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Utilization of a Peer Network Strategy to Teach Social Skills to Elementary Age Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0018540/00001

Material Information

Title: Utilization of a Peer Network Strategy to Teach Social Skills to Elementary Age Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder
Physical Description: 1 online resource (195 p.)
Language: english
Creator: Banner, Diane Leendertsen
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2007

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: autism, children, disorder, elementary, networks, peer, skills, social, spectrum
Special Education -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: Special Education thesis, Ed.D.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

Notes

Abstract: The purpose of this investigation was to study the effects of a peer network social skills intervention. The peer network training was implemented with students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) who are identified as high functioning and a network of their nondisabled peers. Three elementary school age students who attended Clay County Public Schools in Florida and who were diagnosed with ASD were selected to participate in the study. The students with ASD each had overall intellectual capabilities within the average range and deficits in social skills. The network peers were two nondisabled peers and an alternate peer who were classmates of each of the students with ASD. These students were chosen to be network peers based on sociometric ratings provided by their classmates and by the recommendation of their teachers endorsing that they were socially competent and good models for the students with ASD. The network social skills training included four sessions. The first was an introductory training session to introduce the nondisabled peers to the characteristics of students with ASD by focusing on their deficits in social skills. The following three training sessions included the student with ASD and his network of peers. During these sessions, social interactions as observed in conversation, taking turns, and sharing were modeled and practiced following adapted lessons and procedures stated in Skillstreaming the Elementary School Child by Ellen McGinnis and Arnold Goldstein. To measure the effects of the intervention, social interaction data were compared in two untrained settings (e.g., before school, recess, lunch). The initiations, responses, and social interactions of the students with ASD were recorded during each generalization setting and a single-subject, multiprobe multiple baseline design across participants was used to determine the effectiveness of the intervention. Results of the social validity measures completed by teachers and parents estimated varied levels of improved social functioning in the students with ASD. Due to a lack of procedural integrity while implementing the study, the results lack internal validity; therefore, conclusions cannot be made concerning the findings. While increases in social interactions were demonstrated, it is unclear what caused the increases to occur.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by Diane Leendertsen Banner.
Thesis: Thesis (Ed.D.)--University of Florida, 2007.
Local: Adviser: Conroy, Maureen A.
Local: Co-adviser: Correa, Vivian I.

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2007
System ID: UFE0018540:00001

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0018540/00001

Material Information

Title: Utilization of a Peer Network Strategy to Teach Social Skills to Elementary Age Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder
Physical Description: 1 online resource (195 p.)
Language: english
Creator: Banner, Diane Leendertsen
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2007

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: autism, children, disorder, elementary, networks, peer, skills, social, spectrum
Special Education -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: Special Education thesis, Ed.D.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

Notes

Abstract: The purpose of this investigation was to study the effects of a peer network social skills intervention. The peer network training was implemented with students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) who are identified as high functioning and a network of their nondisabled peers. Three elementary school age students who attended Clay County Public Schools in Florida and who were diagnosed with ASD were selected to participate in the study. The students with ASD each had overall intellectual capabilities within the average range and deficits in social skills. The network peers were two nondisabled peers and an alternate peer who were classmates of each of the students with ASD. These students were chosen to be network peers based on sociometric ratings provided by their classmates and by the recommendation of their teachers endorsing that they were socially competent and good models for the students with ASD. The network social skills training included four sessions. The first was an introductory training session to introduce the nondisabled peers to the characteristics of students with ASD by focusing on their deficits in social skills. The following three training sessions included the student with ASD and his network of peers. During these sessions, social interactions as observed in conversation, taking turns, and sharing were modeled and practiced following adapted lessons and procedures stated in Skillstreaming the Elementary School Child by Ellen McGinnis and Arnold Goldstein. To measure the effects of the intervention, social interaction data were compared in two untrained settings (e.g., before school, recess, lunch). The initiations, responses, and social interactions of the students with ASD were recorded during each generalization setting and a single-subject, multiprobe multiple baseline design across participants was used to determine the effectiveness of the intervention. Results of the social validity measures completed by teachers and parents estimated varied levels of improved social functioning in the students with ASD. Due to a lack of procedural integrity while implementing the study, the results lack internal validity; therefore, conclusions cannot be made concerning the findings. While increases in social interactions were demonstrated, it is unclear what caused the increases to occur.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by Diane Leendertsen Banner.
Thesis: Thesis (Ed.D.)--University of Florida, 2007.
Local: Adviser: Conroy, Maureen A.
Local: Co-adviser: Correa, Vivian I.

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2007
System ID: UFE0018540:00001


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UTILIZATION OF A PEER NETWORK STRATEGY TO TEACH SOCIAL SKILLS TO
ELEMENTARY AGE CHILDREN WITH
AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDER





















By

DIANE LEENDERTSEN BANNER


A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
DOCTOR OF EDUCATION

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA

2007







































O 2007 Diane Leendertsen Banner
























To all who nurtured my intellectual curiosity, academic interests, and sense of scholarship
throughout my lifetime, making this milestone possible









ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I thank my committee co-chairs, Dr. Maureen Conroy and Dr. Vivian Correa, for their

support through out my doctoral program and dissertation process. I would also like to thank my

family, my son and daughter, and my friends for their many words of encouragement and

forbearance. I am fortunate to have them in my life.












TABLE OF CONTENTS


page

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS .............. ...............4.....


LIST OF TABLES ............_...... ._ ...............8....


LIST OF FIGURES .............. ...............9.....


AB S TRAC T ............._. .......... ..............._ 10...


CHAPTER


1 INTRODUCTION ................. ...............12.......... ......


Overview .............. ... ...... ......... ......... .............1
Overview of Social Skills Interventions ................ ...............14........... ...
Limitations of the Research ................. ...............16................

Implications for Research ................. ...............17........... ....
Purpose of the Study ................. ...............18.......... .....
Research Question .............. ...............19....


2 REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE .............. ...............20....


O verview ............... ... ........... .... ........... .... ..... ... ... ...........2
Social Skill Deficits Associated with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) ................... ...........22
Social and Communication Skills .............. ...............23....
Peer Interactions .............. .. ...............24...
Overview of Social Skill Interventions................. ....... .... .......2
Overview of Social Skills Interventions for Children with ASD .............. ....................2
Peer-Mediated Interventions ................. ... .......... ................................3
Social Skills Groups and Peer-Inclusive Play with Adult-Mediation ................... ..........31
Peer-Mediation within Social Environments ................. ...............36................
Peer-Mediation within Learning Formats .............. ...............41....
Peer Network Systems in School Environments ................. ............. ............... ....46
Intervention Utilizing Skillstreaming the Elementary School Child............... ................51
Strengths and Limitations of Studies Reviewed ...._ ......_____ .......___ ...........5
Implications for Research ............. ...... ._ ...............57....
Purpose of the Study ............. ...... ._ ...............59...
Research Question .............. ...............59....


3 M ETHODS .............. ...............78....


Participants .............. ...............78...
Target Participants ............. ..... .._ ...............78....
Nondisabled Peer Participants ................. ...............80........... ....
Settings .............. ...............83....












Material s .............. .... ...............85..
Measurement Procedures ............_...... ...............86....

Independent Variable............... ...............86
Dependent Variables .............. ...............93....
Data Collection Procedures .............. ...............95....
Interobserver Agreement .........._.__......__ ...............95.......
D esign .........._.... ........... ...............96....
Experimental Procedures ................. ...............97....... ......
Treatment Integrity .............. ...............99....
Social Validity .............. ...............99....


4 RE SULT S ................. ...............103.............


Interobserver Agreement ............_...... ._ ...............104...
Experimental Findings ............_ ..... ..__ ...............104...
Generalization Setting 1 .............. ...............105....
Generalization Setting 2 .............. ...............108....
Sum m ary ............ ..... .._ ...............111...
Treatment Integrity ............ _...... ._ ...............111...
Mastery of Training Activities ............_ ..... ..__ ...............112..
Coaching ............ ..... .._ ...............113...
Social Validation ............ ..... .._ ...............114...
Social Skills Checklist ............ ..... .._ ...............115..
Consumer Satisfaction Survey Form ...._ ......_____ .......___ .............1
Network Satisfaction Form ............... ........___ .. ...............118..
Friendship Rating Scale and Peer Nominations Questionnaire...........__ ... ...............1 19
Summary ................. ...............121____.......

5 DI SCUS SSION ............_ ..... ..__ ............... 127..


Limitations ............ ..... .._ ...............128...
Discussion of Findings .............. ...............134....
Future Research Directions............... ..............13

Implication for Practice .............. ...............139....
Summary ............ ..... .._ ...............139...


APPENDIX


A TARGET STUDENT INFORMED ASSENT .............. ...............141....


B PARENTAL INFORMED CONSENT TARGET STUDENT ................ .....................143


C TEACHER INFORMED CONSENT............... ...............145


D FRIENDSHIP RATINTG SCALE .............. ...............147....


E PEER NOMINATIONS QUESTIONNAIRE ................. ...............148...............












F PEER INFORMED AS SENT............... ...............149


G PARENTAL INFORMED CONSENT PEER NETWORK .............. .....................151


H TREATMENT INTEGRITY................. ..............15


I NETWORK TRAINIG ................. ...............155................


J TARGET BEHAVIORS ................. ...............165................


K SOCIAL SKILLS OB SERVATION FORM ................. ...............167..............


L TARGET STUDENTS' VIDEO TAPING SCHEDULE................ ...............16


M SOCIAL SKILLS CHECKLIST .............. ...............170....


N CONSUMER SATISFACTION SURVEY FORM .............. ...............172....


O NETWORK SATISFACTION FORM ................. ...............174...............


P SOCIAL VALIDATION RESULT S ................ ...............175........... ...


LIST OF REFERENCES ................. ...............186................


BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ................. ...............195......... ......











LIST OF TABLES

Table page


2-1 Autism spectrum disorder. ........... .....__... ...............60...

2-2 Peer-mediated interventions .............. ...............61....

3 -1 T ar get partici pants ........._.__...... ..__. ..............._ 10 1.

3-2 Nondisabled peer participants .............. ...............102....

4-1 Appropriate behaviors mean percent of intervals ........................_. .................125

4-2 Inappropriate behaviors mean percent of intervals ........._._ .......__ ...............126

4-3 Mastery of activity ................. ...............126...............

P-1 Social validation results. ............. ...............176....











LIST OF FIGURES

Figure page

4-1 Generalization setting 1 .............. ...............123....

4-2 Generalization setting 2 .............. ...............124....









Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Education

UTILIZATION OF A PEER NETWORK STRATEGY TO TEACH SOCIAL SKILLS TO
ELEMENTARY AGE CHILDREN WITH
AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDER

By

Diane Leendertsen Banner

August 2007
Chair: Maureen A. Conroy
Cochair: Vivian I. Correa
Major: Special Education

The purpose of this investigation was to study the effects of a peer network social skills

intervention. The peer network training was implemented with students with Autism Spectrum

Disorder (ASD) who are identified as high functioning and a network of their nondisabled peers.

Three elementary school age students who attended Clay County Public Schools in Florida and

who were diagnosed with ASD were selected to participate in the study. The students with ASD

each had overall intellectual capabilities within the average range and deficits in social skills.

The network peers were two nondisabled peers and an alternate peer who were classmates of

each of the students with ASD. These students were chosen to be network peers based on

sociometric ratings provided by their classmates and by the recommendation of their teachers

endorsing that they were socially competent and good models for the students with ASD. The

network social skills training included four sessions. The first was an introductory training

session to introduce the nondisabled peers to the characteristics of students with ASD by

focusing on their deficits in social skills. The following three training sessions included the

student with ASD and his network of peers. During these sessions, social interactions as

observed in conversation, taking turns, and sharing were modeled and practiced following










adapted lessons and procedures stated in Skillstreaming the Elementary School Child by Ellen

McGinnis and Arnold Goldstein. To measure the effects of the intervention, social interaction

data were compared in two untrained settings (e.g., before school, recess, lunch). The initiations,

responses, and social interactions of the students with ASD were recorded during each

generalization setting and a single-subj ect, multiprobe multiple baseline design across

participants was used to determine the effectiveness of the intervention. Results of the social

validity measures completed by teachers and parents estimated varied levels of improved social

functioning in the students with ASD. Due to a lack of procedural integrity while implementing

the study, the results lack internal validity; therefore, conclusions cannot be made concerning the

findings. While increases in social interactions were demonstrated, it is unclear what caused the

increases to occur.









CHAPTER 1
INTTRODUCTION

Overview

A high quality of life for children presupposes numerous positive social interactions with

people in their environment. Imagining a functional, meaningful activity that does not contain

some degree of social interaction whether with a peer, family member, community member, or

teacher is difficult (Kennedy & Shukla, 1995). Although each environment holds potential for

interacting socially and building friendships, the potential may not always be realized. Children

with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) have a neurological disorder that impairs their social

interaction skills and while they "can be seen amidst the fabric of society, they may not always

be woven into the fabric itself' (Goldstein, 2002, p.1).

The term "Autism Spectrum Disorder" encompasses a wide spectrum of

neurodevelopmental disorders that manifest in markedly abnormal or impaired reciprocal social

interaction skills, communication skills, and a restricted repertoire of repetitive or stereotyped

behaviors, interests, or activities in comparison to their nondisabled peers as stated in the

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-Fourth Edition-Text Revision(DSM-IV-

TR; American Psychiatric Association, 2000). The core impairments associated with ASD occur

at differing levels of severity. Children toward the lower end of the spectrum may have an

associated diagnosis of mental retardation that can range from mild to profound and have

significant deficits in the three core areas of social interactions, communication, and restricted

repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behavior. Their impairment in communication is marked

and affects both verbal and nonverbal skills. Children toward the upper end of the spectrum have

average or higher intellectual abilities and exhibit fewer and milder symptoms in the three core

areas (Mayes & Calhoun, 2003). Children toward the upper end of the continuum identified as









having Asperger syndrome can be distinguished from those with Autistic Disorder by the lack of

language, language delay, or deviance in early language development. However, they

demonstrate atypical language patterns once it is acquired (American Psychiatric Association,

2000). Although children with ASD who are high functioning may have normal vocabulary and

syntax, they have difficulty with reciprocal conversations (Mayes & Calhoun, 2003), engage in

one-sided monologues about their topic of interest (Attwood, 2003; Volkmar & Klin, 2000), tend

to interpret words and meanings literally, and have difficulty using and interpreting body

language (Shaked & Yirmiya, 2003). Children with ASD who are high functioning appear to be

socially awkward and while they are able to interact with others, they lack the social skills to do

so appropriately (Mayes & Calhoun, 2003).

Children with ASD who are high functioning tend to interact better with familiar adults

while their interactions with peers remain significantly impaired (Lord & Magill, 1989). They do

not play well with similarly aged peers who are more socially demanding (Shaked & Yirmiya,

2003) and do not appear able to acquire the appropriate social skills easily through incidental

learning (Myles & Simpson, 1998). Adults, on the other hand, may continuously adapt and

structure the children's behavior and their environment in order to engage them in interactions.

Although these social interactions may lead to the development of reasonably good relationships,

the interactions remain unsophisticated (Roeyers, 1995).

Defieits in social skills have been identified as being at the heart of the disorder and have

far-reaching consequences in all areas of development and adaptation (Kennedy & Shukla, 1995;

Shaked & Yirmiya, 2003). Impairments in social skills are a principal predictor of poor peer

relations and future social competence problems. The impairment also may place a child at-risk

for emotional distress from marginalization or victimization by their peers (Attwood, 2003;









Tantam, 2003). Thus, improved social function, especially with peers, is considered one of the

most important intervention outcomes for children with ASD (Rogers, 2000; Wing, 1997).

Researchers have investigated social skill development and interventions for nondisabled

children (see Rubin & Coplan, 1992 for a review), for preschool children with developmental

disabilities (see Brown & Conroy, 2002 for a review), and for school age children with

developmental disabilities (see Kamps, Kravits, & Ross, 2002 for a review). However,

researchers are just beginning to investigate social skills for school age children who are

functioning at the upper end of the autism spectrum (see Shaked & Yirmiya, 2003 for a review).

The following section provides an overview of social skills interventions. The limitations of the

research, implications for future research, and the purpose of the present study will then be

discussed.

Overview of Social Skills Interventions

Interventions designed to increase social interactions of children experiencing difficulty in

social skills can be divided into adult-mediated and peer-mediated approaches (Kennedy &

Shukla, 1995; Laushey & Heflin, 2000). In adult-mediated interventions, an adult, often a

teacher, directly prompts and reinforces the appropriate social interaction of the target child

(Odom & Strain, 1986). While these interventions effectively increased the social interactions of

children with disabilities (McEvoy, Odom, & McConnell, 1992), the following limitations were

noted (1) social interactions developed with adults may not generalize to peer interactions

without specific peer training (Rogers, 2000), (2) research conducted in naturally occurring

contexts for children is somewhat rare (Simpson, Myles, Sasso, & Kamps, 1997), (3) children

with disabilities tend to develop a reliance on the adult's prompts and reinforcement (Odom &

Strain, 1986), (4) adult praise often disrupts ongoing interactions with peers (Odom & Strain,

1986), and (5) extensive adult prompts and training may be required to encourage nondisabled










peers to continue to engage the target student with social initiations (Odom, Hoyson, Jamieson,

& Strain, 1985).

A growing body of research underscores the potential effectiveness of peer-mediated

interventions (see Kamps, Kravits et al., 2002 for a review). In these interventions, socially

competent, nondisabled peers who usually are similarly aged are employed to solicit social

interactions with children who have disabilities. These social interactions are child-initiated and

take place within naturally occurring social contexts (Rogers, 2000). Considerable research

indicates that peer-mediated methods can be effective and efficient ways to increase social

competence in children with disabilities (see Brown & Conroy, 2002; Kamps, Kravits et al.,

2002; Shaked & Yirmiya, 2003 for reviews). Researchers and interventionists increasingly are

aware of the importance of increasing social competence, teaching social skills, supporting the

development of relationships with others, and building and maintaining social networks (Haring,

1992).

Peer-mediation research that includes students with ASD generally falls within one of four

categories. The first category includes social skills groups and peer-inclusive play with adult-

mediation (Carr & Darcy, 1990; Gonzalez-Lopez & Kamps, 1997; Kamps, Leonard, Vernon,

Dugan, & Delquadri, 1992; Pierce & Schreibman, 1995, 1997; Strain, Kerr, & Ragland, 1979).

The second category includes peer-mediation within social environments such as playgroups,

recess, and lunch (Laushey & Heflin, 2000; Peck, Sasso, & Jolivette, 1997; Roeyers, 1995;

Shafer, Egel, & Neef, 1984). The third category includes peer-mediation within learning formats

such as peer tutoring and cooperative learning groups (Dugan, Kamps, & Leonard, 1995; Kamps,

Barbetta, Leonard, & Delquadri, 1994; Kamps, Leonard, Potucek, & Garrison-Harrell, 1995;

Kamps, Royer et al., 2002). The fourth category includes peer network systems within the school









environment such as transitions, lunch, game time, and work time (Garrison-Harrell, Kamps, &

Kravits, 1997; Haring & Breen, 1992; Kamps, Potucek, Lopez, Kravits, & Kemmerer, 1997).

Limitations of the previously noted studies are discussed below.

There is a paucity of empirical research available investigating the efficacy of social skills

interventions for students within the autism spectrum. The results of a study that utilized

Skillstreaming (McGinnis & Goldstein, 1997) lessons and strategies with students with

Aspergers disorder in an intensive summer program, found improved social skills as rated by

parents and staff members. Limitations and threats to internal validity, however, were also

reported that may limit generalization of the findings. An additional limitation of the study was

that nondisabled peers did not appear to participate in the study also limiting the generalization

of the findings to more typical settings.

Limitations of the Research

A review of the peer-mediated social skills research with students with ASD indicated that

most of the interventions focused upon students with ASD who were low functioning. While

some of the studies included students with ASD who were high functioning, the strategies

employed in most studies may have been designed more to address the needs of students with

ASD who were low functioning. Additionally, many studies were conducted in noninclusive

educational settings that do not reflect the social demands placed on students with ASD who are

high functioning and placed in inclusive educational settings with nondisabled peers. Several

limitations of the studies include the following: (1) opportunities for the target students to

practice skills learned in naturally occurring interactions are limited, indicating the need for

restructuring the groups to provide opportunities for more types of social behaviors to be

exhibited (Dugan et al., 1995; Gonzalez-Lopez & Kamps, 1997), (2) because of the dyad

structure of the intervention, multiple peer interactions may have been limited (Gonzalez-Lopez









& Kamps, 1997), (3) the quality of the interactions was not studied (Kamps et al., 1992; Kamps,

Barbetta et al., 1994), (4) disruptive behavior displayed by nondisabled peers may have limited

the acquisition of appropriate behaviors by the target students (Shafer et al., 1984), (5) although

scripts utilized in some studies increased immediate social interactions, they may have restricted

generalized social behaviors (Kamps et al., 1997), and (6) the social skills learned did not

generalize to unstructured natural settings with untrained peers (Dugan et al., 1995; Garrison-

Harrell et al., 1997; Kamps et al., 1992; Kamps, Barbetta et al., 1994; Kamps et al., 1997;

Kamps, Royer et al., 2002; Peck et al., 1997; Roeyers, 1995). The implication of these

limitations for future research will now be discussed.

Implications for Research

Many of the studies reviewed were conducted largely with students with ASD who were

low functioning. While many limitations of these studies were reported, it is unclear which

limitations may apply directly to students with ASD who are high functioning. Therefore, future

research needs to focus on students with ASD who are high functioning to develop interventions

designed to increase their social interactions with nondisabled peers in educational settings.

The research reviewed indicated the importance of using multiple responses, multiple

obj ects, multiple settings, and multiple peer trainers to enhance the generalization of the skills

learned (Carr & Darcy, 1990; Laushey & Heflin, 2000; Pierce & Schreibman, 1997). In addition,

the peers involved in the studies reviewed were able to learn intervention strategies and

implement them effectively with minimal adult supervision, reinforcement, or structure (Carr &

Darcy, 1990; Garrison-Harrell et al., 1997; Haring & Breen, 1992; Kamps et al., 1997; Pierce &

Schreibman, 1995). The effectiveness of a network of trained peers who are able to mediate

interventions for increasing social interactions with target students who are low functioning has

been demonstrated (Garrison-Harrell et al., 1997; Haring & Breen, 1992; Kamps et al., 1997).









Enlisting groups of peers to facilitate natural interactions with target students may result in

treatment generalization and higher levels of satisfaction due to increased group support (Haring

& Breen, 1992).

Future research is needed to address the effects of a social skills intervention on the social

interactions between a trained network of peers and students with ASD who are high

functioning. This research needs to be evaluated in naturally occurring untrained settings in

schools that may not have an enriched social skills focus. In addition, future research may wish

to investigate the effectiveness of a curriculum that utilizes didactic skills instruction, modeling,

role-playing, and feedback as components of a social skills intervention (e.g., Skillstreaming the

Elementary School Child by McGinnis & Goldstein, 1997) implemented with students with ASD

who are high functioning and a network of their nondisabled peers. Careful consideration of the

foregoing limitations and implications for future research led to the development of the current

study, the purpose of which is given below.

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this study was to replicate Garrison-Harrell's study (1996) and investigate

the effects of a peer network social skills intervention implemented solely with students with

ASD who are high functioning and their nondisabled peers. This intervention investigated the

effectiveness of the procedures and adapted lessons from the social skills program,

Skillstreaming the Elementary School Child (McGinnis & Goldstein, 1997) on the social

interactions of students with ASD who are high functioning. The study was designed to facilitate

natural interactions between the students with ASD and their peers to investigate generalization

of social interactions to untrained settings.









Research Question

The study was designed to answer the following question: What are the effects of a peer

network intervention implemented across multiple settings on the social skills of students with

ASD who are high functioning, utilizing procedures and adapted lessons from the social skills

program, Skillstreaming the Elementary School Child (McGinnis & Goldstein, 1997)?









CHAPTER 2
REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE

Overview

The purpose of this chapter is to provide (1) an overview of Autism Spectrum Disorder

(ASD), (2) a description of social skills deficits in children with ASD, (3) an overview of the

social skills intervention literature pertaining to children with disabilities, and (4) a

comprehensive review of peer-mediated social skills interventions for children with ASD

including research in the area of peer networking. Since the late 1970s, the definition of autism

has been refined and the concept has been extended to that of a spectrum disorder (Prior, 2003;

Wing & Gould, 1979). The terms Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Pervasive

Developmental Disorders (PDDs) are used synonymously to refer to a wide spectrum of

neurodevelopmental disorders that have three core features (Lord & Risi, 2000; Wetherby &

Prizant, 2000). They include (1) the presence of markedly abnormal or impaired development in

reciprocal social interaction skills, (2) abnormal/impaired communication skills, and (3) a

restricted repertoire of repetitive or stereotyped behaviors, interests, or activities that are

distinctly deviant relative to the student' s developmental level or mental age (American

Psychiatric Association, 2000).

According to data provided in 2000 by the DSM-IV-TR (American Psychiatric

Association, 2000), the median rate of ASD in epidemiological studies was 5 cases per 10,000

with reported rates ranging from 2 to 20 cases per 10,000 children. The DSM-IV-TR noted that

whether the higher reported ranges reflected differences in methodology or an increased

frequency of the condition was unclear. Wing (2000) believes that some of the rise in reported

prevalence rates of ASD may be attributed to the fact that the earliest studies used Kanner' s










original criteria where as later studies used other criteria that are much wider. However, both the

earlier and later studies refer to "autism" as if all the criteria were the same.

Characteristics of ASD. The core impairments of ASD can occur at differing levels of

severity. Even among children with deficits in all three areas, the symptoms can vary

significantly in the degree to which they are affected by behaviors associated with the disorder

(Lord & Risi, 2000; Miller & Ozonoff, 2000; Wing, 2000). See Table 2-1 for a description of the

different levels of severity of ASD. As IQ increases, children with ASD have fewer and milder

symptoms (Mayes & Calhoun, 2003). Children identified as having high functioning autism or

Asperger syndrome are considered to be at the high end of the spectrum and may have average

or above-average intelligence (Shaked & Yirmiya, 2003). The DSM-IV-TR (2000) states that

there are no clinically significant delays or deviance in language acquisition in children with

Asperger syndrome as are observed in children with Autistic Disorder; however, they do

demonstrate atypical language patterns once acquired.

Children at the severe end of the autism continuum may be socially avoidant and resist

contact with others while children at the high end of the spectrum may be socially awkward, able

to interact with others but lack the social skills to do so appropriately and fluently (Mayes &

Calhoun, 2003). According to Mayes and Calhoun, the speech of children at the high end of the

continuum may be well developed in terms of sentence length, syntax, and vocabulary; however,

these children may have difficulty with reciprocal conversational speech and their speech may be

repetitive and idiosyncratic. In contrast, children at the lower end of the spectrum may lack

speech altogether or communicate only when they need something.

Restricted interests and obsessive preoccupations also are present at both the high and low

ends of the continuum; however, these interests also may manifest differently according to the









child' s level of intelligence (Mayes & Calhoun, 2003). Thus, a wide range of social and

communicative skill levels as well as restricted repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behavior

interests, and activities may be evident in children with ASD. While each of these areas is

interrelated, a deficit in social skills has widespread effects on the development of children with

ASD.

Social Skill Deficits Associated with ASD

This section addresses issues associated with impairments of children with ASD as

reflected in their social skills, peer-interactions, and social competency within an educational

environment. While children diagnosed with ASD comprise a heterogeneous group who may

reflect more differences than similarities (Laushey & Heflin, 2000), a pervasive deficit in

socialization commonly is considered the single most defining feature of ASD (Rutter, 1978).

Social impairments are at the heart of ASD and have far-reaching consequences in all areas of

development and adaptation (Shaked & Yirmiya, 2003).

Successful social interactions provide both the context and means for the acquisition and

elaboration of essential developmental abilities such as social, language, and cognitive

competencies (Vygotsky, 1978). Children who fail to develop successful social behaviors are at-

risk for behavioral and social maladjustment later in life (see Brown, Odom, & Conroy, 2001 for

a review) and also may experience adverse emotional effects through marginalization or

victimization by their peers including teasing and physical bullying (Attwood, 2003; Green,

Gilchrist, Di Burton, & Cox, 2000; Tantam, 2003). Thus, improved social function has been

regarded as one of the most important intervention outcomes for children with ASD (Kamps,

Barbetta, Leonard, & Delquadri, 1994; Rogers, 2000; Wing, 1997). This section reviewed the

importance of successful social interactions for appropriate development and emotional well-










being for children with ASD. The following section reviews the interrelatedness of social and

communications skills as they relate to the social competence of children with ASD.

Social and Communication Skills

The interrelatedness of social skills and communication is increasingly being recognized

(Kaczmarek, 2002), with language considered a primary mediator of social interaction and an

inherent aspect of social development (Goldstein & Kaczmarek, 1992). A major part of social

interaction relies on a participant' s ability to communicate thoughts, feelings, ideas, and desires

(Shaked & Yirmiya, 2003), grasp idiomatic expressions, sarcasm, teasing comments, and lies

(Tager-Flusberg, 2003), and understand the unwritten rules of communication and social conduct

(Barnhill, 2001).

The term "social competence" summarizes the quality of communication, interaction, and

appropriate engagement children have with others in real-life social environments (Kamps et al.,

2002). The two features used most frequently to define social competence are effectiveness in

influencing a peer' s social interactions and the appropriateness of the behavior for the given

context (Guralnick, 1992). Characteristics frequently observed in children with ASD who are

identified as high functioning affect their social competence. These include impairment in their

relationships with peers, difficulty participating in reciprocal conversations and using nonverbal

communication cues within social exchanges, impaired empathy, lack of joint attention,

difficulty understanding others' thoughts, and a consequent inability to predict others' behavior

and respond appropriately (see Shaked & Yirmiya, 2003 for review).

The conversational style of children with ASD who are high functioning frequently is

described as being egocentric because of one-sided, unrelenting monologues about their topic of

interest (Volkmar & Klin, 2000). They do not appear able to recognize whether the topic they

want to discuss is appropriate to the context nor are they able to respond to the subtle signals of









another' s boredom (Attwood, 2003). In conjunction with a tendency for these children to be

pedantic and desire completeness, they often provide far more information on the topic than is

necessary or appropriate. Once a topic is raised in the conversation, all relevant information on it

must be explained and described (Attwood, 2003).

In addition, children with ASD who are high functioning often use inappropriate body

language, tend to prefer conversations about facts and information thereby avoiding

conversations about social-emotional material, and tend to be literal in both their interpretation as

well as use of language (see Shaked & Yirmiya, 2003 for review). Despite intact language skills,

children with ASD who are high functioning have impaired communication skills that adversely

affect their social interactions with others, especially with their peers (Shaked & Yirmiya, 2003;

Tager-Flusberg, 2003).

This section reviewed the interrelatedness of social skills, quality of communication, and

understanding of the social cues of language, and how deficits in these areas impact the social

competence of children with ASD who are high functioning. The following section addresses

how deficits in these areas affect their ability to relate to their same aged peers.

Peer Interactions

Due to their deficits in social understanding and communication, children with ASD who

are high functioning tend to be aware that they are different and not always accepted by others,

leading to distress for them (Loveland & Tunali-Kotoski, 1997). While children with ASD may

desire social contact, they may have marked problems in developing friendships and relating to

similarly aged peers (Carter, Davis, Klin, & Volkmar, 2005). The weak reciprocal

communication skills and continuing lack of social skills of children with ASD who are high

functioning inhibit the development of interpersonal relationships. This is the most obvious

during interactions with peers (Roeyers, 1995; Tager-Flusberg, 2003) and affects the









development of friendships with nondisabled peer classmates (Goldstein, Kaczmarek,

Pennington, & Shafer, 1992). Since children with ASD who are high functioning often have

intelligence within the normal range, their social skills may be expected to be at near-normal

levels as well (Kamps et al., 1992). However, their lack of appropriate social skills has

significant consequences for social interactions (Shaked & Yirmiya, 2003). While adult-child

interactions improve with age for children diagnosed with ASD who are high functioning,

especially interactions with familiar adults such as caregivers and teachers, interactions with age

peers remain significantly impaired (Lord & Magill, 1989). Growing experience and familiarity

with adults who continuously adapt and structure children's behaviors in order to engage them in

interactions may lead to the development of reasonably good yet unsophisticated relationships

(Roeyers, 1995).

Children with ASD also appear able to interact better with younger children who are less

socially demanding than their peers as is seen in the following description (Tantam, 2000).

Children with ASD who are high functioning frequently do not seem to know how to play with

their same aged peers. They may seem unmotivated to join in play, prefer to be by themselves or

play with much younger or older children. They often are not interested in the same activities as

other children and are not inclined to explain what they are doing in a way that would enable

others to j oin them (see Shaked & Yirmiya, 2003 for review). Children with ASD who are high

functioning find it difficult to form and sustain close relationships and friendships with others

(Green, et al., 2000) and thus, must be taught how to interact, not just act, appropriately with

their peers (Kamps, 1997).

Although contact with peers is necessary for social skills development (Strain, Odom, &

McConnell, 1984), children with ASD who are high functioning tend not to acquire social skills









through incidental learning (Myles & Simpson, 1998) and often need augmentation in addition to

typical learning environments to establish relevant social interaction skills (Kennedy & Shukla,

1995; Myles & Simpson, 2001). While younger children with ASD who are high functioning are

sometimes indifferent to isolation and content to play by themselves, older children usually

become increasingly aware of and are frustrated by their isolation (Wing, 1997). While some of

these children continue to cope with this isolation by taking refuge in their world of idiosyncratic

interests, routines, and preoccupations, others desire closeness (Shaked & Yirmiya, 2003).

Children with ASD who are high functioning are aware of being socially rej ected, an awareness

that often leads to depression especially with age (Shaked & Yirmiya, 2003; Tantam, 2000,

Wing, 1997).

Due to children with ASD who are high functioning living in a confusing social world,

anxiety and maj or depression are more common for them than in the general population of their

peers (Kim, Szatmari, Bryson, Streiner, & Wilson, 2000). Their lack of confidence and

disposition to anxiety may affect children's social interactions from an early age. Resulting

shyness or timidity may affect their ability to interact successfully with their peers as well as

inhibit them from asking questions in class, concentrating on instruction, and attending school

(Tantam, 2003).

Thus, high functioning children with ASD exhibit impairment in social skills that affect

their ability to cope with their social world, especially interpersonal relationships with their

peers. Since children with ASD do not appear able to acquire social skills easily through

incidental learning and display associated difficulty managing emotionally and anxiety laden

social situations, they require additional assistance and support from individuals in their









immediate environment. The following section provides an overview of the social skills

intervention literature.

Overview of Social Skill Interventions

This section provides a brief overview of the literature on interventions designed to

increase the social interactions of all children who demonstrate delays and deficits. Strategies for

promoting social competence typically are divided into two broad categories: adult-mediated and

peer-mediated approaches (Kennedy & Shukla, 1995; Laushey & Heflin, 2000; McEvoy, Odom,

& McConnell, 1992). In adult-mediated social intervention approaches, an adult, often a teacher,

prompts and reinforces the appropriate social interaction of the target child (Odom & Strain,

1986). Typically, an adult uses a specific set of verbal statements and physical cues or gestures to

prompt a child to use a targeted social initiation, such as sharing or assisting, or to respond to an

initiation by a peer. The resulting interaction is praised by the adult either directly in the form of

verbal praise or through tangible rewards (McEvoy et al., 1992). Adult-mediated interventions

have been effective in prompting and reinforcing the ongoing social exchanges of a dyad

consisting of a target child and his/her nondisabled peer (Strain & Timm, 1974).

While adult-mediated interventions have proven to be an effective strategy for increasing

the social interaction skills of children with disabilities (McEvoy et al., 1992) and with children

with ASD (Kennedy & Shukla, 1995), they are not without their drawbacks. One criticism of

many adult-mediated interventions is that children may develop a reliance on adult prompts,

reinforcements, or both for an interaction to occur and that adult praise often disrupts ongoing

interaction regardless of whether it is verbal or in the form of an alternate reinforcer (Odom &

Strain, 1986). In addition, the use of adult prompts alone may cause a child with ASD to focus

exclusively on the adult, thereby failing to attend to and learn from peers (Carr & Darcy, 1990).

Adult-mediated approaches also have been criticized for not being grounded in natural contexts









and not using naturally occurring events to reinforce and encourage the reoccurrence of the

desired behavior (Simpson et al., 1997). In addition, adult-mediated experiences often have not

generalized to increased peer interactions without specific peer training (Rogers, 2000). While

strategies to fade teacher prompts and reinforcers were effective, attention became focused on

peer-mediated behaviors as a more effective method for promoting and maintenance of social

skills in naturalistic contexts (Kennedy & Shukla, 1995; Rogers, 2000; Sainato, Goldstein, &

Strain, 1992).

Peer-mediated interventions employ nondisabled, socially competent, similarly age peers

who carefully solicit initiations, responses, and continuations of appropriate social behaviors

(Kennedy & Shukla, 1995). The interactions are child-initiated and occur within preselected

natural social contexts (Peck et al., 1997; Rogers, 2000). In this approach, nondisabled peers are

taught to initiate and repeat behaviors designed to organize play (e.g., sharing, helping, and

praise) and to initiate and maintain communication that fosters interaction (e.g., attending to,

commenting on, and acknowledging the behavior of the other peer) (Shaked & Yirmiya, 2003).

Considerable research supports peer-mediated methods as effective and efficient ways to

increase social competence in children with disabilities (see Brown & Conroy, 2002; Kamps et

al., 2002; and Shaked & Yirmiya, 2003 for reviews). Initially, peer-mediated strategies were

developed for preschool children in which nondisabled peers were trained by adults to initiate

social interactions with children with ASD, prompt these children to respond to them, and then

reinforce their social responding (Goldstein et al., 1992; Strain & Odom, 1986). These peer-

mediated strategies were found to be effective in increasing social interactions and to facilitate

the generalization and maintenance of social behavior (Odom, McConnell, & McEvoy, 1992).

However, a concern that extensive adult prompts and peer training were required to enable the










peers without disabilities to continue to engage in social initiation behaviors was raised (Odom et

al., 1985). This concern prompted the development of strategies to fade adult prompts and

reinforcement for children to socially interact with others (Odom, Chandler, Ostrosky,

McConnell, & Reaney, 1992). Since many of these intervention strategies were implemented in

relatively controlled circumstances by either researchers or well-trained school personnel

supported by researchers, the ability of these interventions and subsequent effects to be

generalized to a typical school environment may be suspect (Brown & Conroy, 2002).

This section provided a brief description of adult-mediated and peer-mediated

interventions that has led to the current interest in social skills interventions. These interventions

were designed to facilitate the development of social skills in children with varying levels of

disabilities to enable them to interact more successfully with others in their naturally occurring

environments. The following section describes interventions that focus specifically on peer-

mediated social skills interventions that have been implemented with preschool through junior

high students with ASD as participants.

Overview of Social Skills Interventions for Children with ASD

This section provides a critical review of the current literature in the area of social skills

research conducted with children with ASD. Systematic searches of the relevant literature were

conducted using the ERIC, PsyclNFO, ECO. ArticleFirst, and WorldCat databases. The

keywords "autism," "Asperger syndrome," "autism spectrum disorder," "social skills

interventions," "peer-mediated interventions," "social interaction," "peer relationship," "social

development," "social competence," "interpersonal competence," and "peer teaching" were used

in different combinations to conduct the search. Names of known researchers who specialized in

this area as well as archival searches were included. The search was limited to research

conducted from 1975 to present. The search revealed 19 studies that matched the following









criteria: (1) at least one of the participants in the study was identified as having ASD, autism, or

PDD; (2) the participants or their peers were in preschool and school aged programs; and (3) a

peer-mediated intervention was implemented.

In addition, a review of the current literature in the area of social skills research using the

Skillstreaming the Elementary School Child (McGinnis & Goldstein, 1997) intervention with

children with ASD was conducted. Systematic searches of the relevant literature were conducted

using the previously described parameters in addition to the terms "Skillstreaming the

Elementary School Child" and "cognitive-behavioral social skills training." The search revealed

one study that met the following criteria: (1) at least one of the participants in the study was

identified as having ASD, autism, Asperger syndrome, or PDD; (2) the participants or their peers

were in preschool or school aged programs; and (3) a social skills intervention was implemented

that used Skillstreaming the Elementary School Child (McGinnis & Goldstein, 1997). The

remainder of the chapter will review in more detail the results of the study reflecting peer-

mediated interventions and the intervention utilizing Skillstreaming the Elementary School Child

(McGinnis & Goldstein, 1997) including its strengths, limitations, and implications for future

research.

Peer-Mediated Interventions

Peer-mediated interventions generally fall within one of four categories

social skills groups and peer-inclusive play with adult mediation;
peer-mediation within social environments;
peer-mediation within learning formats;
peer network systems in school environments (Kamps, Kravits et al., 2002).

This section summarizes the studies that fall within each of these four categories. Table 2-2

displays the characteristics of the participants, setting, target behavior, measurement methods,










experimental design, social intervention implemented, and results of each of the nineteen studies

reviewed.

Nine of the 19 studies reviewed included intelligence scores. A combination of Full Scale,

Nonverbal, and Verbal scores were reported from a variety of intellectual measures (e.g., earlier

and later editions of the Stanford Binet, Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence,

Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children, and the Leiter International Performance Scale).

Although intelligence scores were reported in these nine studies, not all of the target participants

even in these studies had intelligence scores provided. Across the nine studies that reported

intelligence, three of the studies had one target participant each with a reported intelligence score

in the average range. All three of these target participants scores were 101. Four of the target

participants with reported intelligence scores were within the borderline range with scores

ranging from 71 to 76 and the remaining scores reported were less than 70.

For the purpose of clarification and comparison for this study, the designations of "low

functioning" or "high functioning" as determined by the researchers in each study will be

acknowledged. If no designation is used, children with an intellectual ability within the average

range or above (standard score of 90 and higher on intellectual tests) will be considered high

functioning. The category of low functioning will be considered when the child has intellectual

ability within the mild range of mental retardation (standard score of 70 or below) as defined by

the DSM-IV TR (American Psychiatric Association, 2000).

Social Skills Groups and Peer-Inclusive Play with Adult-Mediation

Social interactions have been taught successfully to children with ASD by similarly aged

peers who were prompted by adults to teach specific social skills. Six studies fell within this

group with one study being an extension of an earlier study. Across the studies, interventions

included various levels or combinations of the use of playgroups with peers for teaching social









behaviors and direct instruction strategies including social skills lessons and scripts (Carr &

Darcy, 1990; Gonzalez-Lopez & Kamps, 1997; Kamps et al., 1992; Pierce & Schreibman, 1995,

1997; Strain et al., 1979). The goal of these interventions was to increase the target student' s

social skills such as the use of greetings and social conventions, imitating and following

instructions, sharing, taking turns, asking for help, requesting things, and imitating physical

actions.

Five of the six studies focused on students with ASD who were low functioning with the

interventions) implemented in segregated settings (e.g., hallway, empty classroom, or special

education classroom). The study by Kamps and colleagues (1992) was the exception in this

group. In Kamps et al. study, target students were those with ASD who were high functioning

and the intervention was implemented in an integrated first grade class and utilized the entire

class to promote social skills training.

The ages of the target students in this group of studies ranged from four to ten years. The

interventions) were implemented in dyads or pairs with one peer and one target student or in

small groups that included three or four peers and the target student.

The social skills or dependent variables targeted in these studies included imitating a

physical activity (Carr & Darcy, 1990), frequency and duration of social interaction skills

(Gonzalez-Lopez & Kamps, 1997; Kamps et al, 1992; Pierce & Schreibman, 1995, 1997; Strain

et al., 1979), decrease of inappropriate social behavior (Gonzalez-Lopez & Kamps, 1997), and

social behavior, joint attention, and use of language (Pierce & Schreibman, 1995). The

experimental designs utilized in these studies included variations of a single subj ect withdrawal

of treatment design (Strain et al., 1979; Gonzalez-Lopez & Kamps, 1997), a multiple baseline









across participants (Carr & Darcy, 1990; Kamps et al., 1992; Pierce & Schreibman, 1995) and a

multiple baseline across peer trainers (Pierce & Schreibman, 1997).

In Carr and Darcy's study (1990), a typical kindergarten age child modeled a variety of

physical actions and obj ect manipulations using a Follow the Leader format with four preschool

students with ASD who were low functioning. Results of this intervention indicated that the

target students could observe and learn new skills from the behavior of a peer model who

systematically demonstrated the behavioral components comprising the activity. An important

finding was that although close proximity of the target student to the peer student coupled with

the verbal prompt, "Watch me," did not produce peer-modeling effects, an activity such as

Follow the Leader involving extended behavior chains could be acquired observationally. The

behavior chains included a period of training in which the peer used a combination of physical

prompts and verbal feedback. Multiple responses and/or multiple obj ects may be critical in

developing competence in imitation and generalization of skills. Limitations of this study include

the use of only one nondisabled peer and the study was conducted in a nonintegrated, semi-

isolated setting and is not representative of conditions that might be expected in a naturally

occurring context.

Strain et al., (1979) studied the social initiations and responses of four students with autism

who were low functioning and one nondisabled similarly aged peer. The treatment included two

conditions: (1) one typical peer initiated social interaction only with two target students and (2)

the peer prompted and provided social reinforcement with two targets students. While increases

were noted in both treatment conditions, neither treatment phase resulted in behavior change

outside of the treatment setting. Limitations of this study include a lack of generalization and the

treatment being implemented by only one peer in a segregated setting.









Pierce and Schreibman (1995, 1997) conducted two studies utilizing direct instruction. In

both studies, nondisabled peers were taught to implement pivotal response training (PRT), which

has been described to be a naturalistic intervention with "loose training techniques" (Pierce &

Schreibman, 1995, p. 258) utilizing modeling, role playing, and didactic instruction. After

training, the peers implemented the procedures with the target students in a semi-isolated

classroom environment without supervision. Both target students with autism who were low

functioning demonstrated increased engagement in language and j oint attention behaviors as well

as extended interactions, initiated play, and conversations with their nondisabled peers. Findings

also indicated that the peers were able to learn a comprehensive treatment package within a

relatively short amount of time and were able to implement it effectively with minimal adult

supervision (Pierce & Schreibman, 1995). However, the researchers noted limited generalization.

Thus, they replicated the study with multiple peer trainers. Three peers were trained for each of

the two students with autism who were low functioning. Two peers from different classrooms

served as generalization peers. After the intervention, both target students displayed increases in

their initiations and maintaining interactions. The researchers believed that utilizing multiple

peer trainers may have enhanced the generalization of skills. Limitations of the second study

were a somewhat unstable baseline and the absence of integrity data (Pierce & Schreibman,

1997).

Gonzalez-Lopez and Kamps (1997) implemented their study with four students with

autism who were low functioning ages 5 through 7 and twelve nondisabled peers of a similar

age. In a reverse mainstreaming procedure, the intervention was implemented in a self-contained

special education classroom. Training scripts were utilized to teach specific social skills. Results

of this study indicated that social skills training combined with a reinforcement system were









effective in increasing the duration and frequency of peer interactions of the target students.

However, three peers demonstrated social interaction during baseline and thus showed few

changes in interaction time during the intervention phase. One peer exhibited no social

interactions during baseline and subsequently showed increases similar to the target students

during social skills training plus reinforcement. During the intervention phase, the general

occurrence of socially inappropriate behaviors by the target students decreased. Disruptive

behaviors also were observed in the nondisabled peers during the social groups. Limitations

include (1) the percentage of the variety of social skills used did not change dramatically during

the interventions phases perhaps because of a lack of opportunities to use certain skills during the

play session; (2) some engagement in dyad interactions may have restricted interactions with

multiple peers; (3) the ten minute training sessions may not have been sufficient to teach specific

skills to the target students to the point that they could acquire, maintain, and generalize the skills

to peer-group activities; and (4) no data on generalization or maintenance of skills were gathered.

In addition, some of the peers did not appear to have been the best models of appropriate

behavior as they were observed on occasion being disruptive or grabbing materials. As a result of

their inappropriate behaviors, the target students may not have benefited as fully from the

intervention as they may have with more consistently appropriate peer models.

Kamps and colleagues (1992) investigated the use of social skill groups to facilitate

increased social interactions between three seven-year-old students with ASD who were high

functioning and their nondisabled first grade peers. The entire class participated in this study,

with the social skills training considered to be part of the first grade curriculum. Results of this

study indicated increased social interactions between target students and their peers. Results

were maintained during the feedback phase and during the follow up phase. The researchers









believed that the groups were more successful when they focused on fewer behaviors with more

practice opportunities for those basic social skills than when focusing on structured learning of

many social behaviors as dictated by published curricula (e.g., McGinnis & Goldstein, 1984).

Limitations of this study include a lack of examination of the quality of the interactions and the

generalization of skills to other educational contexts.

In summary, this section reviewed the literature that indicates that peers in social groups

and peer-inclusive play can increase the social interactions of students with ASD. Adult-

mediation was instrumental in first training the nondisabled peers in the procedures of the

intervention. Results of these studies confirm that social behaviors as well as the imitation of a

physical activity, joint attention, and communication skills should be taught directly.

Furthermore, the inclusion and training of peers within social groups enhances the ability of

students with ASD to participate in peer interactions within natural environments (Carr & Darcy,

1990; Gonzalez-Lopez & Kamps, 1997; Kamps et al., 1992; Pierce & Schreibman, 1995,1997;

Strain et al., 1979). These studies also indicate that attempts to teach peers to implement social

skills strategies with minimal adult intrusion can be successful (Pierce & Schreibman, 1995).

The importance of multiple responses as well as multiple peers to develop competence in the

target students as well as enhance generalization of the learned skills are underscored (Carr &

Darcy, 1990; Pierce & Schreibman, 1995, 1997).

Peer-Mediation within Social Environments

In peer mediation interventions within social environments, nondisabled peers serve as

models and teachers of social skills and identify antecedent variables of on/off task behaviors

and atypical behaviors (Kamps, Kravits et al., 2002; Peck et al., 1997). Four studies fell within

this group. Across the studies, the intensity of this type of intervention ranged from peers being

asked to initiate persistently while being on the same level (e.g., lying sitting, standing) as the









target student (Roeyers, 1995) to peers involved in the process of developing specific social

skills trained as to the level of participation, modifications, and behavior that was expected and

accepted from the target students (Peck et al., 1997).

Three of the four studies within this group focused on students with ASD who were low

functioning with interventions) implemented in segregated settings (e.g., special education

classroom). The study by Laushey and Heflin (2000) was the exception. In their study, one target

student was high functioning and the other was low functioning. The intervention was

implemented in an integrated kindergarten class that incorporated the entire class into the social

skills training.

The ages of the target students ranged from five to ten years. The interventions) were

implemented in dyads or small groups of three or four peers with the target student. The

dependent variables included asking for an obj ect, getting attention appropriately, taking turns,

and looking at or in the direction of the person talking (Laushey & Heflin, 2000), on/off task

behaviors, aberrant behaviors, initiations, responses, and interactions (Peck et al., 1997), and

initiations/responses and duration of social interactions (Roeyers, 1995; Shafer, Egel, & Neef,

1984). The experimental designs included a single subj ect withdrawal of treatment design

(Laushey & Heflin, 2000), multiple baselines across participants (Shafer et al., 1984), and

alternating treatments (Peck et al., 1997).

In a reverse mainstreaming procedure, Roeyers (1995) studied children with ASD and their

nondisabled same age peers. The interventions utilized dyads of a nondisabled peer and a target

student. During the intervention, the nondisabled peer initiated persistently and was on the same

physical level as the target student (e.g., lying down, sitting, standing). There was limited adult

intrusion and the play materials were familiar to the students. Results indicated increases in time










spent in peer interaction, responsiveness, frequency of initiation behavior, and longer

uninterrupted interactions. However, the target students still had difficulty producing effective

social initiations by the end of the treatment. A limitation of the study was that generalization to

an unstructured natural setting with untrained peers was not investigated.

Laushey and Heflin (2000) implemented a peer buddy system in two integrated

kindergarten classes during free play center time. One target student was high functioning and

the other was low functioning. In this intervention, the entire class was trained in the steps of the

buddy system which include: stay with your buddy, play with your buddy, and talk with your

buddy. The members of each dyad were changed daily. Results indicated that the buddy system

elicited more appropriate social skills for both target students than the passive proximity

approach (i.e., more turn-taking interactions, more instances of looking at a person speaking to

them, and more tolerance for waiting). Generalization probes were taken for the target student

who was low functioning in the following school year. While the buddy system was not

implemented in the first grade, data collected showed that the target student maintained his level

of performance on the dependent variables and generalized those skills to his new environment.

Limitations of the study were the small sample size, frequent absences and subsequent missed

sessions of one of the target students, and missed sessions as a result of conflicting school wide

activities.

In Shafer and colleagues' study (1984), the effects of a peer-training strategy consisting of

direct prompting and modeling on the frequency and duration of social interactions was

measured. The four target students were low functioning between the ages of five and six years.

While the peers selected for the study were the same age, they exhibited delayed language

development with associated handicaps including learning disabilities, mild mental retardation,









and conduct problems. Training and generalization probes were conducted in locations

segregated from other students. The target students' toy preference was identified prior to the

intervention. The direct prompting procedure resulted in increased social interactions between

peer trainers and target students, increases in the duration of social interactions between target

students and peer-trainers, and increases in initiations by the untrained peers toward three of the

four target students. Generalization of behavior change across settings occurred only after

specific programming was utilized. Limitations of this study included the social competence of

the peers and the importance of describing behaviors studied in detail.

Peck and colleagues (1997) evaluated the use of a structural analysis model for improving

social interactions via peer-mediated interventions. The study included Hyve target students

between the ages of eight and ten who were low functioning and diagnosed with autism, PDD,

and mild mental retardation and four nondisabled similarly aged peers. Assessments and

treatment protocols were completed in the special education classroom and the generalization

probes were obtained in the general education classroom. The antecedent variables identified

during assessment were (1) noise level, (2) one-to-one activities versus group oriented activities,

(3) the amount of interaction involved in the task, (4) the structure of tasks, (5) the length of the

task, (6) the gender of the nondisabled peer, (7) the level of social interaction, and (8) transitions

with and without warning. The antecedent variables were judged as being conducive or not

conducive to heightened levels of appropriate behavior and social interactions and were

combined into preferred and nonpreferred treatments. The nondisabled peers were trained to

deliver varying degrees of social attention and instruction to target students during the

assessment process and treatment conditions. The assessment process resulted in the

identification of one or more discriminate stimuli that occasioned appropriate social behavior for









each target student. The results demonstrated that structural analysis that includes nondisabled

peers to identify antecedents of appropriate social behavior for each individual target student can

result in the development of effective peer-mediated social interventions. While generalization

was demonstrated to the general education classroom for two of the five target students, the

researchers indicated that further investigation with different populations and a wider range of

environments was necessary.

In summary, findings from this group of studies of peer-mediated interventions revealed

increased peer interactions (Roeyers, 1995; Laushey & Heflin, 2000; Shafer et al., 1984) and

some generalization to natural environments and untrained peers (Laushey & Heflin, 2000;

Shafer et al., 1984). The role the peers play in identifying environmental antecedent variables for

the target students was an important factor to consider in developing effective social skills

interventions (Peck et al., 1997). Peer-mediation is similar to adult-mediated interventions in that

nondisabled peers serve as models and teachers of social skills. In peer-mediated interventions,

the intensity of the intervention may vary widely from nondisabled peers placed in proximity in

order for the target students to imitate appropriate behaviors (Roeyers, 1995) to peers directly

instructing skills (Kamps, Kravits, et al., 2002).

However, these studies also had limitations. While the utilization of students as peer

models who themselves exhibited mild handicaps (e.g., language delays, learning disabilities,

mild mental retardation, and conduct problems) resulted in increased social interactions with the

target students (Shafer et al., 1984), the social skills limitations of the peer models may have

lessened the strength of the intervention. Although there was an increase in positive interactions

in the target students, the level of the social interactions continued to be significantly below that

of their peers (Roeyers, 1995). Generalization to unstructured natural settings was not









investigated in all studies (Roeyers, 1995) and in another study, more specific training was

needed when generalization data indicated a rapid decrease of responding following training

(Shafer et al., 1984). Peck and colleagues (1997) indicated that replication with different

populations and in a wider range of environments was needed.

Peer-Mediation within Learning Formats

Peer tutoring and cooperative learning groups are peer interactive interventions with

potential benefits for improving social performance as well as increasing academic gains

(Kamps, Kravits et al., 2002). The goal of cooperative learning groups is to have peers work

together in small groups to complete proj ects, worksheets, and practice skills (Nastasi &

Clements, 1991). Six studies fell within this grouping. Each of these studies was conducted in an

integrated classroom setting during reading and social studies classes (Kamps, Barbetta et al.,

1994; Kamps et al., 1995; Dugan et al., 1995; Kamps, Royer et al., 2002) and during peer

tutoring, recess, and lunch times (Kamps, Royer et al., 2002).

Four of the six studies included at least one target student with ASD who was high

functioning. Two of the studies focused solely on students with autism who were low

functioning (Kamps et al., 1995; Kamps, Royer et al., 2002). These studies were implemented in

integrated general education settings during instruction in reading or in social studies (Kamps

Barbetta et al., 1994; Kamps et al., 1995; Dugan et al., 1995; Kamps, Royer et al., 2002) and

during peer tutoring, recess, and lunch times (Kamps, Royer et al., 2002). The ages of the target

students ranged from seven to fourteen years.

The dependent variables of this group of studies focused on academic gains such as

increased reading (Kamps, Barbetta et al., 1994; Kamps et al., 1995) and social studies skills

(Dugan et al., 1995; Kamps, Royer et al., 2002), increased academic engagement time (Kamps et

al., 1995), and increased frequency and duration of social interaction between target students and










peers (Kamps, Barbetta et al., 1994; Kamps et al., 1995; Dugan et al., 1995; Kamps, Royer et al.,

2002). Kamps, Royer, and colleagues (2002) investigated reciprocal interactions, appropriate toy

play, and on-topic verbalizations. The study conducted by Kamps and colleagues (1994) utilized

a single subj ect multiple baseline design across participants with a withdrawal of treatment

component. One of the studies conducted by Kamps, Royer and colleagues (2002) analyzed three

different peer conditions with an analysis of variance. The peer groups for this analysis included

social skills groups, tutoring/cooperative learning groups, and lunch/recess buddy groups. All

other studies utilized withdrawal of treatment designs.

Kamps and colleagues (1994) implemented class wide peer tutoring (CWPT) in three

second and third grade integrated classrooms that included three students with ASD who were -

high functioning. Class wide peer tutoring consisted of 25-30 minutes of well-specified

instruction in which tutor-learner pairs worked together on reading fluency and comprehension

skills followed by 15-20 minutes of unstructured free time activities. Results showed higher

reading comprehension scores for the target students and their general education peers and slight

increases in their oral-reading rates. Longer peer social interactions during subsequent

unstructured free time were noted also with individual variation in performance. Information

concerning the integrity of the treatment, specific teacher prompts, the quality of the interactions,

and whether the social interactions generalized to other interactions throughout the school day

was not available. It is important to note whether the social interactions generalized to other

settings to determine whether the skills learned were able to be implemented in naturally

occurring interactions at a later time and in a different setting than those opportunities

immediately after training.









Two studies included students with ASD in fourth-grade social studies cooperative

learning groups (Dugan et al., 1995) and in third and fifth-grade reading activities (Kamps et al.,

1995). Cooperative learning group procedures involved peer tutoring in academic content as well

as teacher monitoring and reinforcement for social behaviors (e.g., sharing ideas, offering praise,

encouraging, and helping others).

Dugan and colleagues (1995) studied one high and one low functioning students with ASD

in a classroom of fourth graders during social studies. They found increases in learning for both

the target students and their peers. While the target students increased in vocabulary recognition,

they continued to have difficulty with comprehension. Results indicated that academic

engagement levels and interaction among group members during cooperative learning increased.

Although the researchers noted increased peer-tutoring activities by the target students, other

group activities (e.g., initiations by target students, initiations or responses to more than one peer

during groups, praising, or helping others) occurred less frequently indicating the need for

additional training in specific skills or restructuring of cooperative learning groups to provide

more opportunities for these types of behaviors to be exhibited. No data were collected to

determine whether any of the behaviors displayed generalized to other settings.

Kamps and colleagues (1995) conducted two studies with cooperative learning groups in

reading. In the first study, the target student with ASD was high functioning and in a third grade

class. In the second study, the two target students with ASD were low functioning and in a fifth

grade class. Results of both studies demonstrated increased reading gains, academic engagement,

and peer interaction during the supplemental cooperative learning time. The researchers noted

that findings from the first study should be viewed with caution for several reasons. First, in

study one, the teacher did not return to her former teaching procedures during the withdrawal of









treatment phase, but rather continued to demonstrate improved teaching behaviors. During the

last six weeks of the second intervention phase, direct instruction in social skills training was

added prior to the cooperative learning groups. Another limitation of study one included that the

target participant had previously participated in a similar study (Kamps, Barbetta et al., 1994).

This experience may have made the target student more responsive to the intervention. In study

two, the researchers did not believe that the initial reading material was instructionally

appropriate for the reading level of the students in the class. They believed that the target

students in the second study had lower cognitive ability and reading skills than their peers and

thus may have benefited from more intensive curriculum modification than what they received.

However, the researchers did not conclude that the target students were unable to learn within the

mainstream environment. Another limitation of the second study was that the second baseline

condition consisted of independent materials for the target students to use during the lecture time

for the peers as compared to materials used during the first baseline condition.

Kamps, Royer et al., (2002) conducted two studies. Study 1 included Hyve students with

ASD and 51 nondisabled peers. Two of the target students participated in the social studies

cooperative learning groups (Dugan et al., 1995), two target students participated in social skills

training, and one target student was in a mainstreamed class. Results of this study indicated that

cooperative leaning and social skills groups with embedded peer training in critical skills

increased in time engaged in social interaction for target students and their peers. Increased

generalization to nontrained settings was noted for the target students in the intervention

programs in comparison to the target students who did not receive intervention during that school

year. The researchers indicated that the data gathered supports the validity of peer training within

tutorial and social contexts. The control group peers also increased in interaction skills that the









researchers believed may have been caused by familiarity with the classes of ASD that had been

in the school for four years. The researchers also noted that the cooperative learning peers were a

year older (fourth graders vs. third graders) and six peers had participated in prior social skills

intervention providing the possibility of an additive effect of more training with students with

ASD.

