Prompting Social Interactions

Promoting positive social interactions between students with ASD and their peers in the inclusive school setting is critical to the development of appropriate peer relations. Owen-DeSchryver, Carr, Cale, and Blakely-Smith (2008) evaluated the impact of a peer training intervention on three elementary school students with ASD. The students with ASD and four typical students were exposed to training sessions designed to promote increased social interactions. Owen-DeSchryver et al. found that treatment increased not only social initiations but also initiations with untrained peers. However, they did not conduct a qualitative analysis of the social interactions, which should have been imperative because students with ASD often engage in unilateral socialization, resulting in short, one-sided conversations.

AEF has implemented and continues to apply programs to promote positive social interactions, as well as eliminate inappropriate social interactions. AEF continually monitors the students’ social interactions throughout the day and even record the frequency of positive and negative interactions for each student.  The students are then assigned to specific social skill classes based on the deficit areas identified through observations and recordings. The majority of students at AEF have developed the ability to conduct appropriate social interactions; however, they have learned how to cope with these situations by rote and often have not actually developed the true social skills needed; the lack of transference from situation to situation has been and remains a problem.