Thursday, December 1, 2011

Training Peers Helps Autistic Kids With Social Interactions

Training classmates of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in ways to improve social interaction resulted in more long-lasting social connections than training only the children with ASD, according to a new report from the National Institute of Mental Health published online November 28 in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. Children in the study were assigned to four groups. In one, children with ASD were trained to practice social skills. In another, three “typically developing” children were trained in engaging students with social difficulties, but the ASD students received no training. In the third, both groups were trained, and in the fourth, no students were trained.

“The findings suggest that peer-mediated interventions can provide better and more persistent outcomes than child-focused strategies, and that child-focused interventions may only be effective when paired with peer-mediated intervention,” said the researchers.

To read more about autism spectrum disorder, see Psychiatric News.
(Image: Anatoliiy Samara/