The second study was based on the results of the first study and examined the maintenance

and generalization effects of peer-inclusive social groups for 34 students with ASD who were

low functioning and the effects of multiple peer groups sustained over time. Peer groups in this

study included social skills groups, tutoring/cooperative learning groups, and lunch/recess buddy

programs. In this study, videotaped social behavior probes noting generalization were taken in

the fall and spring and again two years later. The probes were taken of three groups: (1) students

trained in interaction skills, (2) peers familiar with the target student but untrained, and (3)

students who were strangers to the target students. The target students ranged in age from 7 to 14

across the three year period and attended public schools in six school districts. In general, the

findings indicated improved social interactions skills with nondisabled elementary age peers.

Significantly, more social behaviors occurred with peers who were trained via participation in

social/play groups, lunch/recess buddy programs, and tutoring programs than for control group

peers. A second outcome was that consistent contact with peers, or familiarity via inclusive

classes in the absence of peer training, also generalized to social behaviors though less

interaction occurred than with structured peer mediation. Social interaction also occurred among

the target students and stranger peers, although less frequently than with trained or familiar

peers. One limitation of this study was that social probes were not conducted in other settings

such as recess and lunch. A second limitation noted was the low use of generalized language for









the verbal target students in comparison to their nondisabled peers. The researchers believed that

this may have been due to the limited language skills of many of the target students. The

researchers recommended training for target students in the use of language in social settings and

the need to train peers to prompt and reinforce language.

In summary, studies of peer-mediation have shown that peer support through tutoring and

other curricular adaptations provides both academic and social benefits for children in inclusive

educational settings (Kamps, Barbetta et al., 1994; Kamps et al., 1995; Dugan et al., 1995;

Kamps, Royer et al., 2002). The social competence of the participants increased in such

behaviors as helping, responsiveness, and praising in addition to increased academic

performance in reading and social studies. Data indicated increased length of social interactions

in immediately following free-time activities (Kamps, Barbetta et al., 1994). Evidence from

Kamps and colleagues' (2002) longitudinal studies indicated that more social behaviors occurred

for the target students and peers who were trained via participation in social/play groups and

tutoring and cooperative learning groups than with unfamiliar peers who were not trained.

Another finding supported the premise that previous experiences with and exposure of both the

target students and the peers to social skills interventions may make the students more responsive

to interventions (Kamps et al., 1995; Kamps, Royer et al., 2002).

Peer Network Systems in School Environments

Peer networks have been defined as groups of individuals who demonstrate an interest in

and understanding of the individual with disabilities to the extent that it impacts that person' s life

(Chadsey-Rusch, 1986). According to Kamps and colleagues (2002), peer networks are based on

the following principles. First, awareness training of disabilities for nondisabled peers that

includes supervised joint activities to enhance the acceptance of students with disabilities in the

school environment. Second, the children with disabilities can function and learn in group









situations in school environments (Kamps, Dugan, Leonard, & Daoust, 1994). Third, children

with disabilities can learn from and participate with peer models (e.g., Carr & Darcy, 1990).

Successful peer networks incorporate several peer-mediation strategies. Peers may be

taught to be initiators of social interaction for the students with disabilities (e.g., Strain & Odom,

1986), to be models of appropriate play and behavior (e.g., Carr & Darcy, 1990; Shafer et al.,

1984), and to be tutors or co-participants in social skills groups (e.g., Kamps et al., 1992).

Providing information about disabilities through awareness activities has been promoted

as an initial step in developing peer support networks (Stainback & Stainback, 1989). Awareness

activities have produced positive effects, resulting in the nondisabled peers being more likely to

make themselves available, sit in closer proximity, and be more responsive to children with

disabilities (Kamps et al., 2002).

A primary goal of peer networks is to increase and enhance the social opportunities for

children with disabilities by making multiple peer activities available. Kamps and colleagues

(2002) reviewed procedures implemented from studies that sought to facilitate social skills

development and to improve social relationships for children with disabilities (e.g., Garrison-

Harrell et al., 1997, Haring & Breen, 1992; Kamps et al., 1992; Pierce & Schreibman, 1995,

1997). From this review, Kamps and colleagues found that implementing and monitoring of peer

networks follow a similar process to implementing social groups. Key elements include (1)

setting aside time to plan with assistance from multiple people (e.g., peers, school personnel,

parents), (2) supplying adult and peer modeling of successful interaction skills, (3) implementing

functional reinforcement systems, and (4) providing feedback for the participating children

(Kamps, 2002).









Peer networks provide social and academic support for students with ASD in school

environments (Garrison-Harrell et al., 1997; Kamps et al., 1997; Haring & Breen, 1992). Three

studies examined peer network systems in school environments. These studies were conducted in

integrated school settings during transition times and lunch (Haring & Breen, 1992), across

academic time, lunch, and recess, (Kamps et al., 1997; Garrison-Harrell et al., 1997), and during

computer time (Garrison-Harrell et al., 1997). Each of these studies targeted students with ASD

who were low functioning. The ages of the target students ranged from six to thirteen years. The

dependent variables included frequency of interaction, appropriateness of the social interaction,

and the number of unstructured contexts in which an interaction occurred (Haring & Breen,

1992), reciprocal social behaviors that occurred as a result of an initiation-response sequence

(Kamps et al., 1997), duration of social interactions, and use of a communication system during

peer groups (Garrison-Harrell et al., 1997). Haring and Breen (1992) utilized a multiple baseline

across participants design, Kamps and colleagues (1997) employed a multiple probe across

settings, and Garrison-Harrell et al., (1997) utilized a multiple probe design across settings

nested within a multiple baseline across participants.

In Haring and Breen' s (1992) study, junior high school peers were recruited to serve as a

social support group for two students who were low functioning, one of whom was identified as

having ASD and the other was identified as having moderate mental retardation. This study was

included because it met the criteria for the literature review as being a school aged program and

was one of a small number of studies implementing a peer network intervention. The nine

nondisabled peers facilitated social interactions during transition times in the hallways and

during lunch. The intervention consisted of (1) the peers scheduling time to assist the target

student during each transition, (2) introducing the target student to his network, (3) teaching









initiation and reinforcement strategies to the peers to encourage interactions (e.g., establishing

joint attention, showing persistence in obtaining a response, and modeling appropriate

responses), and (4) weekly peer network meetings to provide feedback and reinforcement.

During this time, the target students received instruction in age appropriate responses by the

adult peer network facilitator twice a week. Results indicated that the social network intervention

increased the quantity and quality of interactions within structured and unstructured contexts

without ongoing adult prompting, reinforcement, or structure. A limitation of the study was that

the intervention was not assessed for its ease of implementation by school personnel.

Kamps and colleagues (1997) implemented peer networks across multiple school activities

(e.g., academic settings, center-game time, recess, and lunch) for three students with ASD who

were low functioning. The peer network consisted of two to five peers per activity who were

taught to prompt and reinforce social skills, tutor, and help the target students. The social

intervention or network was (1) individualized to meet the needs of each target student, (2)

structured to fit the naturally occurring context, (3) utilized task and social scripts, (4) provided

peer and target student training/prompting in social skills, (5) provided verbal and tangible

reinforcement for peer interaction, and (6) provided student feedback. Results indicated

increased interaction time for all target students with generalization to nonintervention settings

for two students. While this intervention was implemented by school personnel, the researchers

noted that their skills, attitudes, availability, and inconsistency became an issue. They noted the

lack of generalization in baseline phases in several treatment settings. The lack of generalization

was believed to have been related to limited time in treatment in a similar setting, the use of both

academic and social contexts for comparison, or some treatments requiring more scripting than









other treatments. Kamps and colleagues indicated that while task and social scripts may assist in

immediate increases in social interaction, they may restrict generalization of social behaviors.

Garrison-Harrell and colleagues (1997) replicated these Eindings in a study in which the

network of peers remained constant across three environments. The three participants were

students with ASD who were low functioning with communication difficulties and limited social

skills. Their peers were fifteen nondisabled first grade students. The peer network activities took

place during scheduled play and academic times across three of the following settings: reading,

lunch, language arts, computer, or recess. An augmentative communication system that included

physical manipulation of the communication board measured initiations, responses, and duration

of the social interaction. Results of this study indicated that the utilization of a peer network

intervention that included an augmentative communication system increased the frequency and

duration of peer interactions for the target students across multiple settings and activities. A

limitation of this study was that the strategies were complex and it was difficult to determine

which of the procedures (e.g., use of multiple peers, communication system, or reinforcement)

directly influenced the increased social interactions. Another limitation included the time

consuming nature of the training that the researchers believed might lesson the likelihood that the

classroom teacher would implement the intervention without additional support. A third

limitation was the lack of generalization or maintenance probes.

Three studies supported the belief that peer networks may increase and enhance the social

opportunities, including the development of social skills, for children with ASD by providing

multiple peer activities available within structured and unstructured contexts (Haring & Breen,

1992; Kamps et al., 1997; Garrison-Harrell et al., 1997). Garrison-Harrell and colleagues (1997)

employed a variety of visual prompting systems (e.g., augmentative communication system,










topic cards) along with a network of trained peers to increase the social interaction behaviors of

students with ASD who are low functioning. Anecdotal reports from school personnel and

informal observations by Garrison-Harrell and the other researchers indicated the occurrence of

"friendly behaviors" between the target students and their peers as a result of the intervention as

well. The effectiveness of a network of trained peers who mediated interventions for increasing

social interactions with the target students with minimal to no ongoing adult prompting,

reinforcement, or structure was demonstrated (Garrison-Harrell et al., 1997; Haring & Breen,

1992; Kamps et al., 1997). The data suggests that by enlisting groups of peers to facilitate natural

interactions with the target students, generalization and high levels of satisfaction may result

perhaps due to increased group support (Haring & Breen, 1992). These studies, however, were

conducted with students with ASD who were low functioning. Future research is needed that

addresses the effect of a social skills intervention within natural contexts on the social

interactions between a trained network of peers and students with ASD who are high

functioning.

Intervention Utilizing Skillstreaming the Elementary School Child

Although social skills interventions are commonly recommended for children with

Asperger disorder, at present little is known about the efficacy of such interventions with this

population (Lopata, Thomeer, Volker, & Nida, 2006). Much of the existing literature and

proposed models for social interventions for children with Asperger' s disorder are based on

cognitive-behavioral techniques that directly teach social skills and strategies for interpreting and

managing social situations (Lopata, et al., 2006). According to Attwood (2000), available models

for teaching social interaction skills lack independent evaluation with many of the outcome

assessments consisting of qualitative measures. Examples of commonly used social skill

interventions include didactic skill instruction, role modeling, role-playing, and feedback









(Attwood, 2000). Programs such as Skillstreaming (McGinnis & Goldstein, 1997) utilize these

cognitive and behavioral approaches.

Although a number of authors have proposed explanations and treatment models, sound

empirical research is virtually nonexistent (McLaughlin-Cheng, 1998). Of particular importance

is the development of validated programs that significantly improve social skills and peer

relationships (Greenway, 2000). Research on the treatment of Asperger' s disorder is critical

because these children are at risk for additional psychiatric issues, including attention-

deficit/hyperactivity disorder, depression, Tourette's syndrome, and psychotic symptoms (see

Lopata et al., 2006 for a review).

One study was found in the literature review that utilized Skillstreaming (McGinnis &

Goldstein, 1997) lessons and strategies with students identified as being within the autism

spectrum. This study included 21 target participants identified with Asperger disorder who

ranged in age from six to thirteen. The target participants were included in the study based on the

following criteria: (1) written documentation of a formal diagnosis of Asperger disorder by a

licensed psychiatrist, physician, or psychologist; (2) prior testing and evaluation results; and (3)

formal assessment of the cognitive domain (i.e., intelligence) and the social-emotional domain

(i.e., behavior rating scale, adaptive behavior scale, and Asperger symptomology scale). Lopata

and colleagues (2006) indicated that the study presents preliminary data from an ongoing

research proj ect evaluating a summer treatment program for children with Asperger disorder.

The dependent variables consisted of three scales (i.e., Social Skills, Adaptability, and

Atypicality) from Behavior Assessment System for Children (BASC; Reynolds & Kamphaus,

1992) Teacher Rating Scales (TRS) and Parent Rating Scales (PRS). The BASC is an assessment

instrument designed to evaluate personality and behavioral problems, emotional disturbance, and









positive-adaptive behaviors. The TRS provides a measure of adaptive and problem behaviors in

school settings, whereas the PRS assesses skills and problems in community and home settings.

TRS and PRS items consist of behavioral descriptors that are rated on a 4-point scale ranging

from "Never" to "Almost Always." The Social Skills scale consists of items that assess the

interpersonal aspects of social adaptation and skills necessary for interacting successfully with

peers and adults. The Adaptability scale assesses the child's ability to quickly and easily adapt to

changes in the environment. The Atypicality scale assesses behaviors generally considered odd

or developmentally immature. Lopata and colleagues (2006) indicated that the Atypicality scale

was used in their study to assess socially odd or unusual behaviors that often characterize

children with Asperger disorder. The study employed a pretest-posttest design in that parents

completed pretest ratings immediately prior to the beginning of the program and staff completed

pretest ratings on the 8th day of the study because of lack of familiarity with the children prior to

the program. All participants received 6 weeks of treatment. Parents and staff then completed

posttest ratings at the conclusion of the study.

Lopata and colleagues (2006) implemented two treatment conditions, combined social

skills instruction and behavioral treatment (SS+BT) and social skills only instruction (SS). The

behavioral treatment (BT) was a behavior management point system in which the participants

received token reinforcement (i.e., points) for following program rules, following directions, and

demonstrating prosocial behaviors and skills taught in the program. The participants lost tokens

for failing to follow program rules and directions and for displaying inappropriate social skills or

behaviors. Point reinforcement was done verbally immediately following the occurrence of the

operationally defined behaviors. Point reviews and updates were conducted every 20 minutes

throughout the day and participants who achieved a preset and individualized number of points









each day received an edible reinforcer. Points also were used to earn an end-of-week field trip. In

contrast to the SS+BT condition, participants in the SS group received naturalistic feedback

throughout the day, which consisted of spontaneous, broad, and general feedback (e.g., "Good

job!i"). Because no behavioral or social skill contingencies were imposed, all participants in this

condition received the end-of-day edible reinforcer and attended the end-of-week field trips.

The 21 participants were assigned to groups containing four to six children and three staff

members. The treatment program was conducted 5 days a week for 6 hours each day. In both

treatment conditions, the daily schedule consisted of four 70-minute treatment cycles. The 70-

minute cycles included 20 minutes of structured social skills intervention followed by 50-

minutes of therapeutic activities. All participants received three identical core treatment

components targeting social behaviors (i.e., intensive social skills instruction, face-affect

recognition, and interest expansion). During the initial 20 minutes of each treatment cycle, both

treatment conditions implemented the same structured social skills group based on the

commercially available Skillstreaming program (McGinnis & Goldstein, 1997). Only the skills

directly related to specific criteria for Asperger disorder in the DSM-IV-TR (American

Psychiatric Association, 2000) were implemented.

Results of the study indicated that parents and staff members reported a significant

increase in social skills. The parents also reported a significant improvement in their children's

general adaptability and a significant decrease in their odd or unusual behaviors (i.e.,

Atypicality). In contrast to parent reports, the staff members reported no significant change in

adaptability and a significant increase in odd or unusual behaviors over the course of the

treatment program. Comparisons of the two treatment procedures (SS vs. SS+BT) indicated no

significant difference between the two. Limitations of the study include a small sample size,









children being rated by those aware of their treatment status, and the lack of a no-treatment

control group. In addition, nondisabled peers did not appear to be included in the study. Lopata

and colleagues (2006) indicated that the lack of a no-treatment control group left the study

vulnerable to several threats to internal validity (e.g., statistical regression, maturation, history).

The researchers believed that even with the threats to internal validity and limitations of the

study, the children with pervasive social skill deficits would not have demonstrated the social

skill increases reported by parents and staff as well as the increased adaptability and reduced

atypical behaviors reported by the parents without the intervention.

Strengths and Limitations of Studies Reviewed

This section summarizes the strengths and limitations of the studies reviewed and suggests

a direction for future research. Of the studies reviewed, twelve included only students with ASD

who were low functioning, seven included students who were low functioning with students who

were high functioning, and three included only students who were high functioning. At present,

little research distinguishes differences of social skills attainment between those target students

who are low functioning and those who are high functioning. Strengths of the research reviewed

indicated that overall the target students in these studies exhibited increased social interactions

skills while the interventions were being implemented. The target students observed and learned

new skills from a peer model who systematically demonstrated behavioral components (Carr &

Darcy, 1990) and a peer buddy system elicited more appropriate social skills than a passive

proximity approach (Laushey & Heflin, 2000; Roeyers, 1995), Thus, strengthening the premise

made that children with ASD do not tend to acquire social skills through incidental learning

(Myles & Simpson, 1998). The research reviewed also indicated the importance of multiple

responses, multiple obj ects, multiple settings, and multiple peer trainers to enhance the

generalization of the skills learned (Carr & Darcy, 1990; Laushey & Heflin, 2000; Pierce &









Schreibman, 1997). One study conducted in a setting where other social skills training and

research had been ongoing indicated that consistent contact with peers also led to increased

generalization of skills; however, fewer interactions occurred than were demonstrated with

structured peer mediation with trained peers (Kamps et al., 2002).

The nondisabled peers who were included in these studies also demonstrated increased

levels of performance. In addition, they learned intervention strategies, implemented them

effectively with minimal adult supervision (Carr & Darcy, 1990; Pierce & Schreibman, 1995),

and participated in identifying antecedents of appropriate social behavior from which to develop

effective peer-mediated social interventions (Peck et al, 1997). In cooperative and tutorial

learning settings, the peers and target students demonstrated increased academic learning and

social interactions (Dugan et al., 1995; Kamps, Barbetta et al., 1994; Kamps et al., 1995; Kamps,

Royer et al., 2002).

There is a paucity of empirical research available investigating the efficacy of social skills

interventions for students within the autism spectrum. The results of a study that utilized

Skillstreaming (McGinnis & Goldstein, 1997) lessons and strategies with students with

Aspergers disorder in an intensive summer program, found improved social skills as rated by

parents and staff members. Limitations and threats to internal validity, however, were also

reported that may limit generalization of the findings. An additional limitation of the study was

that nondisabled peers did not appear to participate in the study also limiting the generalization

of the findings to more typical settings.

Limitations of the research reviewed indicated that while advances have been made in

understanding how to increase the social interactions of students with ASD, there continues to be

areas that need further investigation. The maj ority of the research focused on students with ASD









who were low functioning with limited language skills and thus, the conditions of the study may

not have appropriately addressed the needs of students with ASD who are high functioning and

have near normal language development. Six studies were conducted with only one or a small

number of trained peers and eight were implemented in nonintegrated educational settings (e.g.,

Carr & Darcy, 1990; Strain et al., 1979). The target students had limited opportunities to learn

and practice skills in naturally occurring interactions (Dugan et al., 1995; Gonzalez-Lopez &

Kamps, 1997). In addition, interactions that were relevant for dyads may have actually restricted

multiple peer interactions (Gonzalez-Lopez & Kamps, 1997). While increases in social

interactions occurred, the quality of the interactions was not studied (Kamps et al., 1992; Kamps,

Barbetta et al., 1994) and the importance of socially competent peers was evident (Shafer et al.,

1984). While the use of scripts increased immediate social interactions, they may have in

themselves restricted generalized social behaviors (Kamps et al., 1997). The limitation noted

across studies was that the social skills learned did not generalize to unstructured natural settings

with untrained peers (Dugan et al., 1995; Garrison-Harrell et al., 1997; Kamps et al., 1992;

Kamps, Barbetta et al., 1994; Kamps et al., 1997; Kamps, Royer et al., 2002; Peck et al., 1997;

Roeyers, 1995). While researchers and their colleagues implemented the somewhat complex

treatments, it did not appear that the treatments would be easily implemented by school

personnel (Garrison-Harrell et al., 1997; Haring & Breen, 1992). Among the studies

implemented by local school personnel, concern was noted with the integrity of that

implementation (Kamps et al., 1994; Kamps et al., 1997).

Implications for Research

Many limitations were noted from the studies reviewed that were conducted largely with

students with ASD who were low functioning and had minimal language capability. It is unclear

which limitations may apply directly to students with ASD who are high functioning or to those









who are low functioning. Therefore, future research for students with ASD who are high

functioning may need to focus on social skills interventions designed to increase their social

interactions with peers in naturally occurring, inclusive educational settings.

The effectiveness of a network of trained peers to mediate interventions resulting in

increased social interactions with target students who are low functioning has been demonstrated

(Garrison-Harrell et al., 1997; Haring & Breen, 1992; Kamps et al., 1997). These studies also

showed that peers implemented the interventions with minimal to no ongoing adult support.

Future research is needed that addresses the effect of a social skills intervention within natural

contexts on the social interactions between a trained network of peers and students with ASD

who are high functioning.

Generalization of skills to unstructured natural settings is another area for further

investigation (Dugan et al., 1995; Garrison-Harrell et al., 1997; Kamps, 1992; Kamps, Barbetta

et al., 1994; Kamps et al., 1997; Kamps, Royer, et al., 2002; Peck et al., 1997; Roeyers, 1995).

These studies were conducted largely with target students who were low functioning. One study

that included a student with ASD who was high functioning with 4 students who were low

functioning found that peer mediation programs facilitated generalization of interaction skills to

nontraining settings, however, both the target students and the peers involved in this study had

had previous experiences with and exposure to social skills interventions, which may have made

the students more responsive to interventions (Kamps et al., 1995; Kamps, Royer et al., 2002).

Future research may wish to focus upon the effectiveness of social skills interventions with

students with ASD who are high functioning and a network of their peers in a more typical

school setting that may not have an enriched social skills focus. In addition, future research may

wish to investigate the effectiveness of a social skills curriculum that utilizes didactic skills









instruction, modeling, role-playing, and feedback as components of a social skills intervention

(e.g., Skillstreaming the Elementary School Child by McGinnis & Goldstein, 1997) implemented

with students with ASD who are high functioning and a network of their nondisabled peers.

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this study was to replicate Garrison-Harrell's study (1996) and investigate

the effects of a peer network social skills intervention implemented solely with students with

ASD who are high functioning and their nondisabled peers. This intervention investigated the

effectiveness of the procedures and adapted lessons from the social skills program,

Skillstreaming the Elementary School Child (McGinnis & Goldstein, 1997) on the social

interactions of students with ASD who are high functioning. The study was designed to facilitate

natural interactions between the students with ASD and their peers to investigate generalization

of social interactions to untrained settings.

Research Question

The study was designed to answer the following question: What are the effects of a peer

network intervention implemented across multiple settings on the social skills of students with

ASD who are high functioning, utilizing procedures and adapted lessons from the social skills

program, Skillstreaming the Elementary School Child (McGinnis & Goldstein, 1997)?











Low functioning
Mild to profound mental retardation
Delay or lack of spoken language
May communicate needs only
Repetitive use of language


More severe preoccupation with
stereotyped interest
More severe repetitive motor mannerisms
Avoid/resist social contact
Lack social reciprocity


Table 2-1. Autism spectrum disorder
High functioning
Intellect: Average or above
Communication: Age appropriate vocabulary and syntax
Difficulty with reciprocal conversational speech
Repetitive and idiosyncratic speech
Interpret words literally
Difficulty interpreting body language/nonverbal cues
Restricted interests: Less severe preoccupation with unusual stereotyped
interests
Less severe repetitive motor mannerisms
Social skills: Socially awkward/immature/rigid
Fail to develop age appropriate peer relationships
Impaired social reciprocity
Difficulty understanding social cues and nuances
(American Psychiatric Association, 2000; Shaked & Yirmiya, 2003)










Table 2-2. Peer-mediated interventions
Participants Target
settings behavior


Training
sessions


Measurement


Design


Intervention


Social skills groups and peer-inclusive play with adult-mediation


1. Carr & Darcy (1990)
Autism Spectrum Response Observation Multiple 25-40 min./ Modeling
Disorder (ASD): 4 Correct physical Percentage of baseline when criteria Combination
Ages 3-4 response while correct/incorrect across met of physical prompts
Low Func. playing "Follow performance of participants & verbal feedback
Peer: 1 the Leader" task
Age 5
Setting:
Hall-Training
Gym-Probe
Common toys
Results: 1) Close proximity with verbal prompts did not produce peer-modeling effects.
2) Chains of continuous behavior were acquired when peer utilized physical & verbal prompts & feedback.


2. Strain et al. (1979)
ASD: 4
Ages 9-10
Low Func.
Peer: 1
Age 11
Setting:
Separate
school room
Play items


Social Beh,
Initiations/Responses
Motor/gestural
Vocal/verbal


Observation
10s interval
for 5 min.
20 min. total


Withdrawal
of treatment
ABAC/
ACAB


20 min. training
& 20 min.
generalization
36 sessions


B=Initiated SI
C=Prompt &
reinforce SI










Table 2-2. Continued


Participants
settings


Training
sessions


Target
behavior


Measurement


Design


Intervention


Results: 1) Both interventions (B&C) increased social interactions (SI) in training sessions in similar amounts.
2) No increase in positive SI during generalization session.


3. Pierce & Schreibman (1995)
ASD: 2 In Dyads:
Age 10 Social Beh,
Low Func. Imitate
Peers: 2 conversation
Age 10 Initiate play
Setting: Maintain SI
Unused class- Attending B
room-Training Nonengager
Partially inhabited Onlooking
classroom-Probe Object enga
Toys Supported j
Coordinated
Language
Use of appre
Length of se


Ob
Int~
Vid
n 10s
30s
pro
~eh.
ment

gement
point attn.
[joint attn.

opriate words
:ntence


servation
erval recording
~eo taped
;interval for SI
Interval for
Iduced language


Multiple
baseline
across
participants


10 min.
during play
1-2 sessions
a day


Pivotal Response
Training (PRT)
Paying attention
Child's choice
Model appropriate
behavior
Reinforce attempts
Vary toys
Extend conversation


Results: 1) Increased complex social behavior and attending behavior in social environment.
2) Increased language and communication skills.
3) Peers able to implement comprehensive treatment package with minimal adult supervision.










Table 2-2. Continued
Participants Target
settings behavior Measurement


Training
sessions


Design


Intervention


4. Pierce & Schreibman (1997)
ASD: 2 Maintain Observation Multiple
Ages 7-8 interaction Video taped Baseline
Low Func. Initiate play Continuous across peer
Peers: Initiate conversation 10s interval trainers
6 trainers Generalization
2 generalization probes w/ untrained
Ages 8-9 peer, w/ novel
Setting: stimuli, in a
Empty classroom nontraining
Novel classroom environment
Toys
Results: 1) Naturalistic interventions produced positive changes in target students.
2) Use of multiple peer trainers enhanced generalization.


10 min. play
sessions
1-2 sessions
a day













3-4 times/
week
20-25 min.
sessions
(10 min.
teacher led
social skills
training &
10-15 min.
play time)


Pivotal Response
Strategies
(Same as earlier,
1995, study)













Child w/ ASD
& 3 peers
Imitation & following
instruction
Sharing & taking
turns
Asking for help &
requesting things
Greetings


5. Gonzalez-Lopez & Kamps (1997)
ASD: 4 Frequency &
Ages 5-7 duration of SI
Low Func. between students
Peer: 12 Use of specific
Age 5-8 social skills
Setting: Occurrence of
Spec. Educ. disruptive beh.
Classroom
Toys


Observation Withdrawal
Social Interaction of treatment
Code (SIC) ABCIA2C2
(Duration & w/ 2
frequency of SI) intervention
Social skills/ conditions
beh. rating scale
Procedural checklist
Consumer Satisfaction
Survey











Table 2-2. Continued
Participants
settings


Target
behavior Measurement


Training
sessions


Design


Intervention


Results: 1) Increased frequency & duration of SI for all target students.
2) Increased use of social behavior by target students.
3) Decreased inappropriate behavior in 3 of 4 target students.


6. Kamps et al. (1992)
ASD: 3 Frequency
Age 7 of SI
High Func. Duration
Peers: 11 of SI
First graders
Setting:
Integrated
first grade
Play time


Observation
Social Interaction
Code
5 min. random
samples
21 item social
skills rating scale
to measure
occurrence of
particular social
behaviors


Multiple
Baseline
across
participants
2-3 weeks/
skill
Entire class
trained


First 10 min.
of 20 min.
session
4 times/week


Social Skills
training :
Initiating, responding
to & sustaining
interaction
Greetings
Compliments
Taking turns &
sharing
Helping & asking for
help
Including others


Results: 1) Increased frequency, time engaged in, & duration of SI.
2) Increased levels of initiation & responding by target students.
3) Increased responsivity of peers to target students.










Table 2-2. Continued


Participants
settings


Training
sessions


Target
behavior


Measurement


Design


Intervention


Peer-mediation within social environments


1. Roeyers (1995)
ASD: 85 Duration of SI Observation Random
Ages 5-13 Frequency of Beginning assignment
Low Func. initiation beh imitation to treatment
Peers: 48 Longer Continuous & control
Ages 5-13 uninterrupted initiation conditions
Setting: SI Response
Lunch
time
Immediately
o\after school
(Playrooms)
Results: 1) Increased time spent in SI.
2) Increased responsiveness to peer' s initiations.
3) Increased frequency of initiation behavior by target students.
4) Increased length of sustained interaction.


10 play
sessions/
30 min. each
15
sessions


Peer proximity
Persistent initiation
Limited adult
intrusion
Use of familiar toys
Use of dyads










Table 2-2. Continued
Participants Target
settings behavior Measurement


Training
sessions


Design


Intervention


2. Laushey & Heflin (2000)
ASD: 2 Ask for an Observation Withdrawal 10 min. Entire class trained
Ages 5 obj ect & Event recording of treatment during free Dyads changed daily
Low Func. respond Occurrence/ ABAB play/center Stay, play, & talk w/
High Func. Get attention Nonoccurrence time buddy
Peers: 20-25 of another Once every Incentive to do a
Ages 5-6 Wait for turn 10 days "Good j ob staying
Setting: Look at or together."
Integrated in direction of
kindergarten person talking
classroom
Results: Buddy program elicited more appropriate social skills in target students than passive proximity approach.


3. Shafer et al. (1984)
ASD: 4 Social Behavior
Ages 5-6 Motor
Low Func. Verbal
Peer: 16 Initiate
Ages 5-8 Respond
(4 trained) Duration
Setting:
Empty
room-Training
Gym- Generalization


Observation
10 min. sessions
Duration of SI
during free-play
& training sessions
Interval during
generalization


Multiple
B aseline
across
participants


20 min.
training


Direct prompting
Modeling









Table 2-2. Continued
Participants Target
settings behavior Measurement


Training
sessions


Design


Intervention


Results: 1) Direct prompting increased positive SI between peer trainers and target students.
2) Length of SI increased.
3) SI between untrained peers and target students increased.
4) Specific programming was necessary to maintain generalization across settings.


4. Peck et al. (1997)
ASD: 5 On/off Observation Alternating Interventions Individualized on
Ages 8-10 task behavior Video taped Treatment conducted on basis of structural
Low Func. Aberrant beh. 6s partial A=Best Treatment separate days analysis of high/low
Peers: 4 Initiations interval recording B=Worst Treatment for 5-10 min. variables/ settings
Ages 8-10 Responses Occurrences each Peer interactions
Setting: Continuations divided by Task structure
2 Self- opportunities Environment
contained (noise level)
Spec. Educ.
Classes
Maintenance/
generalization
in gen. educ.
Results: Identification of specific antecedent stimuli for each target student allowed subsequent manipulation of individual
antecedent events conducive to increased social interaction and appropriate behavior for each target student.










Table 2-2. Continued


Participants
settings


Training
sessions


Target
behavior


Measurement


Design


Intervention


1. Kamps, Barbetta et al. (1994)
ASD: 3 Reading rate Data gathered Multiple
Ages 8-9 & # of reading on: Baseline
High Func. errors Reading rate across
Peers: 14 Responses & errors/min. participants
Similar ages to reading comp. Reading comp. w/ withdrawal
4-5 from each questions Duration of SI of treatment
of 3 gen. educ. SI in non- during free time
classes structured time Mean length of
Setting: following read- SI
Integrated ing instruction
gen. educ.
classes
Results: 1) Increased fluency and reading comprehension for all students.
2) Increased duration of SI time for target students and peers.


All students
trained for
three 45 min.
sessions on
CWPT -
25-30 min. of
peer-mediated
instruction 3-4
times/week
CWPT
supplemental
to reading instr.


Classwide Peer
Tutoring (CWPT)
Peer feed-back for
oral reading
Correction of errors
Posting
Additional peer
tutoring 15-20 min.
social time following
reading instr.


Peer-mediation within learning formats










Table 2-2. Continued


Participants
settings


Training
sessions


Target
behavior


Measurement


Design


Intervention


2. Dugan et al. (1995)
ASD: 2
Ages 9-10
Low Func.
High Func.
Peers: 16
4th grade ages
Setting:
Gen. educ.
4th grade
integrated
class


Comprehension
of social
studies
curriculum
Academic
engagement
Target &
peer interactions
initiationss/
responses,
frequency/
length)


Observation
Pre & post
tests
Social Interaction
Code (SIC)
5 min. probes
for SI
2 ten minute
academic
engagement probes
Consumer
S ati sfacti on


Withdrawal
of treatment


10 min. to
cover social
studies curr.
Followed by
implementation
of cooperative
groups


Lesson related
activities
Encourage
appropriate
teamwork, social
skills & task beh.


Survey
Results: 1) Increased # of items correct on social studies tests for both peers and target students.
2) Increased academic engagement for peers and target students.
3) Increased length of social interactions for peers and target students.










Table 2-2. Continued


Participants
settings


Training
sessions


Target
behavior


Measurement


Design


Intervention


3. Kamps et al. (1995)
Study 1
ASD: 1 Comprehension Pre- & post- Withdrawal 30 min. of Peer tutoring
Age 8 of reading tests of treatment 1 V/2 hour vocabulary w
High Func. passages Code for reading Practice on w
Peers: 15 Academic Instructional instruction what, where,
Third grade ages engagement Structure 10 min. of & why quest
Setting: Target & Duration of teacher direct Academic ga
Gen. educ. peer interactions peer interactions instruction & Incentives
3rd grade (MOOSES) modeling of Alternating g
integrated Consumer specific social leaders
class S ati sfacti on skill w/ group
Survey practice w/
peers (final
6 weeks)
Results: Increased reading nains, academic ennanement, & Deer interactions during supplemental cooperative learning aroup.


;on
Jords
rho,
when,

Times

:roup










Table 2-2. Continued
Participants Target
settings behavior
4. Kamps et al. (1995)
Study 2
ASD: 2 Reading-
Age 12-13 Comprehension
Low Func. Academic
Peers: 24 engagement
Ages 10-12 Target & peer
Setting: engagement
Gen. educ.
5th grade
integrated
class


Training
sessions


30 min. of
1 V/2 hour
reading
instruction


Measurement



Pre- & post-
tests over
reading content
Academic
engagement
Student
interaction data
MOOSESS)
Consumer Satis.
Survey


Design


Withdrawal
of treatment


Intervention



Similar to Study 1
except target students
used different reading
material


SResults: Increased reading scores on weekly quizzes and peer interactions.









Table 2-2. Continued
Participants Target
settings behavior Measurement


Training
sessions


Design


Intervention


5. Kamps, Royer et al.(2002)
Study 1
ASD: 5 Frequency Observation Withdrawal 4th Grade Cooperative learning
Ages 9-10 of SI Social of treatment Participation groups during social
Low Func. Length of SI Interaction in cooperative studies
High Func. Duration of Code (SIC) learning Taught responsibility
Peers: 51 SI during 5 Social beh. groups 3-4 for group roles
Ages 8-10 min. probe generalization times/week & social skills for
Setting: probes collected 3rd Grade working in groups
3rd & 4th in fall & spring Social skills Social skills groups
grade groups Imitating &
integrated 10 min responding to peers
classes teaching Cooperating
followed by Positive interactions
10-15 min
play/free time
4 times/week
Generalization
probes taken
for 15 min.
during free time
Results: 1) Both groups with embedded peer training increased the amount of time target student & peers engaged in SI across
academic and social contexts.
2) SI skills generalized to nontraining settings.
3) Cooperative learning group showed more generalization of skills.










Table 2-2. Continued
Participants Target
settings behavior Measurement


Training
sessions


Design


Intervention


6. Kamps, Royer et al.(2002)
Study 2
ASD: 34 Duratio
Ages 7-14 SI
across 3 yrs. Recipre
Low Func. interact
Peers: 120-130 Toy pla
Same age or On-topj
within one verbali;
year of target
students
Setting:
-1Gen. educ.
classes across
six districts

Results: Trained Peers:

Familiar Peers:

Stranger Peers:


~n of Observation Analysis of Generalization Peer Mediation
5 min. probes Variance by Probes Programs groups
ocal of time engaged Condition: 15 min. Social skills play
tions in SI 1.Trained sessions Lunch buddy groups
ay Video taped peers Target Recess buddy groups
lic in fall & spring 2.Untrained student & Tutoring activities
zation and two years peers peer seated Social skills
later 3.Stranger at table w/ instruction within
MOOSES peers toys/games context of activity
probes
by condition:
1. Familiar
2. Trained
3. Stranger
1) Increased duration & reciprocal SI.
2) Less increase in on-topic language.
1) Increased duration and reciprocal interactions.
2) No change in language.
1) All behaviors occurred with less frequency.
2) Target students who received intervention over multiple years showed more generalization.
3) More social behaviors occurred with trained peers than for control group peers.
4) Consistent contact with peers (inclusive classrooms) also generalized to social behaviors though less
interactions than with structured peer mediation.










Table 2-2. Continued
Participants Target
settings behavior Measurement


Training
sessions


Design


Intervention


Peer network systems in school environments


1. Haring & Breen (1992)
ASD: 1 Frequency of SI Observation Multiple
Age 13 Frequency of SI Observations of Baseline
Low Func. w/ appropriate target students across
MMR: 1 social response during 5 min participants
Age 13 Identify peers transitions
Peers: 9 w/ whom SI Peer monitoring
Ages 12-13 occurred Peer interviews
Setting: (pre-, during, &
Junior High post-intervention)
Lunch room Video taped
Transition meetings
times
Results: 1) Increased quantity and quality of SI.
2) Promoted development of friendships between target students and peers.


One 30
min. group
meeting per
week
Training by
peers between
classes & at
lunch
Training by
instructor
twice a week
for 15 min.


Peer Network
Age-appropriate
interactions
Persi stence
Modeling
Modifying initiation
Increase motivation to
interact










Table 2-2. Continued
Participants Target
settings behavior Measurement


Training
sessions


Design


Intervention


2. Kamps et al. (1997)
ASD: 3 Initiations
Ages 6-8 Motor
Low Func. Verbal
Peers: 21 Responses
Ages 6-8 Motor
Setting: Verbal
Academic Duration
Center/game of SI
time Reciprocal
Lunch SI
Recess


Ob servation
Reciprocal
SI MOOSESS)
5 min. random
samples
5s timing for
SI


Multiple
Baseline
across
settings
Academic
Center/game
Lunch
Recess


Minimum
of 10 min./
activity
3-4 times/
week


Sequential
Individualized
Context appropriate
Meet aprior criteria
Criteria
1.At least 10 min. 3-4
times/week
2. Participation of at
least 1 peer
3. Adult supervised
4. Social Activities
5. Peer training
6. Scripts for task
7. Visual/verbal
reinforcement
8. Adult feedback


Results: 1) Increased interaction time w/ peers across all settings for all target students.
2) SI generalization to nonintervention settings for 2 target students.










Table 2-2. Continued
Participants
settings


Training
sessions


Target
behavior Measurement


Design


Intervention


3. Garrison-Harrell et al. (1997)
ASD: 3 Duration of Observation Multiple 20 min.
Ages 6-7 SI initiations & Frequency, Baseline cooperative
Low Func. responses length, & total across group activity
Peer: 15 Time spent time of SI settings 1-3 times/day
First grade ages using (MOOSES) within a & 3-4 times/
Setting: communication Vocal beh. multiple week
Classrooms system during subtest on ASIEP baseline
Lunch activities Peer nomination across
Computer Rm. Collateral beh. & friendship ratings participants
Recess that changed or 10 min. samples
emerged due to of vocal beh.
acquisition of 5s timing for SI
target beh.
Results: 1) Increased frequency and duration of SI in 3 settings with communication system.
2) Increased expressive language for 2 target students.
3) Increased acceptance by peers.


Implementation of a
trained peer network
Use communication
system
Use social skills for
appropriate SI
Maintain SI
throughout session










Table 2-2. Continued
Participants Target
settings behavior Measurement


Training
sessions


Design


Intervention


Study utilizing Skillstreaming the Elementary School Child (McGinnis & Goldstein, 1997)


1. Lopata, et al. (2006)
ASD: 21 Social Skills
Ages 6-13 Adaptability
Atypicality (odd
or unusual beh.)


Behavior Asess-
ment System for
Children (Reynolds
& Kamphaus, 1998)
Teacher Rating Scale
Parent Rating Scale


6 weeks
Four 70 min.
sessions/day
(20 min. social
skills instruction
followed by 50
min. therapeutic
activities)


Core Treatment
1. Social skills
instruction
2. Face-affect recog.
3. Interest expansion
4. Once/week -
interpreting nonliteral
statements & idioms


Pretest-Postest
Social Skills plus
Behavior Treat.
Social Skills only


Results: 1) Parents and Staff reported significant increase in social skills across the program.
2) Parents reported significant improvement in Adaptability and Atypicality
3) Staff reported no significant change in Adaptability and a significant increase in Atypicality
4) No difference between the SS + BT vs. SS treatment









CHAPTER 3
IVETHOD S

This chapter discusses the methodology used to investigate the effects of a peer network

strategy social skills intervention adapted from Skillstreaming the Elementary School Child

(McGinnis & Goldstein, 1997) on the social interactions of three elementary-age students with

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) who are high functioning. Specifically, the chapter focuses on

characteristics of the participants, setting and materials, measurement procedures, design,

experimental procedures, treatment integrity, and social validity.

Participants

The target participants and their peers were selected from Clay County Public Schools,

Florida located in the metropolitan area of Jacksonville, Florida. The School District of Clay

County encompasses a 601 square-mile suburban/rural county in northeast Florida and serves

approximately 30,000 students. Information from the Florida Department of Education (2004)

indicated that for the 2005-2006 school year, approximately 23% of the students in Clay County

met eligibility criteria for a disability category, 29% were on free/reduced lunch, and 0.5% were

in the Limited English Profieiency or English Language Learners category. According to

information from the 2000 U. S. Census report (2004), the ethnic make up of the county includes

87% White non-Hispanic, 7% Black or African American, 3% Asian, 2% of other races, and 1%

American Indian. The median family income is approximately $54,000.

Target Participants

Three students with ASD were chosen to participate in this study. Criteria for participation

in this investigation included the following:

1. The student was between ages Hyve and twelve.









2. The student received a documented diagnosis of ASD, PDD, Autism, Asperger
syndrome, or High Functioning Autism (HFA) that included marked deficits in social
skills. Any of these diagnoses were acceptable for inclusion in the study in addition to the
following.

3. The student's Intelligence Quotient (i.e., I.Q.) is within the average range. Brandon
achieved a Full Scale I.Q. score of 102 on the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children-
Fourth Edition (WISC-IV). Jimmy achieved a Full Scale I.Q. score of 99 on the Wechsler
Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence-Third Edition (WPPSI-III) and Sam
achieved a Full Scale I.Q. score of 102 on the WISC-IV.

4. The student was included in a general education class at least 30% of the school day. This
percentage was determined based on information provided by Brandon's teacher after the
researcher interviewed him about Brandon' s possible inclusion in the study. Brandon' s
teacher indicated that he was academically capable but was in a resource special
education class to assist him with organizational skills. As a result, Brandon was included
in the general education setting for approximately 30% of the day. Jimmy and Sam were
included in the general education class 100% of the school day.

5. The school administrator, the teacherss, parents/guardians, and students consented to
participate in this study.

After potential participants with ASD were identified (i.e., Brandon, Jimmy, and Sam), the

researcher introduced the purpose and procedures of the peer network to their parents, school

administratorss, and teacherss. After their parents and individual teachers signed the

appropriate informed consent forms (Appendix B, Parental Informed Consent and Appendix C,

Teacher Informed Consent), the researcher read the Target Student Informed Assent form

(Appendix A) to each of the potential participants individually and explained any areas they did

not understand prior to their signing the assent form.

The target participants' descriptive information was obtained from student records, teacher

interviews, and the participants' psychological reports prepared after assessment by their school

psychologist. Brandon's most recent psychological report was dated May 2006, Jimmy's was

April 2006, and Sam's was June 2003. Descriptive information is summarized in Table 3.1 and









includes the target participant' s age, gender, ethnicity/race, grade level, intellectual ability,

diagnosis, and behavioral description of his social skills.

Nondisabled Peer Participants

Nine nondisabled students (two for each target participant and one alternate) in the same

class as each target participant were selected to participate in this study. These peer participants

attended the general education class 100% of the school day.

The peer participants were selected based on social status with classmates and teacher

judgment. Social status with classmates was assessed through sociometric measures, which are

the most widely used research methods for evaluating children's social competence (Coie,

Dodge, & Kupersmidt, 1990). These measures, specifically peer ratings and peer nominations,

are commonly used to determine the status of a child within a peer group (Gresham, 1986). The

Friendship Rating Scale (Garrison-Harrell, 1996) (Appendix D) and the Peer Nominations

Questionnaire (Garrison-Harrell, 1996) (Appendix E) were the sociometric measures utilized for

this study and were taken directly from Garrison-Harrell's study (1996) with no changes. These

measures were administered to each target participant's class based on the following procedure.

Each target participant's entire class responded to questions on the Friendship Rating Scale

(Garrison-Harrell, 1996) and Peer Nominations Questionnaire (Garrison-Harrell, 1996).

Brandon's class had 20 students, Jimmy's class had 18 students, and Sam's class had 24 students

at the beginning of the study and 20 students at its conclusion. The researcher administered the

questionnaires individually to the students in Jimmy's class to ensure understanding because of

their young age (kindergarten). The scales were administered to Brandon and Sam's classes by

their teachers as a group activity.

The Friendship Rating Scale (Garrison-Harrell, 1996) asked students to rank how much

they like to play with each of their other classmates based upon a Likert scale rating of 1 (Not at










All) to 5 (A Lot). The following four questions for Peer Nominations (Garrison-Harrell, 1996)

were asked:

1. List three classmates that you would invite to your birthday party.
2. List three classmates that are your good friends.
3. List three classmates that you like to play with on the playground.
4. List three classmates that you like to play with.

After administering the questionnaires, the students who scored four or five on the

Friendship Rating Scale (Garrison-Harrell, 1996) were compared to the students who were

nominated by a minimum of four peers on the Peer Nominations Questionnaire (Garrison-Harrell

1996). For the purpose of the study, the students who were rated highly by their classmates were

considered to have high social status and peer acceptance. The results of the nominations and

peer ratings were combined to make a list of potential peer participants for the study.

In Brandon's class, peers 1 and 2 and the alternate were rated among the top 7 within the

class of 20 on the Friendship Rating Scale. On the Peer Nominations Questionnaire, peer 1 was

nominated by 5 classmates, peer 2 by 4 classmates, and the alternate by 4 classmates.

In Jimmy's class, peers 1 and 2 and the alternate were rated among the top 5 within the

class of 18 on the Friendship Rating Scale. On the Peer Nominations Questionnaire, peer 1 was

nominated by 7 classmates, peer 2 by 6 classmates, and the alternate by 4 classmates.

In Sam's class, peers 1 and 2 and the alternate were rated among the top 8 within the class

of 24 on the Friendship Rating Scale. On the Peer Nominations Questionnaire, peer 1 was

nominated by 11 classmates, peer 2 by 4 classmates, and the alternate by 6 classmates.

Each target participant' s teacher was then requested to review the list of the classmates and

their ratings from the Friendship Rating Scale (Garrison-Harrell, 1996) and the Peer

Nominations Questionnaire (Garrison-Harrell, 1996). After reviewing the list, they









recommended nondisabled peers for each of the target participant' s network based on the

following additional criteria:



1. Compliance with teacher requests
2. Regular school attendance
3. Demonstration of age-appropriate social skills
4. Demonstration of age-appropriate expressive and receptive language skills

After narrowing the list of candidates of potential peer participants for the study, the

teachers ranked the students from first to last in reference to the preceding criteria. The students

who were nominated as desired friends and playmates by their peers and good models by their

teacher were considered socially competent and potential peer participants for this study. The

researcher reviewed both the peer and the teacher rankings and chose students who ranked

numbers 1 and 2 as potential peer participants. The alternate peer was the student ranked number

3. The alternate was trained along with the peer participants and served as a peer participant

when peer participants 1 or 2 were absent.

Once the three potential peer participants for each target participant' s peer network were

identified, the researcher contacted their parents and discussed the purpose of the network with

them. After the parents gave their verbal permission, the researcher read the Peer Informed

Assent form (Appendix F) to the potential peer participants and explained any areas they did not

understand before they signed the form. The peer participants' parents signed the Parental

Informed Consent Peer Network form (Appendix G).

Descriptive information for the peer participants is included in Table 3-2 and includes their

age, gender, ethnicity/race, and grade level. During the course of the study, the alternate peer

participated in the peer network when one of the peer participants was absent. Brandon' s

alternate peer did not participate in any of the sessions, as his peer participants always were










present. Jimmy's alternate peer participated in one session and Sam's alternate peer participated

111 S1X SCSS10HS.

Settings

Peer network activities and observations took place in two settings that were selected based

on the target participants' class schedules as determined by their teachers. The settings were

chosen by the teachers as times when more naturally occurring social interactions were likely to

occur between the target and peer participants (i.e., before school, recess, lunch). These two

settings provided generalization data concerning the effectiveness of the peer network social

skills intervention in increasing social interactions between the target and peer participants in

settings where the training did not occur. The settings (i.e., before school, recess, lunch) were

chosen according to each participant' s class schedule. The target and peer participants met in a

separate room during the before school or recess activities or were partially separated from their

classmates at the end of a table during breakfast and lunch settings. This separation or partial

separation from the rest of the classmates provided each target participant with the ability to

focus on and practice the social behaviors learned from the adapted lessons of the Skillstreaming

the Elementary School Child (McGinnis & Goldstein, 1997) social skills training.

The two generalization settings selected for Brandon were before school and during recess.

The before school setting was selected because it occurred daily and lasted approximately 15

minutes. Brandon and his peer participants met in a small teacher workroom directly behind

Brandon's classroom. The other classmates spent these 15 minutes organizing materials for the

coming school day, turning in assignments, conversing with classmates, and talking with the

teacher. The recess setting occurred daily at the conclusion of the lunch period for approximately

20 minutes. Brandon and his peer participants met in the classroom while his other classmates

played on the playground. These settings provided Brandon with multiple opportunities to









practice social skills with his peer participants and generalize skills learned during social skills

training (Kamps et al., 2002).

The two generalization settings selected for Jimmy were during lunch and recess. The

lunch setting was selected because it occurred daily and lasted for approximately 25 minutes.

During lunch, Jimmy and his peer participants sat at one end of a table assigned to their class in

the cafeteria. The recess setting occurred daily early in the afternoon and lasted approximately 20

minutes. Jimmy and his peer participants played in the classroom while his other classmates

went outside to the playground. These settings also provided Jimmy with multiple opportunities

to practice social skills with his peer participants and generalize skills learned during social skills

training (Kamps et al., 2002).

The two generalization settings selected for Sam were during breakfast and lunch. The

breakfast setting was selected because it occurred daily and lasted for approximately 15 minutes.

During breakfast, Sam and his peer participants were seated at one end of a table in the cafeteria

separated from the other students in the school who also were eating breakfast. Sam's classmates

who did not eat breakfast spent these 15 minutes in the classroom organizing materials for the

coming school day, turning in assignments, conversing with classmates, and talking with the

teacher. The lunch setting occurred daily in the cafeteria and lasted approximately 25 minutes.

Sam and his peer participants were seated at one end of the table assigned to their class. These

settings provided Sam with multiple opportunities to practice social skills with his peer

participants and generalize skills learned during social skills training (Kamps et al., 2002).

The social skills training sessions were implemented following baseline. For Brandon, the

training sessions were held in the teacher workroom directly behind his classroom. For Jimmy

and Sam, the training sessions occurred in a small conference room located in the main school









building in each of their respective schools. Chairs were arranged in a circle in each room to

encourage interactions between the target participant and his peer participants.

Materials

Materials were not available in Brandon's before school setting, however, the students

occasionally brought incidental items with them such as purses and small toys. During the recess

setting, Brandon and his peer participants had games (e.g., UNO@) available in the classroom

that they used periodically as well as paper and pencils for drawing, etc.

Materials available for Jimmy and his peer participants in the lunch setting included the

students' food as well as lunch boxes, cafeteria trays, utensils, etc. During the recess setting, a

cabinet containing classroom toys/activities was made available for Jimmy and his peer

participants to play with. Jimmy and his peer participants frequently played with Lego@ building

blocks, jigsaw puzzles, or a memory game.

Materials available for Sam and his peer participants in both the breakfast and the lunch

setting included the students' food as well as lunch boxes, cafeteria trays, utensils, etc. During

the study, Sam brought additional items to lunch twice. These included notes to study for a test

and a notebook to record his classmates' preferred sport (i.e., football or car racing).

Materials required for the training sessions included (1) the Autism Society of America

(n.d.) brochure, Asperger Syndrome Information Written for Kids Only; (2) the book, Trevor

Trevor, by Diane Twachtman-Cullen (1998); (3) chart paper and markers; (4) vanilla ice cream

and twelve different toppings for ice cream sundaes; (5) Tic-Tac-Toe game; (6) Garfield War

Card Game@; and (7) selected Lego@ building blocks.

A video recorder was utilized during the study. All four training sessions were videotaped

for each target participant. Every observation in settings 1 and 2 were videotaped for each target

participant and the dependent measures were coded from the videotapes.









Parents of classmates of the target and peer participants signed a release of video consent

in case their child was inadvertently videotaped during the study. The cafeteria setting was the

only one in which a classmate may have been unintentionally videotaped. Classmates whose

parents specifically requested that their child not be videotaped were seated at the opposite end

of the table from where the network participants were seated. The video camera was aimed

directly at the network participants so that other classmates were excluded from the taping to the

greatest extent possible. Both Jimmy and Sam's classes did not have assigned seats during lunch.

Thus, classmates who may have appeared on the videotape varied. To eliminate the possibility of

including other students in the videotape during breakfast, Sam and his peer participants sat at a

table separated from other students who ate breakfast.

Measurement Procedures

Independent Variable

The independent variable in this study is a peer network social skills intervention based

on lessons adapted from Skillstreaming the Elementary School Child (McGinnis & Goldstein,

1997) in addition to awareness activities (Kamps, Kravits et al., 2002) and coaching sessions

(Gresham, 2002; Haring & Breen, 1992).

The social skills intervention included four training sessions conducted over four days. The

training sessions occurred twice a week across two weeks following the previously arranged

target participants' schedule (Appendix L). The four training session were arranged with the

teacher and occurred during the school day at a time that did not interfere with instructional/class

time or scheduled generalization settings. Data continued to be collected during the

generalization settings on the same days the training sessions took place. Each of the four

training sessions lasted 30 minutes.









The first session, an introductory session, included the two peer participants, the alternate,

and a discussion of the characteristics of children with ASD. The remaining three sessions

included the target participants (i.e., Brandon, Jimmy, Sam) and each of their three peer

participants. These three training sessions covered social initiations, responses, and interactions

as observed in conversations, taking turns, and sharing. Training began with Brandon and his

peer participants. When a stable and upward trend was observed in Brandon's data, training was

implemented with Jimmy and his peer participants. After a stable and upward trend was

observed in Jimmy's data, the training was implemented with Sam and his peer participants.

Detailed information concerning the peer network training can be found in Appendix I.

Introductory session. The introductory session for the peer participants and the alternate

included a discussion of the characteristics of children with ASD, PDD, Asperger syndrome, or

High Functioning Autism led by the researcher. The goal of providing information about the

characteristics of children within the autism spectrum to the peer participants was that through

these awareness activities, the peers might be more likely to make themselves available, sit in

closer proximity, and be more responsive to the target participants (Kamps, Kravits et al., 2002).

The introductory discussion focused on the social skill deficits children with ASD, PDD,

Asperger syndrome, or High Functioning Autism have and their difficulty interacting

successfully with their classmates. The material/points for the discussion were taken directly

from the Autism Society of America (n.d.) brochure, Asperger Syndrome Information Written for

Kids Only, that was designed to introduce children to the characteristics of the disorder. The

book, Trevor Trevor (Twachtman-Cullen, 1998), was read to the peer participants by the

researcher. Trevor Trevor is a story that relates how a student with Asperger syndrome or High

Functioning Autism is misunderstood and eventually accepted by his classmates. Following a









brief discussion of the story, the researcher explained the peer participants' role in the network to

engage the target participant in activities and discussed ways in which they can befriend him.

Five minutes were provided for the peer participants to ask questions. Terminology concerning

each target participant' s diagnosis (i.e., autism, ASD) was not used during the study.

The remaining three training sessions included the target participant, two peer participants,

and the alternate peer. The intervention was implemented across participants utilizing strategies

based on the commercially available curriculum, Mll~l/s r'iningl the Elementary School Child

(McGinnis & Goldstein, 1997). This curriculum was examined and only skills directly related to

conversations, taking turns, and sharing were included in the intervention. Skillstreaming is a

systematic and structured program for teaching interpersonal skills to children with social skill

deficits. The program provides structured procedures for teaching skills using the following

components: (1) defining the skill, (2) modeling the skill, (3) selecting students to role-play, (4)

setting up the role-play, (5) conducting the role-play, and (6) providing performance feedback

(McGinnis & Goldstein, 1997, p. 57). For a description of each step and a comprehensive

delineation of Skillstreaming procedures, see McGinnis and Goldstein (1997). For more in depth

information regarding how each of the steps was implemented in this study, refer to Appendix I,

Peer Network Training.

Second training session. The second training session was adapted from Skillstreaming the

Elementary School Child (McGinnis & Goldstein, 1997). The social behaviors taught during the

second session included steps for initiating a conversation as designated in Skill 15: Beginning a

Conversation (p. 105) from Skillstreaming. Steps for initiating a conversation included (1)

choose the person you want to talk with, (2) decide what you want to say, (3) choose a good time

and place, and (4) talk in a friendly way. Responses included combined steps from those









designated in Skill 7: Contributing to Discussions (p. 97) and Skill 16: Ending a Conversation (p.

106) from Skillstreaming. Steps for responses included (1) decide if what you want to say is

related to the topic of the conversation, (2) decide exactly what you want to say, (3) wait until the

other person is finished speaking before you start talking, and (4) talk in a friendly way. These

behavioral steps were listed on a chart for the participants to view during the lesson.

The following strategies from Skillstreaming the Elementary School Child (McGinnis &

Goldstein, 1997, p. 57) were followed: (1) defining the skill, (2) modeling the skill, (3) selecting

students to role-play, (4) setting up the role-play, (5) conducting the role-play, and (6) providing

performance feedback. Topics for modeling and role-playing were taken from Suggested

Situations included in Skill 15: Beginning a Conversation (p. 105), Skill 7: Contributing to

Discussions (p. 97), and Skill 16: Ending a Conversation (p. 106). Additional topics for modeling

and role-playing were developed by the researcher and participants.

The culminating activity for session two was an ice cream sundae party in which there was

a choice of 12 items to top the ice cream. This activity was selected based on discussions and

suggestions from teachers and school psychologists who had been teachers. All of the

participants participated and each was in charge of three toppings (e.g., bananas, chocolate syrup,

whipped cream, etc.) of their choosing. In order to receive a desired topping, each participant had

to socially interact with his/her peers (i.e., initiate a request or respond to the request of another

participant). The purpose of the ice cream sundae party was to have each participant initiate a

request to another participant for a desired topping for his/her ice cream sundae. In turn, each

participant had to respond appropriately to another participant's request from him/her for a

topping they desired. In order to obtain a desired topping, the participants had to engage in a

social interaction that included both an appropriate initiation and response. The participants went









in order around the table requesting or responding to a peer' s request for a topping so that each

participant had an equal number of opportunities for a social interaction to occur.

Mastery of the activity was determined if the target participant participated in an

appropriate social interaction (either an initiation or response) in 80% of the opportunities

available for a social interaction to occur. Mastery was measured by the researcher viewing the

videotape of the training session. The opportunities available for a social interaction (an initiation

or a response) were counted. The number of actual social interactions were divided by the

number of opportunities for a social interaction to occur and multiplied by 100 to obtain a

percentage of mastery.

Third training session. The third training session was adapted from Skillstreaming the

Elementary School Child (McGinnis & Goldstein, 1997). The social behaviors taught during the

third session included steps for taking turns as designated in Skill 18: Playing a Game (p. 108)

from Skillstreaming. Steps for taking turns included (1) repeat silently to self "I can wait until it

is my turn," (2) if the other person is doing an activity, watch them so you can learn from them

how to do the activity, and (3) wait in a friendly way. These behavioral steps were listed on a

chart for the participants to view during the lesson.

The following strategies from Skillstreaming the Elementary School Child (McGinnis &

Goldstein, 1997, p. 57) were followed: (1) defining the skill, (2) modeling the skill, (3) selecting

students to role-play, (4) setting up the role-play, (5) conducting the role-play, and (6) providing

performance feedback. Topics for modeling and role-playing were taken from Suggested

Situations included in Skill 18: Playing a Game (p. 108). Additional topics for modeling and

role-playing were developed by the researcher and participants.









The culminating activity included all participants playing the card game, Garfield War@.

This activity was selected based on suggested situations in Skill 19: Playing a Game (p. 108) in

Skillstreaming. The obj ective of Garfield War@ was to obtain all of the cards in the deck by

playing the highest card. The purpose of the activity was to enable the participants to

demonstrate their ability to take turns appropriately to the conclusion of the game.

Mastery of the activity was determined if the target participant took his turn during 80% of

the opportunities available for him to take a turn and was measured by the researcher viewing the

videotape of the training session. The opportunities available for the target participant to take a

turn were counted during the activity portion of the session (i.e., playing the card game). The

number of actual turns taken were divided by the number of opportunities for a turn to occur and

multiplied by 100 to obtain a percentage of mastery.

Fourth training session. The fourth training session was adapted from Skillstreaming the

Elementary School Child (McGinnis & Goldstein, 1997). The social behaviors taught during the

fourth session included steps for sharing as designated in Skill 24: Sharing (p. 114) from

Skillstreaming. These steps included (1) decide if you want to share, (2) decide on the person

with whom you want to share, (3) choose a good time and place, and (4) share in a friendly way.

