Improving Social-Communication and Engagement of Elementary Students With Autism Spectrum Disorders: Adapting a Preschool Intervention for Elementary School Classrooms

With the rising prevalence of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in recent years, school programs are in need of evidence-based interventions to target core deficits in this ever-growing population of students. Social-communication is a key area of need for children with ASD, and increases in social-communication skills have been shown to impact later development in other areas such as peer relationships and language abilities. However, there are few interventions designed to address social-communication skills in school-aged children with ASD. The Advancing Social-Communication and Play (ASAP) intervention was designed for public preschools, and shows promise as an effective intervention. The current study will extend the existing research by looking at the impact of the ASAP intervention on school-aged students with ASD, and the feasibility of the ASAP intervention in elementary schools. The study will use a multiple baseline, single-case design across four students with emerging communication skills to examine the impact of ASAP on students’ social-communication and engagement in the classroom. Additionally, the feasibility of the intervention will be assessed through teacher questionnaires and interviews. This study is expected to provide valuable data on the effect of the ASAP intervention on elementary school students, an understudied population. The study also will offer important information on adapting preschool interventions for elementary school settings.

FPG Project Staff:
Jessica R. Dykstra Steinbrenner, Principal Investigator
Funding Agency: Organization for Autism Research
Funding Period: 01/01/2014 - 12/31/2014
Award Amount: $30,000