Authors: Barry TD, Klinger LG, Lee JM, Palardy N, Gilmore T, Bodin SD
Title: Examining the effectiveness of an outpatient clinic-based social skills group for high-functioning children with autism
Source: Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 2003 33(6): 685-701
Year: 2003
Research Design: Case Series

Although social skills group interventions for children with autism are common in outpatient clinic settings, little research has been conducted to determine the efficacy of such treatments. This study examined the effectiveness of an outpatient clinic-based social skills group intervention with four high-functioning elementary-aged children with autism. The group was designed to teach specific social skills, including greeting, conversation, and play skills in a brief therapy format (eight sessions total). At the end of each skills-training session, children with autism were observed in play sessions with typical peers. Typical peers received peer education about ways to interact with children with autism. Results indicate that a social skills group implemented in an outpatient clinic setting was effective in improving greeting and play skills, with less clear improvements noted in conversation skills. In addition, children with autism reported increased feelings of social support from classmates at school following participation in the group. However, parent report data of greeting, conversation, and play skills outside of the clinic setting indicated significant improvements in only greeting skills. Thus, although the clinic-based intervention led to improvements in social skills, fewer changes were noted in the generalization to nonclinic settings. ©Springer

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