These behavioral steps were listed on a chart for the participants to view during the lesson.

The following strategies from Skillstreaming the Elementary School Child (McGinnis &

Goldstein, 1997, p. 57) were implemented: (1) defining the skill, (2) modeling the skill, (3)

selecting students to role-play, (4) setting up the role-play, (5) conducting the role-play, and (6)

providing performance feedback. Topics for modeling and role-playing were taken from

Suggested Situations included in Skill 24: Sharing (p. 114). Additional topics for modeling and

role-playing were developed by the researcher and participants.









The culminating activity, Builder, Architect, and Parts Department, was a collaborative

effort between the four participants. This activity was selected based on discussions and

suggestions from teachers and school psychologists who had been teachers. One participant was

the architect, another was in charge of the parts department, the third was the builder, and the

fourth participant was an observer. The participants worked together to negotiate their actions

and coordinate their roles while constructing the desired shapes out of Lego@ building blocks as

described in Appendix I. The roles changed, thus allowing every participant to play each role.

The purpose of the activity was to enable the participants to demonstrate their ability to interact

with each other and share information to attain a desired goal.

Mastery of the activity was determined if the target participant shared appropriately in 80%

of the opportunities available for sharing to occur. Mastery was measured by the researcher

viewing the videotape of the training session. The opportunities available for sharing

information/Lego@ building blocks were counted. The number of actual sharing occurrences

were divided by the number of opportunities for sharing to occur and multiplied by 100 to obtain

a percentage of mastery.

Coaching sessions. Coaching sessions were fashioned following the strategy implemented

by Haring and Breen (1992) in which students who were low functioning were provided

instructional periods for developing a repertoire of appropriate responses to social topics in

addition to training activities. In the current study, the researcher conducted coaching if the target

participant' s social interactions displayed little increase over three sessions following training.

Coaching included the researcher and the target participant and occurred for 5 to 10 minutes

immediately preceding the next generalization setting in which little increase in social

interactions was noted.









Coaching consisted of a discussion of the specific behavior of concern observed by the

researcher during those sessions, the target participant recommending an alternate behavior, and

role-playing between the researcher and the target participant to practice the new behavior. The

target participant' s appropriate choices and role-playing of alternate behaviors were verbally

praised (e.g., "Good j ob!i") by the researcher.

When coaching sessions were needed for Brandon, his teacher delayed the peer

participants in the classroom or at lunch an additional 5 to 10 minutes, which allowed the

researcher time to work with Brandon. For Brandon, coaching sessions were held in the teacher

workroom in the before school setting and in the classroom before the recess setting. When a

coaching session was needed for Jimmy, the researcher met with him in the hallway 5-10

minutes before his class was scheduled to go to lunch. Sam did not receive coaching sessions

because of scheduling conflicts.

Dependent Variables

The dependent variables for this study were the target participant' s social initiations,

responses, and interactions. Initiations were defined as the target participant's motor or verbal

behavior clearly directed to a peer participant that attempts to elicit a social response. Examples

of appropriate initiations included comments regarding the activity, requests for items or

information, and any other behavior directed toward a peer participant in an attempt to engage

him/her in a mutual activity. Nonverbal initiations included offers to share materials and hand

gestures. A new initiation was said to have occurred when there was a pause in the interaction

(more than 3 seconds), followed by a change in topic or a mutual shift in the focus, and followed

by a refocusing of attention (Breen & Haring, 1991). An inappropriate initiation included the

target participant yelling at a peer participant to obtain information or an obj ect, calling a peer

participant a derogatory name, or laughing at an inappropriate topic or at an inappropriate time.










Pushing the peer participant out of the way or tapping him/her on their shoulder or arm

repeatedly to gain their attention was considered an inappropriate initiation as well (Garrison-

Harrell et al., 1997; Gonzalez-Lopez & Kamps, 1997; Kamps et al., 1992). The peers were told

to respond as they normally would to the target participant's inappropriate initiations.

Responses were defined as the target participant' s motor or verbal behaviors that

acknowledged the peer participant' s prior initiation within three seconds. Examples of an

appropriate response included accepting the offered item, answering a question, commenting

during a conversation, and shaking the head "yes" or "no" in response to a question. An

inappropriate response included pushing the extended item or hand away, not answering a

question asked, turning away from someone who is talking, preoccupation with one topic, and

being unable to shift to a topic pertinent to the conversation (Garrison-Harrell et al., 1997;

Gonzalez-Lopez & Kamps, 1997; Kamps et al., 1992). The peers were told to respond as they

normally would to the target participant' s inappropriate responses.

Social interactions were defined as the target participant' s reciprocal behaviors that

occurred as a result of an initiation-response sequence between the target participant and a peer

participant. If another member of the group entered the dyad interaction, this was considered an

extension of the interaction and continued to be counted as part of the initial interaction.

Examples of appropriate interactions included taking turns while playing games, sharing items to

complete a task, or providing assistance to another. Inappropriate interactions included those in

which the participants yelled at each other and refused to take turns. (Garrison-Harrell et al.,

1997; Gonzalez-Lopez & Kamps, 1997; Kamps et al., 1992). The peers were told to respond as

they normally would to the target participant' s inappropriate initiations or responses. Definitions









and examples of appropriate and inappropriate initiations, responses, and interactions are

included in Appendix J, Target Behaviors.

Data Collection Procedures

Data were collected continuously for 5 minutes in each of the two generalization settings

(either before school, breakfast, lunch, or recess) for each target participant. The five-minute

observation began as soon as the target participant and all of his peer participants were present.

Observations of social behaviors were obtained for each target participant optimally four times a

week in both settings. The session was cancelled only if the target participant was absent. If a

peer participant was absent, the alternate peer participated in the session. Data were collected

through a partial-interval recording system in which the target participant's initiations, responses,

and interactions were observed and recorded by hand on a data collection form if they occurred

at any time during the 6-second interval. Inappropriate initiations, responses, and interactions

also were recorded. An audio tape was used to indicate 6-second intervals with a beep. The data

collection form can be found in Appendix K, Social Skills Observation Form.

The results were recorded as a percentage of intervals during which an initiation, response,

or social interaction occurred. The number of intervals during which a behavior occurred was

divided by the total number of intervals observed. This ratio multiplied by 100 yielded the

percentage of intervals that the response was performed (Kazdin, 1982, Kennedy, 2005).

Interobserver Agreement

Training videos were created from a pilot study and utilized to train the researcher and one

other observer using the interval recording form (i.e., Social Skills Observation Form, Appendix

K). The researcher trained the second observer in the following ways: (1) giving her a copy of

Appendix J, Target Behaviors, which defines the target behaviors; (2) verbally reviewing the

target behaviors; (3) teaching her the use of the Social Skills Observation Form; and (4)









answering any questions she had. The researcher and second observer practiced recording target

behaviors from the videotape of the pilot study independently until they achieved at least a level

of 80% agreement across all behaviors. This minimum level of interobserver agreement, which is

traditionally regarded as acceptable (Kennedy, 2005), was considered sufficient to reflect the

changes expected in participant behavior across all phases of this investigation. According to

Kennedy, agreements were defined as instances in which both observers recorded the same

behavior. Disagreements were defined as instances in which one observer recorded the behavior

as occurring and the other did not or each observer recorded different behaviors.

The second observer was an in-school suspension assistant at an elementary school in Clay

County who had two years of experience working with elementary school age students. She has a

high school diploma and worked as a realtor prior to her family moving to Clay County.

Data on the level of agreement between observers were collected on the direct observation

sessions. Methods used to estimate interobserver agreement were consistent with those

recommended by Kazdin (1982) and Kennedy (2005). Interobserver agreement was calculated

on 29.6% of Brandon's overall sessions, 3 1.2% of Jimmy's overall sessions, and 27% of Sam's

overall sessions. Interobserver agreement was determined by the number of agreements divided

by the total number of agreements plus disagreements and multiplied by 100 to form a

percentage (Kazdin, 1982; Kennedy, 2005) across all phases of the study. Interobserver

agreement data will be presented in Chapter 4.

Design

A multiprobe multiple baseline design across participants was used to evaluate the effects

of the intervention for the three target participants (Kennedy, 2005). This design was selected to

establish a functional relation between the effects of the intervention and the dependent variables

across the target participants and was evaluated in two generalization settings (Kazdin, 1982).










Within the multiprobe multiple baseline design, data is collected intermittently during the

experimental phases at strategic times within the multiple baseline design required for estimating

trends and related patterns in the data within and between tiers (Kennedy, 2005).

The study consisted of implementing the intervention with one participant and evaluating

the effects of the intervention in two generalization settings. Observations occurred across the

two generalization settings. The intervention continued with the first participant in two settings

until a stable and upward trend occurred. At that time, the intervention was implemented with the

second target participant. After implementing the intervention and obtaining a stable and upward

trend, the intervention was implemented with the third participant. Data collection continued for

each target participant until it stabilized. A description of the experimental procedures is

described in the next section.

Experimental Procedures

Phase one baseline. Baseline sessions were conducted during each of the target

participants' generalization settings. No attempt was made to facilitate interactions between the

target participant and his peer participants during baseline. The researcher gathered baseline data

as described previously.

Baseline data for Brandon were collected before school and during recess. During the

before school setting, Brandon and his peer participants sat around a table and conversed with

each other. During the recess setting, Brandon and his peer participants met in the classroom, sat

at a table, played games available in the room, or drew pictures as they conversed with each

other. While obtaining baseline data in both settings, the researcher instructed Brandon and his

peer participants to talk as they usually did. The researcher stood in a corner videotaping the

sessions.









Baseline data for Jimmy were gathered during lunch and during recess. During these times,

Jimmy and his peer participants sat at a cafeteria table and interacted with each other and the

peers sitting around them as they ate. During the recess setting, Jimmy and his peer participants

sat on the floor in the classroom and played with available Lego@ building blocks, puzzles, and

games as they conversed with each other. While obtaining baseline data in both settings, the

researcher instructed Jimmy and his peer participants to talk or play as they usually did. The

researcher stood in a corner videotaping the sessions.

Baseline data for Sam were gathered during breakfast and lunch. During the breakfast

setting, Sam and his peer participants sat at a cafeteria table and interacted with each other as

they ate. During the lunch setting, Sam and his peer participants conversed with each other and

interacted with the peers sitting around them as they ate. While obtaining baseline data in both

settings, the researcher instructed Sam and his peer participants to talk as they usually did. The

researcher stood in a corner videotaping the sessions.

Phase two training. The four training sessions, (i.e., Introduction, Conversation, Taking

Turns, Sharing) were implemented as previously described. Skills were taught at the beginning

of the sessions and for the remaining fifteen or twenty minutes, they were practiced by the

participants through role-playing and the activity. Mastery was determined if the target

participants were able to complete the designated culminating activity to each previously

specified percentage. Network Training (Appendix I) includes the details on the training

sessions.

Phase three implementation of peer networks. The peer network consisted of the target

participant and his two peer participants. Observations occurred optimally four times a week in

the two generalization settings (e.g., two observations per week in each setting unless the target









participant was absent). During the course of the study, the alternates became part of the network

if either of the two peer participants was absent as described earlier. The coaching sessions and

multiprobe multiple baseline design were implemented as previously described.


Treatment Integrity

To ensure that the intervention was implemented in the manner in which it was intended,

the researcher provided the same training for each target participant and his peer participants

following the script found in Appendix I, Network Training. The training sessions were

videotaped and reviewed by the researcher after each session according to the previously

described script and the Treatment Integrity checklist, Appendix H, to ensure integrity of the

training for the three peer networks.

Social Validity

The Social Skills Checklist (Garrison-Harrell et al., 1997), Appendix M, was used to

gather information concerning the target participants' social skill development from his teacher

and parents' perceptions. Sample items included: "The student spontaneously responded

to/played with one or more peer," "The student invited one peer to play," "The student appeared

to be having fun," and so on. These behaviors were rated on a Likert scale of 1 (Never/Seldom)

to 3 (Always/Often) or NA (Not Applicable). The checklist was completed by the teachers and

parents at the beginning and at the conclusion of the study to determine their perception of

changes in each target participant' s social behaviors in their respective environments.

Upon conclusion of the investigation, the participating teachers and parents completed the

Consumer Satisfaction Survey Form, Appendix N, to indicate their degree of satisfaction with

the study (Garrison-Harrell, 1996). These questions were rated on a Likert-type scale from 1

(Strongly Disagree) to 5 (Strongly Agree) or 6 (Not Applicable). The questions asked were based










upon the types of procedures that were employed and their social validity. Items addressed

implementation (e.g., "Peer network activities were easily implemented"), benefits (e.g., "The

peer networks improved social skills for the special needs student"), and satisfaction (e.g., "You

as a teacher/parent learned from your participation in the program").

In addition, pre- and post-Friendship Rating Scale and Peer Nominations ratings (Garrison-

Harrell, 1996) were administered in a similar procedure as the pre-intervention scales to the

target participant' s entire class to determine what effect the intervention had on their perception

of the target participant (Appendix D and E). The Network Satisfaction Form, Appendix O,

(Garrison-Harrell, 1996) was administered to the target participants and their peer participants by

the researcher. The following open-ended questions were asked: "What did you like about the

peer network?" "What didn't you like about the peer network?" and "What would you do

differently the next time?" Thus, the network participants had the opportunity to share their

satisfaction level with the intervention as well.

The following chapter discusses the results of this investigation, specifically, the effects of

a peer network on the social behavior of three elementary-aged students with ASD displayed in

two different settings in their respective schools.










Table 3-1. Target participants
Age Gender Ethnicity/Race Grade
Brandon 11-5 Male Caucasian 6


Intellectual Assessment
WISC-IV
Full Scale I.Q. = 102


Diagnosis
Auti sm
(Developmental Pediatrician
with U.S. Navy)


Social Skills
Avoids oral
participation in
class
Little interaction
with peers

Lack of concern
with others'
feelings
Does not adjust
well to changes
in routine
Refuses to j oin
in group
activities

Avoids eye
contact
Interacts better
with younger
children
Withdraws
when in group
situations
Has difficulty
accepting
another' s way of
doing things


Jimmy


6-0 Male


Hispanic


Autism Spectrum Disorder
(Pediatrician with University
of Florida College of
Medicine)


K WPPSI-III
Full Scale I.Q. = 99


Sam


11-7 Male


Caucasian


5 WISC-IV
Full Scale I.Q. = 102


Autism Spectrum Disorder
(Pediatrician with University
of Florida College of
Medicine)










ts
Gender

Female
Male
Female

Male
Female
Male

Female
Male
Male


Table 3-2. Nondisabled peer participant
Age


Ethnicity/Race

Caucasian
Hispanic
Caucasian

Caucasian
Caucasian
African-American

African-American
Caucasian
African-American


Grade


Brandon
Peer 1
Peer 2
Alternate
Jimmy
Peer 1
Peer 2
Alternate
Sam
Peer 1
Peer 2
Alternate


12-1
12-8
11-9

6-5
5-9
6-1

10-10
11-9
11-2









CHAPTER 4
RESULTS

The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of a peer network social skills

intervention implemented solely with students with ASD who are high functioning and their

nondisabled peers. This intervention investigated the effectiveness of the procedures and adapted

lessons from the social skills program, Skillstreaming the Elementary School Child (McGinnis &

Goldstein, 1997) on the social interactions of students with ASD who are high functioning. The

study was designed to facilitate natural interactions between the students with ASD and their

peers to investigate generalization of social interactions to untrained settings. The research

question addressed was: What are the effects of a peer network intervention implemented across

multiple settings on the social skills of students with ASD who are high functioning, utilizing

procedures and adapted lessons from the social skills program, Skillstreaming the Elementary

School Child (McGinnis & Goldstein, 1997)?

To investigate this question, participants with ASD who are high functioning and selected

nondisabled peers participated in the research. Baseline data were collected on the target

participants' initiations, responses, and social interactions in two generalization settings.

Following baseline, a social skills intervention adapted from Skillstreaming the Elementary

School Child (McGinnis & Goldstein, 1997) was implemented that included training sessions

(i.e., an introductory session and three training sessions). During and following the completion of

the training activities, the effectiveness of the intervention was measured by comparing each

target participant' s initiations, responses, and social interactions in two generalization settings to

baseline levels. A single subj ect multiprobe multiple baseline across participants was employed

to evaluate the effects of the social skills intervention on the social behaviors of the participants.









The remainder of the chapter reports interobserver agreement data, experimental findings by

phases, treatment integrity data, mastery of training activities, coaching, and social validity data.

Interobserver Agreement

Interobserver agreement was calculated on each target participant session across both

phases of the study (i.e., b aseline and interventi on/generalizati on). To obtain interob server

agreement, the primary researcher (serving as the primary data collector) and a secondary data

collector (serving as a reliability observer) independently viewed the videotapes, each coding

target behaviors across all phases of the study. For Brandon, overall interobserver agreement

across all social behaviors was calculated on 29.60% of the sessions. Mean percentage

agreement was 95.70% (range=80%-100%). For Jimmy, overall interobserver agreement was

calculated on 3 1.20% of the sessions. Mean percentage agreement was 96.30% (range=80%-

100%). For Sam, overall interobserver agreement was calculated on 27.00% of the sessions.

Mean percentage agreement was 96.90% (range=82%-100%).

Experimental Findings

Data reported in Figures 4-1 and 4-2 and on Tables 4-1 and 4-2 are the target participants'

initiations, responses, and social interactions. Overall, the results indicated improvement in the

social skills for each of the target participants. Positive changes were noted in the target

participants' initiations and social interactions across two generalization settings after social

skills training occurred. Differences, however, were found in the target participants' responses.

The responses of two target participants increased and the responses of the third target

participant decreased. Although a low percentage of inappropriate social behaviors occurred

across both settings, these behaviors decreased following the social skills training.










Generalization Setting 1

Baseline. The first generalization setting for Brandon and his peer participants was before

school. Setting 1 for Jimmy and his peer participants was during lunch and for Sam and his peer

participants, setting 1 was breakfast. As seen in Figure 4-1, baseline data were collected for 2

sessions for Brandon, 9 for Jimmy, and 9 for Sam. The number of sessions data were gathered

was determined by the consistent trend in the data of the target participant' s social behaviors in

accordance with the multiprobe multiple baseline design (Kennedy, 2005). Table 4-1 provides

data for the target participants' appropriate initiations, responses, and social interactions during

baseline in generalization setting 1. Table 4-2 provides data for the target participants'

inappropriate initiations, responses, and social interactions.


Appropriate behaviors. During baseline in generalization setting 1, the target

participants' appropriate initiations, responses, and social interactions occurred at a low

percentage. Brandon' s mean percentage of initiations was 3.00% of the intervals with both

baseline intervals occurring at 3.00%. Jimmy's mean percentage of initiations was 2.22% of the

intervals (range=1 .00%-4.00%), and Sam's mean percentage of initiations was 5.22% of the

intervals (range=4.00%-6.00%) Brandon' s mean percentage of responses was 2.50%

(range=2.00%/-3. 00%), Jimmy's mean percentage of responses was 2.22% (range=0.00%-

8.00%), and Sam' s mean percentage of responses was 5.00% (range=2.00%/-8 .00%). Brandon' s

mean percentage of social interactions was 5.00% (range=2.00%/-8 .00%), Jimmy's mean

percentage of social interactions was 1.78% (range=0.00%/-5 .00%), and Sam' s mean percentage

of social interactions was 7.78% (range=4.00%-13. 00%).

Inappropriate behaviors. During baseline in generalization setting 1, the target

participants' inappropriate initiations, responses, and social interactions occurred at a low










percentage. Brandon' s mean percentage of inappropriate initiations was 2.50% of the intervals

(range=2.00%-3.00%) and Jimmy's mean percentage of inappropriate initiations was 2.67% of

the intervals (range=0.00%-7.00%). Sam did not exhibit any inappropriate initiations. Brandon's

mean percentage of inappropriate responses was 1.00% (range=1.00%-1.00%) and Jimmy's

mean percentage of inappropriate responses was .56% (range=0.00%-2.00%) Sam did not

exhibit any inappropriate responses. Brandon's mean percentage of inappropriate social

interactions was 1.00% (range=0.00%-2.00%) and Jimmy's mean percentage of inappropriate

social interactions was 2.89% (range=0.00%-9.00%) Sam did not exhibit any inappropriate

social interactions during baseline in setting 1 resulting in a mean percentage of 0.00% of the

intervals.

Generalization. Generalization data are displayed during and following training (Figure 4-

1). Generalization data for Brandon were collected over 11 sessions, 10 sessions for Jimmy, and

8 sessions for Sam. The number of sessions data were gathered was determined by the consistent

trend in the data of the target participant' s social behaviors in accordance with the multiprobe

multiple baseline design (Kennedy, 2005). Table 4-1 provides data for the target participants'

appropriate initiations, responses, and social interactions during baseline in generalization setting

1 and Table 4-2 provides data for the target participants' inappropriate initiations, responses, and

social interactions.

Appropriate behaviors. During and following training, Brandon's mean percentage of

appropriate initiations was 1 1.09% of the intervals (range=5.00%-14. 00%), Jimmy's mean

percentage of appropriate initiations was 16.80% of the intervals (range=8.00%-24.00%), and

Sam's mean percentage of appropriate initiations was 10.00% of the intervals (range=6.00%-

14.00%). Brandon' s mean percentage of appropriate responses was 6.55% of the intervals










(range=4.00%-1 0.00%), Jimmy's mean percentage of appropriate responses was 4.20% of the

intervals (range=2.00%-6.00%) and Sam's mean percentage of appropriate responses was 4.00%

of the intervals (range=2. 00%-8.00%). Brandon' s mean percentage of appropriate social

interactions was 39.55% of the intervals (range=1 3.00%-70.00), Jimmy's mean percentage of

appropriate social interactions was 47.80% of the intervals (range=20.00%/-72. 00%), and Sam's

mean percentage of appropriate social interactions was 47.25% of the intervals (range=26.00%-

70.00%).

Inappropriate behaviors. During and following training, the target participants'

inappropriate initiations, responses, and social interactions decreased. Brandon's mean

percentage of inappropriate initiations was .09% of the intervals (range=0.00%-1.00%) and

Jimmy and Sam did not exhibit any inappropriate initiations resulting in 0.00 percent of the

intervals. None of the target participants exhibited inappropriate responses or social interactions

during the generalization phase in generalization setting 1 resulting in 0.00 percent of the

intervals.

In summary, for Brandon and Jimmy, the mean percentage of appropriate initiations,

responses, and social interactions increased from baseline levels to intervention levels in

generalization setting 1. For Sam, the mean percentage of appropriate initiations and social

interactions increased from baseline levels to intervention levels in generalization setting 1.

However, the mean percentage of Sam' s appropriate responses decreased slightly. Brandon and

Jimmy's inappropriate responses and social interactions decreased from low baseline levels to

zero in generalization setting 1. Jimmy's inappropriate initiations decreased from a low baseline

level to a zero level in generalization setting 1. Brandon's inappropriate initiations decreased









from a low baseline level to a lower level in generalization setting 1. Sam did not demonstrate

any inappropriate behaviors in generalization setting 1.

Generalization Setting 2

Baseline. The second generalization setting for Brandon and his peer participants was

recess. Generalization setting 2 was recess for Jimmy and his peer participants and lunch for Sam

and his peer participants. As seen in Figure 4-2, baseline data were collected for 3 sessions for

Brandon, 9 for Jimmy, and 12 for Sam. The number of sessions data were gathered was

determined by the consistent trend in the data of the target participant' s social behaviors in

accordance with the multiprobe multiple baseline design (Kennedy, 2005). Table 4-1 provides

data for the target participants' appropriate initiations, responses, and social interactions during

baseline in the second generalization setting. Table 4-2 provides data for the target participants

inappropriate initiations, responses, and social interactions.

Appropriate behaviors. During baseline in generalization setting 2, the target

participant' s appropriate initiations, responses, and social interactions occurred at a low

percentage. Brandon' s mean percentage of appropriate initiations was 2.67% of the intervals

(range=2.00%/-3. 00%), Jimmy's mean percentage of appropriate initiations was 3.00% of the

intervals (range=0.00%-10.00%), and Sam's mean percentage of appropriate initiations was

4.3 3% of the intervals (range=3. 00%-10.00%). Brandon' s mean percentage of appropriate

responses was 3.67% (range=3 .00%-5.00%/), Jimmy's mean percentage of appropriate responses

was 4. 11% (range=0.00%-14.00%), and Sam's mean percentage of appropriate responses was

5.50% (range=1 .00%-12.00%/). Brandon' s mean percentage of appropriate social interactions

was 4.67% (range=3 .00%-7.00%/), Jimmy's mean percentage of appropriate social interactions

was 3.67% (range=0.00%-10.00%), and Sam's mean percentage of appropriate social

interactions was 8.75% (range=2.00%-20.00%).










Inappropriate behaviors. During baseline in generalization setting 2, the target

participants' inappropriate initiations, responses, and social interactions occurred at a low

percentage. Brandon' s mean percentage of inappropriate initiations was 4.00% of the intervals

(range=0.00%/'-8 .00%), Jimmy's mean percentage of inappropriate initiations was 3.77% of the

intervals (range=0.00%-10.00%), and Sam's mean percentage of inappropriate initiations was

1.17% of the intervals (range=0.00%-9.00%). Brandon' s mean percentage of inappropriate

responses was 0.33% (range=0.00%-1 .00%), Jimmy's mean percentage of inappropriate

responses was 0.44% (range=0 .00%-2.00%), and Sam' s mean percentage of inappropriate

responses was 0.50% of the intervals (range=0.00%-5.00). Brandon' s mean percentage of

inappropriate social interactions was 4.00% (range=0.00%-10.00%), Jimmy's mean percentage

of inappropriate social interactions was 3.66% (range=0.00%/-8. 00%), and Sam's mean

percentage of inappropriate social interactions was 1.83% of the intervals (range=0.00%-21 .00).

during baseline in generalization setting 2.

Generalization. As was the case in the first generalization setting, generalization data are

displayed during and following training (Figure 4-2). Generalization data for Brandon were

collected over 11 sessions, 10 sessions for Jimmy, and 8 sessions for Sam. The number of

sessions data were gathered was determined by the consistent trend in the data of the target

participant' s social behaviors in accordance with the multiprobe multiple baseline design

(Kennedy, 2005). Table 4-1 provides data for the target participants' appropriate initiations,

responses, and social interactions during baseline in generalization setting 1 and Table 4-2

provides data for the target participants' inappropriate initiations, responses, and social

interactions.










Appropriate behaviors. During and following training, Brandon's mean percentage of

appropriate initiations was 18.91% of the intervals (range=8.00%-28.00%), Jimmy's mean

percentage of appropriate initiations was 18.00% of the intervals (range=12. 00%-22.00%/), and

Sam's mean percentage of appropriate initiations was 10.75% of the intervals (range=8.00%-

16.00%). Brandon' s mean percentage of appropriate responses was 6. 18% of the intervals

(range=2.00%-14.00%), Jimmy's mean percentage of appropriate responses was 6.20% of the

intervals (range=4.00%-10.00%) and Sam's mean percentage of appropriate responses was

3.25% of the intervals (range=2.00%-6.00%). Brandon' s mean percentage of appropriate social

interactions was 5 1.18% of the intervals (range=1 6.00%-86.00), Jimmy's mean percentage of

appropriate social interactions was 62.20% of the intervals (range=42.00%/-80. 00%), and Sam's

mean percentage of appropriate social interactions was 61.50% of the intervals (range=22.00%-

84.00%).

Inappropriate behaviors. During and following training, the percentage of target

participants' inappropriate initiations, responses, and social interactions decreased. None of the

target participants exhibited inappropriate initiations, responses, or social interactions during the

second generalization setting.

In summary, for Brandon and Jimmy the mean percentage of appropriate initiations,

responses, and social interactions increased from baseline levels to intervention levels in

generalization setting 2. For Sam, the mean percentage of appropriate initiations and social

interactions increased from baseline levels to intervention levels in generalization setting 2,

however his mean percentage of appropriate responding decreased. The target participants'

inappropriate initiations, responses and social interactions decreased from a low percentage in

baseline to zero percent in the second generalization setting.









Summary

In generalization settings 1 and 2, all target participants demonstrated an increase in their

mean percentage of appropriate initiations and social interactions from baseline levels to

intervention levels. Brandon and Jimmy also displayed an increase in their mean percentage of

responses in both settings. However, Sam's level of appropriate responses decreased from

baseline levels to intervention levels in both generalization settings 1 and 2.

Inappropriate initiations, responses, and social interactions occurred at a low percentage

for the target participants in generalization settings 1 and 2. In generalization setting 1,

Brandon's inappropriate responses and social interactions decreased from baseline levels to zero

percent in the generalization setting and his inappropriate initiations decreased from baseline

levels to intervention levels. Jimmy's inappropriate initiations, responses, and social interactions

decreased from baseline levels to zero percent during the generalization setting and Sam did not

exhibit any inappropriate initiations, responses, or social interactions during baseline or

generalization. In generalization setting 2, all participants' inappropriate initiations, responses,

and social interactions decreased from a low percentage in baseline to zero percent in the

generalization setting

Treatment Integrity

Treatment integrity data were collected on the implementation of training procedures for

each of the three target participants and their nondisabled peers, Appendix I. The training

sessions were videotaped and reviewed by the researcher according to the Treatment Integrity

Checklist, Appendix H, at the end of each training session to ensure that all training steps were

completed. The researcher reviewed the tapes and determined that the training steps for the four

training sessions were completed 100% of the time for all three target participants and their peer

parti cipants.









Mastery of Training Activities

To determine the level of mastery of training activities, the researcher assessed each

participant' s mastery following each training session. To determine mastery during the

introductory session, a script for the lesson was followed. The final activity of each of the

following three training sessions was used to determine the target participant' s mastery of

specific skills taught through the training activities. Specifically, an assessment of each

participant's mastery of the following skills was conducted: conversation (i.e., initiate and

respond), take turns, or share appropriately. Mastery was defined as engaging in appropriate

social behaviors in at least 80% of the opportunities for interactions in that particular activity

according to criteria previously discussed in Chapter 3.

In the second training session, Conversation (Initiations and Responses), the number of

opportunities available for a social interaction (an initiation or a response) to occur during the ice

cream sundae party varied between participants. For example, Brandon and his peers had 16

opportunities available for a social interaction to occur, Jimmy and his peer participants had 18,

and Sam and his peer participants had 12. In the third training session, Taking Turns, the number

of opportunities available for taking turns while playing the card game, Garfield War@, varied

between participants. For example, Brandon and his peer participants had 33 opportunities to

take turns, Jimmy and his participants had 11, and Sam and his participants had 14. In the fourth

training session, Sharing, the number of opportunities available for sharing while engaged in the

Builder, Architect, Parts Department activity also varied between participants. For example,

Brandon and his peers had 43 opportunities available for sharing to occur, Jimmy and his peer

participants had 15, and Sam and his peer participants had 17.

Overall, the target participants each attained 100% mastery in two of the three activities. In

the activity for Conversations, Brandon, Jimmy, and Sam all attained 100% mastery. In the









Taking Turn activity, Jimmy attained 100% mastery and Brandon and Sam attained 97% and

93% mastery respectively. In the Sharing activity, Brandon and Sam attained 100% mastery and

Jimmy attained 87% mastery. Table 4-3 provides the percentage of mastery each target

participant attained in each activity.

Coaching

Coaching was implemented as determined by a downward trend in the data. Brandon

received one coaching session in the before school setting and one in the recess setting. Jimmy

received one coaching session in the lunch setting and specific instruction was provided during

the training sessions to address behavioral concerns noted during the recess setting. Coaching

may have been beneficial for Sam in the breakfast setting (before session 17), but he did not

receive any as a result of scheduling difficulties.

During the before school setting, Brandon received one coaching session prior to session 7.

This coaching session was conducted because the researcher did not observe a consistent

increase in his social interactions (e.g., 13% to 20% to 16%). Specifically, Brandon did not fully

respond to conversations initiated by his peers. Brandon's coaching in the before school setting

was held in the teacher workroom before the peer participants entered. After discussing possible

conversation starters, Brandon role-played with the researcher until he was able to think of three

topics he could use to initiate conversations of interest to him with his peers. These topics

included the upcoming group proj ect for the chapter over the middle ages, student council

activities, and his concerns about junior high school. Social interactions increased between

sessions 6 and 7 from 16% to 42%.

During the recess setting, Brandon received coaching prior to session 10 in that a decline

was observed in his social interactions (e.g., 52% to 36% to 32% to 28%). Specifically, Brandon

did not focus on the topic of the conversation and his unrelated responses resulted in ending the










conversation. Coaching was held in the classroom before the other peer participants entered and

involved a discussion of listening closely to what his peers were saying and practicing

responding appropriately to different topics the researcher initiated. Social interactions increased

between sessions 9 and 10 from 28% to 60%.

During the lunch setting, Jimmy received coaching prior to session 13. This coaching

session was conducted because the researcher did not observe a consistent increase in his social

interactions (e.g., 26% to 28% to 20%). Specifically, Jimmy made comments such as liking to

eat garbage or he would say an inappropriate word to draw responses from his peers. Coaching

was held in the hallway prior to the class going to lunch and involved a discussion of words and

topics appropriate for school settings and role-playing with the researcher until Jimmy was able

to think of three appropriate topics with which to initiate a conversation. Jimmy's topics included

talking about favorite video games/movies, commenting on what they were eating, or talking

about what they would do at recess. Social interactions increased between sessions 12 and 13

from 20% to 44%.

During baseline observations in the recess setting, Jimmy exhibited difficulty playing

appropriately with his peers and with play materials. To get his peers' attention, Jimmy would

fly his Lego@ plane into obj ects his peers were constructing, resulting in inappropriate

interactions between Jimmy and his peers. During the training sessions, role-playing directly

addressed this issue. Results indicated increased social interactions between Jimmy and his peers

throughout the recess generalization setting.

Social Validation

Social validity measures were administered to provide an estimation of the importance,

effectiveness, appropriateness, and/or satisfaction with the current study (Kennedy, 2005). The

target participants' teachers, parents, classmates, and peer participants as well as themselves










were asked to provide their perceptions of the study (e.g., Social Skills Checklist, Consumer

Satisfaction Survey Form, Network Satisfaction Form, Friendship Rating Scale, and Peer

Nominations Questionnaire). The questions on the Social Skills Checklist, Consumer

Satisfaction Survey Form, Network Satisfaction Form, Friendship Rating Scale, and Peer

Nominations Questionnaire were taken directly from Garrison-Harrell's study (1996) with no

adaptations.

Social Skills Checklist

Each target participant's teacher and parents completed the Social Skills Checklist,

Appendix M, (Garrison-Harrell, 1996) before the investigation began and immediately following

the completion of the intervention. Below is a summary of the findings for each participant

(Appendix P includes pre- and post-responses for each question).

Brandon. Brandon's teacher indicated that Brandon's scores improved in 6 of 21 skills

(29%) from a "2" that indicated "Sometimes" to a "3" that indicated "Always/Often" (e.g., "The

student invited more than one peer to play," "The student appeared to be having fun," and "Peers

interacting with the student appeared to be having fun"). The remaining 15 (71%) were

unchanged (i.e., they remained at a "2") (e.g., "The student followed instructions given by other

students," and "The student spontaneously responded to/played with more than one peer").

Brandon's teacher added the following comment:

Brandon was able to increase his social skills and interaction with fellow students and
peers during the activity period of this study. I believe strongly it was not only beneficial
for Brandon to participate but was beneficial for the growth and understanding of the other
students involved. They all showed an understanding and caring I would hope all students
need and have the opportunity to expand upon in the future.

Brandon's mother indicated that the items on the Social Skills Checklist were Not

Applicable. She stated that she was not present to observe any of the activities; therefore, she

could not complete the form.









Jimmy. Jimmy's teacher indicated his improvement in 14 of the 21 skills (67%) on the

checklist (e.g., "The student invited more than one peer to play," "The student interacted verbally

with more than one peer," and "Peers interacting with the student appeared to be having fun").

The remaining 7 (33%) were unchanged (e.g., "The student took turns when playing," and "The

student followed instructions given by other students"). Jimmy's mother indicated improvement

in 8 of the 21 skills listed (38%) (e.g., "The child was persistent at social interactions," and "The

student used appropriate social behaviors to begin an interaction"). She marked the remaining 13

skills (62%) as NA (Not Applicable). She stated, "Jimmy has improved in verbal skills and at

home is more playful than before and can socialize better with what he is feeling and doing."

Sam. Sam' s teacher indicated improvement in 3 of the 21 skills (14%) on the checklist

(e.g., "The student used appropriate social behaviors to begin an interaction," and "The student

interacted verbally with more than one peer"). The remaining 16 (76%) were unchanged (e.g.,

"Peer sought out the student for social play," and "The student did not exhibit inappropriate

behaviors during the session"). A decrease was noted in the occurrence of 2 skills (10%) (e.g.,

"The student followed directions given by other students." and "The student took turns when

playing"). Sam's mother rated 19 of the 21 skills (90%) the same indicating no change. She did

not mark two items (10%) and did not offer any comments on the form.

In summary, there was overlap in skills the teachers noted improvement in for the target

participants. While not all three teachers observed improvement in the same skill, 8 of the 21

skills reported showed improvement for at least two of the target participants. For example,

Brandon and Jimmy improved in "Inviting more than one peer to play," and "Accepting/playing

with materials shared/given by other students." Jimmy and Sam improved in "Interacting

verbally with one peer," and "Interacting verbally with more than one peer." The parents'









responses on the checklist were varied. Jimmy's mother responded to 9 of the questions in which

she observed improvement in his skills. The responses provided by Brandon's mother yielded

data marked Not Applicable and Sam's mother did not indicate observing any changes in his

behavior over the course of the study.

Consumer Satisfaction Survey Form

Upon conclusion of the study, the target participants' teachers and parents completed a

Consumer Satisfaction Survey, Appendix N, (Garrison-Harrell, 1996) to indicate their degree of

satisfaction with the study. Specific items addressed the implementation of the investigation and

were rated on a Likert-type scale from 1 (Strongly Disagree) to 5 (Strongly Agree) or 6 (Not

Applicable). The results for individual participants are listed below. See Appendix P for

individual parent and teacher responses and comments.

Brandon. Brandon' s teacher rated the intervention favorably with 11 of 11 items (100%)

rated as a 5 (Strongly Agree) (e.g., "The peer network activities assisted the special needs student

in getting along better with his/her peers," and "Overall, the peers in the class benefited socially

and behaviorally by their participation in the peer network program"). His mother rated 3 of the

11 items (27%) on the survey as a 6 (Not Applicable), 6 items (55%) were rated as a 5 (Strongly

Agree) (e.g., "Students enjoyed the peer network," and "The peer network improved social skills

for the special needs child"), 1 item (9%) was marked 3 (Neutral), and 1 item (9%) was marked 2

(Disagree). The item rated as "Disagree" was "You as a teacher/parent learned from your

participation in the program."

Jimmy. Jimmy's teacher rated 7 of 11 items (64%) as a 5 (Strongly Agree) (e.g., "The peer

network improved social skills for the special needs student," and "Overall, the special needs

student benefited socially and behaviorally from his/her participation in the peer network

program"), 3 (27%) as a 4 (Agree), and 1 (9%) as a 3 (Neutral) (e.g., "The peer network










improved learning for the special needs student"). The Consumer Satisfaction Survey (Garrison-

Harrell, 1996) was only partially completed by Jimmy's father. He rated 3 of the 11 items (27%)

as 4 (Agree) (e.g., Peer network improved social skills for the special needs student"t), 1 (9%)

as 3 (Neutral), and 7 (64%) as 6 (Not Applicable). Jimmy's father did not write any comments

on the survey; however, he told the researcher that Jimmy's behavior had improved "1,000 %"

since the study started.

Sam. Sam's teacher rated the investigation favorably with 9 of 11 items (82%) rated a 5

(Strongly Agree) (e.g., "The peer network activities were easily implemented," and "Students

enjoyed the peer network") and 2 rated a 4 (18%) (Agree) (e.g., "The peer network improved

learning for the special needs student"). His mother rated 2 of the 11 items (18%) a 4 (Agree)

(e.g., "Students enjoyed the peer network") and 9 items (82%) were marked 3 (Neutral).

In summary, the 3 teachers were positive in their responses on the Consumer Satisfaction

Survey Form (Garrison-Harrell, 1996). They strongly agreed on 6 of the 11 questions on (e.g.,

"Peer network activities were easily implemented," and "Overall, the special needs student

benefited socially and behaviorally for his/her participation in the peer network program"). The

parents' responses again were varied. While overall Brandon's mother was the most favorable in

her responses to the peer network, she indicated that she did not learn from her participation in

the program. Jimmy's father marked 7 of the questions as N.A. and agreed or was neutral on the

remaining 4 (e.g., "The peer network improved social skills for the special needs student").

Responses provided by Sam's mother were neutral with the exception of one she agreed with

(e.g., "You were satisfied with the amount of feedback you received from the researcher").

Network Satisfaction Form

The target participants and their peer participants completed the Network Satisfaction

Form, Appendix O, (Garrison-Harrell, 1996) at the conclusion of the study to share their









satisfaction level with the intervention. The following three questions were asked (1) what did

you like about the peer network, (2) what didn't you like about the peer network, and (3) what

would you do differently next time? Overall, the responses regarding their satisfaction with the

network intervention were favorable. Participants indicated a number of different factors that

they liked about the peer network (e.g., "The activities and spending time with their peers").

When asked what they did not like, most participants indicated that they liked all the activities.

Finally, when asked what to do differently next time, participants suggested different activities.

See Appendix P for the target participants and their peer participants' individual responses.

Friendship Rating Scale and Peer Nominations Questionnaire

The Friendship Rating Scale (Garrison-Harrell, 1996) and Peer Nominations (Garrison-

Harrell, 1996) ratings were administered to each target participant' s entire class immediately

before the study to identify peer participants for the network and to estimate their perceptions of

the target participant' s social behavior, Appendix D and E. The classmates also completed the

Friendship Rating Scale and Peer Nominations Questionnaire after the study to determine what

effect the intervention may have had on their perception of the target participant' s behavior.

Results of individual student' s ratings on the Friendship Rating Scale and Peer Nominations

Questionnaire are found in Appendix P.

Friendship Rating Scale. At the beginning of the study, Brandon indicated he had 0

friends in the class that he like "A Lot" and at the end, he had 3 (i.e., the 3 peer participants). The

classmates' perception of Brandon as a friend they liked "A Lot" increased from 0 at the

beginning of the study to 1 at the end. Jimmy indicated he had 8 friends he liked "A Lot" at the

beginning of the study and at the end, he had 10. The classmates' perception of Jimmy as a

friend they liked "A Lot" remained unchanged at 0 from the beginning to the end of the study.

Sam indicated he had 0 friends in the class that he like "A Lot" at the beginning and it remained









at 0 at the end of the study. The classmates' perception of Sam as a friend they liked "A Lot"

increased from 3 at the beginning of the study to 4 at the end.

Peer Nominations Questionnaire. Before the study, Brandon indicated he had no

classmates (0%) he would like to invite to his birthday party. Jimmy indicated he had 3

classmates (18%) and Sam also indicated he had 3 (13%). When classmates nominated those

they would like to invite to their birthday party, none (0%) invited Brandon, 1 (6%) nominated

Jimmy, and 3 (13%) nominated Sam. Following the intervention, Brandon indicated he had 3

classmates (16%) he would invite to his birthday party (i.e., the 3 peer participants), Jimmy had 3

(18%), and Sam had 3 (13%). After the intervention, none (0%) of the classmates nominated

Brandon, 1 (6%) nominated Jimmy, and 2 (11%) nominated Sam.

Before the study, Brandon indicated he had no classmates (0%) that were his good friends.

Jimmy indicated he had 3 friends (18%) and Sam also indicated he had 3 (13%). When

classmates nominated those that were their good friends, none (0%) nominated Brandon, 1 (6%)

nominated Jimmy, and 2 (9%) nominated Sam. Following the intervention, Brandon indicated he

had 3 (16%) classmates that were his good friends (i.e., the 3 peer participants), Jimmy had 3

(18%), and Sam had 3 (16%). After the intervention, none (0%) of the classmates nominated

Brandon, 3 (18%) nominated Jimmy, and 1 (5%) nominated Sam.

Before the study, Brandon indicated he had no classmates (0%) that he liked to play with

on the playground. Jimmy indicated he had 3 classmates (18%) that he liked to play with and

Sam also indicated he had 3 (13%). When classmates nominated those that they liked to play

with on the playground, none (0%) nominated Brandon, 1 (6%) nominated Jimmy, and 3 (13%)

nominated Sam. Following the intervention, Brandon indicated he had 3 (16%) classmates that

he liked to play with on the playground (i.e., the 3 peer participants), Jimmy had 3 (18%), and









Sam had 3 (16%). After the intervention, none (0%) of the classmates nominated Brandon, 2

(12%) nominated Jimmy, and 1 (5%) nominated Sam.

Before the study, Brandon indicated he had no classmates (0%) that he liked to play with.

Jimmy indicated he had 3 classmates he liked to play with (18%) and Sam also indicated he had

3 (13%). When classmates nominated those that they liked to play with, none (0%) nominated

Brandon, 1 nominated Jimmy (6%), and 4 nominated Sam (17%). Following the intervention,

Brandon indicated he had 3 (16%) classmates that he liked to play with (i.e., the 3 peer

participants), Jimmy had 3 (18%), and Sam had 3 (16%). After the intervention, none (0%) of the

classmates nominated Brandon, 2 (12%) nominated Jimmy, and none (0%) nominated Sam.

In summary, results of the Friendship Rating Scale (Garrison-Harrell, 1996) and Peer

Nominations Questionnaire (Garrison-Harrell, 1996) indicated that Brandon had the most change

in his perceptions of friends. At the beginning of the study he nominated no classmates and

following the intervention, he nominated his peer participants consistently as friends he liked "A

Lot" on the Friendship Rating Scale and as classmates he would invite to his birthday party, are

good friends, likes to play with on the playground, and just likes to play with on the Peer

Nominations Questionnaire. Neither Jimmy nor Sam nominated the peer participants on the

Friendship Rating Scale or on any of the questions, pre- or post-, on the Peer Nominations

Questionnaire. Jimmy and Sam consistently nominated 3 classmates on both scales. The

classmates of the target participants did not vary much in their nominations of Brandon, Jimmy,

and Sam from the beginning of the study to the end and their nominations remained at low

levels.

Summary

The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of a peer network social skills

intervention adapted from Skillstreaming the Elementary School Child (McGinnis & Goldstein,










1997) on the social interactions of students with ASD who are high functioning across multiple

settings. The target participants' initiations, responses, and social interactions were examined to

determine the effect of the intervention in two generalization settings.

Results of the intervention generally indicate the target participants' social interactions

displayed the most apparent increase while their initiations also displayed an increase all be it at

a lower percentage. Responses of two target participants also increased at a lower percentage

while responses of the third target participant slightly decreased. The target participants'

inappropriate initiations, responses, and social interactions decreased from a low percentage in

baseline to zero percent in the generalization settings.

Results of social validation measures estimated that teachers and parents observed

improvement to varying degrees in their target participant' s social skills. The general education

classmates did not note an improvement in Brandon's sociability, a slight improvement in

Jimmy's sociability, and a slight decline in Sam' s over the course of the study. The target

participants and their peer participants responded favorably to the intervention and the activities

in which they participated during the study.

While increases in social interactions were demonstrated and teachers and parents

observed varying degrees of increased social functioning in the target participants, it is unclear

what caused the increases and positive behaviors to happen. As a result of the lack of procedural

integrity while implementing the study, the results lack internal validity and conclusions cannot

be made concerning the findings.














Brandon: Before? School


Baseline


Generalization Setting 1


100
90
80
70
60
50 Coaching
40
30
20
10
Og d
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9


+c Initiations
_+-Responses
-*- social Interactions


10 11 12 13 14 15 18 17 18 10 20 21 22


Jimmy: Lunch

100
90
80
70
60
Coaching
50
40
30
20

10O ~~~

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22




Sam: Blreakfast


Peer


Peer
Al erate 1;42 `,~" u-


12 13 14 15 16 17 18 10 20 21 22


Peer

b ~e


1 23 4 5 67 8 0 11


Sessions


Figure 4-1. Generalization setting 1













Brandon: Recess


Baseline Generalization Setting 2
100
90
*
80
70Coci
60 *- Initiations
50 -B- Responses
40 +Social Interactions
30
20
10

1 2 a 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22


Jimmy: Riecess
100
90
80 Peer
70 Alternate
60
50
40





1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22



Sam: Lunch


90
80 Peer
70 Allernale
60
50

30
4020 Peer Peer

~a~B~~ i~;lAlte ate

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22

Sessions


Figure 4-2. Generalization setting 2










Table 4-1. Appropriate behaviors mean percent of intervals
Generalization setting 1
Baseline (Range) Intervention (Ra
Brandon Before School
Initiations 3.00% (3.00%/-3.00%) 11. 09% (5.00%/-
Responses 2.50% (2.00%/-3.00%) 6.55% (4.00%/0
Social Interactions 5.00% (2.00%/-8.00%) 39.55% (13.00%-


Generalization setting 2
Baseline (Range) Intervention (Range)
Recess
2.67% (2.00%/-3.00%) 18.91% (8.00%/-28.00%)
3.67% (3.00%/-5.00%) 6.18% (2.00%/-14.00%)
4.67% (3.00%/-7.00%) 51.18% (16.00%/-86.00%)


nge)


14.00%)
10.00%)
-70.00%)


Jimmy
Initiations
Responses
Social Interactions

Sam
Initiations
Responses
Social Interactions


Lunch
2.22% (1.00%/o
2.22% (0.00%/o
1.78% (0.00%/o

Breakfast
5 .22% (4.00%/0
5.00% (2.00%/0
7.78% (4.00%/0


Recess
3.00% (0.00%/o
4.11% (0.00%/0
3.67% (0.00%/o

Lunch
4.33% (3.00%/0
5.50% (1.00%/o
8.75% (2.00%/0


-4.00%)
-8.00%~)
-5.00%)


16.80% (8.00%/-24.00%)
4.20% (2.00%/-6.00%)
47.80% (20.00%/-72.00%)


-10.00%) 18.00% (12.00%/-22.00%)
-14.00%) 6.20% (4.00%/-10.00%)
-10.00%) 62.20% (42.00%/-80.00%)


-10.00%) 10.75% (8.00%/-16.00%)
-12.00%) 3.25% (2.00%/-6.00%)
-20.00%)61.50% (22.00%/-84.00%)


-6.00%) 10.00% (6.00%/-14.00%)
-8.00%) 4.00% (2.00%/-8.00%)
-13.00%)47.25% (26.00%/-70.00%)










Table 4-2. Inappropriate behaviors mean percent of intervals
Generalization setting 1


Generalization setting 2


Baseline (Range)
Before School
2.50% (2.00%/-3.00%)
1.00% (1.00%/-1.00%)
1.00% (0.00%/-2.00%)


Intervention (Range)

0.09%~ (0.00-1.00%~)
0.00%~ (0.00%~)
0.00%~ (0.00%~)


0.00%~ (0.00%~)
0.00%~ (0.00%~)
0.00%~ (0.00%~)


Baseline (Range)
Recess
4.00% (0.00%/-8.1
0.33% (0.00%/-1.i
4.00% (0.00%/-10

Recess
3.77% (0.00%/-10
0.44% (0.00%/-2.1
3.66% (0.00%/-8.1


Intervention (Range)


Brandon
Initiations
Responses
Social Interactions

Jimmy
Initiations
Responses
Social Interactions

Sam
Initiations
Responses
Social Interactions


00%) 0.00% (0.00%)
00%) 0.00% (0.00%)
).00%) 0.00% (0.00%)


).00%) 0.00% (0.00%)
00%) 0.00% (0.00%)
00%) 0.00% (0.00%)


Lunch
2.67% (0.00%/o
0.56% (0.00%/o
2.89% (0.00%/o


-7.00%)
-2.00%)
-9.00%)


Breakfast
0.00%~ (0.00%~)
0.00%~ (0.00%~)
0.00%~ (0.00%~)


Lunch
1.17% (0.00%-09.00%) 0.00% (0.00%)
0.50% (0.00%/-5.00%) 0.00% (0.00%)
1.83% (0.00%--~21.00%) 0.00% (0.00%)


0.00%~ (0.00%~)
0.00%~ (0.00%~)
0.00%~ (0.00%~)


Table 4-3. Mastery of activity


Target
participant
Brandon
Jimmy
Sam


Activity 2
Initiate/Respond
100% (16/16)
100% (18/18)
100% (12/12)


Activity 3
Take turns
97% (32/33)

93% (13/14)


Activity 4
Share
100% (43/43)
87% (13/15)
100% (17/17)









CHAPTER 5
DISCUSSION

The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of a peer network social skills

intervention on the social interactions of students with ASD who are high functioning across

multiple settings. A single-subject, multiprobe multiple-baseline design (Kennedy, 2005) across

participants was used to assess the effectiveness of the social skills intervention that was based

on adapted lessons from Skillstreaming the Elementary School Child (McGinnis & Goldstein,

1997). The intervention was implemented with each of the target participants with ASD and two

of his peer participants. The dependent variables across all phases of the study were the target

participants' initiations, responses, and social interactions. Data were collected in two

generalization settings.

A lack of procedural integrity occurred while implementing the study resulting in a lack of

internal validity. Therefore, conclusions cannot be made concerning the findings. While

increases in social interactions were demonstrated and teachers and parents observed varying

degrees of increased social functioning in the target participants, it is unclear what caused the

increases and positive behaviors to occur.

A brief summary of the findings indicated that the target participants' mean percentage of

initiations and social interactions with their peer participants increased following the intervention

across both generalization settings. Target participants 1 and 2 also demonstrated an increase in

their mean percentage of responses to peers while target participant 3's mean percentage of

responses slightly decreased. The target participants' inappropriate initiations, responses, and

social interactions decreased from a low percentage in baseline to zero percent in the

generalization settings. Social validity measures completed by the teachers estimated improved

social behaviors in the target students in the educational setting after the intervention. Responses










provided by parents indicated varied levels of improvement in the home setting and classmates

perceived little, if any, difference in the target participant' s social skills. Responses to the social

skills intervention by teachers, parents, and peer participants were overall favorable. The

remainder of the chapter discusses the limitations of the study, summarizes the findings of the

investigation, and provides implications for future research.

Limitations

Due to the lack of procedural integrity while implementing the study, the results lack

internal validity. Therefore, no conclusions can be made about the findings. Although increases

in social interactions were indicated, it is unclear what caused the increases to occur. Threats to

internal validity and limitations of the study included a lack of experimental control in the

sample, procedural integrity, and measurement issues that will be discussed further.

Sample. The internal validity of the study may have been affected by the five-year

difference between the ages of the target participants. Two of the target participants were eleven

and the third was six years old. Rubin and Coplan (1992) have indicated that there are age-

related differences in social interaction skills. For example, the ability to persuade others to carry

out one's own desired goals, the ability to resolve interpersonal dilemmas, the ability to engage

in rule-governed competitive games, and the ability to engage in unselfish behavior all appear to

improve with age (see Rubin and Coplan, 1992; Goldstein & Morgan, 2002 for reviews). While

these age-related differences in social skills have been found for typically developing children,

there is a paucity of research in this area that is conducted solely with students with ASD who

are high functioning, thus, necessitating the need for further investigation.

A second sample limitation is that a standardized measure was not utilized with the target

participants to provide precise information regarding their diagnosis. While a clinical diagnosis

of autism and ASD were provided for the target participants, the criteria used for that diagnosis









was not clearly stated. Klin, Volkmar, and Sparrow (2000) have stated that subj ective decisions

may vary from clinician to clinician particularly for individuals with ASD when diagnostic

assignment is made by nonexperienced clinicians. They added that this situation is acute in the

case of Asperger syndrome, hence, attempts to compare research findings across studies when

the participants are insufficiently described becomes problematic. Therefore, the need for

detailed and operationalized diagnosis of participants, including the procedures used in

diagnostic assignments and their reliability, is needed (Klin et al., 2000). Klin and colleagues

indicated that important aspects of the condition, including social and communication

disabilities, should be quantified following standardized procedures. Therefore, the study should

be replicated with target participants who have been assessed with valid and reliable instruments

to collect and code historical and observational data concerning their current behaviors. This

information may result in more informative and useful research results.

Procedural integrity. A number of factors resulted in the lack of procedural integrity and

experimental control, which affected the internal validity of the study. First, there was a lack of

uniformity in the settings and materials for the target participants. The before school and recess

settings chosen for Brandon and the recess setting for Jimmy were held in rooms separated from

their classmates. The lunch setting for Jimmy and the breakfast and lunch settings for Sam

occurred in the cafeteria in the presence of their classmates. Jimmy, Sam, and their peers were

partially separated from their classmates at the end of a table. The differences between these two

locations (i.e., cafeteria versus a separate room) may have changed the peer participants' focus

on their social interactions with the target participant. Factors that may have influenced the

participants in the cafeteria settings include distractions from classmates, attention being drawn

to the participants for doing something different, and the noise level. Settings in a separate room










may have provided more ability to focus on the social interaction with the target participant plus

the benefit of being more comfortable with their participation in the study without other

classmates watching or making comments.

The materials available in the breakfast and lunch settings for Jimmy and Sam were

limited to lunch boxes, cafeteria trays, utensils, and food. These materials were uniformly

available for both Jimmy and Sam. However, Brandon and Jimmy had a range of different

materials available for them in the before school and recess settings. For example, Brandon and

his peers occasionally brought incidental items such as purses and small toys with them to the

before school setting and they had games (e.g., UNO@) available in addition to paper and pencils

to draw with in the recess setting. Jimmy had a cabinet of toys/activities available for him and his

peers to use during recess. Because of the multiple choices and prompts from materials available

for their use, Brandon and Jimmy may have had a richer context for social interaction to occur

with their peers in the before school and recess settings. In comparison in the breakfast and lunch

settings, Jimmy and Sam were limited to generating conversation topics and having to work at

keeping the conversation going without the benefit of the physical prompts provided by a variety

of materials.

Second, treatment integrity data were taken on the training sessions, however, not during

generalization settings. Since data concerning standardized implementation of the generalization

sessions (e.g., the researcher' s introduction to each session) are not present, it is unknown

whether the sessions were implemented in a systematic manner.

Third, no systematic data were gathered on the coaching sessions to ensure procedural

integrity. Coaching was planned to be implemented when the data did not show an increase in

social interactions over three sessions. However, this procedure was not always followed. While









coaching may have been warranted for Brandon in the before school setting when his social

interactions went from 46% to 48% to 44% across sessions 10 through 12, coaching was

inadvertently not implemented. Additionally, Sam did not receive coaching that was indicated

during breakfast baseline phase as a result of scheduling conflicts. Although coaching was not

implemented at criteria across the study for all participants, increases in the overall social

interactions for each participant across settings were documented. Therefore, it is unclear if

similar results would have been attained if no coaching would have occurred. The failure to

provide coaching sessions consistently deviates from previous research conducted with peer

network training (see Haring & Breen, 1992).

A fourth limitation in this area relates to the number of opportunities that individual

participants were provided to leamn social interactions skills and may relate to the developmental

differences between the target participants. Each target participant did not receive the same

number of opportunities to practice skills during the three training activities. The researcher

adhered to the 30-minute period predetermined for the length of each training session, which

resulted in individual differences in the number of opportunities for each participant to leamn

skills. For example, Brandon and his peer participants were familiar with the card game, Garfield

War@, and were able to play the game easily. Therefore, more time was available for them to

play and practice taking tumns. On the other hand, Jimmy and his peer participants were

unfamiliar with the game and required extensive instruction and guidance to learn the game, thus

leaving less time to practice taking turns. Sam and his network peers generally took more time to

complete the activities overall. Although the researcher attempted to hold the activities constant

across the participants, the developmentally appropriateness of the activities chosen may have

affected the opportunities for practice. For example, Brandon and his peer participants were









familiar with the card game format and Jimmy and his peers were not. A more developmentally

appropriate activity for Jimmy may have provided the additional time necessary to practice the

skills.

A fifth limitation in procedural integrity is that the primary researcher conducting the

intervention, was the primary data collector and was responsible for checking the integrity of the

treatment. Thus, bias may be a factor. Multiple researchers may have provided additional

integrity to the implementation of the study.

An additional limitation of the study may have been the participants' reactivity to the

presence of the researcher and the video camera. The knowledge that they were participating in

an investigation may have altered the participant' s behavior because they were aware of being

recorded (Kazdin, 1982; Kennedy, 2005). For example, comments made by peer participants on

the Network Satisfaction Form indicated that they did react to the presence of the camera. While

one peer indicated pleasure at being videotaped, another remarked that sometimes he/she did not

want to do "the camera thing" and indicated feeling pressure at having to select a new topic to

talk about every time he/she was being taped. Ways to address the participants' reactivity to the

researcher and video camera include having a neutral person video tape the sessions and review

the treatment integrity checklist, videotape through a one way mirror, or have the video camera

present throughout the day to increase the participants' familiarity with it.

Measures. The measures used in the study also limited the findings. First, the interval

recording system employed to evaluate the occurrence of social behaviors yielded only

approximations of behavior frequency (Kazdin, 1982; Kennedy, 2005). As is typical in interval

recording, only one occurrence of each target behavior was recorded during each interval. Thus,

the percent of actual behaviors may be underestimated. The recording system was used to denote










the percentage of intervals of social interaction (including initiations and responses) rather than

the duration or quality of the interactions. Additional information as to which peer interacted

with the target participant, number of topics discussed, and the quality of the interactions may

have provided a more sensitive measure of social interaction behaviors. A direct sequential,

continuous recording system conducted in real time may provide richer data indicating the

multiple dimensions of the behavior (e.g., who initiated and responded, the duration of the

interaction, and characteristics of the interaction) (Kennedy, 2005).

The social validity measures are a second limitation in this area. Social validity is defined

as the estimation of the importance, effectiveness, appropriateness, and/or satisfaction various

people in the target participant' s environment experience in relation to the intervention

(Kennedy, 2005). This approach is used to gather information regarding their perceptions of

some dimension of the goals, procedures, and/or outcomes of the intervention. In assessing the

social validity of the current study, questionnaires were administered that address the target

participants' social interactions (i.e., Social Skills Checklist, Consumer Satisfaction Survey,

Network Satisfaction Form, Friendship Rating Scale, and Peer Nominations Questionnaire). A

limitation of this technique is that the respondent' s perceptions of situations may not

meaningfully reflect changes in the target participant' s behavior (Kennedy, 2005). Socially

skilled behavior is related to peer acceptance and socially unskilled behavior is related to peer

rej section and neglect (Coie et al., 1990), however, there is evidence that other factors may

mitigate the relationship between behavior and peer acceptance or rej section (Kaczmarek, 2002).

