Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Improving social competence in children with autism spectrum disorders through a combined -strategy group intervention: A pilot study
by Sotelo, Marlene, Ed.D., Nova Southeastern University, 2009, 60; 3405466
Abstract (Summary)

This applied dissertation investigated whether a combined-strategy group intervention improved social competence among children with autism spectrum disorders. Individuals with autism spectrum disorders exhibit deficits in social behaviors that may negatively impact all aspects of their lives. Social competence for individuals with autism spectrum disorders is essential for successful integration into society, the development and maintenance of meaningful friendships, and long-term positive outcomes. The research question investigated was, Does a combined-strategy group intervention program improve social competence in children with autism spectrum disorders?

Eighteen children with a confirmed diagnosis of an autism spectrum disorder between the ages of 4 and 6 were selected for participation through convenience sampling. A total of 16 participants and their parents completed the study. A total of 16 one-hour group sessions were conducted during an 8-week period. Combined strategies used during each group intervention included social stories, video modeling, written text and picture cues, a token economy, structured and predictable routines, and parent participation. Instruction for parents of participants was delivered the week prior to the first group session. Parents observed 12 sessions and facilitated play activities and social interactions during the final four sessions.

A quasi-experimental pretest-posttest design was used to determine if a statistically significant difference was obtained on total T scores on the Social Responsiveness Scale given subsequent to participation in the group intervention. Results of a paired-samples t test indicated significant differences in preintervention and postintervention test scores for total T-scores, as well as all five treatment subscales of the Social Responsiveness Scale. Results suggested that the combined-strategies group intervention may have improved social competence in participants.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Johnson, Hardwick Smith
School: Nova Southeastern University
School Location: United States -- Florida
Source: DAI-A 71/04, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Behavioral psychology, Educational psychology, Special education
Keywords: Autism, Autism spectrum disorders, Combined-strategy group intervention, Group intervention, Social competence
Publication Number: 3405466
ISBN: 9781109711516
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