Authors: Barber AB, Saffo RW, Gilpin AT, Craft LD, Goldstein H
Title: Peers as clinicians: Examining the impact of Stay Play Talk on social communication in young preschoolers with autism
Source: Journal of Communication Disorders 2016 59: 1-15
Year: 2016
Research Design: Single Case Design

Background: Peer Mediated Interventions (PMIs) can be incorporated into integrated early childhood and preschool settings to address socialization impairments observed in children with ASD (Katz & Girolametto, 2013). However, research examining specific PMI strategies with young preschoolers remains limited. Objective: The current study examines the efficacy of the Stay, Play, Talk PMI (English, Shafer, Goldstein, & Kaczmerek, 1997) on the social communication skills of young preschool children diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Method: Each of 3 typically developing children (ages 3–5 years) was paired with a child with an ASD (ages 3–4 years). Typically developing peers were taught to Stay with their friend, Play with their friend, and Talk to their friend. The child dyads played together during two, 20-min weekly sessions for 6–8 weeks. A multiple baseline design across participants was implemented to measure the impact of the Stay Play Talk strategies on social initiations and responses characterized by non-coordinated gestures, gestures, and words. Simulation Modeling Analysis was also conducted to confirm visual analysis. Results: All 3 typical peer buddies and all 3 target children with ASD demonstrated increases in the frequency of their responses, reaching levels that greatly exceeded baseline levels. Further, social reciprocations increased among each dyad above baseline. Social initiations remained variable across dyads. Gains were not maintained two months post intervention. Conclusion: Results of this study corroborated previous findings that support the usefulness of PMIs to improve social communication of young children with ASD (Chan et al., 2009) and suggest an economical, naturally occurring approach to improve social communication during early childhood.

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