A child' s reputation can bias the perception of these behaviors by peers, thus maintaining a

child's social status even when behaviors changes (Hymel, Wagner, & Butler, 1990). Because









the target participants have been in these classes, they have a history which might explain why

the classmates' perceptions of their behaviors were not reflective of change.

Measures of peer interactions may assess aspects of social competence that are distinct

from those observed through teacher ratings and direct observational measures. Furthermore, a

focus on initiations and responses, as measured in this study, does not fully capture the dynamic

nature of social interactions (McConnell & Odom, 1999).

As a result of measurement limitations in the use of an interval recording system, the social

validity measures were an attempt to address the quality of the target participants' interactions.

However, their psychometric qualities (e.g., reliability, validity) were unknown (American

Educational Research Association, American Psychological Association, National Council on

Measurement in Education, 1999). Although a great deal of social validity information was

obtained, that information may not have been relevant and useful in interpreting the outcomes of

this study based on the definition of social validity. A method to better determine if the results

were meaningful may be the development of a question directly pertaining to the intervention

and then design a measure based on the question. In addition, a more obj ective measure of

change in behavior may be direct observation (Kamps et al., 1998). Direct measures such as

videotaping the participants and then scoring their behaviors in light of the developed question,

may provide a more accurate reflection of changes in the target participant' s behavior.

Discussion of Findings

Due to the lack of procedural integrity while implementing the study, the results lack

internal validity. Therefore, conclusions cannot be made concerning the findings of the study. It

is unclear what caused the three students with ASD who were the focus of this study to display

the most apparent percentage of increase in social interactions, a smaller percentage of increase

in initiations, and a smaller yet percentage of increase for two participants in their responses to









peers and a slight decrease in responses for the third participant. This pattern of data were

displayed in the two generalization settings. While no conclusions can be made concerning the

findings of the current study, a similar pattern of higher percentages of social interactions and

lower percentages of initiations and responses has been observed in the following research.

The lower percentage of increase in the target participant' s initiations and in responses of

two of the target participants and a decrease in the third participant' s responses may be a result

of the desire of the peer participants to support the target participant in his development of social

interactions. Peck and colleagues (1997) found that when the treatment was implemented in their

study, the nondisabled peers demonstrated better understanding of their role and the needs of the

peer with disabilities. They also found that the nondisabled peers were able to promote

appropriate behavior from the target participant who in their study was low functioning. Roeyers

(1996) found that the nondisabled peers increasingly used initiation strategies that were most

likely to get a response from the target participant and they regularly reinforced appropriate

social behaviors of the target participant. Furthermore, they responded very consistently to the

initiations made by the target participants. Roeyer believed that the peer participants attributed

the changes in the target participant' s behavior to themselves, which motivated them to continue.

In like manner, the peer participants in the current study may have responded to the initiations of

the target participants and continued the social interaction by their carefully chosen responses.

Shafer and colleagues (1986) found that following training, the peer participants increased

their initiations and responses toward the target participants who were low functioning with

responses increasing more substantially. Three of the four target participants in Shafer' s study

slightly increased their initiations to the peer participants but increased in their responses. Results

of their study found that training resulted in lengthier interactions between the peer and target










participants. Shafer compared the percentage of intervals in which initiations occurred by autistic

students in his study to those in a study conducted by Strain (1983) who reported a higher

percentage of initiations. Shafer believed that the lower percentage of intervals in initiations may

have been attributed to the substantial increases in duration of interactions following training

which may have lessened the opportunity for the target participants to initiate interactions. In

addition, the levels of initiations also may have been affected by the difference in the definition

of an initiation between the two studies.

Kamps and colleagues (1992) found a lower ratio of initiations and responses compared to

the duration of interactions of the target participants in their study of social skills training for

students with autism conducted concurrently with nondisabled peers. In Kamps study, the ratio

of each target participant' s initiations was 3, 4, and 2 during baseline levels to 3, 5, and 3

respectively during follow-up levels. The target participants' responses were .28, .50, and .49

during baseline levels and 1.0, .67, and .88 during follow-up levels. The duration of interactions

during baseline levels was 6, 10, and 5 and 42, 19, and 79 respectively during follow-up levels.

This pattern of a low ratio of initiations and a lower ratio of responses by the target participants

across all phases of the intervention in comparison to social interactions appears to be consistent

with the pattern of percentages in initiations, responses, and social interactions found with the

target participants in the current study.

Future Research Directions

Future research needs to address the lack of procedural integrity and resulting lack of

internal validity in this study. Recommendations for future studies will be discussed.

First, the intervention needs to be replicated with students identified with ASD who are

high functioning and are of a similar age. This will enable the effectiveness of the adapted

Skillstreaming training on the social behaviors of students with ASD of that particular age and









developmental level to be determined. In addition, the target participants selected must meet the

initial criteria previously stated but also be administered a standardized assessment of their

diagnosis and behavioral characteristics. Such an assessment will provide a standardized

diagnosis of ASD; thus, increasing the generalization of the findings. The Autism Diagnostic

Observation Schedule (Lord, Rutter, DiLavore, & Risi, 2006) is an example of such a measure.

Second, the settings and materials available in each setting need to be uniform in order to

provide experimental control in determining the effectiveness of the intervention. The settings

chosen may more appropriately be in the inclusive general education setting rather than in

separated or partially separated settings in order to determine the intervention's effectiveness in

increasing the social interactions the student with ASD who is high functioning with his

nondisabled peers,

Third, future research is needed to address the weaknesses in the lack of systematic data

gathered concerning the implementation of generalization and coaching sessions, inconsistent

opportunities for the target participants to practice skills during training sessions (i.e., activities

incorporated in the three training sessions: Conversations, Taking Turns, and Sharing), and

possible bias introduced with the researcher conducting the intervention, serving as primary data

collector, and being responsible for treatment integrity.

Fourth, in order to assess the effectiveness of the adapted Skillstreaming social skills

training with students with ASD who are high functioning, future research may wish not to

include a coaching element. This would enable the researchers to determine the effectiveness of

social skills training without additional support from an adult. In attempting to follow Kamps

and colleagues' (2002) definition of a peer network intervention, this study did not fully evolve

and may more adequately be called a modified network peer intervention. A future study may









also wish to more fully involve the peers in the training of the target participant as well as

measure the peer participants' appropriate and inappropriate initiations, responses, and social

interactions. In this way, the effect a peer network strategy would have in supporting the social

behaviors of a student with ASD who is high functioning could be more appropriately measured.

Fifth, further investigation is needed into the effect the participants' reactivity to the

presence of the researcher and video camera may have had on the results of the study. Having a

neutral person videotape the sessions or videotape through a one way mirror may alleviate this

factor.

Sixth, a systematic replication of the study with a direct, sequential, continuous recording

system conducted in real time may provide data which further indicates the multidimensional

aspects of the target participants' social interactions. Thus, leading to more specific information

necessary to refine future social skills interventions.

Seventh, since an intervention is implemented in an educational setting in which multiple

individuals may be affected by the behavior change of the student with ASD who is high

functioning (Kennedy, 2005), the effect of the intervention on a range of individuals in the target

student' s environment must be assessed. Future studies may assess the social validity of the

intervention to determine the meaningfulness of the results by developing a question directly

pertaining to the specific intervention and then designing a measure based on the question. In

addition, direct observation of the target participant' s behaviors through videotaping and then

scoring the behavior in light of the developed question may provide a more accurate reflection of

behavioral changes (Kazdin, 1982).

Eight, an additional area for future research is to investigate the maintenance of the social

behaviors acquired during the investigation. While some studies have implemented maintenance










probes to determine the effects of the interventions over time (e.g., Kamps et al., 1994), other

studies have not and also have noted the need for maintenance probes (e.g., Garrison-Harrell et

al., 1997).

Implication for Practice

One of the on-going and important functions of research is to understand how it can be

implemented into practice more efficiently and effectively. However, the lack of procedural

integrity while implementing this investigation and the resulting lack of internal validity does not

allow conclusions to be drawn from this study. Therefore, valid implications for practice cannot

be made.

Summary

As a result of the threats to internal validity inherent in this study, the increases in social

interactions and improved social functioning observed by the teachers and to varying degrees by

the parents of the students with ASD cannot be explained.

Observations by the researcher and anecdotal information from the target participants'

teachers indicated the occurrence of improved social functioning and the teachers provided

suggestions for broadening the scope of the intervention (e.g., having more activities and

including a wider range of peers). While the intervention was designed to increase social skills

with students with ASD who are high functioning within the school environment, the parents of

two of the target participants indicated anecdotally that they also observed improved social skills

in the home environment. The target participants and network peers responded positively to the

intervention and indicated their satisfaction with spending time with network friends and

provided suggestions for improving the intervention (e.g., including other activities and foods).

While no conclusions can drawn from the current study, future research may wish to

consider the teachers, parents, and participants' comments when designing future social skills









interventions that will include peers as behavior change agents for students with ASD who are

high functioning. There continues to be a need for research in this area that determines the

effectiveness of social skills interventions to improve the social behaviors of students with ASD

who are high functioning.









APPENDIX A
TARGET STUDENT INFORMED ASSENT


Dear Student,

I am a graduate student at the University of Florida. As part of my work as a student, I am
interested in learning more about how students get along with the other students in their class. In
this study, I will work with a group of four students who want to leamn to play together better.
You already know how to play together but I am going to meet with you and we will talk about
ways we can play together better. I would like you to be a part of this small group of students
that I will be working with.

If you choose to be a part of this group, you will answer two sets of questions about your friends
in your class. We will answer these questions both before and after we work together. You do
not have to answer any questions that you do not want to answer. Although you will be asked to
write your name on the questions, I will replace your names with made up names to keep your
answers secret. The first week, you will meet with the group three days for thirty minutes each
day and you will not miss any class time. After that, we will meet once a week to answer any
questions you may have for as long as we are working together. At times, I will watch you play
with your classmates.

I will video tape you and only I and my assistant will watch the video tape. The video tape will
be destroyed after the study is completed. Other students and teachers may know that you are
part of this group. The study will be continued until we have practiced our new skills as much as
we need to.

You will not be in danger and you will not get any money or payment for being a part of this
group. If you change your mind and do not want to be part of the group, just let me know and
you can stop. Your grades and the other things you do while at school will not change because
you are part of this group.

If you have any question about this group, please call me at 904-272-8100 Extension 2428. You
can also call my teacher, Dr. Conroy at 3 52-392-0701. If your father or mother has any questions
or concerns about your being part of this group, they may write to the UFIRB office, University
of Florida, Box 112250, Gainesville, FL 32611 or call (352) 392-0433.

If you agree to help me and be a part of this group, please sign this letter and return it to me in
the envelope I am giving you. I will give you a second copy of the letter to keep. When you put
your name on this letter, you are telling me that it is okay for me to talk about what this group
that you are a part of will do.


Ms. Diane Banner
School Psychologist
Clay County Schools










I have read about the study for the social skills group. I want to be a part of this study and I have
a copy of this letter.


Signature of Participant



Signature of Parent/Guardian


Date



Date









APPENDIX B
PARENTAL INFORMED CONSENT TARGET STUDENT


Dear Parent/Guardian,

I am a doctoral student in the Department of Special Education at the University of Florida. I am
conducting research on the effect a small group of students may have on the social interactions of
a student identified with Asperger Syndrome or High Functioning Autism (HFA) under the
supervision of Dr. Maureen Conroy. The purpose of this study is to determine if there is an
increase in the number of times a student identified with Asperger Syndrome/HFA will have
positive social interactions with his/her classmates after only three classmates and the student
with Asperger Syndrome/HFA receive social skills instruction. The results of the study may
assist students with Asperger Syndrome/HFA increase the number of positive social interactions
they have with their classmates. These results may not only directly help your child today, but
may benefit future students with Asperger Syndrome/HFA. With your permission, I would like
to ask your child to volunteer for this research. However, as a result of this study, your child' s
status and possible diagnosis will be known to members of the peer network, their parents, and
others in the school.

The students will be asked to complete two questionnaires before and after the study that ask
how much he/she likes to play with each of the students in the class and who each student plays
with. Your child does not have to answer any questions that he/she does not wish to answer

The first week, the student with Asperger Syndrome/HFA who chooses to be in the study will
receive 3 days of training while his/her three classmates who choose to participate in the study
will receive 4 days of social skills instruction in the following areas (1) starting a conversation,
(2) responding appropriately while in a conversation, (3) taking turns, and (4) sharing. I will
conduct the training sessions that will occur for 4 days during a scheduled time identified by the
teacher that does not interfere with class time. The sessions will last for thirty minutes. The first
session will include the three classmates and will be an introductory session to discuss
characteristics commonly associated with Asperger Syndrome/HFA. The following three
sessions will include the whole network (the student with Asperger Syndrome/HFA and his/her
classmates). After the training sessions, the students will be asked to use the skills they learned in
the training sessions during the regular school day. Follow up meetings will be held once a week
for the duration of the study to answer any questions the students may have. The study will be
continued until positive social interactions have increased in two of the following settings
(before school, during lunch, and during one additional time where social opportunities exist). It
may take approximately four months to conduct the study.

With your permission, the students will be videotaped during selected times (meeting time,
before school, during lunch, and during one additional time where social opportunities exist that
will be determined according to each individual network' s class schedule). Only I and my
assistant will view the video tape and the video tape will be destroyed after the study is
completed. Although the students will be asked to write their names on the questionnaires for
matching purposes, their identity will be kept confidential to the extent provided by law. I will










replace their names with made up names. Your child's participation in the study may be
observed by other students and teachers. Participation or nonparticipation in this study will not
affect the children's grades or placement in any program.

You and your child have the right to withdraw consent for your child's participation at any time
without consequence. There are no known risks or immediate benefits to the participants. No
compensation is offered.




Diane Banner
School Psychologist
Clay County Schools

I have read the procedure described above. I voluntarily give my consent for my child,
,to participate in Diane Banner' s study of a peer network social skills
intervention for students with Asperger Syndrome/HFA. I have received a copy of this
description.



Parent/Guardian Date



Second Parent/Guardian/Witness Date









APPENDIX C
TEACHER INFORMED CONSENT


Dear Teacher,

I am a doctoral student in the Department of Special Education at the University of Florida. I am
conducting research on the effect peer network training (i.e., a small group of students trained in
social interaction skills) may have on the social interactions of a student identified with Asperger
Syndrome or High Functioning Autism (HFA). This research is being conducted under the
supervision of Dr. Maureen Conroy. The purpose of this study is to determine if there is an
increase in the frequency a student identified with Asperger Syndrome/HFA will have positive
social interactions with his/her classmates after a network of only three classmates and the
student with Asperger Syndrome/HFA receive social skills instruction. The results of the study
may assist students with Asperger Syndrome/HFA increase the number of positive social
interactions they have with their classmates. These results may not only directly help the students
today, but may benefit future students with Asperger Syndrome/HFA. I would like to your
permission to conduct this research in your classroom and other settings in the school that
children interact throughout the day.

Once the students with Asperger Syndrome/HFA have been identified and agree to participate in
the study, they and their classmates will be asked to complete two questionnaires. These
questionnaires will be completed before and after the study. One questionnaire will ask the
students how much he/she likes to play with each of the other students in the class and the
second questionnaire will ask the students to provide additional information regarding how each
student interacts with his/her classmates. The student does not have to answer any questions that
he/she does not wish to answer. The teachers) who agree to participate in the study will be asked
to rank their students after the two questionnaires are administered to determine the students
whom they consider to be socially competent models. This method will determine the two
nondisabled peers and one nondisabled peer alternate who will be possible participants of the
peer network. The teachers) who agree to participate in the study also will be asked to complete
a Social Skills Checklist regarding the student with Asperger Syndrome/HFA social interactions.
This checklist will be completed before the peer network intervention begins and at the end of
the study. Upon conclusion of the study, the participating teachers) will be asked to complete a
Consumer Satisfaction Survey to provide information regarding his/her opinion of the study and
suggestions that may improve the study.

The student with Asperger Syndrome/HFA who chooses to be in the study will receive 3 days of
training while his/her three nondisabled classmates who choose to participate (two network peers
and one alternate) will receive 4 days of social skills instruction in the following areas (1)
starting a conversation, (2) responding appropriately while in a conversation, (3) taking turns,
and (4) sharing. I will conduct the training sessions that will occur during a time the teacher
selects that does not interfere with class time. Each of the four training sessions will be
conducted the first week and will last for thirty minutes. At the conclusion of training, the three
network students will be asked to use these learned skills during the regular school day with the
student with Asperger Syndrome/HFA. Follow up sessions will be held for the student with










Asperger Syndrome/HFA and his/her network peers once a week for the duration of the study to
answer any questions the students may have. The study will be continued until positive social
interactions increase in each of the three settings (before school, during lunch, and during one
additional time where social opportunities exist).

The students participating in the peer network will be videotaped during selected times (meeting
time, before school, during lunch, and during one additional time where social opportunities exist
that will be determined according to each individual network's class schedule). Only I and my
assistant will view the video tape and the video tape will be destroyed after the study is
completed. Although the students will be asked to write their names on the questionnaires for
matching purposes, their identity will be kept confidential to the extent provided by law.
Participation or nonparticipation in this study will not affect the students' grades or placement in
any program.

You have the right to withdraw consent for your participation at any time without consequence.
There are no known risks or immediate benefits to those participating in the study. No
compensation is offered for participation. Results of this study will be available in August 2005
upon request. If you have any question about this research protocol, please contact me at 904-
272-8100 Extension 2428 or my faculty supervisor, Dr. Conroy at 352-392-0701. Questions or
concerns about your child's rights as a research participant may be directed to the UFIRB office,
University of Florida, Box 1 12250, Gainesville, FL 3261 1, (3 52) 392-0433.




Diane Banner
School Psychologist
Clay County Schools

I have read the procedure described above. I voluntarily consent to participate in Diane
Banner' s study of a peer network social skills intervention for students with Asperger
Syndrome/HFA. I have received a copy of this description.



Teacher Date



Witness Date






















1. 1 2 3 4 5

2. 1 2 3 4 5

3. 1 2 3 4 5

4. 1 2 3 4 5

5. 1 2 3 4 5

6. 1 2 3 4 5

7. 1 2 3 4 5

8. 1 2 3 4 5

9. 1 2 3 4 5

10. 1 2 3 4 5

11. 1 2 3 4 5

12. 1 2 3 4 5

13. 1 2 3 4 5

14. 1 2 3 4 5

15. 1 2 3 4 5

16. 1 2 3 4 5

17. 1 2 3 4 5

(Garrison-Harrell, 1996)


APPENDIX D
FRIENDSHIP RATING SCALE


Date:


Name :


A
little


Some Quite
a bit


A lot


Not
at
all


How much do you like to play with:









APPENDIX E
PEER NOMINATIONS QUESTIONNAIRE


Name :


Date:


1) List three classmates you would like to invite to your birthday party:








2) List three classmates that are your good friends:








3) List three classmates that you like to play with on the playground:


4) List three classmates that you like to play with:








(Garrison-Harrell, 1996)









APPENDIX F
PEER INFORMED ASSENT


Dear Student,

I am a graduate student at the University of Florida. As part of my work as a student, I am
interested in learning more about how students get along with the other students in their class. In
this study, I will work with a group of four students who want to leamn to play together better.
You already know how to play together but I am going to meet with you and we will talk about
ways we can play together better. I would like you to be a part of this small group of students
that I will be working with.

If you choose to be a part of this group, you will complete two sets of questions about your
friends in your class. We will complete both of these before and after we work together. You do
not have to answer any questions that you do not want to answer. Although you will be asked to
write your name on the questions, I will replace your names with made up names to keep your
answers secret. Three of us will work together the first day and one other student will j oin the
group after the first meeting. The first week, the group meetings will last for thirty minutes for
four days during a time scheduled by your teacher so that you will not miss class time. For the
rest of the time, we will meet once a week to answer any questions you may have and at times, I
will watch you play with your classmates.

I will video tape you and only I and my assistant will watch the video tape. The video tape will
be destroyed after the study is completed. Other students and teachers may know that you are
part of this study. The study will be continued until we have practiced our new skills as much as
we need to.

You will not be in danger and you will not get any money or payment for being a part of this
group. If you change your mind and do not want to be part of the group, just let me know and
you can stop. Your grades and the other things you do while at school will not change because
you are part of this group.

If you have any question about this group, please call me at 904-272-8100 Extension 2428. You
can also call my teacher, Dr. Conroy at 3 52-392-0701. If your father or mother has any questions
or concerns about your being part of this group, they may write to the UFIRB office, University
of Florida, Box 112250, Gainesville, FL 32611 or call (352) 392-0433.

If you agree to help me and be a part of this group, please sign this letter and return it to me in
the envelope I am giving you. I will give you a second copy of the letter to keep. When you put
your name on this letter, you are telling me that it is okay for me to talk about what this group
that you are a part of will do.

Ms. Diane Banner
School Psychologist
Clay County Schools










I have read about the study for the social skills group. I want to be a part of this study and I have
a copy of this letter.


Signature of Participant



Signature of Parent/Guardian


Date



Date









APPENDIX G
PARENTAL INFORMED CONSENT PEER NETWORK


Dear Parent/Guardian,

I am a doctoral student in the Department of Special Education at the University of Florida. I am
conducting research on the effect a small group of students may have on the social interactions of
a student identified with Asperger Syndrome or High Functioning Autism (HFA) under the
supervision of Dr. Maureen Conroy. One of the main behaviors students identified as having
Asperger Syndrome/HFA demonstrate is a weakness in their ability to interact well with others.
A weakness in social interaction skills has far reaching consequences in all areas of the student' s
development as well as in poor relationships with his/her classmates. Well-known persons who
have demonstrated characteristics often associated with Asperger Syndrome/HFA include Albert
Einstein and Thomas Edison. The purpose of this study is to determine if there is an increase in
the number of times a student identified with Asperger Syndrome/HFA will have positive social
interactions with his/her classmates after only three classmates and the student with Asperger
Syndrome/HFA receive social skills instruction. The results of the study may assist students with
Asperger Syndrome/HFA increase the number of positive social interactions they have with their
classmates. These results may not only directly help the student with Asperger Syndrome/HFA
today, but may benefit future students with Asperger Syndrome/HFA. With your permission, I
would like to ask your child to volunteer for this research as one of the classmates of a student
with Asperger Syndrome/HFA.

The students will be asked to complete two questionnaires before and after the study that ask
how much he/she likes to play with each of the students in the class and who each student plays
with. Your child does not have to answer any questions that he/she does not wish to answer.

The first week, the three classmates who choose to participate in the study will receive 4 days of
social skills instruction that will include an introductory discussion of the characteristics of
Asperger Syndrome/HFA and instruction in (1) starting a conversation, (2) responding
appropriately while in a conversation, (3) taking turns, and (4) sharing. I will conduct the training
sessions that will occur for 4 days during a scheduled time identified by the teacher that does not
interfere with class time. The sessions will last for thirty minutes. The first session will be an
introductory session that will include only the three classmates and the following three sessions
will include the whole network (the student with Asperger Syndrome/HFA and his/her
classmates). After the training sessions, the students will be asked to use the skills they learned in
the training sessions during the regular school day. Follow up meetings will be held once a week
for the duration of the study to answer any questions the students may have. The study will be
continued until positive social interactions have increased in each of the three settings (before
school, during lunch, and during one additional time where social opportunities exist). It may
take approximately four months to conduct the study.

With your permission, the students will be videotaped during selected times (meeting time,
before school, during lunch, and during one additional time where social opportunities exist that
will be determined according to each individual network' s class schedule). Only I and my









assistant will view the video tape and the video tape will be destroyed after the study is
completed. Although the students will be asked to write their names on the questionnaires for
matching purposes, their identity will be kept confidential to the extent provided by law. I will
replace their names with made up names. Your child's participation in the study may be
observed by other students and teachers. Participation or nonparticipation in this study will not
affect the children's grades or placement in any program.

You and your child have the right to withdraw consent for your child's participation at any time
without consequence. There are no known risks or immediate benefits to the participants. No
compensation is offered for participation. Results of this study will be available in August 2005
upon request. If you have any question about this research protocol, please contact me at 904-
272-8100 Extension 2428 or my faculty supervisor, Dr. Conroy at 352-392-0701. Questions or
concerns about your child's rights as a research participant may be directed to the UFIRB office,
University of Florida, Box 1 12250, Gainesville, FL 3261 1, (3 52) 392-0433.




Diane Banner
School Psychologist
Clay County Schools

I have read the procedure described above. I voluntarily give my consent for my child,
,to participate in Diane Banner' s study of a peer network social skills
intervention for students with Asperger Syndrome/HFA. I have received a copy of this
description.



Parent/Guardian Date



Second Parent/Guardian/Witness Date










APPENDIX H
TREATMENT INTEGRITY

Network: Dates: Session 1
School: Session 2
Session 3
Session 4

Session 1: Introduction (peer participants only)
(Kamps, Kravits et al., 2002)
1. Describe characteristics of Asperger Syndrome/High Functioning Autism taken
from Autism Society of America (n.d.) brochure, Asperger Syndrome Information
Written for Kids Only
May be good at some things and have trouble with other things
Likes to learn everything possible about a certain topic
Likes to have a routine
May have difficulty organizing things
May have difficulty playing with other children
May react differently than nondisabled children in the same
situation
May want to talk about interests instead of feelings
May take things literally
May get better at doing some things as they grow older
Will benefit from having other children help them learn and practice how to
be comfortable with others
2. Read book, Trevor Trevor (Twachtman-Cullen, 1998)
Peer participants answer questions from story
3. Introduce the purpose of a peer network
4. Have the peer participants generate ways they can include the target participant in
activities
List on chart

Session 2: Conversation (target participant and peer participants)
(adapted from Skillstreaming the Elementary School Child, McGinnis & Goldstein,
1997)
1. Introduce concept of a conversation
2. Define initiations (Skill 15: Beginning a Conversation, p. 105)
Discuss 4 steps involved in initiating a conversation using chart
Model initiations
Role play
Set-up role play for participants
Provide feed-back
Brainstorm similar topics to role play
Continue role-playing for all participants









3. Define responses (Skill 7: Contributing to Discussions, p. 97; Skill 16: Ending a
Conversation, p. 106)
Discuss 4 steps involved in responding during a conversation using chart
Model responses
Role play
Set-up role play for participants
Provide feed-back
Brainstorm similar topics to role play
Continue role-playing for all participants
4. Activity: Ice Cream Sundae Party

Session 3: Taking Turns (target participant and peer participants)
(adapted from Skillstreaming the Elementary School Child, McGinnis & Goldstein,
1997)
1. Define turn taking (Skill 18: Playing a Game, p. 108)
Discuss 3 steps involved in taking turns using chart
Model turn taking
Role play
Set-up role play for participants
Provide feed-back
Brainstorm similar topics to role play
Continue role-playing for all participants
2. Activity: Garfield War Card Game

Session 4: Sharing (target participant and peer participants)
(adapted from Skillstreaming the Elementary School Child, McGinnis & Goldstein,
1997)
1. Define sharing (Skill 24: Sharing, p. 114)
Discuss 4 steps involved in sharing using chart
Model sharing
Role play
Set-up role play for participants
Provide feed-back
Brainstorm similar topics to role play
Continue role-playing for all participants
2. Activity: Builder, Architect, Parts Department

For a description of each step and comprehensive delineation of Skillsteaming procedures, see
McGinnis and Goldstein (1997).









APPENDIX I
NETWORK TRAINING

FOUR 30-MINUTE SESSIONS

Session One

Introduction: Characteristics of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or Asperger Syndrome, the
purpose of the network intervention, includes the two nondisabled peer participants and one
alternate for each target participant (Kamps, Kravits et al., 2002)

1. The researcher will discuss the following points concerning Asperger Syndrome or High
Functioning Autism (HFA) with the three peer participants seated in a circle. The
participants will listen to the information presented below which will be taken directly
from the Autism Society of America (n.d.) brochure, Asperger Syndrome Information
Written for Kids Only, designed for children.

a. Asperger Syndrome is a syndrome that a person has from the time they are very
little. Children with Asperger Syndrome/HFA are very good at some things and
have trouble with other things.

b. Children with Asperger/HFA look the same as all other boys and girls do, they
just act differently some times. For example, they may be very interested in
certain topics or hobbies, such as maps or drawing. When a child with
Asperger/HFA gets interested in a particular topic, he/she learns everything that
he/she can about it and becomes an expert on that topic.

c. Often a child with Asperger Syndrome/HFA likes to have a routine of when and
how things are to be done each day. However, a child with Asperger/HFA might
not be very good at organizing his/her school work exactly like their teachers
want them to organize it.

d. Children with Asperger/HFA have the most trouble playing with other children.
Sometimes they may say or do the wrong things when they are playing. They
usually do not mean to upset other people by the things they say or do. They are
often surprised when other children get angry.

e. Children with Asperger Syndrome/HFA may not be able to understand why other
people do the things they do and therefore, they may react differently than you
would in the same situation.

f. Children with Asperger Syndrome/HFA may want to talk about their interests
more than about other things like how they are feeling.










g. Many times children with Asperger/HFA believe that everything that they are told
and read is true. For example, a boy with Asperger read that Toy Story was "now
playing at theatres everywhere" and was upset when Toy Story was not playing at
his theater.

h. When you are getting to know someone with Asperger Syndrome/HFA, you need
to be clear about what you mean when you say things to them. You should also
not be afraid of asking them what they mean, too.

i. Children with Asperger/HFA do not grow out of it. They will learn many things
as they get older and they will get better at some of the things that they have
trouble with, like playing or being with other children.

j. However, the only way they will get better at these things is by having other
children like you give them a chance to practice and learn how to be more
comfortable with other people.

k. You can learn a lot from them too. Just because they may see the world a bit
differently than you do, does not mean that they can't be good friends or that they
do not have interesting things to tell you about.

2. The principal researcher will answer any questions the peer participants may have
concerning Asperger Syndrome/HFA.

3. The researcher will introduce and read the book, Trevor Trevor, (Twachtman-Cullen,
1998) to the peer participants.

4. Following the reading of the book, the principal researcher will ask the peer participants
to respond to the following questions:
a. What was Trevor very good at doing?
b. What was Trevor not very good at doing?
c. How did the other students treat Trevor before the contest?
d. How did the other students treat Trevor after the contest?
e. What did the students learn about Trevor from what he did at the contest?

5. The principal researcher will ask the peer participants to discuss ways they can be friends
to students who are different (e.g., talk about things they might not be interested in, share
materials, and ask them if they need help with an assignment).

6. The principal researcher will explain the purpose of a group as an opportunity for them to
learn new ways to help include the target participant in more activities and help him/her
learn how to play more with other students. The principal researcher will answer
questions the peer participants may have.









7. The researcher will ask the peer participants to think of ways that they could be a better
friend to the target participant and help include him in activities with their other
classmates. The researcher will write their responses on a piece of chart paper.

Learning Objectives

1. The peer participants will increase their knowledge of the characteristics of Asperger
Syndrome/HFA.

2. The peer participants will increase their understanding of the ways in which the
participant with Asperger Syndrome/HFA has difficulty interacting with his classmates.

3. The peer participants will learn the purpose of the group.

4. The peer participants will demonstrate their understanding by giving examples of ways
they can include the participant with Asperger Syndrome in more activities and help him
learn how to get along better with his fellow classmates.

Session Two

Conversation (Initiations and Responses): Includes the target participant, the two nondisabled
peer participants, and the alternate peer seated in a circle (adapted from Skillstreaming the
Elementary School Child, McGinnis & Goldstein, 1997)

Initiations (Skill 15: Beginning a Conversation, p. 105)

1. The principal researcher will introduce the concept of a conversation by asking the
participants what a conversation is (e.g., talking to each other).

2. The principal researcher will define initiations as the start of a conversation and will
introduce the behavioral steps to follow in beginning a conversation initiationss). The
following steps will be posted on chart paper.
a. Decide what you want to say.
i. Suggest topics such as something the participants did during the weekend,
a hobby, or favorite sport.

b. Choose a good time and place.
i. Discuss how to choose a good time: when the other person isn't busy or
when the participant isn't supposed to be doing something else.

c. Start talking in a friendly way.
i. Discuss body language and nonverbal communicators (e.g., eye contact,
facing the person who is speaking to you, and personal space) that show a
friendly attitude.
ii. Suggest watching the person to see if he/she seems interested (e.g., is
looking at you and not looking at someone else).










3. The principal researcher will model the behavior for the participants.
a. Ask a participant, "What do you like best about Jeff Gordon?" or "What is your
favorite movie, CD, etc.?"

4. The principal researcher will select two nondisabled peers to participate in the first role-
playing.

5. The principal researcher will set up the role play.
a. Describe a situation: The participant and his/her friend are at the mall. The
participant asks his/her friend what they would like to do that afternoon.

6. The principal researcher will provide performance feedback.
a. The co-actor will be asked to react first to the role play and tell how he/she felt
after the conversation was initiated. The observers are asked to comment next
about how effective they thought the participant was in initiating the conversation.
The researcher then comments on how well the behavioral steps were followed
and provides social reinforcement (e.g., praise, approval, and encouragement).
Finally, the main actor is asked to make comments regarding the role play. In this
way, the main actor can learn to evaluate the effectiveness of his/her skill
performance in light of others' viewpoints.

7. The participants will brainstorm conversational topics that relate to their interests and
these topics will be used in the following role-playing situations.

8. The actor, co-actor, and observer roles are switched and the procedure repeated until each
participant has had the opportunity to initiate a conversation.

Responses (Skill 7: Contributing to Discussions, p. 97; Skill 16: Ending a Conversation, p. 106)

1. The principal researcher will define responses as the part of a conversation that answers
someone's question or comments on something some one said.

2. The principal researcher will introduce the behavioral steps to follow in responding to a
question or commenting as part of a conversation (response). The steps will be posted on
chart paper.
a. Decide if what you want to say is related to the topic of the conversation.
i. Discuss that the comment must be relevant to the conversation. Have the
participants respond to the appropriateness of different responses (e.g., not talking
about dinosaurs when the topic is football).
b. Wait until the other person is finished speaking before you start talking.
c. Decide exactly what you want to say.
i. Choose only one or two important things you want to say about the topic
and then let the other person talk again.










d. Talk in a friendly way.
i. Discuss body language and nonverbal communicators (e.g., eye contact,
facing the person who is speaking to you, and personal space) that show a
friendly attitude.
ii. Suggest watching the person to see if he/she seems interested (e.g., is
looking at you and not looking at someone else).

3. The researcher will model the behavior for the participants.
a. Have a participant ask a question, "What kind of pizza do you like best?" The
principal researcher will respond, "I like pepperoni. What kind do you like?"

4. The principal researcher will select two nondisabled peers to participate in the first role-
playing.

5. The principal researcher will set up the role play.
a. Describe a situation: The participant and his/her friend are in P.E. The participant
asks his/her friend what they are supposed to when they finish running around the
track.

6. The researcher will provide performance feedback.
a. The co-actor is asked to react first to the role play and tell how he/she felt after
responding to the question. The observers are asked to comment next about how
effective they thought the participant was in responding to the conversation. The
researcher then comments on how well the behavioral steps were followed and
provides social reinforcement (e.g., praise, approval, and encouragement).
Finally, the main actor is asked to make comments regarding the role play. In this
way, the main actor can learn to evaluate the effectiveness of his/her skill
performance in light of others' viewpoints.

7. The participants will brainstorm conversational situations that have opportunities in
which to respond. These situations will be used in the following role-playing.

8. The actor, co-actor, and observer roles are switched and the procedure repeated until each
participant has had the opportunity to respond in a conversation.

Activity: Ice Cream Sundae Party

1. The participants will be given their choice of toppings for the sundae. Each participant
will be in charge of three toppings.

2. The participants must request their desired topping from the participant in charge of that
toppmng.

3. After the participant asks for the topping, the participant in charge of the topping will
make an appropriate response.










Chart: Conversations


1. Choose the person you want to talk to.
2. Decide what you want to say.
3. Choose a good time and place.
4. Decide if what you want to say is related to the conversation' s topic.
5. Wait until the other person is finished speaking before you start talking.
6. Decide exactly what you want to say.
7. Talk in a friendly way.

Learning Objectives

1. The participants will be able to initiate a conversation.

2. The participants will be able to respond to topics in a conversation with an appropriate
response.

3. The participants will demonstrate their ability to initiate and provide an appropriate
response during the ice cream sundae activity.

4. Mastery will be determined if the target participant participated in an appropriate social
interaction (either an initiation or response) in 80% of the opportunities available for a
social interaction to occur.

Session Three

Taking Turns (Skill 18: Playing a Game, p. 108): Includes the target participant, the two-peer
participants, and the alternate (adapted from Skillstreaming the Elementary School Child,
McGinnis & Goldstein, 1997)

1. The principal researcher will define taking turns as waiting until one participant finishes
his/her part of the activity or game before the other participant can play or do the activity
and will introduce behavioral steps to follow in taking tumns. The steps will be posted on
chart paper.
a. Suggest that all of the participants repeat silently to himself/herself, "I can wait
until it is my tumn" while waiting for his/her tumn.
b. Note the importance of watching what the other person is doing to learn from
them how to do the activity.
c. Wait in a friendly way.
i. Stand or sit quietly
ii. Talk in a polite voice

2. The principal researcher will model the behavior for the participants.
a. One participant will be asked to play a game of tic-tac-toe with the researcher and
is instructed to take a long time deciding where to move.










b. The researcher will demonstrate how to sit quietly while waiting and say, "I can
wait until it is my turn" softly and repeatedly until it is the researcher' s turn.

3. The principal researcher will select two nondisabled peers to participate in the first role-
playing.

4. The principal researcher will set up the role play.
a. Describe a situation: One participant is working on the computer and the other
participant wants to work on it as well. The participant who is on the computer
says, "I just got here and I want to work some more."

5. The principal researcher will provide performance feedback. The co-actor is asked to
react first to the role play and tell how he/she felt about asking the other participant to
wait for his/her turn. The observers are asked to comment next about how effective they
thought the participant was in taking turns. The researcher then comments on how well
the behavioral steps were followed and provides social reinforcement (e.g., praise,
approval, and encouragement). Finally, the main actor is asked to make comments
regarding the role play. In this way, the main actor can learn to evaluate the effectiveness
of his/her skill performance in light of the others' viewpoints.

6. The participants will brainstorm opportunities to take turns. These situations/
opportunities will be used in the following role-playing situations.

7. The actor, co-actor, and observer roles are switched and the procedure repeated until each
participant has had the opportunity to demonstrate taking turns.

Activity: Garfield Card Game

The participants are introduced to the card game, Garfield War, and given instructions on how to
play the game. This game is for ages 3 and up and includes 2-4 players. The obj ect of the game is
to win by collecting all of the cards in the deck by playing the highest card.

Chart: Taking Turns

1. Repeat to yourself, "I can wait until it is my turn."
2. Watch what the other person is doing.
3. Wait in a friendly way.

Learning Objectives

1. The participants will learn the steps involved in taking turns.

2. The participants will demonstrate the ability to take turns while playing the card game,
Garfield War.










3. Mastery will be determined if the target participant took his turn during 80% of
opportunities available for him to take a turn.

Session Four

Sharing (Skill 24: Sharing, p. 114): Includes the target participant, the two peer participants, and
the alternate (adapted from Skillstreaming the Elementary School Child, McGinnis & Goldstein,
1997)

1. The principal researcher will define sharing as offering to share your own personal
information and sharing obj ects or items such as pencils, paper, books, games, food and
so on with another participant who may need them or like them.

2. The principal researcher will introduce behavioral steps to follow in sharing. The steps
will be posted on chart paper.

a. Decide if you want to share.
i. Talk about how the other person might feel if the participant does or does
not share.
b. Decide on the person with whom you want to share.
i. If the participant can share only with one person, point out that the other
person may feel left out.
c. Choose a good time and place.
i. Discuss how to choose a good time: when another person needs the
materials or information or would enj oy having them.
d. Offer to share in a friendly and sincere way.
i. Discuss appropriate body language, voice tone, and facial expression.

3. The principal researcher will model the behavior for the participants.
a. The researcher offers to share her cookies with some friends.

4. The principal researcher will select two nondisabled peers to participate in the first role-
playing.

5. The principal researcher will set up the role play.
a. Describe a situation: One participant ran out of paper to do his/her assignment.
The second participant offers to share his/her paper with him/her.

6. The principal researcher will provide performance feedback.
a. The co-actor is asked to react first to the role play and tell how he/she felt about
the offer to share the paper. The observers are asked to comment next about how
effective they thought the participant was in sharing. The researcher then
comments on how well the behavioral steps were followed and provides social
reinforcement (e.g., praise, approval, and encouragement). Finally, the main actor
is asked to make comments regarding the role play. In this way, the main actor









can learn to evaluate the effectiveness of his/her skill performance in light of
others' viewpoints.

7. The participants will brainstorm opportunities to take share. The participants will be
encouraged to come up with opportunities that will include sharing personal information
as well as sharing obj ects, food, etc. These suggested opportunities will be used in the
following role-playing situations.

8. The actor, co-actor, and observer roles are switched and the procedure repeated until each
participant has had the opportunity to demonstrate sharing of personal information and
objects, food, etc.

Activity: Builder, Architect, Parts Department

1. There are three roles: the Architect, the Parts Department, and the Builder. The children
have to work together negotiating their actions and coordinating their roles in order to
build a building/shape with selected Lego@ Building Blocks.

2. The Architect is not allowed to touch any blocks, but he is totally in charge of the design.
The Parts Department must supply the blocks to the Builder, but the blocks must be the
blocks that fit the Architect's needs. Finally, only the Builder is allowed to actually build
with the blocks, however, he must reference the Architect for design and use the Parts
Department for the necessary blocks.

3. Three participants will choose which part they wish to take the first time which will allow
one participant to be the observer. After the building/shape is built, the roles will be
changed and the observer will choose which role he/she would like to play first. The
other participants will change roles and one will become the observer until the
participants have all had the opportunity to play each role.

Chart: Sharing

1. Decide if you want to share.
2. Decide who you want to share with.
3. Choose a good time and place to share.
4. Offer to share in a friendly way.

Learning Objectives

1. The participants will learn the steps involved in sharing of personal information and
objects, food, etc.

2. The participants will demonstrate their ability to communicate with each other and share
the responsibility and materials to build the desired building/shape.









3. Mastery will be determined if the target participant shared information/Lego@ blocks in
80% of the opportunities available for sharing to occur.

For a description of each step and comprehensive delineation of Skillsteaming procedures, see
McGinnis and Goldstein (1997).









APPENDIX J
TARGET BEHAVIORS

Initiation

The target participant's motor or vocal behavior clearly directed to a peer participant that
attempted to elicit a social response. Examples of appropriate initiations included comments
regarding the activity, requests for items or information, and any other behavior directed toward
a peer participant in an attempt to engage him/her in a mutual activity. Nonverbal initiations
included offers to share materials and hand gestures.
An inappropriate initiation included the target participant yelling at a peer participant to
obtain information or an obj ect, calling a peer participant a derogatory name, or laughing at an
inappropriate topic or at an inappropriate time. Pushing the peer participant out of the way or
tapping him/her on their shoulder or arm repeatedly to gain attention was considered an
inappropriate initiation as well.

Examples of an Appropriate Initiation

Mary (initiator) asks Sally for a book. Sally gives Mary a book.
Tom (initiator) says to the group, "Last night we went to McDonald's for dinner." Dan
(respondent) says, "I like McDonald's."
Anna (initiator) hands Susie (respondent) a pencil so she can complete an assignment.

Example of an Inappropriate Initiation

*Mary (initiator) says to Susie who is having difficulty with a math problem, "You are so
stupid! Don't you know anything about addition?"

Response

The target participants' motor or verbal behaviors that acknowledged the peer
participant' s prior initiation within three seconds. Examples of an appropriate response included
accepting the offered item, answering a question, commenting during a conversation, and
shaking the head "yes" or "no" in response to a question.
An inappropriate response included pushing the extended item or hand away, not
answering a question asked, turning away from someone who is talking, preoccupation with one
topic, and being unable to shift to a topic pertinent to the conversation

Examples of an Appropriate Response

Sam (initiator) hands Donna a cookie. Donna (respondent) says, "Thanks for the cookie."
Mary (initiator) gives Sue a doll. Sue (respondent) says, "I like this doll."
Richard (initiator) asks if John wants to go to the park. John (respondent) shakes his head
",yes."










Example of an Inappropriate Response


*Tom (initiator) hands Charlie a baseball. Charlie pushes Tom's hand away and the
baseball falls to the ground as Charlie walks away.

Social Interaction

A social interaction is defined was the target participant' s reciprocal behaviors that
occurred as a result of an initiation-response sequence between the target participant and a peer
participant. Examples of appropriate interactions included taking turns while playing games and
sharing items to complete a task or providing assistance to another.
Inappropriate interactions included those in which the participants yelled at each other
and refused to take turns.

Examples of an Appropriate Interaction

Robert (initiator) asks, "Who will play catch with me?" George (respondent) answers, "I
will."
Alice (initiator) asks Robin, "What do you want to make for lunch?" Robin (respondent)
replies, "Let's make a sandwich."

Example of an Inappropriate Interaction

*Tom and Charlie are playing a game of checkers. Tom (initiator) asks, "Who wants to
move first?" Charlie (respondent) answers, "If I don't move first, I'm not playing!"









APPENDIX K
SOCIAL SKILLS OBSERVATION FORM

















Mmn 6 12 18 24 30 36 42 48 54 60
1 I R SI I R SI I R SI I R SI I R SI I R SI I R SI I R SI I R SI I R SI
PI PR SIP PI PR SIP PI PR SIP PI PR SIP PI PR SIP PI PR SIP PI PR SIP PI PR SIP PI PR SIP PI PR SIP
2 I R SI I R SI I R SI I R SI I R SI I R SI I R SI I R SI I R SI I R SI
PI PR SIP PI PR SIP PI PR SIP PI PR SIP PI PR SIP PI PR SIP PI PR SIP PI PR SIP PI PR SIP PI PR SIP
3 I R SI I R SI I R SI I R SI I R SI I R SI I R SI I R SI I R SI I R SI
PI PR SIP PI PR SIP PI PR SIP PI PR SIP PI PR SIP PI PR SIP PI PR SIP PI PR SIP PI PR SIP PI PR SIP
4 I R SI I R SI I R SI I R SI I R SI I R SI I R SI I R SI I R SI I R SI
PI PR SIP PI PR SIP PI PR SIP PI PR SIP PI PR SIP PI PR SIP PI PR SIP PI PR SIP PI PR SIP PI PR SIP
5 I R SI I R SI I R SI I R SI I R SI I R SI I R SI I R SI I R SI I R SI
PI PR SIP PI PR SIP PI PR SIP PI PR SIP PI PR SIP PI PR SIP PI PR SIP PI PR SIP PI PR SIP PI PR SIP


Date/Time:
Setting:


Inapptrop~riate Behaviors
R SI PIPR SIP




Slash Participants' appropriate behaviors
I = Target Participant's Initiation
R = Target Participant's Response
SI = Target Participant's Initiated Social Interaction
(Adapted from Brown, Odom, and Buysee, 2002)


Percent of Intervals
Aprorate Behaviors
I R I PI PR SIP




Inapptrop~riate Behaviors
I R I PI PR SIP




Circle Participants' inappropriate behaviors
Pl = Peer Initiation
PR = Peer Response
SIP = Peer Initiated Social Interaction


Target Participant:
Observer:


# of Intervals


o Aprorate Behaviors
R SI
















Mon. Tues. Wed. Thurs. Fri.
8:15 sam sam
8:30 Brandon Brandon
8:45
9:00
9:15
9:30
9:45
10:00
10:15
10:30 Jimmy Jimmy
10:45
11:00
11:15 sam sam
11:30
11:45
12:00
12:15 Brandon Brandon
12:30
12:45
1:00 Jimmy Jimmy
1:15
1:30
1:45
2:00
2:15
2:30


APPENDIX L
TARGET STUDENTS' VIDEO TAPING SCHEDULE


Network:


















Code: 1: Never/Seldom 2: Sometimes 3: Always/Often NA: Not Applicable

1. The student spontaneously responded to/played with one peer. 1 2 3 NA
2. The student spontaneously responded to/played with more than.

one peer. 1 2 3 NA
3. Peers sought out the student for social play. 1 2 3 NA

4. The student invited one peer to play (gestural or verbal). 1 2 3 NA
5. The student invited more than one peer to play 1 2 3 NA
6. The student used appropriate social behaviors to begin an
an interaction. 1 2 3 NA

7. The student was persistent at social interactions. 1 2 3 NA
8. The student took turns when playing (when appropriate). 1 2 3 NA
9. The student shared with/gave play materials to peers. 1 2 3 NA
10. The student interacted verbally with one peer. 1 2 3 NA
11. The student interacted verbally with more than one peer. 1 2 3 NA

12. The student observed other children playing. 1 2 3 NA
13. The student imitated other students' actions. 1 2 3 NA

14. The student followed instructions given by other students. 1 2 3 NA
15. The student accepted/played with materials shared/given by
other students. 1 2 3 NA

16. The student appeared to be interested in maintaining her/his
Participation in the activity (does not have to be social). 1 2 3 NA

If yes, which activity?
17. The student appeared to be having fun. 1 2 3 NA
18. Peers interacting with the student appeared to be having fun. 1 2 3 NA
19. The student stayed close to peers when playing (1-2 ft.). 1 2 3 NA


APPENDIX M
SOCIAL SKILLS CHECKLIST

Name: Date:
Observer:










20. The student did not exhibit inappropriate behaviors during
the session.

21. The student did not leave the group during the lesson.
















































(Garrison-Harrell, 1996)


1 2 3NA
1 2 3NA









APPENDIX N
CONSU1VER SATISFACTION SURVEY FORM

The purpose of this questionnaire is to ask your opinion about the prevention program in which
you participated this year with Diane Banner. Your feedback will be helpful in assessing the
usefulness of the procedures, in updating materials, in training other teachers, and in planning for
the future. Please circle the term that best describes you: Parent Teacher

KEY: l= Strongly Disagree 2=Disagree 3 =Neutral 4= Agree 5= Strongly Agree
6=Not Applicable

1. Peer network activities were easily implemented.
Strongly Strongly
Disagree Agree NA
1 2 3 4 5 6

2. Students were able to interact appropriately with the special needs student in their
network.
Strongly Strongly
Disagree Agree NA
1 2 3 4 5 6

3. Students learned to use more social behaviors in their network following practice in
groups.
Strongly Strongly
Disagree Agree NA
1 2 3 4 5 6

4. Students enjoyed the peer network.
Strongly Strongly
Disagree Agree NA
1 2 3 4 5 6

5. The peer network improved learning for the special needs student.
Strongly Strongly
Disagree Agree NA
1 2 3 4 5 6

6. The peer network improved social skills for the special needs student.
Strongly Strongly
Disagree Agree NA
1 2 3 4 5 6

7. The peer network activities assisted the special needs student in getting along better with
his/her peers.
Strongly Strongly
Disagree Agree NA
1 2 3 4 5 6









8. Overall, the special needs student benefited socially and behaviorally from his/her
participation in the peer network program.
Strongly Strongly
Disagree Agree NA
1 2 3 4 5 6

9. Overall, the peers in the class benefited socially and behaviorally by their participation in
the peer network program.
Strongly Strongly
Disagree Agree NA
1 2 3 4 5 6

10. You as a teacher/parent learned from your participation in the program.
Strongly Strongly
Disagree Agree NA
1 2 3 4 5 6
11. You were satisfied with the amount of feedback you received from Diane Banner during


the study.
Strongly
Disagree
1


Strongly
Agree
5


Please describe what you liked about the peer network program.


Please describe what you didn't like or would change about the peer network program.


What advice, revisions would you recommend for the peer network program for the special
needs student next year?


Comments :
















(Garrison-Harrell, 1996)











APPENDIX O
NETWORK SATISFACTION FORM


Name: Date:

1. What did you like about the peer network?

A.

B.

C.


2. What didn't you like about the peer network?

A.

B.

C.




3. What would you do differently the next time?

A.

B.

C.


4. Comments:

A.

B.

C.












(Garrison-Harrell, 1996)









APPENDIX P
SOCIAL VALIDATION RESULTS












Table P-1. Social validation results. A) Social skills checklist: Teacher. B) Social skills checklist: Parent. C) Consumer satisfaction
survey form. D) Friendship rating scale.
A.
Brandon Jimmy Sam
Pre Post Pre Post Pre Post
1. The student spontaneously responded to/played with one peer. 2 2 2 3 3 3
2. The student spontaneously responded to/played with more than one peer. 2 2 2 2 3 3
3. Peers sought out the student for social play. 2 2 2 3 3 3
4. The student invited one peer to play (gestural or verbal). 2 2 2 3 2 2
5. The student invited more than one peer to play 2 3 1 3 2 2
6. The student used appropriate social behaviors to begin an interaction 2 3 2 2 2 3
7. The student was persistent at social interactions. 3 3 1 3 2 2
8. The student took turns when playing (when appropriate). 3 3 2 2 3 2
9. The student shared with/gave play materials to peers. 3 3 2 3 3 3
10. The student interacted verbally with one peer. 2 2 2 3 2 3
0\11. The student interacted verbally with more than one peer. 2 2 1 3 2 3
12. The student observed other children playing. 2 2 2 2 2 2
13. The student imitated other students' actions. 2 2 1 2 1 1
14. The student followed instructions given by other students. 2 2 3 3 3 2
15. The student accepted/played with materials shared/given by other 2 3 2 3 3 3
students .
16. The student appeared to be interested in maintaining her/his participation 2 3 2 3 3 3
in an activity (does not have to be social). Chess Stud. Legs Team Foot- Build.
If yes, which activity? Tag Gov. 9Act. ball Models
17. The student appeared to be having fun. 2 3 2 3 3 3
18. Peers interacting with the student appeared to be having fun. 2 3 2 3 3 3
19. The student stayed close to peers when playing (1-2 ft.). 2 2 2 3 3 3
20. The student did not exhibit inappropriate behaviors during the session. 2 2 2 2 3 3
21. The student did not leave the group during the lesson. 2 2 3 3 3 3
(Garrison-Harrell, 1996)
Code: 1: Never/Seldom 2: Sometimes 3: Always/Often NA: Not Applicable


__











Table P-1. Continued
B.


Brandon
Pre Post
N.A. N.A.
N.A. N.A.
N.A. N.A.
N.A. N.A.
N.A. N.A.
N.A. N.A.
N.A. N.A.
N.A. N.A.
N.A. N.A.
N.A. N.A.
N.A. N.A.
N.A. N.A.
N.A. N.A.
N.A. N.A.
N.A. N.A.
N.A. N.A.


Jimmy
Pre Post
2 3
N.A. N.A.
N.A. N.A.
2 3
N.A. N.A.
2 3
2 3
1 2
1 2
1 2
N.A. N.A.
N.A. N.A.
N.A. N.A.
N.A. N.A.
N.A. N.A.
N.A. N.A.



N.A. 3
N.A. N.A.
1 3
N.A. N.A.
N.A. N.A.


Sam
Pre Post


1. The student spontaneously responded to/played with one peer.
2. The student spontaneously responded to/played with more than one peer.
3. Peers sought out the student for social play.
4. The student invited one peer to play (gestural or verbal).
5. The student invited more than one peer to play
6. The student used appropriate social behaviors to begin an interaction
7. The student was persistent at social interactions.
8. The student took turns when playing (when appropriate).
9. The student shared with/gave play materials to peers.
10. The student interacted verbally with one peer.
11. The student interacted verbally with more than one peer.
12. The student observed other children playing.
13. The student imitated other students' actions.
14. The student followed instructions given by other students.
15. The student accepted/played with materials shared/given by other students.
16. The student appeared to be interested in maintaining her/his participation in
an activity (does not have to be social).
If yes, which activity?
17. The student appeared to be having fun.
18. Peers interacting with the student appeared to be having fun.
19. The student stayed close to peers when playing (1-2 ft.).
20. The student did not exhibit inappropriate behaviors during the session.
21. The student did not leave the group during the lesson.
(Garrison-Harrell, 1996)


N.A.
N.A.
N.A.
N.A.
N.A.


N.A.
N.A.
N.A.
N.A.
N.A.


3 3
2 2
2 2
No Response
No Response


Code: 1: Never/Seldom 2: Sometimes


3: Always/Often NA: Not Applicable





































KEY: l= Strongly Disagree 2=Di sagree 3 =Neutral 4= Agree 5= Strongly Agree 6=Not Applicable


Table P-1. Continued
C.


Brandon
Teach. Par.
5 6
5 6

5 6


Jimmy
Teach. Par.
5 6
5 6

5 6


Sam
Teach.
5
5


1. Peer network activities were easily implemented.
2. Students were able to interact appropriately with the special needs student
In their network.
3. Students learned to use more social behaviors in their network following
practice in groups.
4. Students enjoyed the peer network.
5. The peer network improved learning for the special needs student.
6. The peer network improved social skills for the special needs student.
7. The peer network activities assisted the special needs student in getting
along better with his/her peers.
8. Overall, the special needs student benefited socially and behaviorally from
his/her participation in the peer network program.
9. Overall, the peers in the class benefited socially and behaviorally by their
$ participation in the peer network program.
0010. You as a teacher/parent learned from your participation in the program.
11. You were satisfied with the amount of feedback you received from Diane
Banner during the study.
(Garrison-Harrell, 1996)


4 3


5 5

5 5


5 3

4 6


5 3

5 3










Comments

Please describe what you liked about the peer network program.

Brandon:
Teacher: "Example of positive event. Brandon sometimes gets disoriented or upset if
there is a schedule change or events out of sequence. We had a "Literacy Day Celebration" at
school and the peer network (2 students) automatically assisted Brandon when he became upset."
Parent: "Brandon now feels like he does have a few friends (those in the group) and
wants to invite them to his birthday party!

Jimmy :
Teacher: "I enjoyed the positive results I witnessed in the students."
Parent: No Comments

Sam:
Teacher: "I've seen some progress in Sam's group work functioning."
Parent: No Comments

Please describe what you didn't like or would change about the peer network program.

Brandon:
Teacher: "No suggestions. It was very well done and all participants looked forward to
the activities and program."
Parent: "More meetings or activities would have helped even more and kids really
enjoyed them from all that I have heard!"

Jimmy :
Teacher: N.A.
Parent: No Comments

Sam:
Teacher: No Comments
Parent: "We think the school could have been more involved. It may have benefited Sam
and the teachers more."

What advice, revisions would you recommend for the peer network program for the special
needs student next year?

Brandon:
Teacher: No Comments
Parent: "Maybe if started earlier in the year, then you could have changed the kids in the
group after awhile so he could have developed a relationship with more children also.

Jimmy :
Teacher: "Choose classes wisely as to where to place the students."
Parent: No Comments

Sam:
Teacher: "Maybe have more observable activity times to have a wider range of peers that
could be used."
Parent: No Comments










Comments continued


Brandon:
Teacher: "The mother of Brandon also expressed her satisfaction of the program."
Parent: "Any chance of study continuing next year to follow Brandon to WJH?"

Jimmy :
Teacher: "I feel that the teacher involved in this program needs a strong sense of social
interactions and its importance."
Parent: No Comments
Sam:
Teacher: No Comments
Parent: No Comments










Network satisfaction form
What did you like about the peer network?
Brandon: Sundaes, building contest, everything.
Brandon's Peers: We had fun playing games. The sundaes and Lego@ building. The Lego@ and everything.


Jimmy :
Jimmy's Peers:


I liked to play with them (peers). I liked to eat lunch with them. I liked to say "Hi" to them.
Having ice cream. Playing Lego~s. I liked the ice cream, playing the cards with Garfield, and making
the man with Legos@. I liked to play with the Legos@ and I liked talking and going to the researcher' s
office.

The ice cream, the Legos@, the lunches.
I liked that we got to know each other more than we used to before. I liked that we all got to sit together
at lunch. Having ice cream, playing games, getting to know people more. Spending time with friends.
Being videotaped."


Sam:
Sam's Peers:


What didn't you like about the peer network?
Brandon: Nothing.
Brandon's Peers: I liked everything. Everything was fine.


Jimmy :
Jimmy's Peers:

Sam:
Sam's Peers:


I didn't like the Chicken McNuggets.
Nothing. Nothing. Jimmy saying bad words at the start."

Nothing.
There wasn't really anything I didn't like-it was all fun. That everyone asked me what I was doing.
Sometimes I didn't want to do the camera thing. Having to choose a new topic to talk about every time
pressure.










Network satisfaction form continued


What would you do differently the next time?
Brandon: I'd add in extra activities.
Brandon's Peers: Have Slushies. Play different games. Have Smoothies.
Jimmy: Play with Thomas and his friends and put them on the track.
Jimmy's Peers: Play Chutes and Ladders. Play with the Legos@ more. Eat the ice cream sundaes more.
Sam: Plan the ice cream on Friday.
Sam's Peers: Probably eat more ice cream. Nothing.


Comments :
Brandon:
Brandon's Peers:



Jimmy :
Jimmy's Peers:

Sam:
Sam's Peers:


I loved it all!
I liked coming upstairs with the researcher. The researcher was very nice. We all loved coming up here
so we are all going to miss it.

I liked the games and the ice cream sundaes.
No additional comments.

It was very fun.
It is really fun and I hope to see other students do it too. It' s very fun, I'll be glad to do it next year. Cool
proj ect!










Table P-1. Continued
D.


A Lot
Pre Post


Quite a Bit
Pre Post


Not at All
Pre Post


A Little
Pre Post


Some
Pre Post


Brandon


Jimmy


0 3
0 1

8 10
6 6

0 0
3 4


0 0
2 2

4 3
1 1

1 4
4 3


0 0
0 0

1 1
0 2

3 1
0 1


Brandon 19 16
Classmates 13 11

Jimmy 1 1
Classmates 7 5

Sam 13 11
Classmates 11 5


0 0
4 5

3 2
3 3

6 3
5 6


Sam










Peer nominations questionnaire
Beginning of Study
List three classmates you would like to invite to your birthday party.
Brandon Brandon did not list any
classmates.


End of Study


Peer 1
Peer 2
Alternate
No one listed Brandon

3 Classmates
No net. peers
1 Classmate


Brandon's Classmates

Jimmy

Jimmy's Classmates


No one listed Brandon

3 Classmates
No network peers
1 Classmate


Sam


3 Classmates
No network peers
3 Classmates


3 Classmates
No network peers
2 Classmates


Sam's Classmates


List three classmates that are your good friends.
Brandon


Brandon's Classmates

Jimmy

Jimmy's Classmates

Sam

Sam's Classmates


Brandon did not list any
classmates.

