Social involvement of children with autism spectrum disorders in elementary school classrooms.

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TitleSocial involvement of children with autism spectrum disorders in elementary school classrooms.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsRotheram-Fuller, E, Kasari, C, Chamberlain, B, Locke, J
JournalJ Child Psychol Psychiatry
Date Published2010 Nov
KeywordsAge Factors, Case-Control Studies, Child, Child Development Disorders, Pervasive, Female, Friends, Humans, Interpersonal Relations, Male, Peer Group, Schools, Social Behavior, Students

BACKGROUND: Children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are increasingly included in general education classrooms in an effort to improve their social involvement.METHODS: Seventy-nine children with ASD and 79 randomly selected, gender-matched peers (88.6% male) in 75 early (K-1), middle (2nd-3rd), and late (4th-5th) elementary classrooms across 30 schools completed social network surveys examining each child's reciprocal friendships, peer rejection, acceptance, and social involvement.RESULTS: Across grade levels, peers less frequently reciprocated friendships with children with ASD than students in the matched sample. While children with ASD were not more likely to be rejected by peers, they were less accepted and had fewer reciprocal friendships than matched peers at each grade level. Although 48.1% of children with ASD were involved in the social networks of their classrooms, children with ASD were more likely to be isolated or peripheral to social relationships within the classroom across all grade levels, and this difference is even more dramatic in later elementary grades.CONCLUSIONS: In inclusive classrooms, children with ASD are only involved in peers' social relationships about half of the time, and appear to be even less connected with increasing grade level. Promoting children with ASD's skills in popular activities to share with peers in early childhood may be a key preventive intervention to protect social relationships in late elementary school grades.

Alternate JournalJ Child Psychol Psychiatry
PubMed ID20673234
PubMed Central IDPMC2970745
Grant ListU54 MH068172 / MH / NIMH NIH HHS / United States
MH 068172 / MH / NIMH NIH HHS / United States
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