Category: Autism Spectrum and Developmental Disorders
Teaching social skills to children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in naturalistic settings is a necessary step to help ensure the generalization and maintenance of these important skills. The present study examined a novel conversational skills instruction package including visual aids (a spin wheel displaying pictures of peers and pictures of conversation topics) and behavioral skills training to teach three students with ASD to initiate and respond to conversational bids from peers during lunchtime. Effects of the intervention were evaluated using a multiple baseline design across students. Within 13 lunchtime sessions, all students were independent in using the spin wheel to initiate conversation with peers. Fading of conversational visual aids occurred in a step-wise progression. The intervention package has been successful for two students who have shown independent and flexible conversation skills at lunchtime with peers. The third student has shown rigidity in question asking to peers. A lag reinforcement schedule procedure will be implemented to examine its effect on improving flexible question asking. Data collection is ongoing and additional results will be presented.