No one listed Brandon

3 Classmates
No network peers
1 Classmate

3 Classmates
No network peers
2 Classmates


Peer 1
Peer 2
Alternate
No one listed Brandon

3 Classmates
No network peers
3 Classmates

3 Classmates
No network peers
1 Classmate










Peer nominations questionnaire continued


Beginning of Study

Brandon did not list any
classmates.

No one listed Brandon

3 Classmates
No network peers
1 Classmate

3 Classmates
No network peers
3 Classmates



Brandon did not list any
classmates.

No one listed Brandon

3 Classmates
No network peers
1 Classmate


End of Study


List three classmates that you like to play with on the playground.
Brandon


Brandon's Classmates

Jimmy

Jimmy's Classmates

Sam

Sam's Classmates

List three classmates that you like to play with.
Brandon


Brandon's Classmates

Jimmy

Jimmy's Classmates


Peer 1
Peer 2
Alternate
No one listed Brandon

3 Classmates
No network peers
2 Classmates

3 Classmates
No network peers
1 Classmate


Peer 1
Peer 2
Alternate
No one listed Brandon

3 Classmates
No network peers
2 Classmates


Sam 3 Classmates
No network peers
Sam's Classmates 4 Classmates


3 Classmates
No net. peers
0 Classmate










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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

Diane Leendertsen Banner was born on August 11, 1950 in Pullman, Washington. She was

one of four children who grew up on a wheat farm in Palouse, Washington graduating from

Palouse High School in 1968. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Education with a maj or emphasis

in physical education from Washington State University in 1973.

She taught general education elementary students in the following years while taking

graduate courses resulting in certification in the area of learning disabilities and a Master of Arts

in the area of Reading from Truman State University in 1983. She has taught a combination of

general education as well as special education students from pre-kindergarten varying

exceptionalities classes through community college course work in reading. These teaching

experiences occurred in Missouri, West Virginia, and Florida. The maj ority of the 17 years of

teaching experience has been in Florida.

Upon receiving an Educational Specialist degree from the University of Florida in 1997 in

the area of school psychology, she has been a school psychologist with the School District of

Clay County in Florida. Diane has been instrumental in implementing new programs in the

district, developing manuals, training district level and school personnel, as well as continuing to

do research with the University of Florida.





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1 UTILIZATION OF A PEER NETWORK STRATEGY TO TEACH SOCIAL SKILLS TO ELEMENTARY AGE CHILDREN WITH AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDER By DIANE LEENDERTSEN BANNER A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLOR IDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF EDUCATION UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2007

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2 2007 Diane Leendertsen Banner

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3 To all who nurtured my intellectual curiosity, academic interests, and sense of scholarship throughout my lifetime, maki ng this milestone possible

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4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I thank my committee co-chairs, Dr. Maureen Conroy and Dr. Vivian Correa, for their support through out my doctoral prog ram and dissertation process. I would also like to thank my family, my son and daughter, and my friends for their many words of encouragement and forbearance. I am fortunate to have them in my life.

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5 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS...............................................................................................................4 LIST OF TABLES................................................................................................................. ..........8 LIST OF FIGURES................................................................................................................ .........9 ABSTRACT....................................................................................................................... ............10 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION..................................................................................................................12 Overview....................................................................................................................... ..........12 Overview of Social Skills Interventions.................................................................................14 Limitations of the Research....................................................................................................16 Implications for Research...................................................................................................... .17 Purpose of the Study........................................................................................................... ....18 Research Question.............................................................................................................. ....19 2 REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE........................................................................................20 Overview....................................................................................................................... ..........20 Social Skill Deficits Associated w ith Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)..............................22 Social and Communication Skills...................................................................................23 Peer Interactions..............................................................................................................24 Overview of Social Skill Interventions...................................................................................27 Overview of Social Skills Interventions for Children with ASD...........................................29 Peer-Mediated Interventions...................................................................................................30 Social Skills Groups and Peer-Inclusive Play with Adult-Mediation.............................31 Peer-Mediation within Social Environments...................................................................36 Peer-Mediation within Learning Formats.......................................................................41 Peer Network Systems in School Environments.............................................................46 Intervention Utilizing Skillstreaming the Elementary School Child...............................51 Strengths and Limitations of Studies Reviewed.....................................................................55 Implications for Research...................................................................................................... .57 Purpose of the Study........................................................................................................... ....59 Research Question.............................................................................................................. ....59 3 METHODS........................................................................................................................ .....78 Participants................................................................................................................... ..........78 Target Participants...........................................................................................................78 Nondisabled Peer Participants.........................................................................................80 Settings....................................................................................................................... ............83

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6 Materials...................................................................................................................... ...........85 Measurement Procedures........................................................................................................86 Independent Variable.......................................................................................................86 Dependent Variables.......................................................................................................93 Data Collection Procedures.............................................................................................95 Interobserver Agreement.................................................................................................95 Design......................................................................................................................... ............96 Experimental Procedures........................................................................................................97 Treatment Integrity............................................................................................................ .....99 Social Validity................................................................................................................ ........99 4 RESULTS........................................................................................................................ .....103 Interobserver Agreement......................................................................................................104 Experimental Findings..........................................................................................................104 Generalization Setting 1................................................................................................105 Generalization Setting 2................................................................................................108 Summary........................................................................................................................111 Treatment Integrity............................................................................................................ ...111 Mastery of Training Activities..............................................................................................112 Coaching....................................................................................................................... ........113 Social Validation.............................................................................................................. ....114 Social Skills Checklist...................................................................................................115 Consumer Satisfaction Survey Form.............................................................................117 Network Satisfaction Form............................................................................................118 Friendship Rating Scale and Peer Nominations Questionnaire.....................................119 Summary........................................................................................................................ .......121 5 DISCUSSION..................................................................................................................... ..127 Limitations.................................................................................................................... ........128 Discussion of Findings.........................................................................................................134 Future Research Directions...................................................................................................136 Implication fo r Practice....................................................................................................... .139 Summary........................................................................................................................ .......139 APPENDIX A TARGET STUDENT INFORMED ASSENT.....................................................................141 B PARENTAL INFORMED CONSENT TARGET STUDENT............................................143 C TEACHER INFORMED CONSENT...................................................................................145 D FRIENDSHIP RATING SCALE.........................................................................................147 E PEER NOMINATIONS QUESTIONNAIRE......................................................................148

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7 F PEER INFORMED ASSENT...............................................................................................149 G PARENTAL INFORMED CO NSENT PEER NETWORK................................................151 H TREATMENT INTEGRITY................................................................................................153 I NETWORK TRAINING......................................................................................................155 J TARGET BEHAVIORS.......................................................................................................165 K SOCIAL SKILLS OBSERVATION FORM........................................................................167 L TARGET STUDENTS VIDEO TAPING SCHEDULE.....................................................169 M SOCIAL SKILLS CHECKLIST..........................................................................................170 N CONSUMER SATISFACTION SURVEY FORM.............................................................172 O NETWORK SATISFACTION FORM.................................................................................174 P SOCIAL VALIDATION RESULTS....................................................................................175 LIST OF REFERENCES.............................................................................................................186 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH.......................................................................................................195

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8 LIST OF TABLES Table page 2-1 Autism spectrum disorder............................................................................................ .60 2-2 Peer-mediated interventions......................................................................................... 61 3-1 Target participants................................................................................................. .....101 3-2 Nondisabled peer participants.................................................................................... 102 4-1 Appropriate behavior s mean percent of intervals....................................................... 125 4-2 Inappropriate behaviors mean percent of intervals.................................................... 126 4-3 Mastery of activity................................................................................................. .....126 P-1 Social validation results........................................................................................... ..176

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9 LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 4-1 Generalization setting 1...................................................................................................123 4-2 Generalization setting 2...................................................................................................124

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10 Abstract of Dissertation Pres ented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Education UTILIZATION OF A PEER NETWORK STRATEGY TO TEACH SOCIAL SKILLS TO ELEMENTARY AGE CHILDREN WITH AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDER By Diane Leendertsen Banner August 2007 Chair: Maureen A. Conroy Cochair: Vivian I. Correa Major: Special Education The purpose of this investigati on was to study the effects of a peer network social skills intervention. The peer network training was im plemented with students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) who are identified as high func tioning and a network of their nondisabled peers. Three elementary school age students who attend ed Clay County Public Schools in Florida and who were diagnosed with ASD were selected to participate in the st udy. The students with ASD each had overall intellectual capa bilities within the average range and deficits in social skills. The network peers were two nondisa bled peers and an alternate p eer who were classmates of each of the students with ASD. These students were chosen to be network peers based on sociometric ratings provided by their classmat es and by the recommendation of their teachers endorsing that they were socia lly competent and good models for the students with ASD. The network social skills training included four se ssions. The first was an introductory training session to introduce the nondisabled peers to th e characteristics of students with ASD by focusing on their deficits in so cial skills. The following thr ee training sessions included the student with ASD and his network of peers. Du ring these sessions, soci al interactions as observed in conversation, taking turns, and sharing were modeled and practiced following

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11 adapted lessons and procedures stated in Skil lstreaming the Elementary School Child by Ellen McGinnis and Arnold Goldstein. To measure the effects of the inte rvention, social interaction data were compared in two untrained settings (e .g., before school, recess, lunch). The initiations, responses, and social interactions of the st udents with ASD were recorded during each generalization setting and a single-subject, multiprobe multiple baseline design across participants was used to determ ine the effectiveness of the intervention. Re sults of the social validity measures completed by teachers and parent s estimated varied levels of improved social functioning in the students with ASD. Due to a la ck of procedural integrity while implementing the study, the results lack internal validity; therefore, conclusions cannot be made concerning the findings. While increases in social interactions were demonstrated, it is unclear what caused the increases to occur.

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12 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Overview A high quality of life for children presupposes numerous positive social interactions with people in their environment. Imagining a functi onal, meaningful activity that does not contain some degree of social interac tion whether with a peer, family member, community member, or teacher is difficult (Kennedy & Shukla, 1995). A lthough each environment holds potential for interacting socially and building friendships, the potential may not always be realized. Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) have a neur ological disorder that impairs their social interaction skills and while they can be seen amid st the fabric of society, they may not always be woven into the fabric itself (Goldstein, 2002, p.1). The term Autism Spectrum Disorder encompasses a wide spectrum of neurodevelopmental disorders that manifest in ma rkedly abnormal or impair ed reciprocal social interaction skills, communication skills, and a restri cted repertoire of repetitive or stereotyped behaviors, interests, or activiti es in comparison to their nondisa bled peers as stated in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manua l of Mental Disorders-Fourth EditionText Revision(DSM-IVTR; American Psychiatric Association, 2000). The core impairments associated with ASD occur at differing levels of severity. Children toward the lower end of the spectrum may have an associated diagnosis of mental retardation that can range from mild to profound and have significant deficits in the three core areas of social interactio ns, communication, and restricted repetitive and stereotyped patte rns of behavior. Their impairme nt in communication is marked and affects both verbal and nonverbal skills. Child ren toward the upper end of the spectrum have average or higher intellectual abilities and exhibi t fewer and milder symptoms in the three core areas (Mayes & Calhoun, 2003). Children toward the upper end of the c ontinuum identified as

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13 having Asperger syndrome can be distinguished from those with Au tistic Disorder by the lack of language, language delay, or de viance in early language development. However, they demonstrate atypical language patterns once it is acquired (American Psychiatric Association, 2000). Although children with ASD who are high functioning ma y have normal vocabulary and syntax, they have difficulty w ith reciprocal conversations (M ayes & Calhoun, 2003), engage in one-sided monologues about their topic of inte rest (Attwood, 2003; Volkmar & Klin, 2000), tend to interpret words and meanings literally, and have difficulty using and interpreting body language (Shaked & Yirmiya, 2003). Children with ASD who are high functioning appear to be socially awkward and while they are able to inter act with others, they lack the social skills to do so appropriately (Mayes & Calhoun, 2003). Children with ASD who are high functioning tend to interact better with familiar adults while their interactions with peers remain signi ficantly impaired (Lord & Magill, 1989). They do not play well with similarly aged peers who ar e more socially demanding (Shaked & Yirmiya, 2003) and do not appear able to acquire the appropriate social skills easily th rough incidental learning (Myles & Simpson, 1998). Adults, on th e other hand, may continuously adapt and structure the childrens behavior and their environment in order to engage them in interactions. Although these social inte ractions may lead to the developm ent of reasonably good relationships, the interactions remain uns ophisticated (Roeyers, 1995). Deficits in social skills have been identified as being at the heart of the disorder and have far-reaching consequences in all areas of de velopment and adaptation (Kennedy & Shukla, 1995; Shaked & Yirmiya, 2003). Impairments in social skills are a principal pr edictor of poor peer relations and future social competence problems. The impairment also may place a child at-risk for emotional distress from marginalization or victimization by th eir peers (Attwood, 2003;

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14 Tantam, 2003). Thus, improved social function, especi ally with peers, is considered one of the most important intervention outcomes for ch ildren with ASD (Rogers, 2000; Wing, 1997). Researchers have investigated social skill development and interventions for nondisabled children (see Rubin & Coplan, 1992 for a review), for preschool children with developmental disabilities (see Brown & Conroy, 2002 for a re view), and for school age children with developmental disabilities (see Kamps, Kr avits, & Ross, 2002 for a review). However, researchers are just beginning to investigate social skills for school age children who are functioning at the upper end of the autism spectrum (see Shaked & Yirmiya, 2003 for a review). The following section provides an overview of soci al skills interventions. The limitations of the research, implications for future research, a nd the purpose of the pres ent study will then be discussed. Overview of Social Skills Interventions Interventions designed to increa se social interactions of ch ildren experiencing difficulty in social skills can be divided into adult-mediated and peer-m ediated approaches (Kennedy & Shukla, 1995; Laushey & Heflin, 2000). In adultmediated interventions an adult, often a teacher, directly prompts and reinforces the appr opriate social interaction of the target child (Odom & Strain, 1986). While these in terventions effectively increase d the social interactions of children with disabilities (McEvoy, Odom, & McC onnell, 1992), the following limitations were noted (1) social interactions de veloped with adults may not ge neralize to peer interactions without specific peer training (Rogers, 2000), (2) research conducted in naturally occurring contexts for children is somewhat rare (Sim pson, Myles, Sasso, & Kamps, 1997), (3) children with disabilities tend to devel op a reliance on the adults prom pts and reinforcement (Odom & Strain, 1986), (4) adult praise often disrupts ongo ing interactions with peers (Odom & Strain, 1986), and (5) extensive adult prompts and traini ng may be required to encourage nondisabled

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15 peers to continue to engage the target student with social initiations (Odom, Hoyson, Jamieson, & Strain, 1985). A growing body of research underscores the po tential effectivene ss of peer-mediated interventions (see Kamps, Kravits et al., 2002 for a review). In these in terventions, socially competent, nondisabled peers who usually are si milarly aged are employed to solicit social interactions with children who ha ve disabilities. These social in teractions are child-initiated and take place within naturally occurring social contexts (Rogers, 2000). Considerable research indicates that peer-mediated methods can be eff ective and efficient ways to increase social competence in children with disabilities (s ee Brown & Conroy, 2002; Kamps, Kravits et al., 2002; Shaked & Yirmiya, 2003 for reviews). Resear chers and interventionists increasingly are aware of the importance of incr easing social competence, teachi ng social skills, supporting the development of relationships with others, and bu ilding and maintaining social networks (Haring, 1992). Peer-mediation research that includes students w ith ASD generally falls within one of four categories. The first category incl udes social skills groups and p eer-inclusive play with adultmediation (Carr & Darcy, 1990; Gonzalez-Lope z & Kamps, 1997; Kamps, Leonard, Vernon, Dugan, & Delquadri, 1992; Pierce & Schrei bman, 1995, 1997; Strain, Kerr, & Ragland, 1979). The second category includes peer-mediation within social environments such as playgroups, recess, and lunch (Laushey & Heflin, 2000; P eck, Sasso, & Jolivette, 1997; Roeyers, 1995; Shafer, Egel, & Neef, 1984). The third category in cludes peer-mediation w ithin learning formats such as peer tutoring and cooperative learning groups (Dugan, Kamps, & Leonard, 1995; Kamps, Barbetta, Leonard, & Delquadri, 1994; Kamp s, Leonard, Potucek, & Garrison-Harrell, 1995; Kamps, Royer et al., 2002). The fourth category includes peer network systems within the school

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16 environment such as transitions, lunch, game ti me, and work time (Garrison-Harrell, Kamps, & Kravits, 1997; Haring & Breen, 1992; Kamps, Potucek, Lopez, Kravits, & Kemmerer, 1997). Limitations of the previously not ed studies are discussed below. There is a paucity of empirical research available investigating the efficacy of social skills interventions for students within the autism spect rum. The results of a study that utilized Skillstreaming (McGinnis & Goldstein, 1997) less ons and strategies with students with Aspergers disorder in an intensive summer pr ogram, found improved social skills as rated by parents and staff members. Limitations and thre ats to internal validit y, however, were also reported that may limit generaliza tion of the findings. An additional limitation of the study was that nondisabled peers did not appear to particip ate in the study also limiting the generalization of the findings to more typical settings. Limitations of the Research A review of the peer-mediated so cial skills research with students with ASD indicated that most of the interventions focused upon student s with ASD who were low functioning. While some of the studies included students with ASD who were high functioning, the strategies employed in most studies may have been designed more to address the n eeds of students with ASD who were low functioning. Additionally, ma ny studies were conducted in noninclusive educational settings that do not reflect the social demands placed on students with ASD who are high functioning and placed in inclusive educa tional settings with nondisabled peers. Several limitations of the studies include the following: (1) opportunities for the target students to practice skills learned in natu rally occurring interactions are limited, indicating the need for restructuring the groups to provi de opportunities for more types of social behaviors to be exhibited (Dugan et al., 1995; Gonzalez-Lopez & Kamps, 1997), (2) because of the dyad structure of the intervention, mu ltiple peer interactions may ha ve been limited (Gonzalez-Lopez

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17 & Kamps, 1997), (3) the quality of the interactions was not studied (Kamps et al., 1992; Kamps, Barbetta et al., 1994), (4) disrupt ive behavior displayed by nondisabled peers may have limited the acquisition of appropriate behaviors by the target students (Shafer et al., 1984), (5) although scripts utilized in some studies increased immediate soci al interactions, they may have restricted generalized social behaviors (Kamps et al., 1997 ), and (6) the social skills learned did not generalize to unstructured natu ral settings with untrained peers (Dugan et al., 1995; GarrisonHarrell et al., 1997; Kamps et al., 1992; Kamps, Barbetta et al., 1994; Kamps et al., 1997; Kamps, Royer et al., 2002; Peck et al., 1997; Roeyers, 1995). The implication of these limitations for future research will now be discussed. Implications for Research Many of the studies reviewed were conducted largely with students with ASD who were low functioning. While many limitations of thes e studies were reported, it is unclear which limitations may apply directly to students with ASD who are high functioning. Therefore, future research needs to focus on students with ASD wh o are high functioning to develop interventions designed to increase their social interactions with nondisabled p eers in educational settings. The research reviewed indicated the importa nce of using multiple responses, multiple objects, multiple settings, and multiple peer traine rs to enhance the generalization of the skills learned (Carr & Darcy, 1990; Laushey & Hefli n, 2000; Pierce & Schrei bman, 1997). In addition, the peers involved in the studies reviewed we re able to learn intervention strategies and implement them effectively with minimal adult s upervision, reinforcement, or structure (Carr & Darcy, 1990; Garrison-Harrell et al., 1997; Haring & Breen, 1992; Kamps et al., 1997; Pierce & Schreibman, 1995). The effectiveness of a networ k of trained peers who are able to mediate interventions for increasing social interactions with target students who are low functioning has been demonstrated (Garrison-Harrell et al ., 1997; Haring & Breen, 1992; Kamps et al., 1997).

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18 Enlisting groups of peers to facilitate natural in teractions with target students may result in treatment generalization and higher levels of sa tisfaction due to increas ed group support (Haring & Breen, 1992). Future research is needed to address the effect s of a social skills intervention on the social interactions between a trai ned network of peers and st udents with ASD who are high functioning. This research needs to be evaluated in naturally occurring untrained settings in schools that may not have an enriched social skil ls focus. In addition, future research may wish to investigate the effectiveness of a curriculum that utilizes didactic sk ills instruction, modeling, role-playing, and feedback as components of a social skills intervention (e.g., Skillstreaming the Elementary School Child by McGinnis & Goldstei n, 1997) implemented with students with ASD who are high functioning and a network of their nondisabled peers. Careful consideration of the foregoing limitations and implications for future research led to the development of the current study, the purpose of which is given below. Purpose of the Study The purpose of this study was to replicate Garrison-Harrells study (1996) and investigate the effects of a peer network social skills inte rvention implemented sole ly with students with ASD who are high functioning and their nondisabled peers. This intervention investigated the effectiveness of the procedures and adapte d lessons from the social skills program, Skillstreaming the Elementary School Child (McGinnis & Goldstein, 1997) on the social interactions of students with ASD who are high functioning. The st udy was designed to facilitate natural interactions between the students with ASD and their peers to investigate generalization of social interactions to untrained settings.

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19 Research Question The study was designed to answer the following question: What are the effects of a peer network intervention implemented across multiple se ttings on the social skills of students with ASD who are high functioning, utiliz ing procedures and adapted lessons from the social skills program, Skillstreaming the Elementary Sc hool Child (McGinnis & Goldstein, 1997)?

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20 CHAPTER 2 REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE Overview The purpose of this chapter is to provide (1 ) an overview of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), (2) a description of social skills deficits in children wi th ASD, (3) an overview of the social skills intervention literature pertaini ng to children with di sabilities, and (4) a comprehensive review of peer-mediated social skills interventions for children with ASD including research in the area of peer networki ng. Since the late 1970s, the definition of autism has been refined and the concept has been extend ed to that of a spectrum disorder (Prior, 2003; Wing & Gould, 1979). The terms Autism Spect rum Disorder (ASD) and Pervasive Developmental Disorders (PDDs) are used syno nymously to refer to a wide spectrum of neurodevelopmental disorders th at have three core features (Lord & Risi, 2000; Wetherby & Prizant, 2000). They include (1) the presence of markedly abnormal or impaired development in reciprocal social interaction skills, (2) a bnormal/impaired communication skills, and (3) a restricted repertoire of repeti tive or stereotyped behaviors, in terests, or activities that are distinctly deviant relative to the students developmental level or mental age (American Psychiatric Association, 2000). According to data provided in 2000 by the DSM-IV-TR (American Psychiatric Association, 2000), the median rate of ASD in epidemiologi cal studies was 5 cases per 10,000 with reported rates ra nging from 2 to 20 cases per 10,000 children. The DSM-IV-TR noted that whether the higher reported rang es reflected differences in methodology or an increased frequency of the condition was unclear. Wing (2000) believes that some of the rise in reported prevalence rates of ASD may be a ttributed to the fact that the earliest studies used Kanners

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21 original criteria where as later studies used othe r criteria that are much wider. However, both the earlier and later studies refer to autism as if all the criteria were the same. Characteristics of ASD The core impairments of ASD can occur at differing levels of severity. Even among children with deficits in all three areas, the symptoms can vary significantly in the degree to which they are aff ected by behaviors associat ed with the disorder (Lord & Risi, 2000; Miller & Ozonoff, 2000; Wing, 2000). See Table 2-1 for a description of the different levels of severity of ASD. As IQ incr eases, children with ASD have fewer and milder symptoms (Mayes & Calhoun, 2003). Children iden tified as having high functioning autism or Asperger syndrome are considered to be at th e high end of the spectrum and may have average or above-average intelligence (Shaked & Yirm iya, 2003). The DSM-IV-TR (2000) states that there are no clinically significan t delays or deviance in language acquisition in children with Asperger syndrome as are observed in childr en with Autistic Disorder; however, they do demonstrate atypical language patterns once acquired. Children at the severe end of the autism con tinuum may be socially avoidant and resist contact with others while childre n at the high end of the spectrum may be socially awkward, able to interact with others but lack the social skil ls to do so appropriatel y and fluently (Mayes & Calhoun, 2003). According to Mayes and Calhoun, the speech of children at the high end of the continuum may be well developed in terms of sentence length, syntax, and vocabulary; however, these children may have difficulty with reciprocal conversational sp eech and their speech may be repetitive and idiosyncratic. In contrast, children at the lower end of the spectrum may lack speech altogether or communicate only when they need something. Restricted interests and obsessi ve preoccupations also are pres ent at both the high and low ends of the continuum; however, th ese interests also may manifest differently according to the

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22 childs level of intelligence (Mayes & Calhoun, 2003). Thus, a wide range of social and communicative skill levels as well as restricted repetitive and st ereotyped patterns of behavior interests, and activities may be evident in child ren with ASD. While each of these areas is interrelated, a deficit in social skills has widesp read effects on the development of children with ASD. Social Skill Deficits Associated with ASD This section addresses issues associated with impairments of children with ASD as reflected in their social skills, peer-interactions and social competency within an educational environment. While children diagnosed with ASD comprise a heterogeneous group who may reflect more differences than similarities (L aushey & Heflin, 2000), a pervasive deficit in socialization commonly is consid ered the single most defining feature of ASD (Rutter, 1978). Social impairments are at the heart of ASD and have far-reaching conseque nces in all areas of development and adaptation (Shaked & Yirmiya, 2003). Successful social interactions provide both the context and means for the acquisition and elaboration of essential deve lopmental abilities such as social, language, and cognitive competencies (Vygotsky, 1978). Children who fail to develop successful soci al behaviors are atrisk for behavioral and social maladjustment later in life (see Brown, Odom, & Conroy, 2001 for a review) and also may experi ence adverse emotional effect s through marginalization or victimization by their peers including teas ing and physical bullying (Attwood, 2003; Green, Gilchrist, Di Burton, & Cox, 2000; Tantam, 2003) Thus, improved social function has been regarded as one of the most important inte rvention outcomes for child ren with ASD (Kamps, Barbetta, Leonard, & Delquadri, 1994; Rogers 2000; Wing, 1997). This section reviewed the importance of successful social interactions fo r appropriate development and emotional well-

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23 being for children with ASD. The following sect ion reviews the interrela tedness of social and communications skills as they relate to th e social competence of children with ASD. Social and Communication Skills The interrelatedness of social skills and comm unication is increasing ly being recognized (Kaczmarek, 2002), with language considered a prim ary mediator of social interaction and an inherent aspect of social development (Golds tein & Kaczmarek, 1992). A major part of social interaction relies on a participan ts ability to communicate thoughts, feelings, ideas, and desires (Shaked & Yirmiya, 2003), grasp idiomatic expr essions, sarcasm, teasing comments, and lies (Tager-Flusberg, 2003), and understand the unwritte n rules of communication and social conduct (Barnhill, 2001). The term social competence summarizes th e quality of communica tion, interaction, and appropriate engagement children have with others in real-life soci al environments (Kamps et al., 2002). The two features used most frequently to define social competence are effectiveness in influencing a peers social inte ractions and the appr opriateness of the behavior for the given context (Guralnick, 1992). Charac teristics frequently observed in children with ASD who are identified as high functioning affect their social competence. These include impairment in their relationships with peers, difficu lty participating in reciprocal conversations and using nonverbal communication cues within social exchanges, impaired empathy, lack of joint attention, difficulty understanding others t houghts, and a conseque nt inability to predict others behavior and respond appropriately (see Shaked & Yirmiya, 2003 for review). The conversational style of children with ASD who are high functioning frequently is described as being egocentric because of one-s ided, unrelenting monologues about their topic of interest (Volkmar & K lin, 2000). They do not appear able to recognize whether the topic they want to discuss is appropriate to the context nor are th ey able to respond to the subtle signals of

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24 anothers boredom (Attwood, 2003). In conjunction w ith a tendency for these children to be pedantic and desire completeness, they often provide far more information on the topic than is necessary or appropriate. Once a topic is raised in the conversati on, all relevant information on it must be explained and described (Attwood, 2003). In addition, children with ASD who are hi gh functioning often use inappropriate body language, tend to prefer conversations about facts and information thereby avoiding conversations about social-emotional material, and te nd to be literal in both their interpretation as well as use of language (see Shaked & Yirmiya, 2003 for review). Despite intact language skills, children with ASD who are high functioning have impaired comm unication skills that adversely affect their social interactions with others, especially with their peers (S haked & Yirmiya, 2003; Tager-Flusberg, 2003). This section reviewed the in terrelatedness of soci al skills, quality of communication, and understanding of the social cues of language, and how deficits in these areas impact the social competence of children with ASD who are hi gh functioning. The following section addresses how deficits in these areas affect their abi lity to relate to their same aged peers. Peer Interactions Due to their deficits in so cial understanding and communi cation, children with ASD who are high functioning tend to be aware that they are different and not al ways accepted by others, leading to distress for them (Loveland & Tuna li-Kotoski, 1997). While children with ASD may desire social contact, they may have marked problems in developing friendships and relating to similarly aged peers (Carter, Davis, K lin, & Volkmar, 2005). The weak reciprocal communication skills and continuing lack of so cial skills of children with ASD who are high functioning inhibit the development of interper sonal relationships. This is the most obvious during interactions with peers (Roeyers 1995;Tager-Flusberg, 2003) and affects the

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25 development of friendships with nondisabled peer classmates (Goldstein, Kaczmarek, Pennington, & Shafer, 1992). Since children with ASD who are high functioning often have intelligence within the normal range their social skills may be e xpected to be at near-normal levels as well (Kamps et al., 1992). However, their lack of appropria te social skills has significant consequences for soci al interactions (Shaked & Yi rmiya, 2003). While adult-child interactions improve with age for children diagnosed with ASD who are high functioning, especially interactions with fam iliar adults such as caregivers and teachers, interactions with age peers remain significantly impaired (Lord & Ma gill, 1989). Growing experience and familiarity with adults who continuously adap t and structure children's behavior s in order to engage them in interactions may lead to the development of reasonably good yet unsophis ticated relationships (Roeyers, 1995). Children with ASD also appear able to inte ract better with younger children who are less socially demanding than their peers as is seen in the following description (Tantam, 2000). Children with ASD who are high functioning freque ntly do not seem to know how to play with their same aged peers. They may seem unmotivated to join in play, prefer to be by themselves or play with much younger or older children. They ofte n are not interested in the same activities as other children and are not inclined to explain what they are doing in a way that would enable others to join them (see Shaked & Yirmiya, 2003 for review). Children with ASD who are high functioning find it difficult to form and sustain close relationships and friendships with others (Green, et al., 2000) and thus, must be taught how to interact, not just act, appropriately with their peers (Kamps, 1997). Although contact with peers is necessary for social skills development (Strain, Odom, & McConnell, 1984), children with ASD who are high functioning tend not to ac quire social skills

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26 through incidental learning (Myles & Simpson, 1998) and often need augmentation in addition to typical learning environments to establish releva nt social interaction sk ills (Kennedy & Shukla, 1995; Myles & Simpson, 2001). While younger child ren with ASD who are high functioning are sometimes indifferent to isolation and content to play by themselves, older children usually become increasingly aware of and are frustrated by their isolation (Wing, 1997). While some of these children continue to cope with this isolatio n by taking refuge in thei r world of idiosyncratic interests, routines, and preo ccupations, others desire clos eness (Shaked & Yirmiya, 2003). Children with ASD who are high functioning are awar e of being socially rejected, an awareness that often leads to depressi on especially with age (Shaked & Yirmiya, 2003;Tantam, 2000, Wing, 1997). Due to children with ASD who are high func tioning living in a confusing social world, anxiety and major depression are more common for them than in the general population of their peers (Kim, Szatmari, Bryson, Streiner, & Wilson, 2000). Their lack of confidence and disposition to anxiety may affect childrens social interactions from an early age. Resulting shyness or timidity may affect th eir ability to interact successfully with their peers as well as inhibit them from asking questions in class, concentrating on instruction, and attending school (Tantam, 2003). Thus, high functioning children with ASD exhibit impairment in social skills that affect their ability to cope with thei r social world, especially interp ersonal relationships with their peers. Since children with ASD do not appear ab le to acquire social skills easily through incidental learning and display associated difficulty managing emotionally and anxiety laden social situations, they require additional as sistance and support from individuals in their

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27 immediate environment. The following section pr ovides an overview of the social skills intervention literature. Overview of Social Skill Interventions This section provides a brief overview of the literature on interventions designed to increase the social interactions of all children w ho demonstrate delays and deficits. Strategies for promoting social competence typica lly are divided into two broad categories: adult-mediated and peer-mediated approaches (Kennedy & Shukla, 1995; Laushey & Hef lin, 2000; McEvoy, Odom, & McConnell, 1992). In adult-mediated social intervention approaches an adult, often a teacher, prompts and reinforces the appropriate social in teraction of the target child (Odom & Strain, 1986). Typically, an adult uses a spec ific set of verbal statements a nd physical cues or gestures to prompt a child to use a targeted social initiation, such as sharing or assisting, or to respond to an initiation by a peer. The resulting in teraction is praised by the adult e ither directly in the form of verbal praise or through tangible rewards (McE voy et al., 1992). Adult-mediated interventions have been effective in prompting and rein forcing the ongoing social exchanges of a dyad consisting of a target child and his/he r nondisabled peer (Strain & Timm, 1974). While adult-mediated interventions have proven to be an effective strategy for increasing the social interaction skills of children with disab ilities (McEvoy et al., 1992) and with children with ASD (Kennedy & Shukla, 1995), they are not without their drawbacks. One criticism of many adult-mediated interventions is that child ren may develop a reliance on adult prompts, reinforcements, or both for an interaction to o ccur and that adult praise often disrupts ongoing interaction regardless of whether it is verbal or in the form of an alte rnate reinforcer (Odom & Strain, 1986). In addition, the use of adult prom pts alone may cause a ch ild with ASD to focus exclusively on the adult, there by failing to attend to and lear n from peers (Carr & Darcy, 1990). Adult-mediated approaches also have been critic ized for not being grounded in natural contexts

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28 and not using naturally occurring events to re inforce and encourage the reoccurrence of the desired behavior (Simpson et al., 1997). In add ition, adult-mediated experiences often have not generalized to increased peer interactions without specific p eer training (Rogers, 2000). While strategies to fade teacher prompts and reinforc ers were effective, attention became focused on peer-mediated behaviors as a more effective me thod for promoting and maintenance of social skills in naturalistic contex ts (Kennedy & Shukla, 1995; Roge rs, 2000; Sainato, Goldstein, & Strain, 1992). Peer-mediated interventions employ nondisabled, socially competent, similarly age peers who carefully solicit initiations, responses, and continuations of appropr iate social behaviors (Kennedy & Shukla, 1995). The interactions are child-initiated and occu r within preselected natural social contexts (Peck et al., 1997; Roge rs, 2000). In this appro ach, nondisabled peers are taught to initiate and repeat be haviors designed to organize play (e.g., sharing, helping, and praise) and to initiate and maintain communicat ion that fosters interaction (e.g., attending to, commenting on, and acknowledging the behavior of the other peer) (Shaked & Yirmiya, 2003). Considerable research supports peer-mediated methods as effective and efficient ways to increase social competence in children with disabilities (see Brown & Conroy, 2002; Kamps et al., 2002; and Shaked & Yirmiya, 2003 for reviews) Initially, peer-media ted strategies were developed for preschool children in which nondisabl ed peers were trained by adults to initiate social interactions with children with ASD, prom pt these children to respond to them, and then reinforce their social responding (Goldstein et al., 1992; Strain & Odom, 1986). These peermediated strategies were found to be effective in increasing social interact ions and to facilitate the generalization and maintenance of social behavior (Odom, Mc Connell, & McEvoy, 1992). However, a concern that extensive adult prompts and peer training were required to enable the

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29 peers without disabilities to continue to engage in social initiation behaviors was raised (Odom et al., 1985). This concern prompted the developmen t of strategies to fade adult prompts and reinforcement for children to socially inter act with others (Odom, Chandler, Ostrosky, McConnell, & Reaney, 1992). Since many of these intervention stra tegies were implemented in relatively controlled circumstances by either researchers or well-trained school personnel supported by researchers, the ability of these interventions and subsequent effects to be generalized to a typical school environm ent may be suspect (Brown & Conroy, 2002). This section provided a brief descripti on of adult-mediated and peer-mediated interventions that has led to the current interest in social skills interventions. These interventions were designed to facilitate the development of social skills in children with varying levels of disabilities to enable them to in teract more successfully with othe rs in their naturally occurring environments. The following section describes in terventions that focus specifically on peermediated social skills interventions that have been implemented with preschool through junior high students with ASD as participants. Overview of Social Skills Interventions for Children with ASD This section provides a critical review of the current literature in the area of social skills research conducted with children with ASD. System atic searches of the relevant literature were conducted using the ERIC, PsycINFO, ECO. Ar ticleFirst, and WorldCat databases. The keywords autism, Asperger syndrome, autism spectrum disorder, social skills interventions, peer-med iated interventions, s ocial interaction, peer relationship, social development, social competence, interpersonal competence, and peer teaching were used in different combinations to conduct the search. Names of known research ers who specialized in this area as well as archival searches were included. The search was limited to research conducted from 1975 to present. The search reve aled 19 studies that matched the following

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30 criteria: (1) at least one of the participants in the study was identified as having ASD, autism, or PDD; (2) the participants or their peers were in preschool and school ag ed programs; and (3) a peer-mediated intervention was implemented. In addition, a review of the curr ent literature in the area of so cial skills research using the Skillstreaming the Elementary School Child (McGinnis & Goldstein, 1997) intervention with children with ASD was conducted. Systematic search es of the relevant literature were conducted using the previously described parameters in addition to the terms Skillstreaming the Elementary School Child and cognitive-behavioral social skills training. The search revealed one study that met the following criteria: (1) at le ast one of the particip ants in the study was identified as having ASD, autism, Asperger syndro me, or PDD; (2) the part icipants or their peers were in preschool or school aged programs; a nd (3) a social skills intervention was implemented that used Skillstreaming the Elementary School Child (McGinnis & Goldstein, 1997). The remainder of the chapter will review in more detail the results of the study reflecting peermediated interventions and the intervention util izing Skillstreaming the Elementary School Child (McGinnis & Goldstein, 1997) in cluding its strengths, limitations and implications for future research. Peer-Mediated Interventions Peer-mediated interventions generally fa ll within one of f our categories social skills groups and peer-inclu sive play with adult mediation; peer-mediation within social environments; peer-mediation within learning formats; peer network systems in school environm ents (Kamps, Kravits et al., 2002). This section summarizes the studies that fall wi thin each of these four categories. Table 2-2 displays the characteristics of the participants, setting, target behavior, measurement methods,

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31 experimental design, social intervention implemente d, and results of each of the nineteen studies reviewed. Nine of the 19 studies reviewed included inte lligence scores. A combination of Full Scale, Nonverbal, and Verbal scores were reported from a variety of in tellectual measures (e.g., earlier and later editions of the Stanford Binet, Wechsl er Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence, Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children, a nd the Leiter Internationa l Performance Scale). Although intelligence scores were re ported in these nine studies, not all of the target participants even in these studies had intelligence scores provided. Across the nine studies that reported intelligence, three of the studies had one target pa rticipant each with a re ported intelligence score in the average range. All three of these target pa rticipants scores were 101. Four of the target participants with reported intelligence scores were within the borderline range with scores ranging from 71 to 76 and the remaining scores reported were less than 70. For the purpose of clarification and comparis on for this study, the designations of low functioning or high functioning as determin ed by the researchers in each study will be acknowledged. If no designation is used, children w ith an intellectual abil ity within the average range or above (standard score of 90 and higher on intellectual tests) will be considered high functioning. The category of low functioning will be considered when the child has intellectual ability within the mild range of mental retarda tion (standard score of 70 or below) as defined by the DSM-IV TR (American Psychiatric Association, 2000). Social Skills Groups and Peer-In clusive Play with Adult-Mediation Social interactions have been taught successfully to children with ASD by similarly aged peers who were prompted by adults to teach spec ific social skills. Six studies fell within this group with one study being an extension of an earlier study. Across the st udies, interventions included various levels or combinations of the use of playgroups with peers for teaching social

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32 behaviors and direct instruction strategies including social ski lls lessons and scripts (Carr & Darcy, 1990; Gonzalez-Lopez & Kamps, 1997; Kamp s et al., 1992; Pierce & Schreibman, 1995, 1997; Strain et al., 1979). The goa l of these interventi ons was to increase the target students social skills such as the use of greetings and social conventions, imitating and following instructions, sharing, taking turn s, asking for help, requesting things, and imitating physical actions. Five of the six studies focused on students with ASD who were low functioning with the intervention(s) implemented in segregated sett ings (e.g., hallway, empty classroom, or special education classroom). The study by Kamps and co lleagues (1992) was the exception in this group. In Kamps et al. study, target students we re those with ASD who were high functioning and the intervention was implemented in an integr ated first grade class an d utilized the entire class to promote social skills training. The ages of the target students in this group of studies ranged from f our to ten years. The intervention(s) were implemented in dyads or pair s with one peer and one target student or in small groups that included three or four peers and the target student. The social skills or dependent variables targeted in these studies included imitating a physical activity (Carr & Darcy, 1990), frequency and duration of social interaction skills (Gonzalez-Lopez & Kamps, 1997; Kamps et al, 1992; Pierce & Schreibman, 1995, 1997; Strain et al., 1979), decrease of ina ppropriate social behavior (Gonz alez-Lopez & Kamps, 1997), and social behavior, joint attention, and use of language (Pierce & Schreibman, 1995). The experimental designs utilized in these studies included variations of a single subject withdrawal of treatment design (Strain et al., 1979; Gon zalez-Lopez & Kamps, 1997), a multiple baseline

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33 across participants (Ca rr & Darcy, 1990; Kamps et al., 1992; Pierce & Schreibman, 1995) and a multiple baseline across peer trainers (Pierce & Schreibman, 1997). In Carr and Darcys study (1990), a typical ki ndergarten age child modeled a variety of physical actions and object manipulations using a Follow the Leader format with four preschool students with ASD who were low functioning. Results of this intervention indicated that the target students could observe and learn new sk ills from the behavior of a peer model who systematically demonstrated the behavioral components comprising the activity. An important finding was that although close proximity of the ta rget student to the peer student coupled with the verbal prompt, Watch me, did not produ ce peer-modeling effects, an activity such as Follow the Leader involving extended behavior chains could be acquired observationally. The behavior chains included a period of training in which the peer used a combination of physical prompts and verbal feedback. Mu ltiple responses and/ or multiple objects may be critical in developing competence in imitation and generalizati on of skills. Limitations of this study include the use of only one nondisabled peer and the study was conducted in a nonintegrated, semiisolated setting and is not repr esentative of conditions that mi ght be expected in a naturally occurring context. Strain et al., (1979) studied the social initiations and responses of four students with autism who were low functioning and one nondisabled si milarly aged peer. The treatment included two conditions: (1) one typical peer in itiated social interaction only w ith two target students and (2) the peer prompted and provided social reinforcem ent with two targets students. While increases were noted in both treatment conditions, neither treatment phase resulted in behavior change outside of the treatment setting. Limitations of th is study include a lack of generalization and the treatment being implemented by only one peer in a segr egated setting.

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34 Pierce and Schreibman (1995, 1997) conducted two studies utilizi ng direct instruction. In both studies, nondisabled peers were taught to implement pivotal re sponse training (PRT), which has been described to be a naturalistic interv ention with loose traini ng techniques (Pierce & Schreibman, 1995, p. 258) utilizing modeling, role playing, and didactic instruction. After training, the peers implemented the procedures w ith the target students in a semi-isolated classroom environment without supervision. Both target students with autism who were low functioning demonstrated increased engagement in language and joint atten tion behaviors as well as extended interactions, initia ted play, and conversations with their nondisabled peers. Findings also indicated that the peers were able to le arn a comprehensive treatment package within a relatively short amount of time and were able to implement it effectively with minimal adult supervision (Pierce & Schreibman, 1995). However, the researchers noted limited generalization. Thus, they replicated the study with multiple peer trainers. Three peers were trained for each of the two students with autism who were low functioning. Two peers from different classrooms served as generalization peers. After the intervention, both target students displayed increases in their initiations and maintaining interactions. The researchers believed that utilizing multiple peer trainers may have enhanced the generaliz ation of skills. Limitations of the second study were a somewhat unstable baseline and the abse nce of integrity data (Pierce & Schreibman, 1997). Gonzalez-Lopez and Kamps (1997) implemented their study with four students with autism who were low functioning ages 5 through 7 and twelve nondisabled peers of a similar age. In a reverse mainstreaming procedure, the intervention was implemented in a self-contained special education classroom. Training scripts were utilized to teach specific social skills. Results of this study indicated that so cial skills training combined with a reinforcement system were

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35 effective in increasing the durati on and frequency of peer interac tions of the target students. However, three peers demonstrated social inte raction during baseline and thus showed few changes in interaction time during the interv ention phase. One peer exhibited no social interactions during baseline and subsequently showed increases similar to the target students during social skills training pl us reinforcement. During the intervention phase, the general occurrence of socially inappropriate behavior s by the target students decreased. Disruptive behaviors also were observed in the nondisabled peers during the social groups. Limitations include (1) the percentage of the variety of social skills used di d not change dramatically during the interventions phases perhaps because of a lack of opportunities to use certain skills during the play session; (2) some engagement in dyad inter actions may have restricted interactions with multiple peers; (3) the ten minute training sessions may not have been sufficient to teach specific skills to the target students to the point that they could acquire, maintain, a nd generalize the skills to peer-group activities; and (4) no data on generalization or maintenance of skills were gathered. In addition, some of the peers did not appear to have been the best models of appropriate behavior as they were observed on occasion being disruptive or grabbing materials. As a result of their inappropriate behaviors, th e target students may not have benefited as fully from the intervention as they may have with more consistently appropriate peer models. Kamps and colleagues (1992) investigated the use of social skill groups to facilitate increased social interactions between three se ven-year-old students with ASD who were high functioning and their nondisabled fi rst grade peers. The entire cl ass participated in this study, with the social skills training cons idered to be part of the first grade curriculum. Results of this study indicated increased social interactions be tween target students and their peers. Results were maintained during the feedback phase and during the follow up phase. The researchers

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36 believed that the groups were more successful wh en they focused on fewer behaviors with more practice opportunities for those basi c social skills than when fo cusing on structured learning of many social behaviors as dictated by publishe d curricula (e.g., McGi nnis & Goldstein, 1984). Limitations of this study include a lack of examination of the quali ty of the interactions and the generalization of skills to other educational contexts. In summary, this section review ed the literature that indicates that peers in social groups and peer-inclusive play can increase the social interactions of stude nts with ASD. Adultmediation was instrumental in first training th e nondisabled peers in the procedures of the intervention. Results of these stud ies confirm that social behavior s as well as the imitation of a physical activity, joint attention, and communi cation skills should be taught directly. Furthermore, the inclusion and training of peers within social groups enhances the ability of students with ASD to participate in peer interac tions within natural environments (Carr & Darcy, 1990; Gonzalez-Lopez & Kamps, 1997; Kamp s et al., 1992; Pierce & Schreibman, 1995,1997; Strain et al., 1979). These studies al so indicate that attempts to teach peers to implement social skills strategies with minimal adult intrusi on can be successful (Pie rce & Schreibman, 1995). The importance of multiple responses as well as multiple peers to develop competence in the target students as well as enhance generaliza tion of the learned skills are underscored (Carr & Darcy, 1990; Pierce & Schreibman, 1995, 1997). Peer-Mediation within Social Environments In peer mediation interventions within soci al environments, nondisabled peers serve as models and teachers of social sk ills and identify antecedent variables of on/off task behaviors and atypical behaviors (Kamps, Kr avits et al., 2002; Peck et al., 1997). Four studies fell within this group. Across the studies, the intensity of this type of intervention ranged from peers being asked to initiate persistently while being on th e same level (e.g., lying sitting, standing) as the

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37 target student (Roeyers, 1995) to peers involved in the process of developing specific social skills trained as to the level of participation, modifications, and behavior that was expected and accepted from the target st udents (Peck et al., 1997). Three of the four studies w ithin this group focused on students with ASD who were low functioning with intervention(s) implemented in segregated settings (e.g., special education classroom). The study by Laushey and Heflin (2000) was the exception. In their study, one target student was high functioning and the other was low functioning. The intervention was implemented in an integrated kindergarten class that incorporated the entire class into the social skills training. The ages of the target student s ranged from five to ten ye ars. The intervention(s) were implemented in dyads or small groups of three or four peers with th e target student. The dependent variables included asking for an object, getting attention approp riately, taking turns, and looking at or in the direc tion of the person talking (Laushey & Heflin, 2000), on/off task behaviors, aberrant behaviors, initiations, responses, and inter actions (Peck et al., 1997), and initiations/responses and duration of social interactions (Roeye rs, 1995; Shafer, Egel, & Neef, 1984). The experimental designs included a sing le subject withdrawal of treatment design (Laushey & Heflin, 2000), multiple baselines ac ross participants (Shafer et al., 1984), and alternating treatments (Peck et al., 1997). In a reverse mainstreaming procedure, Roeyer s (1995) studied children with ASD and their nondisabled same age peers. The interventions uti lized dyads of a nondisabl ed peer and a target student. During the intervention, the nondisabled peer initiated persistently and was on the same physical level as the target student (e.g., lying down, sitting, standing). There was limited adult intrusion and the play materials were familiar to the students. Results indicated increases in time

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38 spent in peer inter action, responsiveness, frequency of initiation behavior, and longer uninterrupted interactions. However, the target students still had diffi culty producing effective social initiations by the end of the treatment. A limitation of the study was that generalization to an unstructured natural setting with un trained peers was not investigated. Laushey and Heflin (2000) implemented a peer buddy system in two integrated kindergarten classes during free play center time. One target student was high functioning and the other was low functioning. In this intervention, the entire class was trained in the steps of the buddy system which include: stay with your budd y, play with your buddy, and talk with your buddy. The members of each dyad were changed dail y. Results indicated that the buddy system elicited more appropriate social skills for bot h target students than the passive proximity approach (i.e., more turn-taking interactions, mo re instances of looking at a person speaking to them, and more tolerance for waiting). Generalization probes were taken for the target student who was low functioning in the following school year. While the buddy system was not implemented in the first grade, data collected showed that the target student maintained his level of performance on the dependent variables and gene ralized those skills to his new environment. Limitations of the study were the small sample size, frequent absences and subsequent missed sessions of one of the target students, and missed sessions as a result of conflicting school wide activities. In Shafer and colleagues study (1984), the eff ects of a peer-training strategy consisting of direct prompting and modeling on the frequenc y and duration of soci al interactions was measured. The four target students were low func tioning between the ages of five and six years. While the peers selected for the study were th e same age, they exhibited delayed language development with associated hand icaps including learning disabil ities, mild mental retardation,

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39 and conduct problems. Training and generaliz ation probes were conducted in locations segregated from other students. The target stud ents toy preference was identified prior to the intervention. The direct prompting procedure resu lted in increased social interactions between peer trainers and target students, increases in th e duration of social inte ractions between target students and peer-trainers, and in creases in initiations by the untrained peers toward three of the four target students. Generalization of behavi or change across setti ngs occurred only after specific programming was utilized. Limitations of this study incl uded the social competence of the peers and the importance of desc ribing behaviors studied in detail. Peck and colleagues (1997) evaluated the use of a structural analysis model for improving social interactions via peer-mediated interven tions. The study included five target students between the ages of eight and ten who were lo w functioning and diagnosed with autism, PDD, and mild mental retardation and four nondisabl ed similarly aged peers. Assessments and treatment protocols were completed in the spec ial education classroom and the generalization probes were obtained in the general education classroom. The antecedent variables identified during assessment were (1) noise level, (2) one-to -one activities versus gr oup oriented activities, (3) the amount of interaction invol ved in the task, (4) the structure of tasks, (5) the length of the task, (6) the gender of the nondisabl ed peer, (7) the level of social interaction, and (8) transitions with and without warning. The antecedent vari ables were judged as being conducive or not conducive to heightened levels of appropriate behavior and social in teractions and were combined into preferred and nonpreferred treatm ents. The nondisabled peers were trained to deliver varying degrees of soci al attention and instruction to target students during the assessment process and treatment conditions. The assessment process resulted in the identification of one or more discriminate stimu li that occasioned appropria te social behavior for

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40 each target student. The results demonstrated that structural analysis th at includes nondisabled peers to identify antecedents of appropriate social behavior for each individual target student can result in the development of effective peer-med iated social interventi ons. While generalization was demonstrated to the general education classroom for two of the five target students, the researchers indicated that further investigation with different populations and a wider range of environments was necessary. In summary, findings from this group of studi es of peer-mediated interventions revealed increased peer interactions (Roeyers, 1995; La ushey & Heflin, 2000; Shafer et al., 1984) and some generalization to natura l environments and untrained peers (Laushey & Heflin, 2000; Shafer et al., 1984). The role the peers play in identifying environmental antecedent variables for the target students was an important factor to consider in developing effective social skills interventions (Peck et al., 1997). Peer-mediation is similar to adult-mediated interventions in that nondisabled peers serve as models and teachers of social skills. In peer-mediated interventions, the intensity of the intervention may vary widely from nondisabled peers placed in proximity in order for the target students to imitate appropria te behaviors (Roeyers, 19 95) to peers directly instructing skills (Kamps, Kravits, et al., 2002). However, these studies also had limitations. While the utilization of students as peer models who themselves exhibited mild handica ps (e.g., language delays, learning disabilities, mild mental retardation, and conduc t problems) resulted in increased social interactions with the target students (Shafer et al., 1984), the social skills limitations of the peer models may have lessened the strength of the in tervention. Although there was an in crease in positive interactions in the target students, the level of the social in teractions continued to be significantly below that of their peers (Roeyers, 1995). Generalizati on to unstructured natural settings was not

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41 investigated in all studies (R oeyers, 1995) and in another st udy, more specif ic training was needed when generalization data indicated a rapid decrease of responding following training (Shafer et al., 1984). Peck and colleagues (1997) indicated that replic ation with different populations and in a wider range of environments was needed. Peer-Mediation within Learning Formats Peer tutoring and cooperative learning groups are peer interactiv e interventions with potential benefits for improving social perfor mance as well as increasing academic gains (Kamps, Kravits et al., 2002). Th e goal of cooperative learning groups is to have peers work together in small groups to complete projec ts, worksheets, and practice skills (Nastasi & Clements, 1991). Six studies fell within this groupi ng. Each of these studies was conducted in an integrated classroom setting duri ng reading and social studies cl asses (Kamps, Barbetta et al., 1994; Kamps et al., 1995; Dugan et al., 1995; Ka mps, Royer et al., 2002) and during peer tutoring, recess, and lunch times (Kamps, Royer et al., 2002). Four of the six studies included at least one target student with ASD who was high functioning. Two of the studies focused sole ly on students with autism who were low functioning (Kamps et al., 1995; Kamps, Royer et al., 2002). These studies were implemented in integrated general education sett ings during instruction in readi ng or in social studies (Kamps Barbetta et al., 1994; Kamps et al., 1995; Duga n et al., 1995; Kamps, Royer et al., 2002) and during peer tutoring, recess, and lunch times (Kamps Royer et al., 2002). Th e ages of the target students ranged from seven to fourteen years. The dependent variables of this group of studies focused on academic gains such as increased reading (Kamps, Barbet ta et al., 1994; Kamps et al., 1995) and social studies skills (Dugan et al., 1995; Kamps, Royer et al., 2002), in creased academic engagement time (Kamps et al., 1995), and increased frequency and duration of social interac tion between target students and

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42 peers (Kamps, Barbetta et al., 1994; Kamps et al., 1995; Dugan et al., 1995; Kamps, Royer et al., 2002). Kamps, Royer, and colleagues (2002) investig ated reciprocal inter actions, appropriate toy play, and on-topic verbalizations. The study cond ucted by Kamps and colleagues (1994) utilized a single subject multiple baseline design across pa rticipants with a withdrawal of treatment component. One of the studies conducted by Kamp s, Royer and colleagues (2002) analyzed three different peer conditions with an analysis of va riance. The peer groups fo r this analysis included social skills groups, tutoring/cooperative learning groups, and lunc h/recess buddy groups. All other studies utilized withdr awal of treatment designs. Kamps and colleagues (1994) implemented cla ss wide peer tutoring (CWPT) in three second and third grade integrated classrooms that included three students with ASD who were high functioning. Class wide p eer tutoring consisted of 25 minutes of well-specified instruction in which tutor-learner pairs worked together on reading fluency and comprehension skills followed by 15 minutes of unstructured free time activities. Results showed higher reading comprehension scores for the target students and their ge neral education peers and slight increases in their oral-reading rates. Longer peer social inte ractions during subsequent unstructured free time were noted also with indi vidual variation in performance. Information concerning the integrity of the trea tment, specific teacher prompts, the quality of the interactions, and whether the social interactio ns generalized to other interac tions throughout the school day was not available. It is importa nt to note whether the social in teractions generalized to other settings to determine whether the skills learne d were able to be implemented in naturally occurring interactions at a later time and in a different setting than those opportunities immediately after training.

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43 Two studies included students with ASD in fourth-grade social studies cooperative learning groups (Dugan et al., 1995) and in third and fifth-grade r eading activities (Kamps et al., 1995). Cooperative learning group pro cedures involved peer tutoring in academic content as well as teacher monitoring and reinforcement for soci al behaviors (e.g., sharing ideas, offering praise, encouraging, and helping others). Dugan and colleagues (1995) studied one high and one low functioning students with ASD in a classroom of fourth grader s during social studies. They found increases in learning for both the target students and their peer s. While the target students in creased in vocabulary recognition, they continued to have difficulty with comprehension. Results indicated that academic engagement levels and interaction among group members during cooperative learning increased. Although the researchers noted incr eased peer-tutoring activities by the target students, other group activities (e.g., initiations by ta rget students, initiations or re sponses to more than one peer during groups, praising, or helpi ng others) occurred less freque ntly indicating the need for additional training in specific sk ills or restructuring of coopera tive learning groups to provide more opportunities for these types of behaviors to be exhibited. No da ta were collected to determine whether any of the behaviors di splayed generalized to other settings. Kamps and colleagues (1995) conducted two stud ies with cooperative learning groups in reading. In the first study, the ta rget student with ASD was high functioning and in a third grade class. In the second study, the tw o target students with ASD were low functioning and in a fifth grade class. Results of both studies demonstrated increased reading gains, academic engagement, and peer interaction during the supplemental c ooperative learning time. The researchers noted that findings from the first study should be view ed with caution for several reasons. First, in study one, the teacher did not return to her former teaching procedures during the withdrawal of

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44 treatment phase, but rather continued to demonstrate improved teaching behaviors. During the last six weeks of the second intervention phase, di rect instruction in social skills training was added prior to the cooperative learning groups. A nother limitation of study one included that the target participant had previously participated in a similar study (Kamps, Barbetta et al., 1994). This experience may have made the target student more responsive to the intervention. In study two, the researchers did not believe that the initial reading material was instructionally appropriate for the reading level of the students in the class. They believed that the target students in the second study had lower cognitive ab ility and reading skills than their peers and thus may have benefited from more intensive cu rriculum modification than what they received. However, the researchers did not conclude that the target students were unable to learn within the mainstream environment. Another limitation of the second study was that the second baseline condition consisted of independent materials for the target students to use during the lecture time for the peers as compared to materials used during the first baseline condition. Kamps, Royer et al., (2002) conducted two studies. Study 1 included five students with ASD and 51 nondisabled peers. Two of the target students participated in the social studies cooperative learning groups (Dugan et al., 1995), two target students pa rticipated in social skills training, and one target student wa s in a mainstreamed class. Resu lts of this study indicated that cooperative leaning and social skills groups with embedded peer training in critical skills increased in time engaged in social interaction for target students and their peers. Increased generalization to nontrained settings was noted for the target students in the intervention programs in comparison to the target students wh o did not receive intervention during that school year. The researchers indi cated that the data gathered supports the validity of peer training within tutorial and social contexts. The control group peers also increased in interaction skills that the

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45 researchers believed may have been caused by familia rity with the classes of ASD that had been in the school for four years. The researchers also noted that the cooperative learning peers were a year older (fourth graders vs. third graders) and si x peers had participated in prior social skills intervention providing the possibility of an additiv e effect of more training with students with ASD. The second study was based on the results of th e first study and examined the maintenance and generalization effects of p eer-inclusive social groups for 34 students with ASD who were low functioning and the effects of multiple peer groups sustained ove r time. Peer groups in this study included social skills groups, tutoring /cooperative learning gr oups, and lunch/recess buddy programs. In this study, videotaped social beha vior probes noting generalization were taken in the fall and spring and again two years later. Th e probes were taken of three groups: (1) students trained in interaction skills, (2) peers familiar with the target student but untrained, and (3) students who were strangers to th e target students. The target st udents ranged in age from 7 to 14 across the three year period and at tended public schools in six school districts. In general, the findings indicated improved social interactions skills with nondisabled elementary age peers. Significantly, more social behavior s occurred with peers who were trained via participation in social/play groups, lunch/recess buddy programs, and tutoring programs than for control group peers. A second outcome was that consistent cont act with peers, or familiarity via inclusive classes in the absence of peer training, also generalized to social behaviors though less interaction occurred than with structured peer mediation. So cial interaction al so occurred among the target students and stranger peers, although less frequently th an with trained or familiar peers. One limitation of this study was that soci al probes were not conduc ted in other settings such as recess and lunch. A second limitation not ed was the low use of generalized language for

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46 the verbal target students in comparison to their nondisabled peers. The re searchers believed that this may have been due to the limited language skills of many of the target students. The researchers recommended training for target students in the use of language in social settings and the need to train peers to pr ompt and reinforce language. In summary, studies of peer-mediation have shown that peer suppor t through tutoring and other curricular adaptations provides both academic and social benefits for children in inclusive educational settings (Kamps, Barbetta et al ., 1994; Kamps et al., 1995; Dugan et al., 1995; Kamps, Royer et al., 2002). The social compet ence of the participants increased in such behaviors as helping, responsiveness, and pr aising in addition to increased academic performance in reading and social studies. Data indicated increased length of social interactions in immediately following free-time activities (K amps, Barbetta et al., 1994). Evidence from Kamps and colleagues (2002) longit udinal studies indicated that mo re social behaviors occurred for the target students and peers who were traine d via participation in social/play groups and tutoring and cooperative learning groups than with unfamiliar peers who were not trained. Another finding supported the premise that previ ous experiences with and exposure of both the target students and the peers to social skills interventions may make the students more responsive to interventions (Kamps et al., 1995; Kamps, Royer et al., 2002). Peer Network Systems in School Environments Peer networks have been defined as groups of individuals who demons trate an interest in and understanding of the individual w ith disabilities to the extent th at it impacts that persons life (Chadsey-Rusch, 1986). According to Kamps and colleagues (2002), peer networks are based on the following principles. First, awareness traini ng of disabilities fo r nondisabled peers that includes supervised joint activities to enhance th e acceptance of students with disabilities in the school environment. Second, the children with disabilities can func tion and learn in group

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47 situations in school environments (Kamps, Dugan, Leonard, & Daoust, 1994). Third, children with disabilities can learn from and participate with peer models (e.g., Carr & Darcy, 1990). Successful peer networks incorporate severa l peer-mediation strategies. Peers may be taught to be initiators of social interaction for the students with disabilities (e.g., Strain & Odom, 1986), to be models of appropriate play and be havior (e.g., Carr & Darcy, 1990; Shafer et al., 1984), and to be tutors or co-participants in social skills groups (e.g., Kamps et al., 1992). Providing information about di sabilities through awareness ac tivities has been promoted as an initial step in devel oping peer support networks (Stain back & Stainback, 1989). Awareness activities have produced positive effects, resulting in the nondisabled peers being more likely to make themselves available, sit in closer proximity, and be more responsive to children with disabilities (Kamps et al., 2002). A primary goal of peer networks is to incr ease and enhance the so cial opportunities for children with disabilities by making multiple peer activities available. Kamps and colleagues (2002) reviewed procedures implemented from st udies that sought to f acilitate social skills development and to improve social relationshi ps for children with di sabilities (e.g., GarrisonHarrell et al., 1997, Haring & Breen, 1992; Ka mps et al., 1992; Pierce & Schreibman, 1995, 1997). From this review, Kamps and colleagues f ound that implementing and monitoring of peer networks follow a similar process to implemen ting social groups. Key elements include (1) setting aside time to plan with assistance from multiple people (e.g., peers, school personnel, parents), (2) supplying adult and peer modeling of successful interaction skills, (3) implementing functional reinforcement systems, and (4) prov iding feedback for the participating children (Kamps, 2002).

