Social Skills Interventions for Children with Asperger’s Syndrome or High-Functioning Autism: A Review and Recommendations

Hershey Medical Center, Pennsylvania State Hershey College of Medicine, H073, 500 University Drive, Hershey, PA 17033, USA.
Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders (Impact Factor: 3.34). 03/2008; 38(2):353-61. DOI: 10.1007/s10803-007-0402-4
Source: PubMed


This paper reviews the literature examining social skills training (SST) programs for youth with AS/HFA, with an emphasis on critically evaluating efficacy and highlighting areas of future research. The review highlights the disparity between SST programs described in the extant literature, including lack of a universal definition of social skills, various levels of intensity and duration of treatment, divergent theoretical backgrounds, and variety in services provided in clinic or classroom settings. Overall, it is clear that, despite their widespread clinical use, empirical support for SST programs for children with AS/HFA is minimal at this time. Based on this critical review, a "roadmap" for future research, consistent with recommendations put forth by a leading group of autism researchers, is presented.

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    • "Indeed, prior work has shown that the development of social skills encompasses a complex and delicate interaction between several elements, such as smiling, eye contact, imitation, joint attention, language, and the observer's own motor system among others. These elements play a role in the accomplishment of positive developmental outcomes, including peer acceptance, academic achievement, and mental health (Rao et al., 2008). Although this temporal sequence encompasses changes that can be observed at both neural and behavioral levels, the literature about social development has drawn up different concepts over the years. "
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    ABSTRACT: Social skills refer to a wide group of abilities that allow us to interact and communicate with others. Children learn how to solve social situations by predicting and understanding other's behaviors. The way in which humans learn to interact successfully with others encompasses a complex interaction between neural, behavioral, and environmental elements. These have a role in the accomplishment of positive developmental outcomes, including peer acceptance, academic achievement, and mental health. All these social abilities depend on widespread brain networks that are recently being studied by neuroscience. In this paper, we will first review the studies on this topic, aiming to clarify the behavioral and neural mechanisms related to the acquisition of social skills during infancy and their appearance in time. Second, we will briefly describe how developmental diseases like Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) can inform about the neurobiological mechanisms of social skills. We finally sketch a general framework for the elaboration of cognitive models in order to facilitate the comprehension of human social development.
    Frontiers in Neuroscience 10/2015; 9:1-16. DOI:10.3389/fnins.2015.00333 · 3.66 Impact Factor
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    • "Among the most efficacious social skills interventions, those that have used social cognitive strategies to teach social understanding, along with skills (Cappadocia and Weiss 2011; Rao et al. 2008; Wang and Spillane 2009), have been associated with maintenance of treatment outcomes and generalization of skills to other settings (Wong et al. 2015). The first efforts to increase social cognition focused on enhancing social understanding (Gray 1998) and promoting social cognitive capabilities such as ToM and basic emotion recognition (Ozonoff and Miller 1995), however, in general, improvements noted in the targeted domain did not generalize to other domains of social competency. "
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