Despite frequent reports of academic success, individuals with high functioning autism or Asperger’s Syndrome (HFA/AS) often manifest deficits in social abilities. These deficits can lead to daily difficulties and negative long-term outcomes. The SCI research team originally developed a social competence curriculum to target these abilities for youth with ASD in an after-school program. Initial findings (Stichter et al., 2010) have been promising for the efficacy of the after-school Social Competence Intervention (SCI-A) program for addressing these impairments in adolescents (11-14 yrs of age) with HFA/AS. Despite positive outcomes, the direct applicability of the after-school program for delivery in typical education setting remained unknown. Thus, the current study modified the existing SCI curriculum into a cost-effective intervention model that addresses a subset of social skill deficits for these students that can be administered and sustained in educational settings. This project is a three-year development grant funded by Institute of Education Sciences.
To determine the feasibility and sustainability of the Social Competence Intervention within the school setting (SCI-S). The pilot study is designed to impact social competence performance for a specific subtype of adolescents with social deficits, a FS IQ 70+, and access to general education settings. This study was also conducted to monitor and adjust the development and implementation of the program in the school setting for maximum program benefit for schools and students.
The SCI-S program has completed year two of a three-year initiative to build capacity in the schools. Throughout program implementation the curriculum moves from being led by research staff to being led independently by school staff. This program employs measures to both evaluate the translation of the clinic-based program into an educational setting (e.g., fidelity) as well as to determine student outcomes. Standardized assessments were administered pre- and post-intervention to evaluate programmatic effectiveness and the impact of the intervention curriculum on: Social Behavior, Theory of Mind, Executive Function and Emotion Recognition. The curriculum involves a semester long course consisting of five units, six lessons per unit in a small group format.
Initial results of Year 1 of SCI-S (N=12) indicate improvements in direct measures of Emotional Recognition (p<.05) and Executive Function (p<.05) as well as improvement on standardized parental and teacher reports of social behavior (p<.05) and executive functioning (p<.05). Year 1 demonstrated overall fidelity of implementation of content and process as 90.3%. Results of Year 2 (N= 12) will also be reported for both intervention outcomes as well as fidelity of implementation.
Results indicate promise for successful translation the after school program into a school setting with positive results for participants. Year 1 results provide support that the program can be implemented with fidelity n the school setting while also evidencing gains that were relatively consistent with previous clinic based results. Results indicate promise for enhanced response to treatment in the area of designing interventions that target subtypes of individuals with social deficits.
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See more of: Prevalence, Risk factors & Intervention