Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

An Exploration of the Generalization of Conversational Social Skills for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder within a Self-Contained Educational Setting
by Parmeley, Sara L., Ed.D., Lindenwood University, 2015, 191; 3734001
Abstract (Summary)

The researcher taught students with autism 14 years in a public school. For years, her students were part of a social language class and a recess playgroup with typical peers. Though the therapists facilitating those groups observed progress, the researcher witnessed no real-life application outside of class.

Students with high-functioning autism had a diagnosis that included poor or lacking social skills and a language delay. Research stated that students on the autism spectrum must be taught social skills and could not be expected to 'pick up' skills through simple observation. In order for people to have relationships, go to college, obtain jobs, or marry, they must have adequate social skills.

The treatment in this study taught conversational skills using a structured Conversation Game (Brinton, Robinson, & Fujiki, 2004) paired with the LinguiSystems workbook, Spotlight on Socials Skills (adolescents): Conversations (LoGiudice & Johnson, 2008). The treatment took place in a self-contained setting to teach participants social skills, and then used scripts to aid the participants in generalizing the skills to unstructured settings. This study included four boys with an educational diagnosis of autism, who were at or near grade level. The treatment strived for generalization and maintenance of social skills to unstructured areas.

Data collection involved students' individual educational program goals, parent interviews and surveys, student pre-and post-interviews, worksheets, homework, the Empathy and Social-Skills pre-and post-tests, and the JobTips Assessment. The researcher took data regarding individual conversation skills, such as the number of comments, introductions, and closings, and the number of off-topic remarks, while a paraprofessional tracked data on the physical aspect of conversation, including eye contact, body language, facial expressions, and emotions.

All participants completed the LinguiSystems workbook, phase 2 by displaying appropriate verbal and physical aspects of conversation with other participants, and phase 3 by adding typical peers to the conversation. Three of the four participants were able to generalize social skills in the cafeteria and one generalized to recess. Fifty percent of the treatment population maintained their social skills. The LinguiSystems workbook paired with frequent conversational practice and feedback helped to generalize social skills for students with ASD.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Leavitt, Lynda
Commitee: Freeman, Janis, Wisdom, Sherrie
School: Lindenwood University
Department: Education
School Location: United States -- Missouri
Source: DAI-A 77/03(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Educational sociology, Educational psychology, Special education, Social structure
Keywords: Autism, Autism spectrum disorder, Conversational social skills, Self-contained educational setting, Social skills
Publication Number: 3734001
ISBN: 9781339224558
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