in children with developmental disordersJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders31209230Google Scholar
  62. Lord, C., Risi, S., Lambrecht, L., Cook, E. H.,Jr., Leventhal, B. L., DiLavore, P. C., Pickles, A., Rutter, M. 2000The Autism diagnostic observation schedule—generic: A standard measure of social and communication deficits associated with the spectrum of autismJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders30205223Google Scholar
  63. Lord, C., Rutter, M., Couteur, A. 1994Autism diagnostic interview—revised: A revised version of a diagnostic interview for caregivers of individuals with possible pervasive developmental disordersJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders24659685Google Scholar
  64. Marlowe, W. B. 2000An intervention for children with disorders of executive functionsDevelopmental Neuropsychology18445454Google Scholar
  65. Marriage, K. J., Gordon, V., Brand, L. 1995A social skills group for boys with Asperger’s syndromeAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry295862Google Scholar
  66. McAfee, J. 2001Navigating the Social World: A Curriculum for Individuals with Asperger Syndrome, High Functioning Autism, and related disordersFuture HorizonsTexasGoogle Scholar
  67. McConnell, N., LoGiudice, C. 1998That’s life! social language.LinguiSystems, IncEast Moline, ILGoogle Scholar
  68. McConnell, S. R. 2002Interventions to facilitate social interaction for young children with autism: Review of available research and recommendations for educational intervention and future researchJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders32351372Google Scholar
  69. Mesibov, G. B. 1984Social skills training with verbal autistic adolescents and adults: A program modelJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders14395404Google Scholar
  70. Mesibov, G. B. 1986

    A cognitive program for teaching social behaviors to verbal autistic adolescents and adults

    Schopler, E.Mesibov, E.Kunce, L. J. eds. Social Behavior in AutismPlenum PressNew York265283
    Google Scholar
  71. Mesibov, G. B. 1992

    Treatment issues with high-functioning adolescents and adults with autism

    Schopler, E.Mesibov, E.Kunce, L. J. eds. High-Functioning Individuals with AutismPlenum PressNew York143155
    Google Scholar
  72. Mesibov, G. B., & Lord, C. Some thoughts on social skills training for children, adolescents, and adults with autism. Unpublished Manuscript.Google Scholar
  73. Mesibov, G. B., Wooten, M. 1986

    Social skills training for elementary school autistic children with normal peers

    Schopler, E.Mesibov, E.Kunce, L. J. eds. Social Behavior in AutismPlenum PressNew York305319
    Google Scholar
  74. Mottron, L., Morasse, K., Belleville, S. 2001A study of memory functioning in individuals with autismJournal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry42253260Google Scholar
  75. Nowicki, S., Carton, J. 1993The measurement of emotional intensity from facial expressionsJournal of Social Psychology133749750Google Scholar
  76. Nowicki, S., Duke, M. 1992Helping the Child Who Doesn’t Fit InPeachtree PublishersAtlanta, GAGoogle Scholar
  77. Nyden, A., Gillberg, C., Hjelmquist, E., Heiman, M. 1999Executive function/attention deficits in boys with Asperger Syndrome, Attention disorder and Reading/Writing disorderAutism3213228Google Scholar
  78. O’Hara, M. W., Stuart, S., Gorman, L. L., Wenzel, A. 2000Efficacy of interpersonal psychotherapy for post-partum depressionArchives of General Psychiatry5710391045Google Scholar
  79. Ozonoff, S. 1995

    Executive functions in autism

    Schopler, E.Mesibov, G. B. eds. Learning and cognition in autismPlenum PressNew York, NY, US199219
    Google Scholar
  80. Ozonoff, S. 1998

    Assessment and remediation of executive dysfunction in autism and Asperger syndrome

    Schopler, E.Mesibov, E.Kunce, L. J. eds. Asperger Syndrome or High-Functioning Autism?Plenum PressNew York
    Google Scholar
  81. Ozonoff, S., Dawson, G., McPartland, J. 2002A parent’s guide to asperger syndrome and high-functioning autismGuilfordNew YorkGoogle Scholar
  82. Ozonoff, S., Griffith, E. 2000

