Evaluation of a social skills intervention for children with Asperger's syndrome
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts
Research has identified that deficits in social functioning are central to the presentation of Asperger's syndrome, and suggests that social skills training is a plausible and appropriate intervention to address these deficits. Social skills training with an identified Asperger's syndrome population and the development of a method for evaluating specific skill acquisition while participating within the group was undertaken for the present study. Amultiple baseline across behaviours design was used to evaluate the effect of a social skills programme on three target behaviours in four boys with Asperger's syndrome. The eight week programme was highly structured and taught conversation related social skills which were presented as useful rules or strategies. Three target behaviours; attending, initiating, and reciprocity were measured using a behaviour coding system to evaluate specific skill acquisition. Results varied between subjects but demonstrated a specific treatment effect in six of the twelve total measures. Nonspecific treatment factors were also recognised as influential in the improvements identified. The results also raise the possibility that individuals with differently subtypes of Asperger's syndrome may respond differently to social skills training. The results presented are consistent with the limited number of similar studies and lends support to the future use of social skills training groups for individuals with Asperger's syndrome.