Karin N. Lifter
Lou J. Kruger, Jim Luiselli
Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
Department or Academic Unit
Bouvé College of Health Sciences. Department of Counseling and Applied Educational Psychology.
Counseling psychology, Autism, Social intervention, Play
Play assessment (Child psychology)--Case studies, Autistic children--Case studies
Education | Social and Behavioral Sciences
This intervention study arose from the need for social intervention for children with autism spectrum disorders, given the high incidence and prevalence of these diagnoses and their associated social deficit. Information from the cognitive developmental and behavioral perspectives was integrated in order to provide social intervention that would support participating children's engagement in socially coordinated interactions. In order to link intervention to assessment to target social coordination in the context of specific play activities, this intervention study represents a single subject across multiple baseline design. The participants were 4 students between the ages of 5 years, 7 months and 7 years with Autism or PDD-NOS. Their cognitive, language, and social development was assessed to be delayed as compared to same-aged peers. Intervention was linked to assessment by selecting intervention targets based on individualized assessment of naturally occurring social behavior. Participant's social behavior was assessed systematically to determine the behaviors at the leading edge of social development. Social behaviors selected for intervention were those that represented socially coordinated activities. Individually determined play activities provided the context for intervention in phase 2, whereas play activities in phase 1 were not specified. The children's responses to intervention varied. Each child's independent occurrence of the target behavior and prompting required to demonstrate the target behavior were assessed across all phases of intervention. Changes in the children's response to intervention between phase 1 and phase 2 were assessed. Although limited conclusions can be made about differences in response to intervention between phases 1 and 2 because of the sequential treatments design, the results indicate that the participants acquired social behaviors not demonstrated during baseline. The results of this study contribute to the literature base by describing the methods and outcomes of a social intervention that was linked to individualized assessment, targeted socially coordinated behaviors that were identified based on the children's developmental level and not arbitrary social skills, and integrated individually specific play activities as the context of intervention. Directions for future research include refining intervention procedures and developing long-term partnerships between researchers and schools.
Elizabeth A. Bissinger
Bissinger, Elizabeth A., "Social intervention and play for children with autism spectrum disorders" (2009). Counseling Psychology Dissertations. Paper 6. http://hdl.handle.net/2047/d10019595
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