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48 Peer networks provide social and academ ic support for students with ASD in school environments (Garrison-Harrell et al., 1997; Kamps et al., 1997; Haring & Breen, 1992). Three studies examined peer network systems in school environments. These st udies were conducted in integrated school settings during transition times and lunch (Haring & Breen, 1992), across academic time, lunch, and recess, (Kamps et al., 1997; Garrison-Harrell et al., 1997), and during computer time (Garrison-Harrell et al., 1997). Each of these studies target ed students with ASD who were low functioning. The ages of the target students ranged from six to thirteen years. The dependent variables included freque ncy of interaction, appropriaten ess of the social interaction, and the number of unstructured contexts in wh ich an interaction occu rred (Haring & Breen, 1992), reciprocal social behaviors that occurred as a result of an ini tiation-response sequence (Kamps et al., 1997), duration of social interactions, and use of a communication system during peer groups (Garrison-Harrell et al., 1997). Haring and Breen (1992) utilized a multiple baseline across participants design, Kamps and colleagues (1997) employed a multiple probe across settings, and Garrison-Harrell et al., (1997) util ized a multiple probe design across settings nested within a multiple baseline across participants. In Haring and Breens (1992) study, junior high school peers were recruited to serve as a social support group for two stude nts who were low functioning, one of whom was identified as having ASD and the other was identified as havi ng moderate mental re tardation. This study was included because it met the criteria for the literat ure review as being a sc hool aged program and was one of a small number of studies implem enting a peer network intervention. The nine nondisabled peers facilitated soci al interactions during transiti on times in the hallways and during lunch. The intervention consisted of (1) th e peers scheduling time to assist the target student during each transition, (2) introducing the target student to his network, (3) teaching

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49 initiation and reinforcement strategies to the pe ers to encourage inter actions (e.g., establishing joint attention, showing pers istence in obtaining a respons e, and modeling appropriate responses), and (4) weekly peer network meetin gs to provide feedback and reinforcement. During this time, the target students received instruction in age appropriate responses by the adult peer network facilitator twice a week. Results indicated that the social network intervention increased the quantity and quality of interactions within structur ed and unstructured contexts without ongoing adult prompting, re inforcement, or structure. A limitation of the study was that the intervention was not assessed for its ea se of implementation by school personnel. Kamps and colleagues (1997) implemented peer networks across multiple school activities (e.g., academic settings, center-game time, recess, and lunch) for three students with ASD who were low functioning. The peer network consisted of two to five peers per activity who were taught to prompt and reinforce so cial skills, tutor, and help th e target students. The social intervention or network was (1) individualized to meet the needs of each target student, (2) structured to fit the naturally occurring context, (3) utilized task and soci al scripts, (4) provided peer and target student traini ng/prompting in social skills, (5) provided verbal and tangible reinforcement for peer interaction, and (6) pr ovided student feedb ack. Results indicated increased interaction time for all target students with generalization to nonintervention settings for two students. While this intervention was implemented by school pers onnel, the researchers noted that their skills, attitudes, availability, and inconsistency became an issue. They noted the lack of generalization in baseline phases in several treatment sett ings. The lack of generalization was believed to have been related to limited time in treatment in a similar setting, the use of both academic and social contexts for comparison, or some treatments requiring more scripting than

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50 other treatments. Kamps and colleag ues indicated that while task a nd social scripts may assist in immediate increases in social in teraction, they may restrict gene ralization of social behaviors. Garrison-Harrell and colleagues (1997) replicat ed these findings in a study in which the network of peers remained constant across thr ee environments. The three participants were students with ASD who were low functioning with communication difficulties and limited social skills. Their peers were fifteen nondisabled first grade students. The peer ne twork activities took place during scheduled play and academic times across three of the following settings: reading, lunch, language arts, computer, or recess. An augmentative communication system that included physical manipulation of the communication board measured initiations, responses, and duration of the social interaction. Results of this study indicated that th e utilization of a peer network intervention that included an augmentative co mmunication system increased the frequency and duration of peer interactions for the target st udents across multiple settings and activities. A limitation of this study was that the strategies were complex and it was difficult to determine which of the procedures (e.g., use of multiple pe ers, communication system, or reinforcement) directly influenced the increased social in teractions. Another limitation included the time consuming nature of the training that the researchers believed mi ght lesson the likelihood that the classroom teacher would implement the inte rvention without additional support. A third limitation was the lack of genera lization or maintenance probes. Three studies supported the belief that peer networks may increase and enhance the social opportunities, including the deve lopment of social skills, for children with ASD by providing multiple peer activities available within struct ured and unstructured contexts (Haring & Breen, 1992; Kamps et al., 1997; Garrison-Harrell et al ., 1997). Garrison-Harrell a nd colleagues (1997) employed a variety of visual prompting syst ems (e.g., augmentative communication system,

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51 topic cards) along with a network of trained peers to increase the social interaction behaviors of students with ASD who are low functioning. An ecdotal reports from school personnel and informal observations by Garrison-Harrell and the other researchers indica ted the occurrence of friendly behaviors between the target students and their peers as a resu lt of the intervention as well. The effectiveness of a netw ork of trained peers who mediat ed interventions for increasing social interactions with the target studen ts with minimal to no ongoing adult prompting, reinforcement, or structure was demonstrated (Garrison-Harrell et al ., 1997; Haring & Breen, 1992; Kamps et al., 1997). The data suggests that by enlisti ng groups of peers to facilitate natural interactions with the target students, generaliz ation and high levels of satisfaction may result perhaps due to increased group support (Hari ng & Breen, 1992). These studies, however, were conducted with students with ASD who were low functioning. Future rese arch is needed that addresses the effect of a social skills intervention within na tural contexts on the social interactions between a trai ned network of peers and st udents with ASD who are high functioning. Intervention Utilizing Skillstreaming the Elementary School Child Although social skills interventions are commonly recommended for children with Asperger disorder, at present li ttle is known about the efficacy of such interventions with this population (Lopata, Thomeer, Volker, & Nida, 2 006). Much of the existing literature and proposed models for social interventions for ch ildren with Aspergers disorder are based on cognitive-behavioral techniques that directly teach social skills a nd strategies for interpreting and managing social situations (Lopa ta, et al., 2006). According to Attwood (2000), available models for teaching social interaction skills lack i ndependent evaluation with many of the outcome assessments consisting of qualitative measures. Examples of commonly used social skill interventions include didactic skill instruction, role modeli ng, role-playing, and feedback

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52 (Attwood, 2000). Programs such as Skillstreaming (McGinnis & Goldstein, 1997) utilize these cognitive and behavioral approaches. Although a number of authors have proposed explanations and treatment models, sound empirical research is virtually nonexistent (McLaughlin-Cheng, 1998). Of particular importance is the development of validated programs that significantly improve so cial skills and peer relationships (Greenway, 2000). Re search on the treatment of Aspe rgers disorder is critical because these children are at risk for addi tional psychiatric issues, including attentiondeficit/hyperactivity disorder, de pression, Tourettes syndrome, and psychotic symptoms (see Lopata et al., 2006 for a review). One study was found in the literature review that utilized Skillstreaming (McGinnis & Goldstein, 1997) lessons and strategies with st udents identified as be ing within the autism spectrum. This study included 21 target particip ants identified with Asperger disorder who ranged in age from six to thirt een. The target participants were included in the study based on the following criteria: (1) written doc umentation of a formal diagnosis of Asperger disorder by a licensed psychiatrist, physician, or psychologist; (2) prior testi ng and evaluation results; and (3) formal assessment of the cognitive domain (i.e ., intelligence) and the social-emotional domain (i.e., behavior rating scale, adap tive behavior scale, and Asperg er symptomology scale). Lopata and colleagues (2006) indicated that the study presents preliminary data from an ongoing research project evaluating a summer treatment program for children with Asperger disorder. The dependent variables consisted of three scales (i.e., Social Skills, Adaptability, and Atypicality) from Behavior Assessment System for Children (BASC; Reynolds & Kamphaus, 1992) Teacher Rating Scales (TRS) and Parent Rati ng Scales (PRS). The BASC is an assessment instrument designed to evaluate personality and behavioral problems, emotional disturbance, and

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53 positive-adaptive behaviors. The TRS provides a measure of adaptive and problem behaviors in school settings, whereas the PR S assesses skills and problems in community and home settings. TRS and PRS items consist of behavioral descri ptors that are rated on a 4-point scale ranging from Never to Almost Always. The Social Skills scale consists of items that assess the interpersonal aspects of social adaptation and ski lls necessary for interacting successfully with peers and adults. The Adaptability scale assesses the childs ability to quickly and easily adapt to changes in the environment. The Atypicality s cale assesses behaviors generally considered odd or developmentally immature. Lopata and collea gues (2006) indicated that the Atypicality scale was used in their study to assess socially odd or unusual behaviors that often characterize children with Asperger disorder. The study empl oyed a pretest-posttest de sign in that parents completed pretest ratings immediately prior to the beginning of the progr am and staff completed pretest ratings on the 8th day of the study because of lack of fa miliarity with the children prior to the program. All participants re ceived 6 weeks of treatment. Pa rents and staff then completed posttest ratings at the conclusion of the study. Lopata and colleagues (2006) implemented tw o treatment conditions, combined social skills instruction and behavioral treatment (SS+BT ) and social skills only instruction (SS). The behavioral treatment (BT) was a behavior manage ment point system in which the participants received token reinforcement (i.e., points) for fo llowing program rules, following directions, and demonstrating prosocial behaviors and skills taught in the program. The partic ipants lost tokens for failing to follow program rules and directions a nd for displaying inappropriate social skills or behaviors. Point reinforcement was done verba lly immediately following the occurrence of the operationally defined behaviors. Point review s and updates were conducted every 20 minutes throughout the day and participants who achieved a preset and i ndividualized number of points

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54 each day received an edible reinforcer. Points also were used to earn an e nd-of-week field trip. In contrast to the SS+BT condition, participants in the SS group received naturalistic feedback throughout the day, which consisted of spontane ous, broad, and general feedback (e.g., Good job!). Because no behavioral or so cial skill contingencies were imposed, all participants in this condition received the end-of-day ed ible reinforcer and attended the end-of-week field trips. The 21 participants were assigne d to groups containing four to six children and three staff members. The treatment program was conducted 5 days a week for 6 hours each day. In both treatment conditions, the daily schedule consis ted of four 70-minute treatment cycles. The 70minute cycles included 20 minutes of structured social ski lls intervention followed by 50minutes of therapeutic activities. All participan ts received three identical core treatment components targeting social behaviors (i.e., in tensive social skills instruction, face-affect recognition, and interest expansi on). During the initial 20 minutes of each treatment cycle, both treatment conditions implemented the same structured social sk ills group based on the commercially available Skillstreaming program (M cGinnis & Goldstein, 1997). Only the skills directly related to specific criteria for As perger disorder in the DSM-IV-TR (American Psychiatric Association, 2000) were implemented. Results of the study indicated that parent s and staff members reported a significant increase in social skills. The parents also repo rted a significant improvement in their childrens general adaptability and a significant decrea se in their odd or unusual behaviors (i.e., Atypicality). In contrast to pare nt reports, the staff members re ported no significant change in adaptability and a sign ificant increase in odd or unusual behaviors over the course of the treatment program. Comparisons of the two trea tment procedures (SS vs. SS+BT) indicated no significant difference between the two. Limitations of the study include a small sample size,

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55 children being rated by those awar e of their treatment status, a nd the lack of a no-treatment control group. In addition, nondisabled peers did not appear to be included in the study. Lopata and colleagues (2006) indicated th at the lack of a no-treatmen t control group left the study vulnerable to several threats to in ternal validity (e.g., statistical regression, matura tion, history). The researchers believed that even with the thre ats to internal validity and limitations of the study, the children with pervasive so cial skill deficits would not have demonstrated the social skill increases reported by parents and staff as we ll as the increased adaptability and reduced atypical behaviors reported by the parents without the intervention. Strengths and Limitations of Studies Reviewed This section summarizes the strengths and limita tions of the studies reviewed and suggests a direction for future research. Of the studies reviewed, twelve included only students with ASD who were low functioning, seven included student s who were low functioning with students who were high functioning, and three included only st udents who were high functioning. At present, little research distinguishes diffe rences of social skills attainme nt between those target students who are low functioning and those who are high f unctioning. Strengths of the research reviewed indicated that overall the target students in thes e studies exhibited increa sed social interactions skills while the interventions were being implem ented. The target students observed and learned new skills from a peer model who systematically demonstrated behavioral components (Carr & Darcy, 1990) and a peer buddy system elicited more appropriate social skills than a passive proximity approach (Laushey & Heflin, 2000; Ro eyers, 1995), Thus, st rengthening the premise made that children with ASD do not tend to acqu ire social skills through incidental learning (Myles & Simpson, 1998). The research reviewed also indicated the importance of multiple responses, multiple objects, multiple settings, and multiple peer trainers to enhance the generalization of the skills learned (Carr & Darcy, 1990; Laushey & Heflin, 2000; Pierce &

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56 Schreibman, 1997). One study conducted in a se tting where other social skills training and research had been ongoing indicated that consiste nt contact with peers also led to increased generalization of skills; however, fewer interacti ons occurred than were demonstrated with structured peer mediation with tr ained peers (Kamps et al., 2002). The nondisabled peers who were included in th ese studies also demonstrated increased levels of performance. In addition, they lear ned intervention strategies, implemented them effectively with minimal adult supervision (Carr & Darcy, 1990; Pierce & Schreibman, 1995), and participated in identifying antecedents of ap propriate social behavior from which to develop effective peer-mediated social interventions (Peck et al, 1997). In cooperative and tutorial learning settings, the peers and target student s demonstrated increased academic learning and social interactions (Dugan et al ., 1995; Kamps, Barbetta et al., 1994; Kamps et al., 1995; Kamps, Royer et al., 2002). There is a paucity of empirical research available investigating the efficacy of social skills interventions for students within the autism spect rum. The results of a study that utilized Skillstreaming (McGinnis & Goldstein, 1997) less ons and strategies with students with Aspergers disorder in an intensive summer pr ogram, found improved social skills as rated by parents and staff members. Limitations and thre ats to internal validit y, however, were also reported that may limit generaliza tion of the findings. An additional limitation of the study was that nondisabled peers did not appear to particip ate in the study also limiting the generalization of the findings to more typical settings. Limitations of the research re viewed indicated that while advances have been made in understanding how to increase the so cial interactions of students w ith ASD, there continues to be areas that need further investig ation. The majority of the resear ch focused on students with ASD

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57 who were low functioning with limited language sk ills and thus, the conditions of the study may not have appropriately addresse d the needs of students with ASD who are high functioning and have near normal language development. Six st udies were conducted with only one or a small number of trained peers and ei ght were implemented in noninte grated educational settings (e.g., Carr & Darcy, 1990; Strain et al., 1979). The targ et students had limite d opportunities to learn and practice skills in na turally occurring inte ractions (Dugan et al ., 1995; Gonzalez-Lopez & Kamps, 1997). In addition, interactions that were relevant for dyads may have actually restricted multiple peer interactions (Gonzalez-Lopez & Kamps, 1997). While increases in social interactions occurred, the quality of the interac tions was not studied (Kam ps et al., 1992; Kamps, Barbetta et al., 1994) and the importance of social ly competent peers was evident (Shafer et al., 1984). While the use of scripts increased immedi ate social interactions, they may have in themselves restricted generalized social be haviors (Kamps et al., 1997). The limitation noted across studies was that the social skills learned did not generalize to unstructured natural settings with untrained peers (Dugan et al., 1995; Ga rrison-Harrell et al., 1997; Kamps et al., 1992; Kamps, Barbetta et al., 1994; Ka mps et al., 1997; Kamps, Royer et al., 2002; Peck et al., 1997; Roeyers, 1995). While researchers and their colleagues implemented the somewhat complex treatments, it did not appear that the treatments would be easily implemented by school personnel (Garrison-Harrell et al., 1997; Haring & Breen, 1992). Among the studies implemented by local school personnel, concer n was noted with the integrity of that implementation (Kamps et al., 1994; Kamps et al., 1997). Implications for Research Many limitations were noted from the studies reviewed that were conducted largely with students with ASD who were low functioning and had minimal language capab ility. It is unclear which limitations may apply directly to students with ASD who are high fu nctioning or to those

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58 who are low functioning. Therefore, future research for students with ASD who are high functioning may need to focus on social skills in terventions designed to increase their social interactions with peers in naturally occurring, inclus ive educationa l settings. The effectiveness of a network of trained pe ers to mediate interventions resulting in increased social interactions with target studen ts who are low functioning has been demonstrated (Garrison-Harrell et al., 1997; Haring & Breen, 1992; Kamps et al., 1997). These studies also showed that peers implemented the interventi ons with minimal to no ongoing adult support. Future research is needed that addresses the effe ct of a social skills intervention within natural contexts on the social interactions between a trained network of peer s and students with ASD who are high functioning. Generalization of skills to unstructured natural settings is another area for further investigation (Dugan et al., 1995; Garrison-Harrell et al., 1997; Kamps, 1992; Kamps, Barbetta et al., 1994; Kamps et al., 1997; Kamps, Royer, et al., 2002; Peck et al., 1997; Roeyers, 1995). These studies were conducted largely with ta rget students who were low functioning. One study that included a student with ASD who was high functioning w ith 4 students who were low functioning found that peer media tion programs facilitated generali zation of intera ction skills to nontraining settings, however, bot h the target students and the p eers involved in this study had had previous experiences with and exposure to so cial skills interventions, which may have made the students more responsive to interventions (Kamps et al ., 1995; Kamps, Royer et al., 2002). Future research may wish to focus upon the effec tiveness of social ski lls interventions with students with ASD who are high functioning and a network of th eir peers in a more typical school setting that may not have an enriched social skills focus. In addition, future research may wish to investigate the effectiveness of a social skills curriculum that utilizes didactic skills

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59 instruction, modeling, role -playing, and feedback as components of a social skills intervention (e.g., Skillstreaming the Elementary School Ch ild by McGinnis & Goldst ein, 1997) implemented with students with ASD who are high functioni ng and a network of their nondisabled peers. Purpose of the Study The purpose of this study was to replicate Garrison-Harrells study (1996) and investigate the effects of a peer network social skills inte rvention implemented sole ly with students with ASD who are high functioning and their nondisabled peers. This intervention investigated the effectiveness of the procedures and adapte d lessons from the social skills program, Skillstreaming the Elementary School Child (McGinnis & Goldstein, 1997) on the social interactions of students with ASD who are high functioning. The st udy was designed to facilitate natural interactions between the students with ASD and their peers to investigate generalization of social interactions to untrained settings. Research Question The study was designed to answer the following question: What are the effects of a peer network intervention implemented across multiple se ttings on the social skills of students with ASD who are high functioning, utiliz ing procedures and adapted lessons from the social skills program, Skillstreaming the Elementary Sc hool Child (McGinnis & Goldstein, 1997)?

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60Table 2-1. Autism spectrum disorder High functioning Low functioning Intellect: Average or above Mild to profound mental retardation Communication: Age appropriate vocabulary and syntax Delay or lack of spoken language Difficulty with reciprocal conversationa l speech May communicate needs only Repetitive and idiosyncratic speech Repetitive use of language Interpret words literally Difficulty interpreting b ody language/nonverbal cues Restricted interests: Less severe preoccupation with unusual stereotyped More seve re preoccupation with interest s stereotyped interest Less severe repetitive motor mannerisms More severe repetitive motor mannerisms Social skills: Socially awkward/immature /rigid Avoid/resist social contact Fail to develop age appropriate peer relationships Lack social reciprocity Impaired social reciprocity Difficulty understanding social cues and nuances (American Psychiatric Associati on, 2000; Shaked & Yirmiya, 2003)

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61Table 2-2. Peer-mediated interventions Participants Target Training settings behavior Measurement Design sessions Intervention Social skills groups and peer-inclu sive play with adult-mediation 1. Carr & Darcy (1990) Autism Spectrum Response Observation Multiple 25-40 min./ Modeling Disorder (ASD): 4 Correct physica l Percentage of baseline when criteria Combination Ages 3-4 response while correct/incorr ect across met of physical prompts Low Func. playing Follow performance of participants & verbal feedback Peer: 1 the Leader task Age 5 Setting: Hall-Training Gym-Probe Common toys Results: 1) Close proximity with verbal prom pts did not produce peer-modeling effects. 2) Chains of continuous behavior were acquired when peer utilized physical & verbal prompts & feedback. 2. Strain et al. (1979) ASD: 4 Social Beh, Observation W ithdrawal 20 min. training B=Initiated SI Ages 9-10 Initiations/Responses 10s interval of treatment & 20 min. C=Prompt & Low Func. Motor/gestural for 5 min. ABAC/ generalization reinforce SI Peer: 1 Vocal/verbal 20 min. total ACAB 36 sessions Age 11 Setting: Separate school room Play items

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62Table 2-2. Continued Participants Target Training settings behavior Measurement Design sessions Intervention Results: 1) Both interventions (B&C) increased social in teractions (SI) in training sessions in similar amounts. 2) No increase in positiv e SI during generalization session. 3. Pierce & Schreibman (1995) ASD: 2 In Dyads: Observation Multiple 10 min. Pivotal Response Age 10 Social Beh, Interval recordin g baseline during play Training (PRT) Low Func. Imitate Video taped acr oss 1-2 sessions Paying attention Peers: 2 conversation 10s interval for SI participants a day Childs choice Age 10 Initiate play 30s interval for Model appropriate Setting: Maintain SI produced language behavior Unused classAttending Beh. Reinforce attempts room-Training Nonengagement Vary toys Partially inhabited Onlooking Extend conversation classroom-Probe Object engagement Toys Supported joint attn. Coordinated joint attn. Language Use of appropriate words Length of sentence Results: 1) Increased complex social behavior an d attending behavior in social environment. 2) Increased language and communication skills. 3) Peers able to implement comprehensive trea tment package with minimal adult supervision.

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63Table 2-2. Continued Participants Target Training settings behavior Measurement Design sessions Intervention 4. Pierce & Schreibman (1997) ASD: 2 Maintain Observation Multiple 10 min. play Pivotal Response Ages 7-8 interaction Video tape d Baseline sessions Strategies Low Func. Initiate play Continuous acro ss peer 1-2 sessions (Same as earlier, Peers: Initiate conversation 10s in terval trainers a day 1995, study) 6 trainers Generalization 2 generalization probes w/ untrained Ages 8-9 peer, w/ novel Setting: stimuli, in a Empty classroom nontraining Novel classroom environment Toys Results: 1) Naturalistic interventions produ ced positive changes in target students. 2) Use of multiple peer trainers enhanced generalization. 5. Gonzalez-Lopez & Kamps (1997) ASD: 4 Frequency & Observation Withdrawal 3 times/ Child w/ ASD Ages 5 duration of SI Social Intera ction of treatment week & 3 peers Low Func. between students Code (SIC) ABC1A2C2 20 min. Imitation & following Peer: 12 Use of specific (Duration & w/ 2 sessions instruction Age 5 social skills frequency of SI) intervention (10 min. Sharing & taking Setting: Occurrence of Social skills/ conditions teacher led turns Spec. Educ. disruptive beh. beh. rating scale social skills Asking for help & Classroom Procedural checklist training & requesting things Toys Consumer Satisfaction 10 min. Greetings Survey play time)

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64 Table 2-2. Continued Participants Target Training settings behavior Measurement Design sessions Intervention Results: 1) Increased frequency & duration of SI for all target students. 2) Increased use of social behavior by target students. 3) Decreased inappropriate beha vior in 3 of 4 target students. 6. Kamps et al. (1992) ASD: 3 Frequency Observation Multiple First 10 min. Social Skills Age 7 of SI Social Interac tion Baseline of 20 min. training: High Func. Duration Code across session Initiating, responding Peers: 11 of SI 5 min. random part icipants 4 times/week to & sustaining First graders samples 2 weeks/ interaction Setting: 21 item social skill Greetings Integrated skills rating scale Entire class Compliments first grade to measure trained Taking turns & Play time occurrence of sharing particular social Helping & asking for behaviors help Including others Results: 1) Increased frequency, tim e engaged in, & duration of SI. 2) Increased levels of initia tion & responding by target students. 3) Increased responsivity of peers to target students.

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65Table 2-2. Continued Participants Target Training settings behavior Measurement Design sessions Intervention Peer-mediation within social environments 1. Roeyers (1995) ASD: 85 Duration of SI Observatio n Random 10 play Peer proximity Ages 5 Frequency of Beginning assi gnment sessions/ Persistent initiation Low Func. initiation beh imitation to treatment 30 min. each Limited adult Peers: 48 Longer Continuous & control 15 intrusion Ages 5 uninterrupted initiation condi tions sessions Use of familiar toys Setting: SI Response Use of dyads Lunch time Immediately after school (Playrooms) Results: 1) Increased time spent in SI. 2) Increased responsiveness to peers initiations. 3) Increased frequency of initiation behavior by target students. 4) Increased length of sustained interaction.

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66Table 2-2. Continued Participants Target Training settings behavior Measurement Design sessions Intervention 2. Laushey & Heflin (2000) ASD: 2 Ask for an Observation Withdrawal 10 min. Entire class trained Ages 5 object & Event recording of tr eatment during free Dyads changed daily Low Func. respond Occurrence/ ABAB play/center Stay, play, & talk w/ High Func. Get attention Nonoccurrence time buddy Peers: 20 of another Once every Incentive to do a Ages 5 Wait for turn 10 days Good job staying Setting: Look at or together. Integrated in direction of kindergarten person talking classroom Results: Buddy program elicited more appr opriate social skills in target stude nts than passive proximity approach. 3. Shafer et al. (1984) ASD: 4 Social Behavior Observation Multiple 20 min. Direct prompting Ages 5 Motor 10 min. sessions Baseline training Modeling Low Func. Verbal Duration of SI across Peer: 16 Initiate during free-play participants Ages 5 Respond & training sessions (4 trained) Duration Interval during Setting: generalization Empty room-Training GymGeneralization

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67Table 2-2. Continued Participants Target Training settings behavior Measurement Design sessions Intervention Results: 1) Direct prompting increased positive SI between peer trainers and target students. 2) Length of SI increased. 3) SI between untrained peer s and target students increased. 4) Specific programming was necessary to maintain generalization across settings. 4. Peck et al. (1997) ASD: 5 On/off Observation Alterna ting Interventions Individualized on Ages 8 task behavior Video taped Treatme nt conducted on basis of structural Low Func. Aberrant beh. 6s partial A=Best Tr eatment separate days analysis of high/low Peers: 4 Initiations interval recording B=Wo rst Treatment for 5 min. variables/ settings Ages 8 Responses Occurrences each Peer interactions Setting: Continuations divided by Task structure 2 Selfopportunities Environment contained (noise level) Spec. Educ. Classes Maintenance/ generalization in gen. educ. Results: Identification of specifi c antecedent stimuli for each target student allo wed subsequent manipula tion of individual antecedent events conducive to incr eased social interaction and appropriate behavior for each target student.

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68Table 2-2. Continued Participants Target Training settings behavior Measurement Design sessions Intervention Peer-mediation within learning formats 1. Kamps, Barbetta et al. (1994) ASD: 3 Reading rate Data gathered Multiple All students Classwide Peer Ages 8 & # of reading on: Base line trained for Tutoring (CWPT) High Func. errors Reading rate acros s three 45 min. Peer feed-back for Peers: 14 Responses & errors/min. pa rticipants sessions on oral reading Similar ages to reading comp. Reading comp. w/ withdrawal CWPT Correction of errors 4 from each questions Duration of SI of treatment 25 min. of Posting of 3 gen. educ. SI in nonduring free ti me peer-mediated Additional peer classes structured time Mean length of instruction 3 tutoring 15 min. Setting: following readSI times/week social time following Integrated ing instruction CWPT reading instr. gen. educ. supplemental classes to reading instr. Results: 1) Increased fluency and read ing comprehension for all students. 2) Increased duration of SI time for target students and peers.

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69Table 2-2. Continued Participants Target Training settings behavior Measurement Design sessions Intervention 2. Dugan et al. (1995) ASD: 2 Comprehension Observation Wit hdrawal 10 min. to Lesson related Ages 9 of social Pre & post of treatment cover social activities Low Func. studies tests studies curr. Encourage High Func. curriculum Social Interaction Followed by appropriate Peers: 16 Academic Code (SIC) implementation teamwork, social 4th grade ages engagement 5 min. probes of cooperative skills & task beh. Setting: Target & for SI groups Gen. educ. peer interactions 2 ten minute 4th grade (initiations/ academic integrated responses, engagement probes class frequency/ Consumer length) Satisfaction Survey Results: 1) Increased # of items correct on social studies tests for both peer s and target students. 2) Increased academic engagement for peers and target students. 3) Increased length of social intera ctions for peers and target students.

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70Table 2-2. Continued Participants Target Training settings behavior Measurement Design sessions Intervention 3. Kamps et al. (1995) Study 1 ASD: 1 Comprehension Pre& postWit hdrawal 30 min. of Peer tutoring on Age 8 of reading tests of treatment 1 hour vocabulary words High Func. passages Code for reading Practice on who, Peers: 15 Academic Instructional instruction what, where, when, Third grade ages engagement Structure 10 min. of & why quest Setting: Target & Duration of teacher direct Academic games Gen. educ. peer interactions peer interactions instruction & Incentives 3rd grade (MOOSES) modeling of Alternating group integrated Consumer specific social leaders class Satisfaction skill w/ group Survey practice w/ peers (final 6 weeks) Results: Increased reading gains, academic engagement, & p eer interactions during supplem ental cooperative learning group.

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71Table 2-2. Continued Participants Target Training settings behavior Measurement Design sessions Intervention 4. Kamps et al. (1995) Study 2 ASD: 2 ReadingPre& postWit hdrawal 30 min. of Similar to Study 1 Age 12 Comprehension tests over of tr eatment 1 hour except target students Low Func. Academic reading content reading used different reading Peers: 24 engagement Academic instruction material Ages 10 Target & peer engagement Setting: engagement Student Gen. educ. interaction data 5th grade (MOOSES) integrated Consumer Satis. class Survey Results: Increased reading scores on w eekly quizzes and peer interactions.

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72Table 2-2. Continued Participants Target Training settings behavior Measurement Design sessions Intervention 5. Kamps, Royer et al. (2002) Study 1 ASD: 5 Frequency Observation Withdr awal 4th Grade Cooperative learning Ages 9 of SI Social of treatme nt Participation groups during social Low Func. Length of SI Interaction in cooperative studies High Func. Duration of Code (SIC) learning Taught responsibility Peers: 51 SI during 5 Social be h. groups 3 for group roles Ages 8 min. probe generalization times/week & social skills for Setting: probes collected 3rd Grade working in groups 3rd & 4th in fall & spring Soci al skills Social skills groups grade groups Imitating & integrated 10 min responding to peers classes teaching Cooperating followed by Positive interactions 10 min play/free time 4 times/week Generalization probes taken for 15 min. during free time Results: 1) Both groups with embedded peer training increased the amount of time targ et student & peers en gaged in SI across academic and social contexts. 2) SI skills generali zed to nontraining settings. 3) Cooperative learning group showed more generalization of skills.

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73Table 2-2. Continued Participants Target Training settings behavior Measurement Design sessions Intervention 6. Kamps, Royer et al. (2002) Study 2 ASD: 34 Duration of Observation Analysis of Generalization Peer Mediation Ages 7 SI 5 min. probes Variance by Probes Programs groups across 3 yrs. Reciprocal of time engaged Condition: 15 min. Social skills play Low Func. interactions in SI 1.Trained sessions Lunch buddy groups Peers: 120 Toy play Video taped p eers Target Recess buddy groups Same age or On-topic in fall & spring 2.Unt rained student & Tutoring activities within one verbalization and two years peers peer seated Social skills year of target later 3.Stranger at table w/ instruction within students MOOSES peers toys/games context of activity Setting: probes Gen. educ. by condition: classes across 1. Familiar six districts 2. Trained 3. Stranger Results: Trained Peers: 1) Increas ed duration & reciprocal SI. 2) Less increase in on-topic language. Familiar Peers: 1) Increased duration and reciprocal interactions. 2) No change in language. Stranger Peers: 1) All behavi ors occurred with less frequency. 2) Target students who received intervention over multiple years showed more generalization. 3) More social behaviors occurred with trained peers than for control group peers. 4) Consistent contact with peers (i nclusive classrooms) also generalized to social beha viors though less interactions than with st ructured peer mediation.

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74Table 2-2. Continued Participants Target Training settings behavior Measurement Design sessions Intervention Peer network systems in school environments 1. Haring & Breen (1992) ASD: 1 Frequency of SI Observation Multiple One 30 Peer Network Age 13 Frequency of SI Observations of Baseline min. group Age-appropriate Low Func. w/ appropriate target students across meeting per interactions MMR:1 social response during 5 min participants week Persistence Age 13 Identify peers transiti ons Training by Modeling Peers: 9 w/ whom SI Peer monitoring peers between Modifying initiation Ages 12 occurred Peer in terviews classes & at Increase motivation to Setting: (pre-, during, & lunch interact Junior High post-inte rvention) Training by Lunch room Video taped instructor Transition meetings twice a week times for 15 min. Results: 1) Increased quantity and quality of SI. 2) Promoted development of friendsh ips between target students and peers.

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75Table 2-2. Continued Participants Target Training settings behavior Measurement Design sessions Intervention 2. Kamps et al. (1997) ASD: 3 Initiations Observation Multiple Minimum Sequential Ages 6 Motor Reciprocal Base line of 10 min./ Individualized Low Func. Verbal SI (MOOSES) across activity Context appropriate Peers: 21 Responses 5 min. random sett ings 3 times/ Meet aprior criteria Ages 6 Motor samples Academic week Criteria Setting: Verbal 5s timing for Center/game 1.At least 10 min. 3 Academic Duration SI Lunch times/week Center/game of SI Recess 2. Participation of at time Reciprocal least 1 peer Lunch SI 3. Adult supervised Recess 4. Social Activities 5. Peer training 6. Scripts for task 7. Visual/verbal reinforcement 8. Adult feedback Results: 1) Increased interaction time w/ peers across all settings for all target students. 2) SI generalization to nonintervention settings for 2 target students.

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76Table 2-2. Continued Participants Target Training settings behavior Measurement Design sessions Intervention 3. Garrison-Harrell et al. (1997) ASD: 3 Duration of Observation Multiple 20 min. Implementation of a Ages 6 SI initiations & Frequency, Ba seline cooperative trained peer network Low Func. responses length, & total across group activity Use communication Peer: 15 Time spent time of SI settings 1 times/day system First grade ages using (MOOSES) within a & 3 times/ Use social skills for Setting: communication Vocal beh. multiple week appropriate SI Classrooms system during subtest on ASIEP baseline Maintain SI Lunch activities Peer nomination across throughout session Computer Rm. Collateral beh. & friendship ratings participants Recess that changed or 10 min. samples emerged due to of vocal beh. acquisition of 5s timing for SI target beh. Results: 1) Increased frequency and duration of SI in 3 settings with communication system. 2) Increased expressive language for 2 target students. 3) Increased acceptance by peers.

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77Table 2-2. Continued Participants Target Training settings behavior Measurement Design sessions Intervention Study utilizing Skillstreaming the Elementary School Child (McGinnis & Goldstein, 1997) 1. Lopata, et al. (2006) ASD: 21 Social Skills Behavior AsessPretest-Postest 6 weeks Core Treatment Ages 6 Adaptability ment System for Social Skills plus Four 70 min. 1. Social skills Atypicality (odd Children (Reynolds Be havior Treat. sessions/day instruction or unusual beh.) & Kamphaus, 1998) Social Sk ills only (20 min. social 2. Face-affect recog. Teacher Rating Scale skills instruction 3. Interest expansion Parent Rating Scale followed by 50 4. Once/week min. therapeutic interpreting nonliteral activities) statements & idioms Results: 1) Parents and Staff re ported significant increase in social skills across the program. 2) Parents reported significant impr ovement in Adaptability and Atypicality 3) Staff reported no significant change in Ad aptability and a significant increase in Atypicality 4) No difference between the SS + BT vs. SS treatment

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78 CHAPTER 3 METHODS This chapter discusses the methodology used to investigate the effect s of a peer network strategy social skills intervention adapted from Skillstreaming the Elementary School Child (McGinnis & Goldstein, 1997) on the social inter actions of three elementary-age students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) who are high f unctioning. Specifically, the chapter focuses on characteristics of the particip ants, setting and materials, measurement procedures, design, experimental procedures, treatmen t integrity, and social validity. Participants The target participants and their peers were selected from Clay County Public Schools, Florida located in the metropolita n area of Jacksonville, Florida. The School District of Clay County encompasses a 601 square-m ile suburban/rural county in northeast Florida and serves approximately 30,000 students. Information from the Florida Department of Education (2004) indicated that for the 2005 sc hool year, approximately 23% of the students in Clay County met eligibility criteria for a di sability category, 29% were on fr ee/reduced lunch, and 0.5% were in the Limited English Proficiency or Eng lish Language Learners category. According to information from the 2000 U.S. Census report (2 004), the ethnic make up of the county includes 87% White non-Hispanic, 7% Black or African Am erican, 3% Asian, 2% of other races, and 1% American Indian. The median family income is approximately $54,000. Target Participants Three students with ASD were chosen to partic ipate in this study. Crit eria for participation in this investigation included the following: 1. The student was between ages five and twelve.

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79 2. The student received a documented dia gnosis of ASD, PDD, Autism, Asperger syndrome, or High Functioning Autism (HFA) th at included marked deficits in social skills. Any of these diagnoses were acceptable for inclusion in the st udy in addition to the following. 3. The students Intelligence Quotient (i.e., I.Q.) is within the average range. Brandon achieved a Full Scale I.Q. score of 102 on th e Wechsler Intelligence Scale for ChildrenFourth Edition (WISC-IV). Jimmy achieved a Full Scale I.Q. score of 99 on the Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Inte lligence-Third Edition (WPPSI-III) and Sam achieved a Full Scale I.Q. score of 102 on the WISC-IV. 4. The student was included in a general educati on class at least 30% of the school day. This percentage was determined based on inform ation provided by Brandons teacher after the researcher interviewed him about Brandon s possible inclusion in the study. Brandons teacher indicated that he was academically capable but was in a resource special education class to assist him with organizational skills. As a result, Brandon was included in the general education setting for approxi mately 30% of the day. Jimmy and Sam were included in the general educati on class 100% of the school day. 5. The school administrator, the teacher(s), pa rents/guardians, and students consented to participate in this study. After potential participants with ASD were identified (i.e., Brandon, Jimmy, and Sam), the researcher introduced the purpose and procedures of the peer network to their parents, school administrator(s), and teacher(s). After thei r parents and individual teachers signed the appropriate informed consent forms (Appendix B, Parental Informed Consent and Appendix C, Teacher Informed Consent), the researcher read the Target Student Informed Assent form (Appendix A) to each of the potential participants individually and explained any areas they did not understand prior to thei r signing the assent form. The target participants descriptive informati on was obtained from student records, teacher interviews, and the participants psychological reports prepared after assessment by their school psychologist. Brandons most r ecent psychological report was dated May 2006, Jimmys was April 2006, and Sams was June 2003. Descriptive information is summarized in Table 3.1 and

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80 includes the target participants age, gender, et hnicity/race, grade level, intellectual ability, diagnosis, and behavioral descri ption of his social skills. Nondisabled Peer Participants Nine nondisabled students (two for each target participant and one alternate) in the same class as each target participant were selected to participate in this study. These peer participants attended the general education class 100% of the school day. The peer participants were se lected based on social status with classmates and teacher judgment. Social status with classmates was assessed through sociometric measures, which are the most widely used research methods for evaluating childrens soci al competence (Coie, Dodge, & Kupersmidt, 1990). These measures, speci fically peer ratings and peer nominations, are commonly used to determine the status of a child within a peer group (Gresham, 1986). The Friendship Rating Scale (Garrison-Harrell, 199 6) (Appendix D) and the Peer Nominations Questionnaire (Garrison-Harrell, 19 96) (Appendix E) were the soci ometric measures utilized for this study and were taken directly from Garris on-Harrells study (1996) with no changes. These measures were administered to each target par ticipants class based on the following procedure. Each target participants enti re class responded to questions on the Friendship Rating Scale (Garrison-Harrell, 1996) and Peer Nominati ons Questionnaire (Gar rison-Harrell, 1996). Brandons class had 20 students, Ji mmys class had 18 students, a nd Sams class had 24 students at the beginning of the study and 20 students at its conclusion. Th e researcher administered the questionnaires individually to the students in Ji mmys class to ensure understanding because of their young age (kindergarten). Th e scales were administered to Brandon and Sams classes by their teachers as a group activity. The Friendship Rating Scale (Garrison-Harre ll, 1996) asked students to rank how much they like to play with each of their other classm ates based upon a Likert s cale rating of 1 (Not at

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81 All) to 5 (A Lot). The following four questions for Peer Nominations (Garrison-Harrell, 1996) were asked: 1. List three classmates that you w ould invite to your birthday party. 2. List three classmates that are your good friends. 3. List three classmates that you like to play with on the playground. 4. List three classmates th at you like to play with. After administering the questionnaires, the students who scored four or five on the Friendship Rating Scale (Garris on-Harrell, 1996) were compared to the students who were nominated by a minimum of four peers on the P eer Nominations Questionnaire (Garrison-Harrell 1996). For the purpose of the study, the students who we re rated highly by their classmates were considered to have high social status and peer acceptance. The results of the nominations and peer ratings were combined to make a list of potential peer participants for the study. In Brandons class, peers 1 a nd 2 and the alternate were ra ted among the top 7 within the class of 20 on the Friendship Rating Scale. On the Peer Nominations Questionnaire, peer 1 was nominated by 5 classmates, peer 2 by 4 cla ssmates, and the alternate by 4 classmates. In Jimmys class, peers 1 and 2 and the alte rnate were rated among the top 5 within the class of 18 on the Friendship Rating Scale. On the Peer Nominations Questionnaire, peer 1 was nominated by 7 classmates, peer 2 by 6 cl assmates, and the alternate by 4 classmates. In Sams class, peers 1 and 2 and the alternat e were rated among the t op 8 within the class of 24 on the Friendship Rating Scale. On the Peer Nominations Questionnaire, peer 1 was nominated by 11 classmates, peer 2 by 4 classm ates, and the alternate by 6 classmates. Each target participants teacher was then requested to review the list of the classmates and their ratings from the Friendship Rating S cale (Garrison-Harrell, 1996) and the Peer Nominations Questionnaire (G arrison-Harrell, 1996). After reviewing the list, they

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82 recommended nondisabled peers for each of the target participants network based on the following additional criteria: 1. Compliance with teacher requests 2. Regular school attendance 3. Demonstration of age-appr opriate social skills 4. Demonstration of age-appropriate expr essive and receptive language skills After narrowing the list of candidates of pot ential peer participants for the study, the teachers ranked the students from first to last in reference to the preceding criteria. The students who were nominated as desire d friends and playmates by their peers and good models by their teacher were considered socially competent and potential peer pa rticipants for this study. The researcher reviewed both the peer and the te acher rankings and chose students who ranked numbers 1 and 2 as potential peer participants. Th e alternate peer was th e student ranked number 3. The alternate was trained along with the peer pa rticipants and served as a peer participant when peer participants 1 or 2 were absent. Once the three potential peer part icipants for each target participants peer network were identified, the researcher contacted their parent s and discussed the purpose of the network with them. After the parents gave their verbal perm ission, the researcher read the Peer Informed Assent form (Appendix F) to the potential peer participants and explained any areas they did not understand before they signed the form. The peer participants parent s signed the Parental Informed Consent Peer Network form (Appendix G). Descriptive information for the peer participants is included in Table 3-2 and includes their age, gender, ethnicity/race, and gr ade level. During the course of the study, the alternate peer participated in the peer network when one of the peer participants was absent. Brandons alternate peer did not participate in any of the sessions, as his peer participants always were

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83 present. Jimmys alternate peer participated in one session and Sams alternate peer participated in six sessions. Settings Peer network activities and obser vations took place in two setti ngs that were selected based on the target participants class schedules as de termined by their teachers. The settings were chosen by the teachers as times when more naturall y occurring social intera ctions were likely to occur between the target and peer participan ts (i.e., before school, recess, lunch). These two settings provided generalization data concerning the effectiveness of the peer network social skills intervention in increasing so cial interactions between the ta rget and peer pa rticipants in settings where the training did not occur. The se ttings (i.e., before school recess, lunch) were chosen according to each participan ts class schedule. The target a nd peer participants met in a separate room during the before school or recess activities or were partially separated from their classmates at the end of a table during breakfast and lunch settings. This separation or partial separation from the rest of the classmates provide d each target participant with the ability to focus on and practice the social behaviors learned from the adapted lessons of the Skillstreaming the Elementary School Child (McGinnis & Goldstein, 1997) social skills training. The two generalization settings selected for Brandon were before school and during recess. The before school setting was selected because it occurred daily and lasted approximately 15 minutes. Brandon and his peer participants met in a small teacher workroom directly behind Brandons classroom. The other classmates spent these 15 minutes organizing materials for the coming school day, turning in assignments, conve rsing with classmates, and talking with the teacher. The recess setting occurred daily at the conclusion of the lunch period for approximately 20 minutes. Brandon and his peer participants met in the classroom while his other classmates played on the playground. These settings provided Brandon with multiple opportunities to

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84 practice social skills with his peer participants and generalize skills learned during social skills training (Kamps et al., 2002). The two generalization settings selected fo r Jimmy were during lunch and recess. The lunch setting was selected because it occurred daily and lasted for approximately 25 minutes. During lunch, Jimmy and his peer participants sat at one end of a table assigned to their class in the cafeteria. The recess setting occurred daily early in the afternoon and lasted approximately 20 minutes. Jimmy and his peer participants played in the classroom while his other classmates went outside to the playground. These settings also provided Jimmy with multiple opportunities to practice social skills with his peer participants and generalize sk ills learned during social skills training (Kamps et al., 2002). The two generalization settings selected fo r Sam were during breakfast and lunch. The breakfast setting was selected be cause it occurred daily and lasted for approximately 15 minutes. During breakfast, Sam and his peer participants were seated at one end of a table in the cafeteria separated from the other students in the school who also were eating breakfast. Sams classmates who did not eat breakfast spent these 15 minutes in the classroo m organizing materials for the coming school day, turning in assignments, conve rsing with classmates, and talking with the teacher. The lunch setting occurred daily in the cafeteria and lasted approximately 25 minutes. Sam and his peer participants were seated at one end of the table assigned to their class. These settings provided Sam with multiple opportunities to practice social skills with his peer participants and generalize ski lls learned during social skills training (Kamps et al., 2002). The social skills training sessions were im plemented following baseline. For Brandon, the training sessions were held in the teacher wo rkroom directly behind his classroom. For Jimmy and Sam, the training sessions occurred in a sma ll conference room located in the main school

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85 building in each of their respec tive schools. Chairs were arranged in a circle in each room to encourage interactions between the target participant and his p eer participants. Materials Materials were not available in Brandons before school se tting, however, the students occasionally brought incidental items with them such as purses and small toys. During the recess setting, Brandon and his peer pa rticipants had games (e.g., UNO) available in the classroom that they used periodically as well as paper and pencils for drawing, etc. Materials available for Jimmy and his peer pa rticipants in the l unch setting included the students food as well as lunch boxes, cafeteria tr ays, utensils, etc. During the recess setting, a cabinet containing classroom toys/activities was made available for Jimmy and his peer participants to play with. Jimmy and his peer pa rticipants frequently played with Lego building blocks, jigsaw puzzles, or a memory game. Materials available for Sam and his peer part icipants in both the breakfast and the lunch setting included the students f ood as well as lunch boxes, cafeteria trays, utensils, etc. During the study, Sam brought additional items to lunch twi ce. These included notes to study for a test and a notebook to record his classmates pref erred sport (i.e., football or car racing). Materials required for the training sessions in cluded (1) the Autism Society of America (n.d.) brochure, Asperger Syndrome Information Written for Kids Only ; (2) the book, Trevor Trevor by Diane Twachtman-Cullen (1998); (3) chart paper and markers; (4) vanilla ice cream and twelve different toppings for ice cream sundaes; (5) Tic-T ac-Toe game; (6) Garfield War Card Game; and (7) selected Lego building blocks. A video recorder was utilized during the study. All four training sessions were videotaped for each target participant. Every observation in se ttings 1 and 2 were videotaped for each target participant and the dependent measures were coded from the videotapes.

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86 Parents of classmates of the ta rget and peer participants si gned a release of video consent in case their child was inadvert ently videotaped during the study. The cafeteria setting was the only one in which a classmate may have been unintentionally videotap ed. Classmates whose parents specifically requested that their child no t be videotaped were se ated at the opposite end of the table from where the network participan ts were seated. The video camera was aimed directly at the network participants so that othe r classmates were excluded from the taping to the greatest extent possible. Both Jimmy and Sams classes did not have assigned seats during lunch. Thus, classmates who may have appeared on the vi deotape varied. To elimin ate the possibility of including other students in the vi deotape during breakfast, Sam and hi s peer participants sat at a table separated from other students who ate breakfast. Measurement Procedures Independent Variable The independent variable in this study is a peer network social sk ills intervention based on lessons adapted from Skillstreaming the Elementary School Child (McGinnis & Goldstein, 1997) in addition to awareness activities (Kamps, Kravits et al., 2002) and coaching sessions (Gresham, 2002; Haring & Breen, 1992). The social skills intervention included four tr aining sessions conducted over four days. The training sessions occurred twice a week acro ss two weeks following the previously arranged target participants schedule (Appendix L). Th e four training session we re arranged with the teacher and occurred during the school day at a ti me that did not interfer e with instructional/class time or scheduled generalization settings. Da ta continued to be collected during the generalization settings on the same days the tr aining sessions took plac e. Each of the four training sessions lasted 30 minutes.

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87 The first session, an introductory session, include d the two peer particip ants, the alternate, and a discussion of the characte ristics of children with ASD. The remaining three sessions included the target participants (i.e., Bra ndon, Jimmy, Sam) and each of their three peer participants. These three training sessions covered social initiations, respon ses, and interactions as observed in conversations, taking turns, a nd sharing. Training began with Brandon and his peer participants. When a stab le and upward trend was observed in Brandons data, training was implemented with Jimmy and his peer particip ants. After a stable and upward trend was observed in Jimmys data, the tr aining was implemented with Sam and his peer participants. Detailed information concerning the peer ne twork training can be found in Appendix I. Introductory session. The introductory session for the peer participants a nd the alternate included a discussion of the characteristics of ch ildren with ASD, PDD, Asperger syndrome, or High Functioning Autism led by the researcher. The goal of providing information about the characteristics of children within the autism spectrum to the peer participants was that through these awareness activities, the peers might be more likely to make themselves available, sit in closer proximity, and be more responsive to the ta rget participants (Kamps Kravits et al., 2002). The introductory discussion focused on the social skill deficits children with ASD, PDD, Asperger syndrome, or High Functioning Autis m have and their difficulty interacting successfully with their classmates. The materia l/points for the discussion were taken directly from the Autism Society of America (n.d.) brochure, Asperger Syndrome Information Written for Kids Only that was designed to introduce children to the characteristics of the disorder. The book, Trevor Trevor (Twachtman-Cullen, 1998), was read to the peer participants by the researcher. Trevor Trevor is a story that relates how a stude nt with Asperger syndrome or High Functioning Autism is misunderstood and eventu ally accepted by his classmates. Following a

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88 brief discussion of the story, the re searcher explained the peer partic ipants role in the network to engage the target participant in activities and discussed ways in which they can befriend him. Five minutes were provided for the peer partic ipants to ask questions. Terminology concerning each target participants diagnosis (i.e., autism, ASD) was not used during the study. The remaining three training sessions included th e target participant, two peer participants, and the alternate peer. The intervention was implem ented across participants utilizing strategies based on the commercially available curriculum, Skillstreaming the Elementary School Child (McGinnis & Goldstein, 1997). This curriculum was examined and only skills directly related to conversations, taking turns, and sharing were included in the intervention. Skillstreaming is a systematic and structured program for teaching inte rpersonal skills to children with social skill deficits. The program provides structured proc edures for teaching skills using the following components: (1) defining the skill, (2) modeling th e skill, (3) selecting st udents to role-play, (4) setting up the role-play, (5) c onducting the role-play, and (6) providing performance feedback (McGinnis & Goldstein, 1997, p. 57). For a descri ption of each step and a comprehensive delineation of Skillstreaming pro cedures, see McGinnis and Goldst ein (1997). For more in depth information regarding how each of the steps was imp lemented in this study, refer to Appendix I, Peer Network Training. Second training session. The second training session was adapted from Skillstreaming the Elementary School Child (McGinnis & Goldstei n, 1997). The social beha viors taught during the second session included steps for initiating a co nversation as designated in Skill 15: Beginning a Conversation (p. 105) from Skillstreaming. Steps for initiating a conversation included (1) choose the person you want to talk with, (2) deci de what you want to say, (3) choose a good time and place, and (4) talk in a friendly way. Re sponses included combined steps from those

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89 designated in Skill 7: Contributing to Discussions (p. 97) and Skill 16: Ending a Conversation (p. 106) from Skillstreaming. Steps for responses incl uded (1) decide if what you want to say is related to the topic of the conversation, (2) deci de exactly what you want to say, (3) wait until the other person is finished speaking before you star t talking, and (4) talk in a friendly way. These behavioral steps were listed on a chart for th e participants to vi ew during the lesson. The following strategies from Skillstreaming the Elementary School Child (McGinnis & Goldstein, 1997, p. 57) were followed: (1) defining th e skill, (2) modeling th e skill, (3) selecting students to role-play, (4) setti ng up the role-play, (5) conducting the role-play, a nd (6) providing performance feedback. Topics for modeling a nd role-playing were taken from Suggested Situations included in Skill 15: Beginning a C onversation (p. 105), Skill 7: Contributing to Discussions (p. 97), and Skill 16: Ending a Convers ation (p. 106). Additional topics for modeling and role-playing were developed by the researcher and participants. The culminating activity for session two was an ice cream sundae party in which there was a choice of 12 items to top the ice cream. This activity was selected based on discussions and suggestions from teachers and school psychol ogists who had been teachers. All of the participants participated and each was in charge of three toppi ngs (e.g., bananas, chocolate syrup, whipped cream, etc.) of their choosing. In order to receive a desired t opping, each participant had to socially interact with his/he r peers (i.e., initiate a request or respond to the request of another participant). The purpose of the ice cream sundae party was to have each participant initiate a request to another participant fo r a desired topping for his/her i ce cream sundae. In turn, each participant had to respond appropriately to an other participants request from him/her for a topping they desired. In order to obtain a desired toppi ng, the participants ha d to engage in a social interaction that included both an appropriate initi ation and response. The participants went

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90 in order around the table requesti ng or responding to a peers request for a topping so that each participant had an equal number of opport unities for a social in teraction to occur. Mastery of the activity was determined if th e target participant participated in an appropriate social interaction (either an initiation or respons e) in 80% of the opportunities available for a social interaction to occur. Ma stery was measured by the researcher viewing the videotape of the training session. Th e opportunities available for a so cial interaction (an initiation or a response) were counted. The number of act ual social interactions were divided by the number of opportunities for a so cial interaction to occur and multiplied by 100 to obtain a percentage of mastery. Third training session. The third training session was adapted from Skillstreaming the Elementary School Child (McGinnis & Goldstei n, 1997). The social beha viors taught during the third session included steps for taking turns as designated in Skill 18: Playing a Game (p. 108) from Skillstreaming. Steps for taking turns included (1) repeat silently to self I can wait until it is my turn, (2) if the other person is doing an activity, watch them so you can learn from them how to do the activity, and (3) wait in a friendl y way. These behavioral steps were listed on a chart for the participants to view during the lesson. The following strategies from Skillstreaming the Elementary School Child (McGinnis & Goldstein, 1997, p. 57) were followed: (1) defining th e skill, (2) modeling th e skill, (3) selecting students to role-play, (4) setti ng up the role-play, (5) conducting the role-play, a nd (6) providing performance feedback. Topics for modeling a nd role-playing were taken from Suggested Situations included in Skill 18: Playing a Game (p. 108). Additional topics for modeling and role-playing were developed by th e researcher and participants.

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91 The culminating activity included all particip ants playing the card game, Garfield War. This activity was selected based on suggested situ ations in Skill 19: Playing a Game (p. 108) in Skillstreaming. The objective of Garfield War wa s to obtain all of the cards in the deck by playing the highest card. The purpose of the activity was to enable the participants to demonstrate their ability to take turns appr opriately to the conclusion of the game. Mastery of the activity was determined if the target participant took his turn during 80% of the opportunities available for him to take a turn and was measured by the researcher viewing the videotape of the training session. Th e opportunities available for the target participant to take a turn were counted during the activity portion of the session (i.e., playing the card game). The number of actual turns taken were divided by the number of opport unities for a turn to occur and multiplied by 100 to obtain a percentage of mastery. Fourth training session. The fourth training session was adapted from Skillstreaming the Elementary School Child (McGinnis & Goldstei n, 1997). The social beha viors taught during the fourth session included steps for sharing as designated in Skill 24: Sharing (p. 114) from Skillstreaming. These steps included (1) decide if you want to share, (2) decide on the person with whom you want to share, (3) choose a good time and place, and (4) share in a friendly way. These behavioral steps were listed on a chart for the participants to view during the lesson. The following strategies from Skillstreaming the Elementary School Child (McGinnis & Goldstein, 1997, p. 57) were implemented: (1) defining the skill, (2) modeling the skill, (3) selecting students to role-play, (4) setting up the role -play, (5) conducting the role-play, and (6) providing performance feedback. Topics for modeling and role-playing were taken from Suggested Situations included in Skill 24: Shar ing (p. 114). Additional topics for modeling and role-playing were developed by th e researcher and participants.

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92 The culminating activity, Builder, Architect, and Parts Department, was a collaborative effort between the four participants. This activity was selected ba sed on discussions and suggestions from teachers and school psychologist s who had been teachers. One participant was the architect, another was in charge of the part s department, the third was the builder, and the fourth participant was an observe r. The participants worked toge ther to negotiate their actions and coordinate their roles while constructing the desire d shapes out of Lego building blocks as described in Appendix I. The role s changed, thus allowing every pa rticipant to play each role. The purpose of the activity was to enable the participants to demonstrate their ability to interact with each other and share information to attain a desired goal. Mastery of the activity was determined if the ta rget participant shared appropriately in 80% of the opportunities available for sharing to o ccur. Mastery was measured by the researcher viewing the videotape of th e training session. The opportuniti es available for sharing information/Lego building blocks were count ed. The number of actua l sharing occurrences were divided by the number of opportunities fo r sharing to occur and multiplied by 100 to obtain a percentage of mastery. Coaching sessions. Coaching sessions were fashioned following the strategy implemented by Haring and Breen (1992) in which student s who were low functioning were provided instructional periods for developi ng a repertoire of a ppropriate responses to social topics in addition to training activities. In the current study, the researcher conducted coaching if the target participants social interactions displayed littl e increase over three se ssions following training. Coaching included the researcher and the target participant and occurred for 5 to 10 minutes immediately preceding the next generalization setting in which little increase in social interactions was noted.

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93 Coaching consisted of a discussion of the sp ecific behavior of concern observed by the researcher during those sessions, the target participant recomme nding an alternate behavior, and role-playing between the researcher and the targ et participant to practi ce the new behavior. The target participants appropriate choices and role -playing of alternate behaviors were verbally praised (e.g., Good job!) by the researcher. When coaching sessions were needed fo r Brandon, his teacher delayed the peer participants in the classroom or at lunch an additional 5 to 10 minutes, which allowed the researcher time to work with Brandon. For Br andon, coaching sessions were held in the teacher workroom in the before school setting and in the classroom before the recess setting. When a coaching session was needed for Jimmy, the re searcher met with him in the hallway 5 minutes before his class was scheduled to go to lunch. Sam did not receive coaching sessions because of scheduling conflicts. Dependent Variables The dependent variables for this study were the target participants social initiations, responses, and interactions. Initiations were defined as the target participants motor or verbal behavior clearly directed to a pe er participant that attempts to elicit a social response. Examples of appropriate initiati ons included comments regarding the activity, requests for items or information, and any other behavior directed toward a peer partic ipant in an attempt to engage him/her in a mutual activity. N onverbal initiations included offe rs to share materials and hand gestures. A new initiation was said to have occu rred when there was a pause in the interaction (more than 3 seconds), followed by a change in topic or a mutual shift in the focus, and followed by a refocusing of attention (Breen & Haring, 199 1). An inappropriate initiation included the target participant yelling at a peer participant to obtain information or an object, calling a peer participant a derogatory name, or laughing at an inappropriate topi c or at an inappropriate time.

