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Recess is Time-in: Using Peers to Improve Social Skills of Children with Autism

Abstract

Children with autism face enormous struggles when attempting to interact with their typically developing peers. More children are educated in integrated settings; however, play skills usually need to be explicitly taught, and play environments must be carefully prepared to support effective social interactions. This study incorporated the motivational techniques of Pivotal Response Training through peer-mediated practice to improve social interactions for children with autism during recess activities. A multiple baseline design across subjects was used to assess social skills gains in two elementary school children. The results demonstrated an increase in important social skills, namely social initiations and turn taking, during recess.

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Acknowledgments

The authors wish to thank the school, teachers, children and their families for their participation in this study. We are grateful for your dedication to improve the lives of all children at school. This article is based on a thesis completed by the first author for the degree of Master of Arts in Special Education with an emphasis in Autism at California State University, Los Angeles.

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Correspondence to Jennifer B. G. Symon.

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Harper, C.B., Symon, J.B.G. & Frea, W.D. Recess is Time-in: Using Peers to Improve Social Skills of Children with Autism. J Autism Dev Disord 38, 815–826 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-007-0449-2

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Keywords

  • Autism
  • Peer-mediated strategies
  • Inclusion
  • Social skills
  • School intervention
  • Peer interactions
  • Pivotal Response Training
  • Initiations