Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The Effectiveness of a Social Story Intervention in Decreasing Disruptive Behavior in Autistic Children
by Watts, Kari S., Ph.D., The Ohio State University, 2008, 107; 10631372
Abstract (Summary)

Social skills deficits are a defining feature of children with autism. Over the last decade Social Stories, personalized brief fables with a lesson, have been used with autistic children. The rationale behind Social Stories is that they can provide autistic children with social information they are lacking, and thus can modify their social responses in social situations. However, studies addressing the efficacy of Social Stories (Gray, 2000) have been mixed. Critiques of the existing Social Story research show that the majority of stories deviate from recommended Social Story ratios, are confounded by the use of additional intervention strategies that are used at the same time as the Social Story intervention, or do not provide adequate descriptions of the participants' communicative and cognitive skills even though the developer of Social Stories stated that they were more likely to benefit students with basic language skills and higher intelligence (Reynhout & Carter, 2006; Kuoch & Mirenda, 2003). Even though studies have been inconclusive, researchers have begun to modify populations that Social Stories are used for and the methods in which they are delivered, which is premature since the basic intervention has yet to be validated as effective.

This study controlled for many of the limitations criticized in previous Social Story literature. The present study used a multiple baseline design across six subjects diagnosed with Autistic Disorder who scored above 55 on the PPVT-III and were capable of verbal speech. Furthermore, in the study teachers were not aware when students started the intervention. Thus, potential decreases in students' disruptive behaviors were ostensibly not due to an increase in additional teacher prompting or an increase in teacher attention. The undergraduate students who coded the data were similarly unaware of when students began treatment so that it could not influence coding behavior. Results indicated there was no significant decrease in number or duration of disruptive classroom behaviors as a result of a Social Story intervention alone. Although frequency of teacher directives did decrease after treatment started, based on the fact that overall behaviors did not show a significant decrease either in number or duration, these results may be spurious. It may be that teacher directives decreased due to the mere fact that teachers knew their behavior was being recorded and were more aware of comments they were making.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Beck, Steven J.
Commitee: Beck, Steven J. J., Lecavalier, Luc, Vasey, Michael W.
School: The Ohio State University
Department: Psychology
School Location: United States -- Ohio
Source: DAI-B 78/11(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Social psychology, Developmental psychology, Psychology
Keywords: Autism, Autistic children, Social skills, Social stories
Publication Number: 10631372
ISBN: 9780355016246
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