    Neuropsychological function and the external valididty of Asperger Syndrome

    Klin, A.Volkmar, F.Sparrow, S. eds. Asperger SyndromeGuilfordNew York
    Google Scholar
  83. Ozonoff, S., Miller, J. N. 1995Teaching theory of mind: A new approach to social skills training for individuals with autismJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders25415433Google Scholar
  84. Ozonoff, S., Pennington, B. F., Rogers, S. J. 1991Executive function deficits in high-functioning autistic individuals: Relationship to theory of mindJournal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry3210811105Google Scholar
  85. Ozonoff, S., Rogers, S. J., Pennington, B. 1990Are there emotion perception deficits in young autistic children?Journal of Child Psychology, Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines31343361Google Scholar
  86. Pennington, B. F. 1991Diagnosing learning disorders: A neuropsychological frameworkGuilford PressNew YorkGoogle Scholar
  87. Pennington, B. F. 2002The Development of PsychopathologyGuilfordNew YorkGoogle Scholar
  88. Pennington, B. F., Ozonoff, S. 1996Executive functions and developmental psychopathologyJournal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines375187Google Scholar
  89. Perner, J., Frith, U., Leslie, A. M., Leekam, S. R. 1989Exploration of the autistic child’s theory of mind: Knowledge, belief, and communicationChild Development60689700Google Scholar
  90. Piven, J., Palmer, P. 1999Psychiatric disorder and the broad autism phenotype: Evidence from a family study of multiple-incidence autism familiesAmerican Journal of Psychiatry156557563Google Scholar
  91. Pope, K. K. 1993The pervasive developmental disorder spectrum: A case illustrationBulletin of the Menninger Clinic57100117Google Scholar
  92. Prior, M. 2000Guest Editorial: Special issue on Asperger syndromeAutism458Google Scholar
  93. Reynolds, W. M., Gould, J. W. 1981A psychometric investigation of the standard and short form Beck Depression InventoryJournal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology49306307Google Scholar
  94. Rinehart, N. J., Bradshaw, J. L., Moss, S. A., Brereton, A. V., Tonge, B. J. 2001A deficit in shifting attention present in high-functioning autism but not Asperger’s disorderAutism56780Google Scholar
  95. Rourke, B. 1995Syndrome of Nonverbal Learning DisabilitiesGuildford PressNew YorkGoogle Scholar
  96. Rutherford, M.D., Baron-Cohen, S., Wheelwright, S. 2002Reading the mind in the voice: A study with normal adults and adults with Asperger syndrome and high functioning autismJournal of Autism & Developmental Disorders32189194Google Scholar
  97. Schaefer, C. E.Briesmeister, J. M. eds. 1989Handbook of parent training: Parents as co-therapists for children’s behavior problems.WileyNew York, NYGoogle Scholar
  98. Schopler, E.Mesibov, G. B.Kunce, L. J. eds. 1998Asperger syndrome or high-functioning autism?Plenum PressNew YorkGoogle Scholar
  99. Serra, M., Althaus, M., Sonneville, L. M. J., Stant, A. D., Jackson, A. E., Menderaa, R. B. 2003Face recognition in children with a pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specifiedJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders33303317Google Scholar
  100. Serra, M., Loth, F. L., Geert, P. L. C., Hurkens, E., Menderaa, R. B. 2003Theory of mind in children with ‘lesser variants’ of autism: A longitudinal studyJournal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry43885900Google Scholar
  101. Stoddart, K. P. 1999Adolescents with Asperger syndromeAutism3255271Google Scholar
  102. Swettenham, J. G., Baron-Cohen, S., Gomez, J.-C., Walsh, S. 1996What’s inside someone’s head? Conceiving of the mind as a camera helps children with autism acquire an alternative to a theory of mindCognitive Neuropsychiatry17388Google Scholar
  103. Tantum, D., Monaghan, L., Nicholson, H., Stirling, J. 1989Autistic children’s ability to interpret faces: A research noteJournal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry30623630Google Scholar
  104. Torisky, C. V. 1992

    Criticism and the autistic person

    Schopler, E.Mesibov, E. eds. High-Functioning Individuals with AutismPlenum PressNew York
    Google Scholar
  105. Tunali, B., Power, T. G. 2002Coping by redefinition: Cognitive appraisals in mothers of children with autism and children without autismJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders322534Google Scholar
  106. Twachtman-Cullen, D. 2000

    More able children with autism spectrum disorders: Sociocommunicative challenges and guidelines for enhancing abilities

    Wetherby, A. M.Prizant, B. M. eds. Autism Spectrum DisordersPaul H. Brooks Publishing CoBaltimore, MD225249vol. 9
    Google Scholar
  107. Volkmar, F. R., Klin, A., Schultz, R. T., Rubin, E., Bronen, R. 2000Asperger’s disorderAmerican Journal of Psychiatry157262267Google Scholar
  108. Williams, T. I. 1989A social skills group for autistic childrenJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders19143155Google Scholar
  109. Wolf, L. C., Noh, S., Fisman, S. N., Speechley, M 1989Brief report: Psychological effects of parenting stress on parents of autistic childrenJournal of Autism & Developmental Disorders19157166Google Scholar
  110. Yirmiya, N., Sigman, M., Kasari, C., Mundy, P. 1992Empathy and cognition in high-functioning children with autismChild Development63150160Google Scholar
  111. Zachman, L., Huisingh, R., Barrett, M., Orman, J., LoGiudice, C. 1994Elementary Test of Problem Solving, Revised: Examiner’s Manual.Lingui Systems, IncEast Moline, ILGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marjorie Solomon
    • 1
  • Beth L. Goodlin-Jones
    • 1
  • Thomas F. Anders
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry and M.I.N.D. InstituteUniversity of CaliforniaDavis

Personalised recommendations