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94 Pushing the peer participant out of the way or tapping hi m/her on their shoulder or arm repeatedly to gain their attention was consider ed an inappropriate initi ation as well (GarrisonHarrell et al., 1997; Gonzalez-Lopez & Kamps, 1 997; Kamps et al., 1992). The peers were told to respond as they normally would to the targ et participants ina ppropriate in itiations. Responses were defined as the targ et participants motor or verbal behaviors that acknowledged the peer participan ts prior initiation within th ree seconds. Examples of an appropriate response included accepting the o ffered item, answering a question, commenting during a conversation, and shaking the head y es or no in response to a question. An inappropriate response included pushing the ex tended item or hand away, not answering a question asked, turning away from someone who is talking, preoccupation with one topic, and being unable to shift to a topic pertinent to the conversation (Garri son-Harrell et al., 1997; Gonzalez-Lopez & Kamps, 1997; Kamps et al., 1992) The peers were told to respond as they normally would to the target participants inappropriate responses. Social interactions were defined as the target partic ipants reciprocal behaviors that occurred as a result of an initiation-response se quence between the target participant and a peer participant. If another member of the group entere d the dyad interaction, this was considered an extension of the interaction and continued to be counted as pa rt of the ini tial interaction. Examples of appropriate interact ions included taking turns while pl aying games, sharing items to complete a task, or providing assistance to anothe r. Inappropriate interact ions included those in which the participants yelled at each other and re fused to take turns. (Garrison-Harrell et al., 1997; Gonzalez-Lopez & Kamps, 1997; Kamps et al ., 1992). The peers were told to respond as they normally would to the target participants in appropriate initiations or responses. Definitions

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95 and examples of appropriate and inappropriate initiations, responses, and interactions are included in Appendix J, Target Behaviors. Data Collection Procedures Data were collected continuously for 5 minutes in each of the two generalization settings (either before school, breakfast, lunch, or rece ss) for each target participant. The five-minute observation began as soon as the ta rget participant and al l of his peer participants were present. Observations of social behaviors were obtained fo r each target participant optimally four times a week in both settings. The session was cancelled onl y if the target partic ipant was absent. If a peer participant was absent, the alternate peer participated in the session. Data were collected through a partial-interval recordi ng system in which the target pa rticipants initiations, responses, and interactions were observed and recorded by hand on a data coll ection form if they occurred at any time during the 6-second in terval. Inappropriate initiations, responses, and interactions also were recorded. An audio tape was used to indicate 6-second intervals with a beep. The data collection form can be found in Appendix K, Social Skills Observation Form. The results were recorded as a percentage of intervals during which an initiation, response, or social interaction occurred. The number of in tervals during which a behavior occurred was divided by the total number of intervals observed. This ratio multiplied by 100 yielded the percentage of intervals that the respon se was performed (Kazdin, 1982, Kennedy, 2005). Interobserver Agreement Training videos were created fr om a pilot study and utilized to train the researcher and one other observer using the interval recording form (i.e., Social Skills Observation Form, Appendix K). The researcher trained the second observer in the following ways: (1) giving her a copy of Appendix J, Target Behaviors, which defines the target behaviors; (2) verbally reviewing the target behaviors; (3) teaching her the use of the Social Sk ills Observation Form; and (4)

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96 answering any questions she had. The researcher and second observer practiced recording target behaviors from the videotape of the pilot study i ndependently until they ach ieved at least a level of 80% agreement across all behaviors. This mini mum level of interobserver agreement, which is traditionally regarded as acceptable (Kennedy, 2005) was considered sufficient to reflect the changes expected in participant behavior across all phases of th is investigati on. According to Kennedy, agreements were defined as instances in which both observers recorded the same behavior. Disagreements were defined as instance s in which one observer recorded the behavior as occurring and the other did not or each observer recorded different behaviors. The second observer was an in-school suspension assistant at an elementary school in Clay County who had two years of experience working w ith elementary school age students. She has a high school diploma and worked as a realtor prior to her family moving to Clay County. Data on the level of agreement between observe rs were collected on the direct observation sessions. Methods used to estimate interobser ver agreement were consistent with those recommended by Kazdin (1982) and Kennedy (2005) Interobserver agreement was calculated on 29.6% of Brandons overall sess ions, 31.2% of Jimmys overall sessions, and 27% of Sams overall sessions. Interobserver agreement was de termined by the number of agreements divided by the total number of agreements plus disagreements and multiplied by 100 to form a percentage (Kazdin, 1982; Kennedy, 2005) across all phases of the study. Interobserver agreement data will be presented in Chapter 4. Design A multiprobe multiple baseline design across participants was used to evaluate the effects of the intervention for th e three target participants (Kenne dy, 2005). This design was selected to establish a functional relation betw een the effects of the interven tion and the dependent variables across the target partic ipants and was evaluated in two generalization settings (Kazdin, 1982).

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97 Within the multiprobe multiple baseline design, data is collected intermittently during the experimental phases at strategic times within the multiple baseline design required for estimating trends and related patterns in the data within and between tiers (Kennedy, 2005). The study consisted of implementing the interv ention with one participant and evaluating the effects of the intervention in two generalizat ion settings. Observations occurred across the two generalization se ttings. The intervention continued with the first participant in two settings until a stable and upward trend occurred. At that time, the intervention was implemented with the second target participant. Afte r implementing the intervention a nd obtaining a stable and upward trend, the intervention was implemented with the th ird participant. Data collection continued for each target participant until it stabilized. A desc ription of the experimental procedures is described in the next section. Experimental Procedures Phase one baseline. Baseline sessions were conducted during each of the target participants generalization settings. No attempt wa s made to facilitate interactions between the target participant and his peer pa rticipants during baseline. The re searcher gathered baseline data as described previously. Baseline data for Brandon were collected be fore school and during recess. During the before school setting, Brandon a nd his peer participants sat ar ound a table and conversed with each other. During the rece ss setting, Brandon and his peer part icipants met in the classroom, sat at a table, played games available in the room, or drew pictures as they conversed with each other. While obtaining baseline da ta in both settings, the research er instructed Brandon and his peer participants to talk as th ey usually did. The researcher st ood in a corner videotaping the sessions.

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98 Baseline data for Jimmy were gathered during lunch and during recess. During these times, Jimmy and his peer participants sat at a cafeter ia table and interacted with each other and the peers sitting around them as they ate. During the recess setting, Jimmy and his peer participants sat on the floor in the classroom and played w ith available Lego building blocks, puzzles, and games as they conversed with each other. While obtaining baseline data in both settings, the researcher instructed Jimmy and his peer particip ants to talk or play as they usually did. The researcher stood in a corner videotaping the sessions. Baseline data for Sam were gathered duri ng breakfast and lunch. During the breakfast setting, Sam and his peer participants sat at a caf eteria table and interact ed with each other as they ate. During the lunch setting, Sam and his pe er participants convers ed with each other and interacted with the peers sitting around them as they ate. While obtaining baseline data in both settings, the researcher instructed Sam and his peer participants to talk as they usually did. The researcher stood in a corner videotaping the sessions. Phase two training. The four training sessions, (i.e., Introduction, Conve rsation, Taking Turns, Sharing) were implemented as previous ly described. Skills were taught at the beginning of the sessions and for the remaining fifteen or twenty minutes, they were practiced by the participants through role-playi ng and the activity. Mastery was determined if the target participants were able to complete the desi gnated culminating activity to each previously specified percentage. Network Training (Appendi x I) includes the details on the training sessions. Phase three implementation of peer networks. The peer network consisted of the target participant and his two p eer participants. Observations occurr ed optimally four times a week in the two generalization settings (e .g., two observations per week in each setting unless the target

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99 participant was absent). During th e course of the study, the alternates became part of the network if either of the two peer participants was abse nt as described earlier. The coaching sessions and multiprobe multiple baseline design were implemented as previously described. Treatment Integrity To ensure that the intervention was implement ed in the manner in which it was intended, the researcher provided the same training for each target participant and his peer participants following the script found in Appendix I, Ne twork Training. The trai ning sessions were videotaped and reviewed by the researcher af ter each session according to the previously described script and the Treatment Integrity checklist, Appendix H, to ensure integrity of the training for the three peer networks. Social Validity The Social Skills Checklist (Garrison-Harrell et al., 1997), Appendix M, was used to gather information concerning the target particip ants social skill development from his teacher and parents perceptions. Sample items incl uded: The student s pontaneously responded to/played with one or more peer, The student in vited one peer to play, The student appeared to be having fun, and so on. These behaviors we re rated on a Likert scale of 1 (Never/Seldom) to 3 (Always/Often) or NA (Not Applicable). The checklist was completed by the teachers and parents at the beginning and at the conclusion of the study to determine their perception of changes in each target partic ipants social behaviors in th eir respective environments. Upon conclusion of the investigation, the par ticipating teachers and parents completed the Consumer Satisfaction Survey Form, Appendix N, to indicate their degree of satisfaction with the study (Garrison-Harrell, 1996). These questions were rated on a Likert-type scale from 1 (Strongly Disagree) to 5 (Strongly Agree) or 6 (Not Applicable). The questions asked were based

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100 upon the types of procedures that were employe d and their social validity. Items addressed implementation (e.g., Peer network activities were easily implemented), benefits (e.g., The peer networks improved social skills for the sp ecial needs student), and satisfaction (e.g., You as a teacher/parent learned from your participation in the program). In addition, preand post-Frie ndship Rating Scale and Peer No minations ratings (GarrisonHarrell, 1996) were administered in a similar pr ocedure as the pre-intervention scales to the target participants entire class to determine wh at effect the intervention had on their perception of the target participant (Appendix D and E) The Network Satisfaction Form, Appendix O, (Garrison-Harrell, 1996) was administ ered to the target participants and their peer participants by the researcher. The following ope n-ended questions were asked: What did you like about the peer network? What didnt you like about the p eer network? and What would you do differently the next time? Thus, the network participants had the oppor tunity to share their satisfaction level with the intervention as well. The following chapter discusses the results of th is investigation, specifi cally, the effects of a peer network on the social behavior of three elementary-aged students with ASD displayed in two different settings in their respective schools.

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101Table 3-1. Target participants Age Gender Ethnicity/RaceGrade Intellect ual Assessment Diagnosis Social Skills Brandon 11-5 Male Caucasian WISC-IV Full Scale I.Q. = 102 Autism (Developmental Pediatrician with U.S. Navy) Avoids oral participation in class 6 Little interaction with peers Jimmy 6-0 Male Hispanic K WPPSI-III Full Scale I.Q. = 99 Autism Spectrum Disorder (Pediatrician with University of Florida College of Medicine) Lack of concern with others feelings Does not adjust well to changes in routine Refuses to join in group activities Sam 11-7 Male Caucasian WISC-IV Full Scale I.Q. = 102 Autism Spectrum Disorder (Pediatrician with University of Florida College of Medicine) Avoids eye contact Interacts better with younger children 5 Withdraws when in group situations Has difficulty accepting anothers way of doing things

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102 Table 3-2. Nondisabled peer participants Age Gender Ethnicity/Race Grade Brandon Peer 1 12-1 Female Caucasian 6 Peer 2 12-8 Male Hispanic 6 Alternate 11-9 Female Caucasian 6 Jimmy Peer 1 6-5 Male Caucasian K Peer 2 5-9 Female Caucasian K Alternate 6-1 Male African-American K Sam Peer 1 10-10 Female African-American 5 Peer 2 11-9 Male Caucasian 5 Alternate 11-2 Male African-American 5

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103 CHAPTER 4 RESULTS The purpose of this study was to investigate th e effects of a peer network social skills intervention implemented solely with student s with ASD who are high functioning and their nondisabled peers. This intervention investigated the effectiveness of the procedures and adapted lessons from the social skills program, Skillstreaming the Elementary School Child (McGinnis & Goldstein, 1997) on the social interactions of students with ASD who are high functioning. The study was designed to facilitate natural interactions between the students with ASD and their peers to investigate generalizati on of social interactions to unt rained settings. The research question addressed was: What are the effects of a peer network intervention implemented across multiple settings on the social skills of stude nts with ASD who are high functioning, utilizing procedures and adapted lessons from the social skills program, Skillstreaming the Elementary School Child (McGinnis & Goldstein, 1997)? To investigate this question, participants w ith ASD who are high functioning and selected nondisabled peers participated in the researc h. Baseline data were collected on the target participants initiations, responses, and social interactions in two ge neralization settings. Following baseline, a social skills intervention adapted from Skillstreaming the Elementary School Child (McGinnis & Goldstein, 1997) was implemented that included training sessions (i.e., an introductory session a nd three training sessions). During and following the completion of the training activities, the effectiveness of the intervention was measured by comparing each target participants initiations, re sponses, and social in teractions in two gene ralization settings to baseline levels. A single subject multiprobe mu ltiple baseline across participants was employed to evaluate the effects of the social skills interv ention on the social behaviors of the participants.

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104 The remainder of the chapter reports interobs erver agreement data, experimental findings by phases, treatment integrity data, mastery of traini ng activities, coaching, and social validity data. Interobserver Agreement Interobserver agreement was calculated on each target participant session across both phases of the study (i.e., baseli ne and intervention/generaliza tion). To obtain interobserver agreement, the primary researcher (serving as th e primary data collector) and a secondary data collector (serving as a reliabili ty observer) independently view ed the videotapes, each coding target behaviors across all phases of the st udy. For Brandon, overall in terobserver agreement across all social behaviors was calculated on 29.60% of the sessions. Mean percentage agreement was 95.70% (range=80%%). For Jimm y, overall interobser ver agreement was calculated on 31.20% of the sessions. Mean percentage agreement was 96.30% (range=80% 100%). For Sam, overall interobserver agreem ent was calculated on 27.00% of the sessions. Mean percentage agreement was 96.90% (range=82%%). Experimental Findings Data reported in Figures 4-1 and 4-2 and on Tables 4-1 and 42 are the target participants initiations, responses, and social interactions. Ov erall, the results indicated improvement in the social skills for each of the target participan ts. Positive changes were noted in the target participants initiations and social interactions across two generalization settings after social skills training occurred. Differences, however, we re found in the target participants responses. The responses of two target participants incr eased and the responses of the third target participant decreased. Although a low percentage of inappropri ate social behaviors occurred across both settings, these behaviors decr eased following the social skills training.

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105 Generalization Setting 1 Baseline. The first generalization setting for Brandon and his peer participants was before school. Setting 1 for Jimmy and his peer particip ants was during lunch and for Sam and his peer participants, setting 1 was breakfast. As seen in Figure 4-1, baseline data were collected for 2 sessions for Brandon, 9 for Jimmy, and 9 for Sam. The number of sessions data were gathered was determined by the consistent trend in the data of the target participan ts social behaviors in accordance with the multiprobe multiple baseli ne design (Kennedy, 2005). Table 4-1 provides data for the target participants appropriate initi ations, responses, and so cial interactions during baseline in generalization sett ing 1. Table 4-2 provides data for the target participants inappropriate initiations, respons es, and social interactions. Appropriate behaviors. During baseline in generaliz ation setting 1, the target participants appropriate initiations, responses and social interactions occurred at a low percentage. Brandons mean percentage of ini tiations was 3.00% of the intervals with both baseline intervals occurring at 3.00%. Jimmys m ean percentage of initi ations was 2.22% of the intervals (range=1.00%4.00%), and Sams mean percentage of initiations was 5.22% of the intervals (range=4.00%.00%). Brandons mean percentage of responses was 2.50% (range=2.00%.00%), Jimmys mean percenta ge of responses was 2.22% (range=0.00% 8.00%), and Sams mean percentage of re sponses was 5.00% (range=2.00%.00%). Brandons mean percentage of social interactions was 5.00% (range=2.00%.00%), Jimmys mean percentage of social interactions was 1.78% (range=0.00%.00%), and Sa ms mean percentage of social interactions was 7.78% (range=4.00%.00%). Inappropriate behaviors. During baseline in generali zation setting 1, the target participants inappropria te initiations, responses, and social interactions occurred at a low

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106 percentage. Brandons mean percen tage of inappropriate initiations was 2.50% of the intervals (range=2.00%.00%) and Jimmys mean percentage of inappropriate ini tiations was 2.67% of the intervals (range=0.00%.00%). Sam did not e xhibit any inappropriate initiations. Brandons mean percentage of inappropriate res ponses was 1.00% (range=1.00%.00%) and Jimmys mean percentage of inappr opriate responses was .56% (range=0.00%.00%). Sam did not exhibit any inappropriate responses. Brandons mean percentage of inappropriate social interactions was 1.00% (range=0.00%.00%) and Ji mmys mean percentage of inappropriate social interactions was 2.89% (range=0.00%.00 %). Sam did not exhibit any inappropriate social interactions during baseline in setting 1 resulting in a mean perc entage of 0.00% of the intervals. Generalization. Generalization data are displayed dur ing and following training (Figure 41). Generalization data for Brandon were coll ected over 11 sessions, 10 sessions for Jimmy, and 8 sessions for Sam. The number of sessions data were gathered wa s determined by the consistent trend in the data of the target participants so cial behaviors in accordance with the multiprobe multiple baseline design (Kennedy, 2005). Table 4-1 provides data for the target participants appropriate initiations, responses, an d social interactions during ba seline in generalization setting 1 and Table 4-2 provides data for the target participants inappropriate initiations, responses, and social interactions. Appropriate behaviors. During and following training, Br andons mean percentage of appropriate initiations was 11.09% of the intervals (range=5.00% .00%), Jimmys mean percentage of appropriate in itiations was 16.80% of the in tervals (range=8.00%.00%), and Sams mean percentage of a ppropriate initiations was 10.00% of the intervals (range=6.00% 14.00%). Brandons mean percentage of appropr iate responses was 6.55% of the intervals

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107 (range=4.00%.00%), Jimmys mean percentage of appropriate responses was 4.20% of the intervals (range=2.00%.00%) and Sa ms mean percentage of a ppropriate responses was 4.00% of the intervals (range=2.00%.00 %). Brandons mean percenta ge of appropriate social interactions was 39.55% of the intervals (r ange=13.00%.00), Jimmys mean percentage of appropriate social interacti ons was 47.80% of the interval s (range=20.00%.00%), and Sams mean percentage of appropriate social intera ctions was 47.25% of the intervals (range=26.00% 70.00%). Inappropriate behaviors. During and following training, the target pa rticipants inappropriate initiations, res ponses, and social interacti ons decreased. Brandons mean percentage of inappropriate initiations was .09% of the intervals (range=0.00%.00%) and Jimmy and Sam did not exhibit any inappropriate initiations resulting in 0.00 percent of the intervals. None of the target pa rticipants exhibited inappropriate responses or social interactions during the generalization phase in generalization setting 1 resu lting in 0.00 pe rcent of the intervals. In summary, for Brandon and Jimmy, the mean percentage of appropriate initiations, responses, and social interactions increased from baseline leve ls to intervention levels in generalization setting 1. For Sam, the mean per centage of appropriate initiations and social interactions increased from baseline levels to intervention levels in generalization setting 1. However, the mean percentage of Sams appropr iate responses decreased slightly. Brandon and Jimmys inappropriate responses an d social interactions decreased from low baseline levels to zero in generalization setting 1. Jimmys inappropria te initiations decrease d from a low baseline level to a zero level in gene ralization setting 1. Br andons inappropriate initiations decreased

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108 from a low baseline level to a lower level in generalization setting 1. Sam did not demonstrate any inappropriate behaviors in generalization setting 1. Generalization Setting 2 Baseline. The second generalization setting for Brandon and his peer participants was recess. Generalization setting 2 was recess for Jimmy and his peer participants and lunch for Sam and his peer participants. As s een in Figure 4-2, baseline data were collected for 3 sessions for Brandon, 9 for Jimmy, and 12 for Sam. The numb er of sessions data were gathered was determined by the consistent trend in the data of the target participants social behaviors in accordance with the multiprobe multiple baseli ne design (Kennedy, 2005). Table 4-1 provides data for the target participants appropriate initi ations, responses, and so cial interactions during baseline in the second generaliza tion setting. Table 4-2 provides da ta for the target participants inappropriate initiations, respons es, and social interactions. Appropriate behaviors. During baseline in generaliz ation setting 2, the target participants appropriate initiations, responses and social interactions occurred at a low percentage. Brandons mean percentage of appropr iate initiations was 2. 67% of the intervals (range=2.00%.00%), Jimmys mean percentage of appropriate initiatio ns was 3.00% of the intervals (range=0.00%.00 %), and Sams mean percentage of appropriate initiations was 4.33% of the intervals (range=3.00%.00%). Br andons mean percentage of appropriate responses was 3.67% (range=3.00%.00%), Jimmys mean percentage of appropriate responses was 4.11% (range=0.00%.00%), and Sams mean percentage of appropriate responses was 5.50% (range=1.00%.00%). Brandons mean percentage of appropr iate social interactions was 4.67% (range=3.00%.00%), Jimmys mean percen tage of appropriate social interactions was 3.67% (range=0.00%.00%), and Sams mean percentage of appropriate social interactions was 8.75% (range=2.00%.00%).

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109 Inappropriate behaviors. During baseline in generali zation setting 2, the target participants inappropria te initiations, responses, and social interactions occurred at a low percentage. Brandons mean percen tage of inappropriate initiations was 4.00% of the intervals (range=0.00%.00%), Jimmys mean percentage of inappropriate initiations was 3.77% of the intervals (range=0.00%.00 %), and Sams mean percentage of inappropriate initiations was 1.17% of the intervals (range=0.00%.00%). Bra ndons mean percentage of inappropriate responses was 0.33% (range=0.00%.00%), Jimm ys mean percentage of inappropriate responses was 0.44% (range=0.00%.00%), and Sa ms mean percentage of inappropriate responses was 0.50% of the intervals (range =0.00%.00). Brandons mean percentage of inappropriate social interactions was 4.00% (range=0.00%.00%), Jimmy s mean percentage of inappropriate social interactions wa s 3.66% (range=0.00%.00%), and Sams mean percentage of inappropriate so cial interactions was 1.83% of the intervals (range=0.00%.00). during baseline in ge neralization setting 2. Generalization. As was the case in the first generali zation setting, genera lization data are displayed during and following training (Figur e 4-2). Generalization data for Brandon were collected over 11 sessions, 10 sessions for Ji mmy, and 8 sessions for Sam. The number of sessions data were gathered was determined by th e consistent trend in th e data of the target participants social behaviors in accordance with the multiprobe multiple baseline design (Kennedy, 2005). Table 4-1 provides data for the target participants appropriate initiations, responses, and social interactions during base line in generalization se tting 1 and Table 4-2 provides data for the target pa rticipants inappropriate initiat ions, responses, and social interactions.

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110 Appropriate behaviors. During and following training, Br andons mean percentage of appropriate initiations was 18.91% of the intervals (range=8.00% .00%), Jimmys mean percentage of appropriate in itiations was 18.00% of the in tervals (range=12.00%.00%), and Sams mean percentage of a ppropriate initiations was 10.75% of the intervals (range=8.00% 16.00%). Brandons mean percentage of appropr iate responses was 6.18% of the intervals (range=2.00%.00%), Jimmys mean percentage of appropriate responses was 6.20% of the intervals (range=4.00%.00%) and Sams mean pe rcentage of appropriate responses was 3.25% of the intervals (range=2.00%.00%). Brandon s mean percentage of appropriate social interactions was 51.18% of the intervals (r ange=16.00%.00), Jimmys mean percentage of appropriate social interacti ons was 62.20% of the interval s (range=42.00%.00%), and Sams mean percentage of appropriate social intera ctions was 61.50% of the intervals (range=22.00% 84.00%). Inappropriate behaviors. During and following training, the percentage of target participants inappropriate initiations, responses, a nd social interactions decreased. None of the target participants exhibited inap propriate initiations, responses, or social interactions during the second generalization setting. In summary, for Brandon and Jimmy the mean percentage of appropriate initiations, responses, and social interactions increased from baseline leve ls to intervention levels in generalization setting 2. For Sam, the mean per centage of appropriate initiations and social interactions increased from baseline levels to intervention levels in generalization setting 2, however his mean percentage of appropriate responding decreased. The target participants inappropriate initiations, responses and social interactions decreas ed from a low percentage in baseline to zero percent in th e second generalization setting.

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111 Summary In generalization settings 1 and 2, all target pa rticipants demonstrated an increase in their mean percentage of appropriate initiations and social interactions from baseline levels to intervention levels. Brandon and Jimmy also displa yed an increase in their mean percentage of responses in both settings. However, Sams le vel of appropriate re sponses decreased from baseline levels to intervention levels in both generalization settings 1 and 2. Inappropriate initiations, respons es, and social interactions occurred at a low percentage for the target participants in generalization settings 1 and 2. In ge neralization setting 1, Brandons inappropriate responses a nd social interactions decreased from baseline levels to zero percent in the generalization set ting and his inappropriate initia tions decreased from baseline levels to intervention levels. Jimmys inappropriate initiations, responses, a nd social interactions decreased from baseline levels to zero percent during the generalization setting and Sam did not exhibit any inappropriate initiations, responses, or social interactions during baseline or generalization. In generalization setting 2, all par ticipants inappropriate initiations, responses, and social interactions decreased from a low pe rcentage in baseline to zero percent in the generalization setting Treatment Integrity Treatment integrity data were collected on th e implementation of trai ning procedures for each of the three target participants and thei r nondisabled peers, Appendix I. The training sessions were videotaped and reviewed by the re searcher according to the Treatment Integrity Checklist, Appendix H, at the end of each training session to ensure that all training steps were completed. The researcher reviewed the tapes and determined that the training steps for the four training sessions were completed 100% of the time for all three targ et participants and their peer participants.

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112 Mastery of Training Activities To determine the level of mastery of traini ng activities, the res earcher assessed each participants mastery following each traini ng session. To determine mastery during the introductory session, a script fo r the lesson was followed. The fi nal activity of each of the following three training sessions was used to determine the target participants mastery of specific skills taught through the training activ ities. Specifically, an assessment of each participants mastery of the fo llowing skills was conducted: c onversation (i.e., initiate and respond), take turns, or share appropriately. Mastery was define d as engaging in appropriate social behaviors in at least 80% of the opportunities for intera ctions in that particular activity according to criteria previously discussed in Chapter 3. In the second training session, Conversation (Initiations and Responses), the number of opportunities available for a social interaction (an initiation or a re sponse) to occur during the ice cream sundae party varied between participan ts. For example, Brandon and his peers had 16 opportunities available for a social interaction to occur, Jimmy a nd his peer participants had 18, and Sam and his peer participants had 12. In th e third training session, Taking Turns, the number of opportunities available for taki ng turns while playing the card game, Garfield War, varied between participants. For example, Brandon and his peer participants had 33 opportunities to take turns, Jimmy and his participants had 11, an d Sam and his participants had 14. In the fourth training session, Sharing, the number of opportuniti es available for sharing while engaged in the Builder, Architect, Parts Department activity also varied between participants. For example, Brandon and his peers had 43 opportunities availabl e for sharing to occur, Jimmy and his peer participants had 15, and Sam and hi s peer participants had 17. Overall, the target participants each attained 100% mastery in two of th e three activities. In the activity for Conversations, Brandon, Jimmy, and Sam all attained 100% mastery. In the

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113 Taking Turn activity, Jimmy attained 100% ma stery and Brandon and Sam attained 97% and 93% mastery respectively. In the Sharing activ ity, Brandon and Sam attained 100% mastery and Jimmy attained 87% mastery. Table 4-3 provide s the percentage of mastery each target participant attained in each activity. Coaching Coaching was implemented as determined by a downward trend in the data. Brandon received one coaching session in the before scho ol setting and one in the recess setting. Jimmy received one coaching session in the lunch set ting and specific instruct ion was provided during the training sessions to address behavioral concerns noted du ring the recess setting. Coaching may have been beneficial for Sam in the breakf ast setting (before sess ion 17), but he did not receive any as a result of scheduling difficulties. During the before school setting, Brandon receiv ed one coaching session prior to session 7. This coaching session was conducted because the researcher did not observe a consistent increase in his social interactions (e.g., 13% to 20% to 16%). Specifically, Brandon did not fully respond to conversations initiate d by his peers. Brandons coaching in the before school setting was held in the teacher workroom before the peer participants entered. After discussing possible conversation starters, Brandon role-played with the researcher until he was ab le to think of three topics he could use to initiate conversations of interest to hi m with his peers. These topics included the upcoming group project for the ch apter over the middle ages, student council activities, and his concerns about junior high school. Social interactions increased between sessions 6 and 7 from 16% to 42%. During the recess setting, Brandon received coac hing prior to session 10 in that a decline was observed in his social intera ctions (e.g., 52% to 36% to 32% to 28%). Sp ecifically, Brandon did not focus on the topic of the conversation and his unrelated responses resulted in ending the

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114 conversation. Coaching was held in the classroom before the other peer participants entered and involved a discussion of listening closely to what his peers were saying and practicing responding appropriately to different topics the researcher initiate d. Social interactions increased between sessions 9 and 10 from 28% to 60%. During the lunch setting, Jimmy received coaching prior to se ssion 13. This coaching session was conducted because the researcher did not observe a consistent increase in his social interactions (e.g., 26% to 28% to 20%). Specifica lly, Jimmy made comments such as liking to eat garbage or he would say an inappropriate wo rd to draw responses from his peers. Coaching was held in the hallway prior to the class going to lunch and in volved a discussion of words and topics appropriate for school settings and role-p laying with the researcher until Jimmy was able to think of three appropriate topics with which to initiate a conversation. Jimmys topics included talking about favorite video games/movies, comm enting on what they were eating, or talking about what they would do at re cess. Social interactions incr eased between sessions 12 and 13 from 20% to 44%. During baseline observations in the recess setting, Jimmy exhibited difficulty playing appropriately with his peers and with play mate rials. To get his peers attention, Jimmy would fly his Lego plane into object s his peers were constructing, resulting in inappropriate interactions between Jimmy and his peers. Duri ng the training sessions role-playing directly addressed this issue. Results indicated increased social interactions between Jimmy and his peers throughout the recess ge neralization setting. Social Validation Social validity measures were administered to provide an estimation of the importance, effectiveness, appropriateness, and/or satisf action with the current study (Kennedy, 2005). The target participants teachers, parents, classmates and peer participants as well as themselves

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115 were asked to provide their pe rceptions of the study (e.g., Soci al Skills Checklist, Consumer Satisfaction Survey Form, Netw ork Satisfaction Form, Friends hip Rating Scale, and Peer Nominations Questionnaire). The questions on the Social Skills Checklist, Consumer Satisfaction Survey Form, Netw ork Satisfaction Form, Friends hip Rating Scale, and Peer Nominations Questionnaire were taken directly from Garrison-Harrell s study (1996) with no adaptations. Social Skills Checklist Each target participants teacher and pare nts completed the Social Skills Checklist, Appendix M, (Garrison-Harrell, 1996) before th e investigation began and immediately following the completion of the intervention. Below is a summary of the findings for each participant (Appendix P includes preand post -responses for each question). Brandon. Brandons teacher indicated that Bran dons scores improved in 6 of 21 skills (29%) from a that indicated Sometimes to a that indicated Always/Often (e.g., The student invited more than one peer to play, The student appear ed to be having fun, and Peers interacting with the student appeared to be having fun). The remaining 15 (71%) were unchanged (i.e., they remained at a ) (e.g., T he student followed inst ructions given by other students, and The student spont aneously responded to/played with more than one peer). Brandons teacher added the following comment: Brandon was able to increase his social skil ls and interaction with fellow students and peers during the activity period of this study. I believe strongly it wa s not only beneficial for Brandon to participate but was beneficial for the growth and unde rstanding of the other students involved. They all showed an unders tanding and caring I would hope all students need and have the opportunity to expand upon in the future. Brandons mother indicated that the items on the Social Skills Checklist were Not Applicable. She stated that she was not present to observe any of the activities; therefore, she could not complete the form.

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116 Jimmy. Jimmys teacher indicated his improveme nt in 14 of the 21 skills (67%) on the checklist (e.g., The student invite d more than one peer to play, The student interacted verbally with more than one peer, and Peers interacting with the student appeared to be having fun). The remaining 7 (33%) were unchanged (e.g., The student took turns when playing, and The student followed instructions given by other st udents). Jimmys mother indicated improvement in 8 of the 21 skills listed (38%) (e.g., The child was persistent at social interactions, and The student used appropriate social behaviors to begin an interaction). She marked the remaining 13 skills (62%) as NA (Not Applicable ). She stated, Jimmy has impr oved in verbal skills and at home is more playful than before and can social ize better with what he is feeling and doing. Sam. Sams teacher indicated improvement in 3 of the 21 skills (14%) on the checklist (e.g., The student used appropriate social behaviors to begin an interaction, and The student interacted verbally with more than one peer ). The remaining 16 (76%) were unchanged (e.g., Peer sought out the student for social play, and The student did not exhibit inappropriate behaviors during the session). A decrease was noted in the occurrence of 2 skills (10%) (e.g., The student followed directions given by othe r students. and The student took turns when playing). Sams mother rated 19 of the 21 skil ls (90%) the same indicating no change. She did not mark two items (10%) and did not offer any comments on the form. In summary, there was overlap in skills the teachers noted improvement in for the target participants. While not all three teachers obser ved improvement in the same skill, 8 of the 21 skills reported showed improvement for at least two of the target participants. For example, Brandon and Jimmy improved in Inviting more than one peer to play, and Accepting/playing with materials shared/given by other students. Jimmy and Sam improved in Interacting verbally with one peer, and Interacting verbal ly with more than one peer. The parents

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117 responses on the checklist were varied. Jimmys mother responded to 9 of the questions in which she observed improvement in his skills. The responses provided by Brandons mother yielded data marked Not Applicable and Sams mother did not indicate observing any changes in his behavior over the c ourse of the study. Consumer Satisfaction Survey Form Upon conclusion of the study, th e target participants teach ers and parents completed a Consumer Satisfaction Survey, Appendix N, (Gar rison-Harrell, 1996) to i ndicate their degree of satisfaction with the study. Speci fic items addressed the implemen tation of the investigation and were rated on a Likert-type scale from 1 (Strongl y Disagree) to 5 (Strong ly Agree) or 6 (Not Applicable). The results for i ndividual participants are listed below. See Appendix P for individual parent and teache r responses and comments. Brandon. Brandons teacher rated the intervention favorably with 11 of 11 items (100%) rated as a 5 (Strongly Agree) (e.g., The peer network activities assi sted the special needs student in getting along better with his/he r peers, and Overall, the peers in the class benefited socially and behaviorally by their participation in the pe er network program). His mother rated 3 of the 11 items (27%) on the survey as a 6 (Not Applicab le), 6 items (55%) were rated as a 5 (Strongly Agree) (e.g., Students enjoyed th e peer network, and The peer network improved social skills for the special needs child), 1 item (9%) was ma rked 3 (Neutral), and 1 item (9%) was marked 2 (Disagree). The item rated as Disagree was You as a teacher/pare nt learned from your participation in the program. Jimmy. Jimmys teacher rated 7 of 11 items (64 %) as a 5 (Strongly Agree) (e.g., The peer network improved social skills for the special ne eds student, and Overall, the special needs student benefited socially and behaviorally fr om his/her participation in the peer network program), 3 (27%) as a 4 (Agree), and 1 (9%) as a 3 (Neutral) (e.g., The peer network

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118 improved learning for the special needs student) The Consumer Satisfaction Survey (GarrisonHarrell, 1996) was only partially completed by Jimmys father. He rated 3 of the 11 items (27%) as 4 (Agree) (e.g., Peer network improved social skills for the special needs studentt), 1 (9%) as 3 (Neutral), and 7 (64%) as 6 (Not Applicable). Jimmys fa ther did not write any comments on the survey; however, he told the researcher that Jimmys behavior had improved ,000 % since the study started. Sam. Sams teacher rated the investigation favor ably with 9 of 11 items (82%) rated a 5 (Strongly Agree) (e.g., The peer network activi ties were easily implemented, and Students enjoyed the peer network) and 2 rated a 4 ( 18%) (Agree) (e.g., The peer network improved learning for the special needs student). His moth er rated 2 of the 11 items (18%) a 4 (Agree) (e.g., Students enjoyed the peer network) and 9 items (82%) were marked 3 (Neutral). In summary, the 3 teachers were positive in their responses on the Consumer Satisfaction Survey Form (Garrison-Harrell, 1996). They st rongly agreed on 6 of the 11 questions on (e.g., Peer network activities were easily implemented, and Overall, the special needs student benefited socially and behaviora lly for his/her participation in the peer network program). The parents responses again were varied. While overa ll Brandons mother was the most favorable in her responses to the peer network, she indicated that she did not learn from her participation in the program. Jimmys father marked 7 of the questions as N.A. and agreed or was neutral on the remaining 4 (e.g., The peer network improved so cial skills for the sp ecial needs student). Responses provided by Sams mother were neutral with the exception of one she agreed with (e.g., You were satisfied with the amount of feedback you received from the researcher). Network Satisfaction Form The target participants and their peer part icipants completed the Network Satisfaction Form, Appendix O, (Garrison-Harrell, 1996) at th e conclusion of the study to share their

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119 satisfaction level with the intervention. The fo llowing three questions were asked (1) what did you like about the peer network, (2) what didnt you like about the peer network, and (3) what would you do differently next time? Overall, the responses regarding thei r satisfaction with the network intervention were favorable Participants indicated a numb er of different factors that they liked about the peer network (e.g., The act ivities and spending time with their peers). When asked what they did not like, most participan ts indicated that they liked all the activities. Finally, when asked what to do differently next tim e, participants suggested different activities. See Appendix P for the target participants and th eir peer participants individual responses. Friendship Rating Scale and Peer Nominations Questionnaire The Friendship Rating Scale (Garrison-Harre ll, 1996) and Peer Nominations (GarrisonHarrell, 1996) ratings were administered to each target participants entire class immediately before the study to identify peer participants fo r the network and to estim ate their perceptions of the target participants social behavior, Appendi x D and E. The classmates also completed the Friendship Rating Scale and Peer Nominations Questionnaire afte r the study to determine what effect the intervention may have had on their pe rception of the target participants behavior. Results of individual student s ratings on the Friendship Ratin g Scale and Peer Nominations Questionnaire are found in Appendix P. Friendship Rating Scale. At the beginning of the study, Brandon indicated he had 0 friends in the class that he like A Lot and at the end, he had 3 (i .e., the 3 peer pa rticipants). The classmates perception of Brandon as a friend th ey liked A Lot increased from 0 at the beginning of the study to 1 at the end. Jimmy indicated he had 8 fr iends he liked A Lot at the beginning of the study and at the end, he had 10. The classmates perception of Jimmy as a friend they liked A Lot remained unchanged at 0 from the beginning to the end of the study. Sam indicated he had 0 friends in the class that he like A Lot at the beginning and it remained

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120 at 0 at the end of the study. The classmates perc eption of Sam as a friend they liked A Lot increased from 3 at the beginning of the study to 4 at the end. Peer Nominations Questionnaire. Before the study, Brandon indicated he had no classmates (0%) he would like to invite to his birthday party. Jimmy indicated he had 3 classmates (18%) and Sam also indicated he ha d 3 (13%). When classmates nominated those they would like to invite to their birthday party, none (0%) invited Brandon, 1 (6%) nominated Jimmy, and 3 (13%) nominated Sam. Following th e intervention, Brandon indicated he had 3 classmates (16%) he would invite to his birthday party (i.e., the 3 peer participants), Jimmy had 3 (18%), and Sam had 3 (13%). After the interv ention, none (0%) of the classmates nominated Brandon, 1 (6%) nominated Jimmy, and 2 (11%) nominated Sam. Before the study, Brandon indicated he had no classmates (0%) that were his good friends. Jimmy indicated he had 3 friends (18%) and Sam also indicated he had 3 (13%). When classmates nominated those that were thei r good friends, none (0%) nominated Brandon, 1 (6%) nominated Jimmy, and 2 (9%) nominated Sam. Fo llowing the intervention Brandon indicated he had 3 (16%) classmates that we re his good friends (i.e., the 3 p eer participants), Jimmy had 3 (18%), and Sam had 3 (16%). After the interv ention, none (0%) of the classmates nominated Brandon, 3 (18%) nominated Jimmy, and 1 (5%) nominated Sam. Before the study, Brandon indicated he had no cla ssmates (0%) that he liked to play with on the playground. Jimmy indicated he had 3 classmat es (18%) that he liked to play with and Sam also indicated he had 3 (13%). When classm ates nominated those that they liked to play with on the playground, none (0%) nominated Br andon, 1 (6%) nominated Jimmy, and 3 (13%) nominated Sam. Following the in tervention, Brandon indicated he had 3 (16%) classmates that he liked to play with on the playground (i.e., th e 3 peer participants), Jimmy had 3 (18%), and

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121 Sam had 3 (16%). After the intervention, none (0%) of the classmates nominated Brandon, 2 (12%) nominated Jimmy, and 1 (5%) nominated Sam. Before the study, Brandon indicated he had no cla ssmates (0%) that he liked to play with. Jimmy indicated he had 3 classmat es he liked to play with (18 %) and Sam also indicated he had 3 (13%). When classmates nominated those that they liked to play with, none (0%) nominated Brandon, 1 nominated Jimmy (6%), and 4 nominated Sam (17%). Following the intervention, Brandon indicated he had 3 (16%) classmates that he liked to play w ith (i.e., the 3 peer participants), Jimmy had 3 (18%), and Sam had 3 (16%). After the inte rvention, none (0%) of the classmates nominated Brandon, 2 (12%) nominat ed Jimmy, and none (0%) nominated Sam. In summary, results of the Friendship Rati ng Scale (Garrison-Harrell, 1996) and Peer Nominations Questionnaire (Garri son-Harrell, 1996) indi cated that Brandon had the most change in his perceptions of friends. At the beginning of the study he nominated no classmates and following the intervention, he nominat ed his peer participants consis tently as friends he liked A Lot on the Friendship Rating Scale and as classmat es he would invite to his birthday party, are good friends, likes to play with on the playgroun d, and just likes to pl ay with on the Peer Nominations Questionnaire. Neither Jimmy nor Sam nominated the peer participants on the Friendship Rating Scale or on any of the questio ns, preor post-, on the Peer Nominations Questionnaire. Jimmy and Sam consistently nominated 3 classmates on both scales. The classmates of the target participants did not vary much in their nominations of Brandon, Jimmy, and Sam from the beginning of the study to th e end and their nominati ons remained at low levels. Summary The purpose of this study was to investigate th e effects of a peer network social skills intervention adapted from Skillstreaming the El ementary School Child (McGinnis & Goldstein,

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122 1997) on the social interactions of students with ASD who are high functioning across multiple settings. The target participants initiations, responses, and social interactions were examined to determine the effect of the intervention in two generalization settings. Results of the intervention ge nerally indicate the target part icipants social interactions displayed the most apparent increase while their initi ations also displayed an increase all be it at a lower percentage. Responses of two target par ticipants also increased at a lower percentage while responses of the third target participant slightly decreased. The target participants inappropriate initiations, responses and social interactions decreas ed from a low percentage in baseline to zero percent in the generalization settings. Results of social validation measures es timated that teachers and parents observed improvement to varying degrees in their target participants social skills. The general education classmates did not note an improvement in Br andons sociability, a slight improvement in Jimmys sociability, and a slight decline in Sams over the course of the study. The target participants and their peer par ticipants responded favor ably to the interven tion and the activities in which they participated during the study. While increases in social interactions we re demonstrated and teachers and parents observed varying degrees of increas ed social functioning in the targ et participants, it is unclear what caused the increases and positive behaviors to happen. As a result of the lack of procedural integrity while implementing the st udy, the results lack internal validity and conclusions cannot be made concerning the findings.

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123 Figure 4-1. Generali zation setting 1

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124 Figure 4-2. Generali zation setting 2

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125Table 4-1. Appropriate behaviors mean percent of intervals Generalization setting 1 Generalization setting 2 Baseline (Range) Intervention (Range) Baseline (Range) Intervention (Range) Brandon Before School Recess Initiations 3.00% (3.00%3.00%) 11.09% (5.00%14.00%) 2.67% (2.00%3.00%) 18.91% (8.00%28.00%) Responses 2.50% (2.00%3.00%) 6.55% (4.00%10.00%) 3.67% (3.00%5.00%) 6.18% (2.00%14.00%) Social Interactions 5.00% (2.00%8.00%) 39.55% (13.00%70.00%) 4.67% (3.00%7.00%) 51.18% (16.00%86.00%) Jimmy Lunch Recess Initiations 2.22% (1.00%4.00%) 16.80% (8.00%24.00%) 3.00% (0.00%10.00%) 18.00% (12.00%22.00%) Responses 2.22% (0.00%8.00%) 4.20% (2.00%6.00%) 4.11% (0.00%14.00%) 6.20% (4.00%10.00%) Social Interactions 1.78% (0.00%5.00%) 47.80% (20.00%72.00%) 3.67% (0.00%10.00%) 62.20% (42.00%80.00%) Sam Breakfast Lunch Initiations 5.22% (4.00%6.00%) 10.00% (6.00%14.00%) 4.33% (3.00%10.00%) 10.75% (8.00%16.00%) Responses 5.00% (2.00%8.00%) 4.00% (2.00%8.00%) 5.50% (1.00%12.00%) 3.25% (2.00%6.00%) Social Interactions 7.78% (4.00%13.00%) 47.25% (26.00%70.00%) 8.75% (2.00%20.00%) 61.50% (22.00%84.00%)

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126Table 4-2. Inappropriate behavior s mean percent of intervals Generalization setting 1 Generalization setting 2 Baseline (Range) Intervention (Range) Baseline (Range) Intervention (Range) Brandon Before School Recess Initiations 2.50% (2.00%3.00%) 0.09% (0.001.00%) 4.00% (0.00%8.00%) 0.00% (0.00%) Responses 1.00% (1.00%1.00%) 0.00% (0.00%) 0.33% (0.00%1.00%) 0.00% (0.00%) Social Interactions 1.00% (0.00%2.00%) 0.00% (0.00%) 4.00% (0.00%10.00%) 0.00% (0.00%) Jimmy Lunch Recess Initiations 2.67% (0.00%7.00%) 0.00% (0.00%) 3.77% (0.00%10.00%) 0.00% (0.00%) Responses 0.56% (0.00%2.00%) 0.00% (0.00%) 0.44% (0.00%2.00%) 0.00% (0.00%) Social Interactions 2.89% (0.00%9.00%) 0.00% (0.00%) 3.66% (0.00%8.00%) 0.00% (0.00%) Sam Breakfast Lunch Initiations 0.00% (0.00%) 0.00% (0.00%) 1.17% (0.00%9.00%) 0.00% (0.00%) Responses 0.00% (0.00%) 0.00% (0.00%) 0.50% (0.00%5.00%) 0.00% (0.00%) Social Interactions 0.00% (0.00%) 0.00% (0.00%) 1.83% (0.00%21.00%) 0.00% (0.00%) Table 4-3. Mastery of activity Target Activity 2 Activity 3 Activity 4 participant Initiate/Respond Take turns Share Brandon 100% (16/16) 97% (32/33) 100% (43/43) Jimmy 100% (18/18) 100% (11/11) 87% (13/15) Sam 100% (12/12) 93% (13/14) 100% (17/17)

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127 CHAPTER 5 DISCUSSION The purpose of this study was to investigate th e effects of a peer network social skills intervention on the social inte ractions of students with AS D who are high functioning across multiple settings. A single-subject, multiprobe multiple-baseline design (Kennedy, 2005) across participants was used to assess the effectiveness of the social skills intervention that was based on adapted lessons from Skillstreaming the Elementary School Child (McGinnis & Goldstein, 1997). The intervention was implemen ted with each of the target participants with ASD and two of his peer participants. The de pendent variables across all phases of the study were the target participants initiations, responses, and social interactions. Data were collected in two generalization settings. A lack of procedural integrity occurred while implementing the study re sulting in a lack of internal validity. Therefore, conclusions cannot be made concerning the findings. While increases in social interactions were demons trated and teachers and parents observed varying degrees of increased social functioning in the targ et participants, it is unclear what caused the increases and positive behaviors to occur. A brief summary of the findings indicated that the target part icipants mean percentage of initiations and social interactions with their pe er participants increased following the intervention across both generalization settings. Target participants 1 and 2 also demonstrated an increase in their mean percentage of responses to peers wh ile target participant 3 s mean percentage of responses slightly decreased. The target participants inappropri ate initiations, responses, and social interactions decreased from a low per centage in baseline to zero percent in the generalization settings. Social validity measures completed by the teachers estimated improved social behaviors in the target students in the educational settin g after the interv ention. Responses

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128 provided by parents indicated vari ed levels of improvement in the home setting and classmates perceived little, if any, difference in the target pa rticipants social skills. Responses to the social skills intervention by teachers, pa rents, and peer participants were overall favorable. The remainder of the chapter discusses the limitations of the study, summarize s the findings of the investigation, and provides impli cations for future research. Limitations Due to the lack of procedural integrity while implementing the study, the results lack internal validity. Therefore, no conclusions can be made about the findings. Although increases in social interactions were indi cated, it is unclear what caused the increases to occur. Threats to internal validity and limitations of the study included a lack of experimental control in the sample, procedural integrity, and measurement issues that will be discussed further. Sample. The internal validity of the study may have been affected by the five-year difference between the ages of the target participants. Two of the ta rget participants were eleven and the third was six years old. Rubin and Copl an (1992) have indicate d that there are agerelated differences in social interaction skills. For example, the ability to persuade others to carry out ones own desired goals, the ability to resolve interpersonal dilemmas, the ability to engage in rule-governed competitive games, and the ability to engage in unselfish behavior all appear to improve with age (see Rubin and Coplan, 1992; Goldstein & Morgan, 2002 for reviews). While these age-related differences in social skills have been found for typi cally developing children, there is a paucity of research in this area that is conducted sole ly with students with ASD who are high functioning, thus, necessitating th e need for further investigation. A second sample limitation is that a standardized meas ure was not utilized with the target participants to provide precise information regarding their diagnos is. While a clinical diagnosis of autism and ASD were provided for the target part icipants, the criteria used for that diagnosis

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129 was not clearly stated. Klin, Volkmar, and Sparro w (2000) have stated th at subjective decisions may vary from clinician to clinician particul arly for individuals with ASD when diagnostic assignment is made by nonexperienced clinicians. Th ey added that this situation is acute in the case of Asperger syndrome, hence, attempts to compare research findings across studies when the participants are insufficiently described becomes problematic. Therefore, the need for detailed and operationalized diagnosis of par ticipants, including the procedures used in diagnostic assignments and their reliability, is needed (Klin et al., 2000 ). Klin and colleagues indicated that important as pects of the condition, includ ing social and communication disabilities, should be quantifie d following standardized proce dures. Therefore, the study should be replicated with target partic ipants who have been assessed w ith valid and reliable instruments to collect and code hist orical and observational data concer ning their current behaviors. This information may result in more inform ative and useful research results. Procedural integrity A number of factors resulted in th e lack of procedural integrity and experimental control, which affected the internal validity of the study. First, there was a lack of uniformity in the settings and materials for the ta rget participants. The before school and recess settings chosen for Brandon and the recess setting for Jimmy were held in rooms separated from their classmates. The lunch set ting for Jimmy and the breakfas t and lunch settings for Sam occurred in the cafeteria in th e presence of their classmates. J immy, Sam, and their peers were partially separated from their classmates at the end of a table. The diffe rences between these two locations (i.e., cafeteria versus a separate room) may have changed the peer participants focus on their social interactions with the target participant. Factors that may have influenced the participants in the cafeteria settings include di stractions from classmat es, attention being drawn to the participants for doing something different, a nd the noise level. Settings in a separate room

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130 may have provided more ability to focus on the soci al interaction with the target participant plus the benefit of being more comfortable with their participation in the study without other classmates watching or making comments. The materials available in the breakfast a nd lunch settings for Jimmy and Sam were limited to lunch boxes, cafeteria trays, utensi ls, and food. These materials were uniformly available for both Jimmy and Sam. However, Brandon and Jimmy had a range of different materials available for them in the before sc hool and recess settings. For example, Brandon and his peers occasionally brought incide ntal items such as purses and small toys with them to the before school setting and they had games (e.g., UNO) available in additi on to paper and pencils to draw with in the r ecess setting. Jimmy had a cabinet of toys /activities available for him and his peers to use during recess. Because of the multiple choices and prompts from materials available for their use, Brandon and Jimmy may have had a ri cher context for social interaction to occur with their peers in the before school and recess settings. In comp arison in the breakfast and lunch settings, Jimmy and Sam were limited to generati ng conversation topics and having to work at keeping the conversation going with out the benefit of the physical prompts provided by a variety of materials. Second, treatment integrity data were take n on the training sessions however, not during generalization settings. Since da ta concerning standardized implementation of the generalization sessions (e.g., the researchers introduction to each session) are not pres ent, it is unknown whether the sessions were implem ented in a systematic manner. Third, no systematic data were gathered on the coaching sessions to ensure procedural integrity. Coaching was planned to be implemente d when the data did no t show an increase in social interactions over three sessions. Howeve r, this procedure was not always followed. While

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131 coaching may have been warranted for Brandon in the before school setting when his social interactions went from 46% to 48% to 44% across sessions 10 through 12, coaching was inadvertently not implemented. Additionally, Sam did not receive coaching that was indicated during breakfast baseline phase as a result of scheduling conflicts. Although coaching was not implemented at criteria across th e study for all participants, in creases in the overall social interactions for each participant across settings were documente d. Therefore, it is unclear if similar results would have been attained if no coaching would have occurred. The failure to provide coaching sessions consis tently deviates from previous research conducted with peer network training (see Haring & Breen, 1992). A fourth limitation in this ar ea relates to the number of oppor tunities that individual participants were provided to learn social interac tions skills and may rela te to the developmental differences between the target participants. Each target participant did not receive the same number of opportunities to prac tice skills during the three traini ng activities. The researcher adhered to the 30-minute period predetermined fo r the length of each training session, which resulted in individual differences in the numbe r of opportunities for each participant to learn skills. For example, Brandon and his peer participan ts were familiar with th e card game, Garfield War, and were able to play the game easily. Th erefore, more time was available for them to play and practice taking turns. On the other hand, Jimmy and his peer participants were unfamiliar with the game and required extensive in struction and guidance to learn the game, thus leaving less time to practice taking turns. Sam and his network peers generally took more time to complete the activities overall. Although the researcher attempted to hold the activities constant across the participants, the developmentally appr opriateness of the activities chosen may have affected the opportunities for pract ice. For example, Brandon and his peer participants were

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132 familiar with the card game format and Jimmy and his peers were not. A more developmentally appropriate activity for Jimmy ma y have provided the additional ti me necessary to practice the skills. A fifth limitation in procedural integrity is that the primary researcher conducting the intervention, was the primary data collector and was responsible for checking the integrity of the treatment. Thus, bias may be a factor. Multiple researchers may have provided additional integrity to the implementation of the study. An additional limitation of the study may have been the participan ts reactivity to the presence of the researcher and the video camera. The knowledge that they were participating in an investigation may have altered the participan ts behavior because they were aware of being recorded (Kazdin, 1982; Kennedy, 2005). For example, comments made by peer participants on the Network Satisfaction Form indicated that they did react to the presence of the camera. While one peer indicated pleasure at being videotaped, another remarked that sometimes he/she did not want to do the camera thing and indicated feeli ng pressure at having to select a new topic to talk about every time he/she was being taped. Ways to address the particip ants reactivity to the researcher and video camera include having a neut ral person video tape th e sessions and review the treatment integrity checklist, videotape thr ough a one way mirror, or have the video camera present throughout the day to increase th e participants familiarity with it. Measures. The measures used in the study also lim ited the findings. First, the interval recording system employed to evaluate the occurrence of social be haviors yielded only approximations of behavior frequency (Kazdin, 1982; Kennedy, 2005). As is typical in interval recording, only one occurrence of each target be havior was recorded during each interval. Thus, the percent of actual behaviors may be underestim ated. The recording system was used to denote

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133 the percentage of intervals of social interacti on (including initiations and responses) rather than the duration or quality of the interactions. Add itional information as to which peer interacted with the target participant, num ber of topics discussed, and the quality of the interactions may have provided a more sensitive measure of social interaction behaviors. A direct sequential, continuous recording system conducted in real time may provide richer data indicating the multiple dimensions of the behavior (e.g., w ho initiated and responded, the duration of the interaction, and characteristics of the interaction) (Kennedy, 2005). The social validity measures are a second limitati on in this area. Social validity is defined as the estimation of the importan ce, effectiveness, appropriatene ss, and/or satisfaction various people in the target participants environmen t experience in relation to the intervention (Kennedy, 2005). This approach is used to gather information regarding their percep tions of some dimension of the goals, procedures, and/ or outcomes of the inte rvention. In assessing the social validity of the current study, questionnaire s were administered that address the target participants social interactions (i.e., Social Skills Checklist, Consumer Satisfaction Survey, Network Satisfaction Form, Frie ndship Rating Scale, and Peer Nominations Questionnaire). A limitation of this technique is that the res pondents perceptions of situations may not meaningfully reflect changes in the target pa rticipants behavior (Kennedy, 2005). Socially skilled behavior is related to p eer acceptance and socially unskilled behavior is related to peer rejection and neglect (Coie et al., 1990), however, there is ev idence that other factors may mitigate the relationship between behavior and peer acceptance or re jection (Kaczmarek, 2002). A childs reputation can bias th e perception of these behaviors by peers, thus maintaining a childs social status even when behaviors changes (Hymel, Wagner, & Butler, 1990). Because

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134 the target participants have been in these cla sses, they have a history which might explain why the classmates perceptions of their beha viors were not reflective of change. Measures of peer interactions may assess aspe cts of social competence that are distinct from those observed through teacher ratings and direct observational measures. Furthermore, a focus on initiations and responses, as measured in this study, does not fully capture the dynamic nature of social interacti ons (McConnell & Odom, 1999). As a result of measurement limitations in the us e of an interval recording system, the social validity measures were an attempt to address the quality of the target participants interactions. However, their psychometric qualities (e.g., re liability, validity) were unknown (American Educational Research Association, American Psychological Associati on, National Council on Measurement in Education, 1999). Although a great deal of social validity information was obtained, that information may not have been releva nt and useful in interpreting the outcomes of this study based on the definition of social validit y. A method to better determine if the results were meaningful may be the de velopment of a question directly pertaining to the intervention and then design a measure based on the questi on. In addition, a more objective measure of change in behavior may be direct observation (K amps et al., 1998). Dire ct measures such as videotaping the participants and then scoring their behaviors in light of the developed question, may provide a more accurate reflection of cha nges in the target participants behavior. Discussion of Findings Due to the lack of procedural integrity while implementing the study, the results lack internal validity. Therefore, c onclusions cannot be made concer ning the findings of the study. It is unclear what caused the three students with ASD who were the focus of this study to display the most apparent percentage of increase in soci al interactions, a smaller percentage of increase in initiations, and a smaller yet percentage of increase for two participants in their responses to

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135 peers and a slight decrease in responses for the third participan t. This pattern of data were displayed in the two generalization settings. Wh ile no conclusions can be made concerning the findings of the current study, a similar pattern of higher percentages of so cial interactions and lower percentages of initiations and responses has been observed in the following research. The lower percentage of increase in the target participants in itiations and in responses of two of the target participants and a decrease in the third participants responses may be a result of the desire of the peer particip ants to support the targ et participant in his development of social interactions. Peck and colleagues (1997) found that when the trea tment was implemented in their study, the nondisabled peers demonstr ated better understanding of th eir role and the needs of the peer with disabilities. They also found that the nondisabled peers we re able to promote appropriate behavior from the ta rget participant who in their study was low functioning. Roeyers (1996) found that the nondisabled pe ers increasingly used initiati on strategies that were most likely to get a response from the target particip ant and they regularly reinforced appropriate social behaviors of the target pa rticipant. Furthermore, they re sponded very consistently to the initiations made by the target participants. Roeyer believed that the peer participants attributed the changes in the target participants behavior to themselves, which motivated them to continue. In like manner, the peer participants in the current study may ha ve responded to th e initiations of the target participants and con tinued the social interaction by th eir carefully chosen responses. Shafer and colleagues (1986) found that following training, the peer participants increased their initiations and responses toward the target participants who were low functioning with responses increasing more substant ially. Three of the four target participants in Shafers study slightly increased their initiations to the peer participants but incr eased in their responses. Results of their study found that training resulted in lengthier interactions between the peer and target

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136 participants. Shafer compared the percentage of intervals in which initiations occurred by autistic students in his study to those in a study c onducted by Strain (1983) who reported a higher percentage of initiations. Shafer believed that the lower percentage of intervals in initiations may have been attributed to the substantial increases in duration of interactions following training which may have lessened the opportunity for the targ et participants to init iate interactions. In addition, the levels of initiations also may have been affected by the difference in the definition of an initiation between the two studies. Kamps and colleagues (1992) found a lower ratio of initiations and responses compared to the duration of intera ctions of the target participants in their study of social skills training for students with autism conducted concurrently with nondisabled peers. In Kamps study, the ratio of each target participants initiations was 3, 4, and 2 during baseline levels to 3, 5, and 3 respectively during follow-up levels. The target participants responses were .28, .50, and .49 during baseline levels and 1.0, .67, and .88 during fo llow-up levels. The duration of interactions during baseline levels was 6, 10, and 5 and 42, 19, and 79 respectively during follow-up levels. This pattern of a low ratio of in itiations and a lower ratio of res ponses by the target participants across all phases of the intervention in comparison to social interactions appears to be consistent with the pattern of percentages in initiations, responses, and soci al interactions found with the target participants in the current study. Future Research Directions Future research needs to addr ess the lack of procedural in tegrity and resulting lack of internal validity in this study. Recommendati ons for future studies will be discussed. First, the intervention needs to be replicat ed with students identified with ASD who are high functioning and are of a similar age. This will enable the effectiveness of the adapted Skillstreaming training on the social behaviors of students with ASD of that particular age and

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137 developmental level to be determin ed. In addition, the targ et participants selected must meet the initial criteria previously stat ed but also be administered a standardized assessment of their diagnosis and behavioral characteristics. Su ch an assessment will pr ovide a standardized diagnosis of ASD; thus, increasing the genera lization of the findings. The Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (Lord, Rutter, DiLavore, & Ri si, 2006) is an example of such a measure. Second, the settings and materials available in each setting need to be uniform in order to provide experimental control in determining the effectiveness of the intervention. The settings chosen may more appropriately be in the inclusive general edu cation setting rather than in separated or partially separated se ttings in order to determine the interventions effectiveness in increasing the social interac tions the student with ASD w ho is high functioning with his nondisabled peers, Third, future research is needed to address th e weaknesses in the lack of systematic data gathered concerning the implementation of gene ralization and coaching sessions, inconsistent opportunities for the target participants to pract ice skills during training sessions (i.e., activities incorporated in the three trai ning sessions: Conversations, Ta king Turns, and Sharing), and possible bias introduced with the researcher conducting the interv ention, serving as primary data collector, and being responsible for treatment integrity. Fourth, in order to assess th e effectiveness of the adapted Skillstreaming social skills training with students with AS D who are high functioning, future research may wish not to include a coaching element. This would enable th e researchers to determine the effectiveness of social skills training without additional support from an adult. In attempting to follow Kamps and colleagues (2002) definition of a peer networ k intervention, this study did not fully evolve and may more adequately be cal led a modified network peer in tervention. A future study may

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138 also wish to more fully involve the peers in th e training of the target participant as well as measure the peer participants appropriate and inappropriate initiations responses, and social interactions. In this way, the effect a peer network strategy would have in supporting the social behaviors of a student with ASD who is high f unctioning could be more appropriately measured. Fifth, further investigation is needed into th e effect the participan ts reactivity to the presence of the researcher and video camera ma y have had on the result s of the study. Having a neutral person videotape the sessions or videot ape through a one way mirror may alleviate this factor. Sixth, a systematic replication of the study w ith a direct, sequential, continuous recording system conducted in real time may provide data which further indicates the multidimensional aspects of the target participants social interactions. Thus, leading to more specific information necessary to refine future social skills interventions. Seventh, since an intervention is implemented in an educational setting in which multiple individuals may be affected by the behavior change of the student with ASD who is high functioning (Kennedy, 2005), the effect of the intervention on a range of individuals in the target students environment must be assessed. Future studies may assess the social validity of the intervention to determine the m eaningfulness of the results by developing a question directly pertaining to the specific inte rvention and then designing a me asure based on the question. In addition, direct observation of the target partic ipants behaviors through videotaping and then scoring the behavior in light of the developed question may provide a more accurate reflection of behavioral changes (Kazdin, 1982). Eight, an additional area for future research is to investigate the maintenance of the social behaviors acquired during the inve stigation. While some studies have implemented maintenance

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139 probes to determine the effects of the interventions over time (e.g., Kamps et al., 1994), other studies have not and also have noted the need for maintenance probes (e.g., Garrison-Harrell et al., 1997). Implication for Practice One of the on-going and important functions of research is to understand how it can be implemented into practice more efficiently and effectively. However, th e lack of procedural integrity while implementing this investigation and the resulting lack of in ternal validity does not allow conclusions to be drawn from this study. Th erefore, valid implications for practice cannot be made. Summary As a result of the threats to internal validity inherent in this study, the increases in social interactions and improved social functioning obse rved by the teachers and to varying degrees by the parents of the students with ASD cannot be explained. Observations by the researcher and anecdotal information from the target participants teachers indicated the occurrence of improved so cial functioning and the teachers provided suggestions for broadening the scope of the in tervention (e.g., having more activities and including a wider range of peers). While the intervention was designed to increase social skills with students with ASD who are high functioning within the school enviro nment, the parents of two of the target participants indicated anecdotally that they also observe d improved social skills in the home environment. The target participants and network peers resp onded positively to the intervention and indicated their satisfaction wi th spending time with network friends and provided suggestions for improvi ng the intervention (e.g., including other activities and foods). While no conclusions can drawn from the cu rrent study, future research may wish to consider the teachers, parents, and participants comments when designing future social skills

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140 interventions that will include pe ers as behavior change agents for students with ASD who are high functioning. There continues to be a need for research in this area that determines the effectiveness of social skills interventions to im prove the social behaviors of students with ASD who are high functioning.

