Social Skills Intervention for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders
Research conducted in California shows that Latino children are likely to be diagnosed with ASD later and with more severe symptoms than their white peers (Zuckerman et al., 2013). Thus it is important to have effective treatment for children with ASD. The aim of this study is to assess the appropriateness and efficacy of a social skills group intervention for urban, community mental health settings which treat predominantly Latino children.
The Secret Agent Society (SAS) program is a 9 week social skills group intervention for children with High Functioning Autism (HFA) that incorporates an espionage theme, with novel video and board games, to address social skills and emotion regulation. Results from this pilot study suggest that parents observe their children using more social skills after group intervention. The parents' participation in group could be a possible indicator of their increased ability to coach their children and support their social skills. Results from parents’ reports and trends from the children's reports in this pilot study also indicate that the implementation was successful for an urban community mental health setting which treats predominantly Latino children and families.
Important Things to Know
- Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) exhibit poor social communication, impaired social cognition, and lack of understanding of social cues.
- Children with ASD often report peer rejection, poor social support, and isolation; consequently, adolescents with ASD generally report higher levels of loneliness and poor quality of friendships than same aged, typically developing peers.
- Empirically supported interventions for school-aged children with ASD remain limited.
- Community mental health clinicians have little training in research-based treatments for ASD, and tend to use nonspecialized treatment practices.
- For more information, visit the Secret Agent Society website.
Heather Mitchell, PsyD
Heather Hall, PsyD
Yuko Watabe, PhD