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141 APPENDIX A TARGET STUDENT INFORMED ASSENT Dear Student, I am a graduate student at the University of Fl orida. As part of my work as a student, I am interested in learning more about how students get along with the other student s in their class. In this study, I will work with a group of four student s who want to learn to play together better. You already know how to play together but I am going to meet with you and we will talk about ways we can play together bett er. I would like you to be a part of this small group of students that I will be working with. If you choose to be a part of this group, you will an swer two sets of questions about your friends in your class. We will answer these questions bo th before and after we work together. You do not have to answer any questions that you do no t want to answer. Although you will be asked to write your name on the questions, I will replace your names with made up names to keep your answers secret. The first week, you will meet with the group three days for thirty minutes each day and you will not miss any class time. After th at, we will meet once a week to answer any questions you may have for as long as we are working together. At times, I will watch you play with your classmates. I will video tape you and only I and my assistant will watch the video tape. The video tape will be destroyed after the study is completed. Ot her students and teachers may know that you are part of this group. The study will be continued until we have practiced our new skills as much as we need to. You will not be in danger and you will not get any money or payment for being a part of this group. If you change your mind and do not want to be part of the group, just let me know and you can stop. Your grades and the other things you do while at school will not change because you are part of this group. If you have any question about this group, pl ease call me at 904-2728100 Extension 2428. You can also call my teacher, Dr. Conroy at 352-392-0701. If your father or mother has any questions or concerns about your be ing part of this group, they may write to the UFIRB office, University of Florida, Box 112250, Gainesvi lle, FL 32611 or call (352) 392-0433. If you agree to help me and be a part of this group please sign this letter and return it to me in the envelope I am giving you. I will give you a se cond copy of the letter to keep. When you put your name on this letter, you are telling me that it is okay for me to talk about what this group that you are a part of will do. Ms. Diane Banner School Psychologist Clay County Schools

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142 I have read about the study for th e social skills group. I want to be a part of this study and I have a copy of this letter. _____________________________ _______________________ Signature of Participant Date _____________________________ _______________________ Signature of Parent/Guardian Date

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143 APPENDIX B PARENTAL INFORMED CONSENT TARGET STUDENT Dear Parent/Guardian, I am a doctoral student in the Department of Special Education at the Univer sity of Florida. I am conducting research on the effect a small group of st udents may have on the social interactions of a student identified with Asperger Syndrom e or High Functioning Autism (HFA) under the supervision of Dr. Maureen Conr oy. The purpose of this study is to determine if there is an increase in the number of times a student id entified with Asperger Syndrome/HFA will have positive social interactions with his/her classmat es after only three classmates and the student with Asperger Syndrome/HFA receive social ski lls instruction. The results of the study may assist students with Asperger Syndrome/HFA incr ease the number of positive social interactions they have with their classmates. These results may not only directly help your child today, but may benefit future students with Asperger S yndrome/HFA. With your permission, I would like to ask your child to volunteer fo r this research. However, as a result of this study, your childs status and possible diagnos is will be known to members of th e peer network, their parents, and others in the school. The students will be asked to complete two ques tionnaires before and after the study that ask how much he/she likes to play with each of the students in the class and who each student plays with. Your child does not have to answer any que stions that he/she does not wish to answer The first week, the student with Asperger Syndr ome/HFA who chooses to be in the study will receive 3 days of training while his/her three classmates who choose to participate in the study will receive 4 days of social sk ills instruction in the following areas (1) starting a conversation, (2) responding appropriately while in a conversat ion, (3) taking turns, and (4) sharing. I will conduct the training sessions that will occur for 4 days during a scheduled time identified by the teacher that does not interfere with class time. Th e sessions will last for thirty minutes. The first session will include the three classmates and wi ll be an introductory session to discuss characteristics commonly associated with Asperger Syndrome/HFA. The following three sessions will include the whole network (the student with Aspe rger Syndrome/HFA and his/her classmates). After the training sessions, the students will be asked to use the skills they learned in the training sessions during the re gular school day. Follow up meeti ngs will be held once a week for the duration of the study to answer any quest ions the students may have. The study will be continued until positive social interactions have increased in two of the following settings (before school, during lunch, and during one additional time where so cial opportunities exist). It may take approximately four months to conduct the study. With your permission, the students will be videotaped during selected times (meeting time, before school, during lunch, and during one additional time where so cial opportunities exist that will be determined according to each individual networks class schedule). Only I and my assistant will view the video tape and the vi deo tape will be destr oyed after the study is completed. Although the students will be asked to write their names on the questionnaires for matching purposes, their identity will be kept confidential to the extent provided by law. I will

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144 replace their names with made up names. Your childs participation in the study may be observed by other students and teachers. Participa tion or nonparticipation in this study will not affect the childrens grades or placement in any program. You and your child have the right to withdraw consent for your ch ilds participation at any time without consequence. There are no known risks or immediate benefits to the participants. No compensation is offered. Diane Banner School Psychologist Clay County Schools I have read the procedure described above. I voluntarily give my consent for my child, __________________, to participate in Diane Banners st udy of a peer network social skills intervention for students with Asperger Syndrome/HFA. I have received a copy of this description. _____________________________ _______________________ Parent/Guardian Date _____________________________ _______________________ Second Parent/Guardian/Witness Date

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145 APPENDIX C TEACHER INFORMED CONSENT Dear Teacher, I am a doctoral student in the Department of Special Education at the Univer sity of Florida. I am conducting research on the effect peer network tr aining (i.e., a small group of students trained in social interaction skills) may have on the social interactions of a student identified with Asperger Syndrome or High Functioning Autism (HFA). Th is research is bei ng conducted under the supervision of Dr. Maureen Conr oy. The purpose of this study is to determine if there is an increase in the frequency a student identified with Asperger Syndrome/HFA will have positive social interactions with his/her classmates af ter a network of only three classmates and the student with Asperger Syndrome/HFA receive soci al skills instruction. The results of the study may assist students with Asperger Syndrom e/HFA increase the number of positive social interactions they have with their classmates. Th ese results may not only directly help the students today, but may benefit future students with Asperger Syndrome/HFA. I would like to your permission to conduct this research in your clas sroom and other settings in the school that children interact th roughout the day. Once the students with Asperger Syndrome/HFA ha ve been identified and agree to participate in the study, they and their classmates will be asked to complete two questionnaires. These questionnaires will be completed before and after the study. One questionnaire will ask the students how much he/she likes to play with ea ch of the other student s in the class and the second questionnaire will ask the students to pr ovide additional informa tion regarding how each student interacts with his/her cl assmates. The student does not have to answer any questions that he/she does not wish to answer. The teacher(s) who agree to participate in the study will be asked to rank their students after the two questionnaires are administer ed to determine the students whom they consider to be socially compet ent models. This method will determine the two nondisabled peers and one nondisabled peer alternate who will be possible pa rticipants of the peer network. The teacher(s) who ag ree to participate in the study also will be asked to complete a Social Skills Checklist regard ing the student with Asperger S yndrome/HFA social interactions. This checklist will be completed before the peer network intervention begins and at the end of the study. Upon conclusion of the study, the particip ating teacher(s) will be asked to complete a Consumer Satisfaction Survey to provide inform ation regarding his/her opinion of the study and suggestions that may improve the study. The student with Asperger Syndrome/HFA who chooses to be in the study will receive 3 days of training while his/her three nondisa bled classmates who choose to participate (two network peers and one alternate) will receive 4 days of soci al skills instruction in the following areas (1) starting a conversation, (2) respond ing appropriately while in a c onversation, (3) taking turns, and (4) sharing. I will conduct the training sessio ns that will occur during a time the teacher selects that does not interfere with class time. Each of the four tr aining sessions will be conducted the first week and will last for thirty minutes. At the conclusion of training, the three network students will be asked to use these lear ned skills during the regul ar school day with the student with Asperger Syndrome/HFA. Follow up sessions will be held for the student with

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146 Asperger Syndrome/HFA and his/her network peer s once a week for the duration of the study to answer any questions the students may have. Th e study will be continued until positive social interactions increase in each of the three se ttings (before school, dur ing lunch, and during one additional time where soci al opportunities exist). The students participating in the peer network will be videotaped during selected times (meeting time, before school, during lunch, and during one a dditional time where social opportunities exist that will be determined according to each indivi dual networks class schedule). Only I and my assistant will view the video tape and the vi deo tape will be destr oyed after the study is completed. Although the students will be asked to write their names on the questionnaires for matching purposes, their identity will be kept confidential to the extent provided by law. Participation or nonparticipation in this study will not affect the students grades or placement in any program. You have the right to withdraw consent for your participation at any time without consequence. There are no known risks or immediate benef its to those particip ating in the study. No compensation is offered for participation. Results of this study will be available in August 2005 upon request. If you have any question about this research protocol, please contact me at 904272-8100 Extension 2428 or my faculty supervis or, Dr. Conroy at 352-392-0701. Questions or concerns about your child s rights as a research participant may be directed to the UFIRB office, University of Florida, Box 112250, Gainesville, FL 32611, (352) 392-0433. Diane Banner School Psychologist Clay County Schools I have read the procedure described above. I voluntarily consent to participate in Diane Banners study of a peer netw ork social skills intervention for students with Asperger Syndrome/HFA. I have received a copy of this description. _____________________________ _______________________ Teacher Date _____________________________ _______________________ Witness Date

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147 APPENDIX D FRIENDSHIP RATING SCALE Name: _____________________________ Date: _______________________ How much do you like to play with: Not at all A little Some Quite a bit A lot 1. 1 2 3 4 5 2. 1 2 3 4 5 3. 1 2 3 4 5 4. 1 2 3 4 5 5. 1 2 3 4 5 6. 1 2 3 4 5 7. 1 2 3 4 5 8. 1 2 3 4 5 9. 1 2 3 4 5 10. 1 2 3 4 5 11. 1 2 3 4 5 12. 1 2 3 4 5 13. 1 2 3 4 5 14. 1 2 3 4 5 15. 1 2 3 4 5 16. 1 2 3 4 5 17. 1 2 3 4 5 (Garrison-Harrell, 1996)

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148 APPENDIX E PEER NOMINATIONS QUESTIONNAIRE Name: ___________________________ Date: _______________________ 1) List three classmates you would like to invite to your birthday party: a) __________________________________________________________ b) __________________________________________________________ c) __________________________________________________________ 2) List three classmates that are your good friends: a) __________________________________________________________ b) __________________________________________________________ c) __________________________________________________________ 3) List three classmates that you like to play with on the playground: a) __________________________________________________________ b) __________________________________________________________ c) __________________________________________________________ 4) List three classmates th at you like to play with: a) __________________________________________________________ b) __________________________________________________________ c) __________________________________________________________ (Garrison-Harrell, 1996)

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149 APPENDIX F PEER INFORMED ASSENT Dear Student, I am a graduate student at the University of Fl orida. As part of my work as a student, I am interested in learning more about how students get along with the other student s in their class. In this study, I will work with a group of four student s who want to learn to play together better. You already know how to play together but I am going to meet with you and we will talk about ways we can play together bett er. I would like you to be a part of this small group of students that I will be working with. If you choose to be a part of this group, you w ill complete two sets of questions about your friends in your class. We will complete both of these before and after we work together. You do not have to answer any questions that you do no t want to answer. Although you will be asked to write your name on the questions, I will replace your names with made up names to keep your answers secret. Three of us will work together the first day and one other student will join the group after the first meeting. The first week, the group meetings will last for thirty minutes for four days during a time scheduled by your teache r so that you will not miss class time. For the rest of the time, we will meet once a week to an swer any questions you may have and at times, I will watch you play with your classmates. I will video tape you and only I and my assistant will watch the video tape. The video tape will be destroyed after the study is completed. Ot her students and teachers may know that you are part of this study. The study will be continued until we have practiced our new skills as much as we need to. You will not be in danger and you will not get any money or payment for being a part of this group. If you change your mind and do not want to be part of the group, just let me know and you can stop. Your grades and the other things you do while at school will not change because you are part of this group. If you have any question about this group, pl ease call me at 904-2728100 Extension 2428. You can also call my teacher, Dr. Conroy at 352-392-0701. If your father or mother has any questions or concerns about your be ing part of this group, they may write to the UFIRB office, University of Florida, Box 112250, Gainesvi lle, FL 32611 or call (352) 392-0433. If you agree to help me and be a part of this group please sign this letter and return it to me in the envelope I am giving you. I will give you a se cond copy of the letter to keep. When you put your name on this letter, you are telling me that it is okay for me to talk about what this group that you are a part of will do. Ms. Diane Banner School Psychologist Clay County Schools

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150 I have read about the study for th e social skills group. I want to be a part of this study and I have a copy of this letter. _____________________________ _______________________ Signature of Participant Date _____________________________ _______________________ Signature of Parent/Guardian Date

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151 APPENDIX G PARENTAL INFORMED CONSENT PEER NETWORK Dear Parent/Guardian, I am a doctoral student in the Department of Special Education at the Univer sity of Florida. I am conducting research on the effect a small group of st udents may have on the social interactions of a student identified with Asperger Syndrom e or High Functioning Autism (HFA) under the supervision of Dr. Maureen Conroy. One of the main behaviors students identified as having Asperger Syndrome/HFA demonstrate is a weakness in their ability to interact well with others. A weakness in social interaction skills has far re aching consequences in a ll areas of the students development as well as in poor relationships with his/her classmates Well-known persons who have demonstrated characteristics often associat ed with Asperger Syndrome/HFA include Albert Einstein and Thomas Edison. The purpose of this st udy is to determine if th ere is an increase in the number of times a student identified with As perger Syndrome/HFA will have positive social interactions with his/her classm ates after only three classmates and the student with Asperger Syndrome/HFA receive social skills instruction. Th e results of the study may assist students with Asperger Syndrome/HFA increase the number of positive social interactions they have with their classmates. These results may not only directly help the stud ent with Asperger Syndrome/HFA today, but may benefit future students with As perger Syndrome/HFA. With your permission, I would like to ask your child to volunteer for this research as one of the classmates of a student with Asperger Syndrome/HFA. The students will be asked to complete two ques tionnaires before and after the study that ask how much he/she likes to play with each of the students in the class and who each student plays with. Your child does not have to answer any que stions that he/she does not wish to answer. The first week, the three classmates who choose to participate in the study will receive 4 days of social skills instruction that wi ll include an introductory disc ussion of the characteristics of Asperger Syndrome/HFA and instruction in (1) starting a conversation, (2) responding appropriately while in a conversation, (3) taking turns, and (4) sharing. I will conduct the training sessions that will occur for 4 days during a schedu led time identified by the teacher that does not interfere with class time. The sessions will last for thirty minutes. The first session will be an introductory session that will include only the thr ee classmates and the following three sessions will include the whole network (the student with Asperger Syndrome/HFA and his/her classmates). After the training sessions, the students will be asked to use the skills they learned in the training sessions during the re gular school day. Follow up meeti ngs will be held once a week for the duration of the study to answer any quest ions the students may have. The study will be continued until positive social interactions have increased in each of the three settings (before school, during lunch, and during one additional time where social opportunities exist). It may take approximately four months to conduct the study. With your permission, the students will be videotaped during selected times (meeting time, before school, during lunch, and during one additional time where so cial opportunities exist that will be determined according to each individual networks class schedule). Only I and my

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152 assistant will view the video tape and the vi deo tape will be destr oyed after the study is completed. Although the students will be asked to write their names on the questionnaires for matching purposes, their identity will be kept confidential to the extent provided by law. I will replace their names with made up names. Your childs participation in the study may be observed by other students and teachers. Participa tion or nonparticipation in this study will not affect the childrens grades or placement in any program. You and your child have the right to withdraw consent for your ch ilds participation at any time without consequence. There are no known risks or immediate benefits to the participants. No compensation is offered for participation. Results of this study will be available in August 2005 upon request. If you have any question about this research protocol, please contact me at 904272-8100 Extension 2428 or my faculty supervis or, Dr. Conroy at 352-392-0701. Questions or concerns about your child s rights as a research participant may be directed to the UFIRB office, University of Florida, Box 112250, Gainesville, FL 32611, (352) 392-0433. Diane Banner School Psychologist Clay County Schools I have read the procedure described above. I voluntarily give my consent for my child, __________________, to participate in Diane Banners st udy of a peer network social skills intervention for students with Asperger Syndrome/HFA. I have received a copy of this description. _____________________________ _______________________ Parent/Guardian Date _____________________________ _______________________ Second Parent/Guardian/Witness Date

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153 APPENDIX H TREATMENT INTEGRITY Network: _________________________ Dates: Session 1 ____________________ School: _________________________ Session 2 ____________________ Session 3 ____________________ Session 4 ____________________ Session 1: Introduction (peer participants only) (Kamps, Kravits et al., 2002) _____ 1. Describe characteristics of Asperger Syndrome/High Functioning Autism taken from Autism Society of America (n.d.) brochure, Asperger Syndrome Information Written for Kids Only ___ May be good at some things and have trouble with other things ___ Likes to learn everything po ssible about a certain topic ___ Likes to have a routine ___ May have difficulty organizing things ___ May have difficulty play ing with other children ___ May react differently than nondi sabled children in the same situation ___ May want to talk about in terests instead of feelings ___ May take things literally ___ May get better at doing some things as they grow older ___ Will benefit from having other children help them learn and practice how to be comfortable with others _____ 2. Read book, Trevor Trevor (Twachtman-Cullen, 1998) ___ Peer participants answ er questions from story _____ 3. Introduce the purpose of a peer network _____ 4. Have the peer participants generate ways they can include the target pa rticipant in activities ___ List on chart Session 2: Conversation (target pa rticipant and peer participants) (adapted from Skillstreaming the Elemen tary School Child, McGinnis & Goldstein, 1997) _____ 1. Introduce concept of a conversation _____ 2. Define initiations (Skill 15: Beginning a Conversation, p. 105) ___ Discuss 4 steps involved in in itiating a conversation using chart ___ Model initiations ___ Role play ___ Set-up role play for participants ___ Provide feed-back ___ Brainstorm similar topics to role play ___ Continue role-playing for all participants

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154 _____ 3. Define responses (Skill 7: Contributin g to Discussions, p. 97; Skill 16: Ending a Conversation, p. 106) ___ Discuss 4 steps involved in respo nding during a conversation using chart ___ Model responses ___ Role play ___ Set-up role play for participants ___ Provide feed-back ___ Brainstorm similar topics to role play ___ Continue role-playing for all participants _____ 4. Activity: Ice Cream Sundae Party Session 3: Taking Turns (target participant and peer participants) (adapted from Skillstreaming the Elemen tary School Child, McGinnis & Goldstein, 1997) _____ 1. Define turn taking (Skill 18: Playing a Game, p. 108) ___ Discuss 3 steps involved in taking turns using chart ___ Model turn taking ___ Role play ___ Set-up role play for participants ___ Provide feed-back ___ Brainstorm similar topics to role play ___ Continue role-playing for all participants _____ 2. Activity: Garfield War Card Game Session 4: Sharing (target participant and peer participants) (adapted from Skillstreaming the Elemen tary School Child, McGinnis & Goldstein, 1997) _____ 1. Define sharing (Skill 24: Sharing, p. 114) ___ Discuss 4 steps involved in sharing using chart ___ Model sharing ___ Role play ___ Set-up role play for participants ___ Provide feed-back ___ Brainstorm similar topics to role play ___ Continue role-playing for all participants _____ 2. Activity: Builder, Arch itect, Parts Department For a description of each step and comprehensive delineation of Skillsteaming procedures, see McGinnis and Goldstein (1997).

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155 APPENDIX I NETWORK TRAINING FOUR 30-MINUTE SESSIONS Session One Introduction: Characteristics of Autism Spectrum Disord er (ASD) or Asperger Syndrome, the purpose of the network interven tion, includes the two nondisabled peer participants and one alternate for each target particip ant (Kamps, Kravits et al., 2002) 1. The researcher will discuss the following points concerning Asperg er Syndrome or High Functioning Autism (HFA) with the three peer participants seated in a circle. The participants will listen to the information pr esented below which will be taken directly from the Autism Society of America (n.d.) brochure, Asperger Syndrome Information Written for Kids Only designed for children. a. Asperger Syndrome is a syndrome that a person has from the time they are very little. Children with Asperger Syndrome/ HFA are very good at some things and have trouble with other things. b. Children with Asperger/HFA look the same as all other boys and girls do, they just act differently some times. For exam ple, they may be very interested in certain topics or hobbies, such as maps or drawing. When a child with Asperger/HFA gets interested in a particul ar topic, he/she learns everything that he/she can about it and become s an expert on that topic. c. Often a child with Asperger Syndrome/HF A likes to have a routine of when and how things are to be done each day. Howe ver, a child with Asperger/HFA might not be very good at organizing his/her sc hool work exactly like their teachers want them to organize it. d. Children with Asperger/HFA have the most trouble playing with other children. Sometimes they may say or do the wrong things when they are playing. They usually do not mean to upset other people by the things they say or do. They are often surprised when other children get angry. e. Children with Asperger Syndrome/HFA ma y not be able to understand why other people do the things they do and therefor e, they may react differently than you would in the same situation. f. Children with Asperger Syndrome/HFA ma y want to talk about their interests more than about other things like how they are feeling.

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156 g. Many times children with Asperger/HFA belie ve that everything that they are told and read is true. For example, a boy with Asperger read that Toy Story was now playing at theatres everywhe re and was upset when Toy Story was not playing at his theater. h. When you are getting to know someone w ith Asperger Syndrome/HFA, you need to be clear about what you mean when you say things to them. You should also not be afraid of asking th em what they mean, too. i. Children with Asperger/HFA do not grow out of it. They will learn many things as they get older and they will get better at some of the things that they have trouble with, like playing or being with other children. j. However, the only way they will get be tter at these things is by having other children like you give them a chance to practice and learn how to be more comfortable with other people. k. You can learn a lot from them too. Just because they may see the world a bit differently than you do, does not mean that th ey cant be good frie nds or that they do not have interesting th ings to tell you about. 2. The principal researcher will answer any questions the peer participants may have concerning Asperger Syndrome/HFA. 3. The researcher will introduce and read the book, Trevor Trevor (Twachtman-Cullen, 1998) to the peer participants. 4. Following the reading of the book, the principal researcher will ask the peer participants to respond to the following questions: a. What was Trevor very good at doing? b. What was Trevor not very good at doing? c. How did the other students treat Trevor before the contest? d. How did the other students treat Trevor after the contest? e. What did the students learn about Tre vor from what he did at the contest? 5. The principal researcher will ask the peer part icipants to discuss ways they can be friends to students who are different (e .g., talk about things they might not be interested in, share materials, and ask them if they need help with an assignment). 6. The principal researcher will explain the purpose of a group as an opportunity for them to learn new ways to help include the target pa rticipant in more activities and help him/her learn how to play more with other student s. The principal researcher will answer questions the peer pa rticipants may have.

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157 7. The researcher will ask the peer participants to think of ways that they could be a better friend to the target participant and help include him in activities with their other classmates. The researcher will write th eir responses on a pi ece of chart paper. Learning Objectives 1. The peer participants will increase their knowledge of the characteristics of Asperger Syndrome/HFA. 2. The peer participants will increase their understanding of the ways in which the participant with Aspe rger Syndrome/HFA has difficulty in teracting with his classmates. 3. The peer participants will learn the purpose of the group. 4. The peer participants will demonstrate th eir understanding by giving examples of ways they can include the participant with Asperg er Syndrome in more ac tivities and help him learn how to get along better w ith his fellow classmates. Session Two Conversation (Initiations and Responses): Includes the target partic ipant, the two nondisabled peer participants, and the alternate peer seated in a circle (adapted from Skillstreaming the Elementary School Child, McGinnis & Goldstein, 1997) Initiations (Skill 15: Beginning a Conversation, p. 105) 1. The principal researcher will introduce th e concept of a conversation by asking the participants what a conversation is (e.g., talking to each other). 2. The principal researcher will define initiations as the st art of a conversation and will introduce the behavioral steps to follow in beginning a conversation (initiations). The following steps will be posted on chart paper. a. Decide what you want to say. i. Suggest topics such as something th e participants did during the weekend, a hobby, or favorite sport. b. Choose a good time and place. i. Discuss how to choose a good time: when the other person isnt busy or when the participant isnt supposed to be doing something else. c. Start talking in a friendly way. i. Discuss body language and nonverbal communicators (e.g., eye contact, facing the person who is speaking to you, and personal space) that show a friendly attitude. ii. Suggest watching the person to see if he/she seems interested (e.g., is looking at you and not looking at someone else).

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158 3. The principal researcher will model the behavior for the participants. a. Ask a participant, What do you like best about Jeff Gordon? or What is your favorite movie, CD, etc.? 4. The principal researcher will se lect two nondisabled peers to pa rticipate in the first roleplaying. 5. The principal researcher will set up the role play. a. Describe a situation: The participan t and his/her friend are at the mall. The participant asks his/her friend what they would like to do that afternoon. 6. The principal researcher will provide performance feedback. a. The co-actor will be asked to react first to the role play and tell how he/she felt after the conversation was initiated. The observers are asked to comment next about how effective they t hought the participant was in initiating the conversation. The researcher then comments on how we ll the behavioral steps were followed and provides social reinforcement (e.g., praise, approval, and encouragement). Finally, the main actor is asked to make co mments regarding the role play. In this way, the main actor can learn to evalua te the effectiveness of his/her skill performance in light of others viewpoints. 7. The participants will brainstorm conversationa l topics that relate to their interests and these topics will be used in th e following role-playing situations. 8. The actor, co-actor, and observer roles are swit ched and the procedure repeated until each participant has had the opportunity to initiate a conversation. Responses (Skill 7: Contributing to Discussions, p. 97; Skill 16: Ending a Conversation, p. 106) 1. The principal researcher will define responses as the part of a conversation that answers someones question or comments on something some one said. 2. The principal researcher will introduce the be havioral steps to follow in responding to a question or commenting as part of a convers ation (response). The st eps will be posted on chart paper. a. Decide if what you want to say is re lated to the topic of the conversation. i. Discuss that the comment must be relevant to the conversation. Have the participants respond to the appropriateness of different responses (e.g., not talking about dinosaurs when the topic is football). b. Wait until the other person is finish ed speaking before you start talking. c. Decide exactly what you want to say. i. Choose only one or two important th ings you want to say about the topic and then let the other person talk again.

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159 d. Talk in a friendly way. i. Discuss body language and nonverbal communicators (e.g., eye contact, facing the person who is speaking to you, and personal space) that show a friendly attitude. ii. Suggest watching the person to see if he/she seems interested (e.g., is looking at you and not looking at someone else). 3. The researcher will model the behavior for the participants. a. Have a participant ask a question, What kind of pizza do you like best? The principal researcher will respond, I like pepperoni. What kind do you like? 4. The principal researcher will se lect two nondisabled peers to pa rticipate in the first roleplaying. 5. The principal researcher will set up the role play. a. Describe a situation: The participant a nd his/her friend are in P.E. The participant asks his/her friend what they are supposed to when they finish running around the track. 6. The researcher will provide performance feedback. a. The co-actor is asked to react first to the role play and tell how he/she felt after responding to the question. The observers are asked to comment next about how effective they thought the participant wa s in responding to the conversation. The researcher then comments on how well th e behavioral steps were followed and provides social reinforcement (e.g., pr aise, approval, and encouragement). Finally, the main actor is asked to make co mments regarding the role play. In this way, the main actor can learn to evalua te the effectiveness of his/her skill performance in light of others viewpoints. 7. The participants will brainstorm conversati onal situations that have opportunities in which to respond. These situations will be used in the following role-playing. 8. The actor, co-actor, and observer roles are swit ched and the procedure repeated until each participant has had the opportuni ty to respond in a conversation. Activity: Ice Cream Sundae Party 1. The participants will be given their choice of toppings for the sundae. Each participant will be in charge of three toppings. 2. The participants must request their desired topping from the pa rticipant in charge of that topping. 3. After the participant asks for the topping, th e participant in charge of the topping will make an appropriate response.

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160 Chart: Conversations 1. Choose the person you want to talk to. 2. Decide what you want to say. 3. Choose a good time and place. 4. Decide if what you want to say is related to the conversations topic. 5. Wait until the other person is finish ed speaking before you start talking. 6. Decide exactly what you want to say. 7. Talk in a friendly way. Learning Objectives 1. The participants will be able to initiate a conversation. 2. The participants will be able to respond to topics in a c onversation with an appropriate response. 3. The participants will demonstrate their abil ity to initiate and pr ovide an appropriate response during the ice cream sundae activity. 4. Mastery will be determined if the target participant participated in an appropriate social interaction (either an initiation or response) in 80% of the opport unities available for a social interaction to occur. Session Three Taking Turns (Skill 18: Playing a Game, p. 108): Includes the target participant, the two-peer participants, and the alternate (adapted fr om Skillstreaming the Elementary School Child, McGinnis & Goldstein, 1997) 1. The principal researcher will define taking tu rns as waiting until one participant finishes his/her part of the activity or game before the other particip ant can play or do the activity and will introduce behavioral steps to follow in taking turns. The steps will be posted on chart paper. a. Suggest that all of the pa rticipants repeat s ilently to himself/herself, I can wait until it is my turn while waiting for his/her turn. b. Note the importance of watching what th e other person is doing to learn from them how to do the activity. c. Wait in a friendly way. i. Stand or sit quietly ii. Talk in a polite voice 2. The principal researcher will model the behavior for the participants. a. One participant will be asked to play a game of tic-tac-toe with the researcher and is instructed to take a long time deciding where to move.

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161 b. The researcher will demonstrate how to sit quietly while waiting and say, I can wait until it is my turn softly and repeat edly until it is the researchers turn. 3. The principal researcher will se lect two nondisabled peers to pa rticipate in the first roleplaying. 4. The principal researcher will set up the role play. a. Describe a situation: One participant is working on the computer and the other participant wants to work on it as well. The participant who is on the computer says, I just got here and I want to work some more. 5. The principal researcher will provide perfor mance feedback. The co-actor is asked to react first to the role play and tell how he/she felt about asking the other participant to wait for his/her turn. The observers are asked to comment next about how effective they thought the participant was in taking turns. The researcher then comments on how well the behavioral steps were followed and pr ovides social reinforcement (e.g., praise, approval, and encouragement). Finally, the main actor is asked to make comments regarding the role play. In this way, the main actor can learn to evaluate the effectiveness of his/her skill performance in light of the others viewpoints. 6. The participants will brainstorm opportuni ties to take turns. These situations/ opportunities will be used in the following role-playing situations. 7. The actor, co-actor, and observer roles are swit ched and the procedure repeated until each participant has had the opportunity to demonstrate taking turns. Activity: Garfield Card Game The participants are introduced to the card game, Garfield War, and given instructions on how to play the game. This game is for ages 3 and up and includes 2-4 players. Th e object of the game is to win by collecting all of the cards in the deck by playing the highest card. Chart: Taking Turns 1. Repeat to yourself, I can wait until it is my turn. 2. Watch what the other person is doing. 3. Wait in a friendly way. Learning Objectives 1. The participants will learn the steps involved in taking turns. 2. The participants will demonstrate the ability to take turns while playing the card game, Garfield War.

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162 3. Mastery will be determined if the target participant took his turn during 80% of opportunities available for him to take a turn. Session Four Sharing (Skill 24: Sharing, p. 114): Include s the target participant, th e two peer participants, and the alternate (adapted from Skillstreaming the Elementary School Child, McGinnis & Goldstein, 1997) 1. The principal researcher will define shar ing as offering to share your own personal information and sharing objects or items such as pencils, paper, books, games, food and so on with another participant w ho may need them or like them. 2. The principal researcher will introduce behavior al steps to follow in sharing. The steps will be posted on chart paper. a. Decide if you want to share. i. Talk about how the other person might feel if the partic ipant does or does not share. b. Decide on the person with whom you want to share. i. If the participant can share only wi th one person, point out that the other person may feel left out. c. Choose a good time and place. i. Discuss how to choose a good time: when another person needs the materials or information or would enjoy having them. d. Offer to share in a friendly and sincere way. i. Discuss appropriate body language voice tone, and facial expression. 3. The principal researcher will model the behavior for the participants. a. The researcher offers to share her cookies with some friends. 4. The principal researcher will se lect two nondisabled peers to pa rticipate in the first roleplaying. 5. The principal researcher will set up the role play. a. Describe a situation: One participant ra n out of paper to do his/her assignment. The second participant offers to sh are his/her paper with him/her. 6. The principal researcher will provide performance feedback. a. The co-actor is asked to react first to the role play and tell how he/she felt about the offer to share the paper. The observe rs are asked to comment next about how effective they thought the participant was in sharing. The researcher then comments on how well the behavioral step s were followed and provides social reinforcement (e.g., praise, approval, and encouragement). Finally, the main actor is asked to make comments regarding the role play. In this way, the main actor

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163 can learn to evaluate the effectiveness of his/her skill performance in light of others viewpoints. 7. The participants will brainstorm opportunities to take share. The participants will be encouraged to come up with opportunities th at will include sharing personal information as well as sharing objects, f ood, etc. These suggested opportunities will be used in the following role-playing situations. 8. The actor, co-actor, and observer roles are sw itched and the procedure repeated until each participant has had the opportunity to dem onstrate sharing of personal information and objects, food, etc. Activity: Builder, Architect, Parts Department 1. There are three roles: the Architect, the Part s Department, and the Builder. The children have to work together negotiating their actio ns and coordinating their roles in order to build a building/shape with sel ected Lego Building Blocks. 2. The Architect is not allowed to touch any blocks, but he is to tally in charge of the design. The Parts Department must supply the blocks to the Builder, but the blocks must be the blocks that fit the Architects needs. Finally, only the Builder is allowed to actually build with the blocks, however, he must referen ce the Architect for design and use the Parts Department for the necessary blocks. 3. Three participants will choose wh ich part they wish to take the first time which will allow one participant to be the observer. After th e building/shape is built, the roles will be changed and the observer will choose which role he/she would like to play first. The other participants will change roles and one will become the observer until the participants have all had the opportunity to play each role. Chart: Sharing 1. Decide if you want to share. 2. Decide who you want to share with. 3. Choose a good time and place to share. 4. Offer to share in a friendly way. Learning Objectives 1. The participants will learn the steps invol ved in sharing of personal information and objects, food, etc. 2. The participants will demonstrate their abil ity to communicate with each other and share the responsibility and materials to build the desired building/shape.

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164 3. Mastery will be determined if the target par ticipant shared information/Lego blocks in 80% of the opportunities availa ble for sharing to occur. For a description of each step and comprehensive delineation of Skillsteaming procedures, see McGinnis and Goldstein (1997).

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165 APPENDIX J TARGET BEHAVIORS Initiation The target participants motor or vocal behavior clearly directed to a peer participant that attempted to elicit a social response. Examples of appropriate initiations included comments regarding the activit y, requests for items or information, and any other behavior directed toward a peer participant in an attempt to engage hi m/her in a mutual activity. Nonverbal initiations included offers to share materials and hand gestures. An inappropriate initiation incl uded the target participant yelli ng at a peer participant to obtain information or an object, calling a peer pa rticipant a derogatory name, or laughing at an inappropriate topic or at an in appropriate time. Pushing the peer participant out of the way or tapping him/her on their shoulder or arm repeatedly to gain attention was considered an inappropriate initiation as well. Examples of an Appropriate Initiation Mary (initiator) asks Sally fo r a book. Sally gives Mary a book. Tom (initiator) says to the group, Last nigh t we went to McDonalds for dinner. Dan (respondent) says, I like McDonalds. Anna (initiator) hands Susie (respondent) a pe ncil so she can complete an assignment. Example of an Inappropriate Initiation Mary (initiator) says to Susie who is having difficulty with a math problem, You are so stupid! Dont you know anything about addition? Response The target participants motor or verbal behaviors that acknowledged the peer participants prior initia tion within three seconds. Examples of an appropriate response included accepting the offered item, answering a questi on, commenting during a conversation, and shaking the head yes or no in response to a question. An inappropriate response included push ing the extended item or hand away, not answering a question asked, turning away from someone who is talking, preoccupation with one topic, and being unable to shift to a topic pertinent to the conversation Examples of an Appropriate Response Sam (initiator) hands Donna a cookie. Donna (respondent) says, Thanks for the cookie. Mary (initiator) gives Sue a doll. Sue (respondent) says, I like this doll. Richard (initiator) asks if J ohn wants to go to the park. J ohn (respondent) shakes his head yes.

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166 Example of an Inappropriate Response Tom (initiator) hands Charlie a baseball. Charlie pushes Toms hand away and the baseball falls to the ground as Charlie walks away. Social Interaction A social interaction is defined was the target participants reciprocal behaviors that occurred as a result of an initiation-response se quence between the target participant and a peer participant. Examples of appropr iate interactions included taki ng turns while playing games and sharing items to complete a task or providing assistance to another. Inappropriate interactions included those in which the participants yelled at each other and refused to take turns. Examples of an Appropriate Interaction Robert (initiator) asks, Who will play catch w ith me? George (respondent) answers, I will. Alice (initiator) asks Robin, What do you want to make for lunch? Robin (respondent) replies, Lets make a sandwich. Example of an Inappropriate Interaction Tom and Charlie are playing a game of check ers. Tom (initiator) asks, Who wants to move first? Charlie (responde nt) answers, If I dont move first, Im not playing!

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167 APPENDIX K SOCIAL SKILLS OBSERVATION FORM

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168 Target Participant: ___________________ Date/Time: Observer: __________________________ Setting: Min. 6 12 18 24 30 36 42 48 54 60 1 I R SI I R SI I R SI I R SI I R SI I R SI I R SI I R SI I R SI I R SI PI PR SIP PI PR SIP PI PR SIP PI PR SIP PI PR SIP PI PR SIP PI PR SIP PI PR SIP PI PR SIP PI PR SIP 2 I R SI I R SI I R SI I R SI I R SI I R SI I R SI I R SI I R SI I R SI PI PR SIP PI PR SIP PI PR SIP PI PR SIP PI PR SIP PI PR SIP PI PR SIP PI PR SIP PI PR SIP PI PR SIP 3 I R SI I R SI I R SI I R SI I R SI I R SI I R SI I R SI I R SI I R SI PI PR SIP PI PR SIP PI PR SIP PI PR SIP PI PR SIP PI PR SIP PI PR SIP PI PR SIP PI PR SIP PI PR SIP 4 I R SI I R SI I R SI I R SI I R SI I R SI I R SI I R SI I R SI I R SI PI PR SIP PI PR SIP PI PR SIP PI PR SIP PI PR SIP PI PR SIP PI PR SIP PI PR SIP PI PR SIP PI PR SIP 5 I R SI I R SI I R SI I R SI I R SI I R SI I R SI I R SI I R SI I R SI PI PR SIP PI PR SIP PI PR SIP PI PR SIP PI PR SIP PI PR SIP PI PR SIP PI PR SIP PI PR SIP PI PR SIP # of Intervals Percent of Intervals Appropriate Behaviors Appropriate Behaviors I R SI PI PR SIP I R SI PI PR SIP Inappropriate Behaviors Inappropriate Behaviors I R SI PI PR SIP I R SI PI PR SIP Slash Participants' appropriate behaviors Circle Participants' inappropriate behaviors I = Target Participant's Initiation PI = Peer Initiation R = Target Participant's Response PR = Peer Response SI = Target Participant's Initiated Social Interaction SIP = Peer Initiated Social Interaction (Adapted from Brown, Odom, and Buysee, 2002)

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169 APPENDIX L TARGET STUDENTS VIDEO TAPING SCHEDULE Network: Mon. Tues. Wed. Thurs.Fri. 8:15 Sam Sam 8:30 Brandon Brandon 8:45 9:00 9:15 9:30 9:45 10:00 10:15 10:30 Jimmy Jimmy 10:45 11:00 11:15 Sam Sam 11:30 11:45 12:00 12:15 Brandon Brandon 12:30 12:45 1:00 Jimmy Jimmy 1:15 1:30 1:45 2:00 2:15 2:30

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170 APPENDIX M SOCIAL SKILLS CHECKLIST Name: _____________________________ Date: _______________________ Observer: _____________________________ Code: 1: Never/Seldom 2: Sometimes 3: Always/Often NA: Not Applicable 1. The student spontaneously responded to/played with one peer. 1 2 3 NA 2. The student spontaneously res ponded to/played with more than. one peer. 1 2 3 NA 3. Peers sought out the student for social play. 1 2 3 NA 4. The student invited one peer to play (gestural or verbal). 1 2 3 NA 5. The student invited more than one peer to play 1 2 3 NA 6. The student used appropriate social behaviors to begin an an interaction. 1 2 3 NA 7. The student was persistent at social interactions. 1 2 3 NA 8. The student took turns when playing (when a ppropriate). 1 2 3 NA 9. The student shared with/gave play materials to peers. 1 2 3 NA 10. The student interacted verbal ly with one peer. 1 2 3 NA 11. The student interacted verbally w ith more than one peer. 1 2 3 NA 12. The student observed other chil dren playing. 1 2 3 NA 13. The student imitated other st udents actions. 1 2 3 NA 14. The student followed instructions given by other students. 1 2 3 NA 15. The student accepted/played with materials shared/given by other students. 1 2 3 NA 16. The student appeared to be in terested in maintaining her/his Participation in the activity (does no t have to be social). 1 2 3 NA If yes, which activity? ______________________________ 17. The student appeared to be having fun. 1 2 3 NA 18. Peers interacting with the student appeared to be having fun. 1 2 3 NA 19. The student stayed close to peer s when playing (1 ft.). 1 2 3 NA

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171 20. The student did not exhibit inappropriate behaviors during the session. 1 2 3 NA 21. The student did not leave the group during the lesson. 1 2 3 NA (Garrison-Harrell, 1996)

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172 APPENDIX N CONSUMER SATISFACTION SURVEY FORM The purpose of this questionnaire is to ask your opinion about the prevention program in which you participated this year with Diane Banner. Your feedback will be helpful in assessing the usefulness of the procedures, in updating materials, in training ot her teachers, and in planning for the future. Please circle the term that best describes you: Parent Teacher KEY: l=Strongly Disagree 2=Disagr ee 3=Neutral 4=Agree 5=Strongly Agree 6=Not Applicable 1. Peer network activities were easily implemented. Strongly Strongly Disagree Agree NA 1 2 3 4 5 6 2. Students were able to interact appropriat ely with the special needs student in their network. Strongly Strongly Disagree Agree NA 1 2 3 4 5 6 3. Students learned to use more social behaviors in their network following practice in groups. Strongly Strongly Disagree Agree NA 1 2 3 4 5 6 4. Students enjoyed the peer network. Strongly Strongly Disagree Agree NA 1 2 3 4 5 6 5. The peer network improved learni ng for the special needs student. Strongly Strongly Disagree Agree NA 1 2 3 4 5 6 6. The peer network improved social skills for the special needs student. Strongly Strongly Disagree Agree NA 1 2 3 4 5 6 7. The peer network activities assisted the speci al needs student in ge tting along better with his/her peers. Strongly Strongly Disagree Agree NA 1 2 3 4 5 6

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173 8. Overall, the special needs student benefite d socially and behaviorally from his/her participation in the peer network program. Strongly Strongly Disagree Agree NA 1 2 3 4 5 6 9. Overall, the peers in the class benefited soci ally and behaviorally by their participation in the peer network program. Strongly Strongly Disagree Agree NA 1 2 3 4 5 6 10. You as a teacher/parent learned fr om your participation in the program. Strongly Strongly Disagree Agree NA 1 2 3 4 5 6 11. You were satisfied with the amount of f eedback you received from Diane Banner during the study. Strongly Strongly Disagree Agree NA 1 2 3 4 5 6 Please describe what you liked about the peer network program. Please describe what you didn't like or woul d change about the peer network program. What advice, revisions would you recommend for the peer netw ork program for the special needs student next year? Comments: (Garrison-Harrell, 1996)

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174 APPENDIX O NETWORK SATISFACTION FORM Name: ________________________ Date: _______________________ 1. What did you like about the peer network? A. __________________________________________________________ B. __________________________________________________________ C. __________________________________________________________ 2. What didnt you like about the peer network? A. __________________________________________________________ B. __________________________________________________________ C. __________________________________________________________ 3. What would you do differently the next time? A. __________________________________________________________ B. __________________________________________________________ C. __________________________________________________________ 4. Comments: A. __________________________________________________________ B. __________________________________________________________ C. __________________________________________________________ (Garrison-Harrell, 1996)

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175 APPENDIX P SOCIAL VALIDATION RESULTS

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176 Table P-1. Social validation results. A) So cial skills checklist: Teacher. B) Social skills checklist: Parent. C) Consumer sat isfaction survey form. D) Friendship rating scale. A. Brandon Jimmy Sam Pre Post Pre Post Pre Post 1. The student spontaneously responded to/p layed with one peer. 2 2 2 3 3 3 2. The student spontaneously responded to/played with more than one peer. 2 2 2 2 3 3 3. Peers sought out the student for social play. 2 2 2 3 3 3 4. The student invited one peer to play (gestural or verbal). 2 2 2 3 2 2 5. The student invited more than one peer to play 2 3 1 3 2 2 6. The student used appropriate social behaviors to begin an interaction 2 3 2 2 2 3 7. The student was persistent at social interactions. 3 3 1 3 2 2 8. The student took turns when playing (when appropriate). 3 3 2 2 3 2 9. The student shared with/gave play ma terials to peers. 3 3 2 3 3 3 10. The student interacted ve rbally with one peer. 2 2 2 3 2 3 11. The student interacted verbally with more than one peer. 2 2 1 3 2 3 12. The student observed other childr en playing. 2 2 2 2 2 2 13. The student imitated other students actions. 2 2 1 2 1 1 14. The student followed instructions given by other students. 2 2 3 3 3 2 15. The student accepted/played with materials shared/given by other students. 2 3 2 3 3 3 16. The student appeared to be inte rested in maintaining her/his participation in an activity (does not have to be social). If yes, which activity? ______________________ 2 Chess Tag 3 Stud. Gov. 2 Legos 3 Team Act. 3 Football 3 Build. Models 17. The student appeared to be having fun. 2 3 2 3 3 3 18. Peers interacting with th e student appeared to be having fun. 2 3 2 3 3 3 19. The student stayed close to peers wh en playing (1 ft.). 2 2 2 3 3 3 20. The student did not exhibit inappropriate be haviors during the session. 2 2 2 2 3 3 21. The student did not leave th e group during the lesson. 2 2 3 3 3 3 (Garrison-Harrell, 1996) Code: 1: Never/Seldom 2: Sometimes 3: Always/Often NA: Not Applicable

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177Table P-1. Continued B. Brandon Jimmy Sam Pre Post Pre Post Pre Post 1. The student spontaneously responded to/playe d with one peer. N.A. N.A. 2 3 1 1 2. The student spontaneously responded to/played with mo re than one peer. N.A. N.A. N.A. N.A. 1 1 3. Peers sought out the student for social play. N.A. N.A. N.A. N.A. 2 2 4. The student invited one peer to play (gestural or verbal). N.A. N.A. 2 3 1 1 5. The student invited more than one peer to play N.A. N.A. N.A. N.A. 1 1 6. The student used appropriate so cial behaviors to be gin an interaction N.A. N.A. 2 3 2 2 7. The student was persistent at social interactions. N.A. N.A. 2 3 2 2 8. The student took turns when playing (when appropriat e). N.A. N.A. 1 2 1 1 9. The student shared with/gave play materi als to peers. N.A. N.A. 1 2 2 2 10. The student interacted verbal ly with one peer. N.A. N.A. 1 2 2 2 11. The student interacted verbally with more than one peer. N.A. N.A. N.A. N.A. 1 1 12. The student observed other children playing. N.A. N.A. N.A. N.A. 2 2 13. The student imitated other st udents actions. N.A. N.A. N.A. N.A. 2 2 14. The student followed instructions given by other students. N.A. N.A. N.A. N.A. 1 1 15. The student accepted/played with materials shar ed/given by other students. N.A. N.A. N.A. N.A. 2 2 16. The student appeared to be intere sted in maintaining he r/his participation in an activity (does not have to be social). If yes, which activity? ______________________ N.A. N.A. N.A. N.A. 3 3 17. The student appeared to be havi ng fun. N.A. N.A. N.A. 3 3 3 18. Peers interacting with the stude nt appeared to be having fun. N.A. N.A. N.A. N.A. 2 2 19. The student stayed close to peers when playing (1 ft.). N.A. N.A. 1 3 2 2 20. The student did not exhibit inapprop riate behaviors during the session. N. A. N.A. N.A. N.A. No Response 21. The student did not leave the group during the lesson. N.A. N.A. N.A. N.A. No Response (Garrison-Harrell, 1996) Code: 1: Never/Seldom 2: Sometimes 3: Always/Often NA: Not Applicable

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178Table P-1. Continued C. Brandon Jimmy Sam Teach. Par. Teach. Par. Teach. Par. 1. Peer network activities were eas ily implemented. 5 6 5 6 5 3 2. Students were able to interact approp riately with the special needs student In their network. 5 6 5 6 5 3 3. Students learned to use more social behaviors in th eir network following practice in groups. 5 6 5 6 4 3 4. Students enjoyed the peer network. 5 5 5 6 5 4 5. The peer network improved learning for the special needs student. 5 5 3 6 4 3 6. The peer network improved social skills for the special needs student. 5 5 5 4 5 3 7. The peer network activities assisted th e special needs student in getting along better with his/her peers. 5 5 4 4 5 3 8. Overall, the special needs student benef ited socially and behaviorally from his/her participation in the peer network program. 5 5 5 3 5 3 9. Overall, the peers in the class benefite d socially and beha viorally by their participation in the peer network program. 5 5 4 6 5 3 10. You as a teacher/parent learned fr om your participation in the program. 5 2 4 6 5 3 11. You were satisfied with the amount of feedback you received from Diane Banner during the study. 5 3 5 4 5 4 (Garrison-Harrell, 1996) KEY: l=Strongly Disagree 2=Di sagree 3=Neutral 4=Agree 5=Strongl y Agree 6=Not Applicable

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179 Comments Please describe what you liked about the peer network program. Brandon: Teacher: Example of positive event. Bra ndon sometimes gets disoriented or upset if there is a schedule change or ev ents out of sequence. We had a Literacy Day Celebration at school and the peer network (2 st udents) automatically assisted Brandon when he became upset. Parent: Brandon now feels like he does ha ve a few friends (those in the group) and wants to invite them to his birthday party! Jimmy: Teacher: I enjoyed the positive resu lts I witnessed in the students. Parent: No Comments Sam: Teacher: Ive seen some progress in Sams group work functioning. Parent: No Comments Please describe what you didn't like or woul d change about the peer network program. Brandon: Teacher: No suggestions. It was very well done and all participants looked forward to the activities and program. Parent: More meetings or activities would have helped even more and kids really enjoyed them from all that I have heard! Jimmy: Teacher: N.A. Parent: No Comments Sam: Teacher: No Comments Parent: We think the school could have been more involved. It may have benefited Sam and the teachers more. What advice, revisions would you recommend for the peer netw ork program for the special needs student next year? Brandon: Teacher: No Comments Parent: Maybe if started earli er in the year, then you could have changed the kids in the group after awhile so he could have devel oped a relationship with more children also. Jimmy: Teacher: Choose classes wisely as to where to place the students. Parent: No Comments Sam: Teacher: Maybe have more observable activity times to have a wider range of peers that could be used. Parent: No Comments

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180 Comments continued Brandon: Teacher: The mother of Brandon also e xpressed her satisfaction of the program. Parent: Any chance of study continuing next year to follow Brandon to WJH? Jimmy: Teacher: I feel that the teacher involved in this program needs a strong sense of social interactions and its importance. Parent: No Comments Sam: Teacher: No Comments Parent: No Comments

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181Network satisfaction form What did you like about the peer network? Brandon: Sundaes, build ing contest, everything. Brandons Peers: We had fun playing games. The s undaes and Lego building. The Lego and everything. Jimmy: I liked to play with them (peers). I liked to eat lunch with them. I liked to say Hi to them. Jimmys Peers: Having ice cream. Playi ng Legos. I liked the ice cream, playi ng the cards with Garfield, and making the man with Legos. I liked to play with the Legos and I liked talking and going to the researchers office. Sam: The ice cream, the Legos, the lunches. Sams Peers: I liked that we got to know each other more than we used to before. I liked that we all got to sit together at lunch. Having ice cream, playing games, getting to know people more. Spending time with friends. Being videotaped. What didnt you like about the peer network? Brandon: Nothing. Brandons Peers: I liked everything. Everything was fine. Jimmy: I didnt like the Chicken McNuggets. Jimmys Peers: Nothing. Nothing. Ji mmy saying bad words at the start. Sam: Nothing. Sams Peers: There wasnt really anything I didnt likeit was all fun. That everyone as ked me what I was doing. Sometimes I didnt want to do the camera thing. Having to choose a new topic to talk about every time pressure.

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182Network satisfaction form continued What would you do differently the next time? Brandon: Id add in extra activities. Brandons Peers: Have Slushies. Play different games. Have Smoothies. Jimmy: Play with Thomas and his friends and put them on the track. Jimmys Peers: Play Chutes and Ladders. Play with the Legos more. Eat the ice cream sundaes more. Sam: Plan the ice cream on Friday. Sams Peers: Probably ea t more ice cream. Nothing. Comments: Brandon: I loved it all! Brandons Peers: I liked coming upstairs with the researcher. The researcher was ve ry nice. We all loved coming up here so we are all going to miss it. Jimmy: I liked the games and the ice cream sundaes. Jimmys Peers: No additional comments. Sam: It was very fun. Sams Peers: It is really fun and I hope to see other students do it too. Its very f un, Ill be glad to do it next year. Cool project!

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183Table P-1. Continued D. Not at All A Little Some Quite a Bit A Lot Pre Post Pre Post Pre Post PrePost PrePost Brandon Brandon 19 16 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 Classmates 13 11 4 5 2 2 0 0 0 1 Jimmy Jimmy 1 1 3 2 4 3 1 1 8 10 Classmates 7 5 3 3 1 1 0 2 6 6 Sam Sam 13 11 6 3 1 4 3 1 0 0 Classmates 11 5 5 6 4 3 0 1 3 4

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184Peer nominations questionnaire Beginning of Study End of Study List three classmates you would like to invite to your birthday party. Brandon Brandon did not list any Peer 1 classmates. Peer 2 Alternate Brandons Classmates No one listed Brandon No one listed Brandon Jimmy 3 Classmates 3 Classmates No network peers No net. peers Jimmys Classmates 1 Classmate 1 Classmate Sam 3 Classmates 3 Classmates No network peers No network peers Sams Classmates 3 Classmates 2 Classmates List three classmates that are your good friends. Brandon Brandon did not list any Peer 1 classmates. Peer 2 Alternate Brandons Classmates No one listed Brandon No one listed Brandon Jimmy 3 Classmates 3 Classmates No network peers No network peers Jimmys Classmates 1 Classmate 3 Classmates Sam 3 Classmates 3 Classmates No network peers No network peers Sams Classmates 2 Classmates 1 Classmate

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185Peer nominations questionnaire continued Beginning of Study End of Study List three classmates that you like to play with on the playground. Brandon Brandon did not list any Peer 1 classmates. Peer 2 Alternate Brandons Classmates No one listed Brandon No one listed Brandon Jimmy 3 Classmates 3 Classmates No network peers No network peers Jimmys Classmates 1 Classmate 2 Classmates Sam 3 Classmates 3 Classmates No network peers No network peers Sams Classmates 3 Classmates 1 Classmate List three classmates th at you like to play with. Brandon Brandon did not list any Peer 1 classmates. Peer 2 Alternate Brandons Classmates No one listed Brandon No one listed Brandon Jimmy 3 Classmates 3 Classmates No network peers No network peers Jimmys Classmates 1 Classmate 2 Classmates Sam 3 Classmates 3 Classmates No network peers No net. peers Sams Classmates 4 Classmates 0 Classmate

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186 LIST OF REFERENCES American Educational Research Association, Am erican Psychological A ssociation, & National Council on Measurement in Education, (1999). Standards for educational and psychologicaql testing. Washington, DC: American Educational Research Association. American Psychiatric Association (2000 ). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorderstext revision (4th ed.). Washington, DC: Author. Attwood, T. (2000). Strategies for improving the soci al integration of children with Aspergers syndrome. The National Autistic Society. 4 (1), 85. Attwood, T. (2003). Understanding and managing circumscribed inte rests. In M. Prior (Ed.), Learning and behavior problems in Asperger syndrome (pp. 126). New York, NY: Guilford. Autism Society of America. (n.d.). Asperger syndrome informa tion written for kids only [Brochure]. Bethesda: Author. Barnhill, G. (2001). What is Asperger syndrome? Intervention in School and Clinic, 36 (5), 259 265. Breen, C., & Haring, T. (1991). Effects of c ontextual competence on social initiations. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 24, 337. Brown, W., & Conroy, M. (2002). Promoting peer-r elated social-communicative competence in preschool children. In H. Goldstein, L. Kaczmarek, & K. English (Eds.), Promoting social communication (pp. 173). Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brookes. Brown, H., Odom, S., & Conroy, M. (2001). An intervention hierarchy for promoting young childrens peer interactions in natural environments. Topics in Early Childhood Special Education, 21 (3), 162. Carr, E., & Darcy, M. (1990). Setting generality of peer modeling in children with autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 20 (1), 45. Carr, E., & Durand, V. (1985). Reducing behavi or problems through functional communication training. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 18, 11. Carter, A., Davis, N., Klin, A., & Volkmar, F ., (2005). Social development in autism. In F. Volkmar, R. Paul, A. Klin, & D. Cohen (Eds.), Handbook of autism and pervasive developmental disorders (3rd ed., pp. 312). New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons. Chadsey-Rusch, J. (1986). Identifying and teaching valued social behaviors in competitive employment settings. In F. Rusch (Ed.), Competitive employment issues and strategies (pp. 273). Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brookes.

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195 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Diane Leendertsen Banner was born on A ugust 11, 1950 in Pullman, Washington. She was one of four children w ho grew up on a wheat farm in Pal ouse, Washington graduating from Palouse High School in 1968. She ear ned a Bachelor of Arts in E ducation with a major emphasis in physical education from Washi ngton State University in 1973. She taught general education elementary st udents in the following years while taking graduate courses resulting in certif ication in the area of learning disa bilities and a Master of Arts in the area of Reading from Truman State Univer sity in 1983. She has taught a combination of general education as well as special educa tion students from prekindergarten varying exceptionalities classes through community colleg e course work in reading. These teaching experiences occurred in Missouri, West Virginia, and Florida. Th e majority of the 17 years of teaching experience has been in Florida. Upon receiving an Educational Specialist degree from the University of Florida in 1997 in the area of school psychology, she has been a school psychologist with th e School District of Clay County in Florida. Diane has been inst rumental in implementing new programs in the district, developing manuals training district level and school personnel, as well as continuing to do research with the University of Florida.